How the World Got To Be The Way It Is
There aren't many reviews that I'd anticipate with worry, but when I heard that Stan Persky was going to write something about my book for Dooney's Cafe once he'd settled back down in Berlin, it was the tiniest bit nervous-making. I shouldn't have worried, of course, because Stan is so damn generous and gracious in everything he does. Of course, it would be a thoughtful and careful and serious essay. It's Stan, after all. But the weird thing about that guy is that he always gets, exactly, what I'm trying to do, even if I don't do it all that well.
Not that everybody's happy with me today. Writing in the Globe and Mail ("The Manifesto and Marx"), Angus Taylor writes:
The Euston Manifesto promoted by Terry Glavin (Shake It To The Left -- June 3) is presented as a bold reassertion of progressive political values intended to reinvigorate an enervated left that has lost its way. What we get instead is a laundry list of things we should all be against (evil dictators, racism, and suicide bombers) and things we should all be in favour of (democracy, human rights, and, uh, open-source software).
But the fundamental failing of the Euston Manifesto goes beyond its simplistic "Saddam bad, U.S. good" logic. The manifesto presents neither a coherent analysis of the world's problems nor any plan for solving them. One does not have to be a Marxist to believe that the role of capitalism, an economic system that requires endless growth and is eating the planet alive, at least needs to be addressed. The manifesto does not even mention the word.
That's a good summation of a consensus that's emerging in certain quarters about how the manifesto should be greeted: 1. Be snide. 2. Dismiss it as a mere laundry list. 3. Criticize it for not doing things it doesn't set out to do in the first place.
"One does not have to be a Marxist" to type "euston manifesto" and get 328,000 hits on Google today, either. But now I'm being snide.
Taylor might profit (sorry, dirty word) from reading this.