Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Euston Manifesto: what changed for Alan Johnson?

One of the four lead signatories of the Euston Manifesto is Alan Johnson, an academic and a former member of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. From the style of some of the passages in the document – and as a journo, I’m quite good at literary detective stuff – I would guess that he wrote he large chunks of it.

Less than three years ago, Alan observed, in words I found inspirational at the time:

‘Perhaps there are good reasons to look again at the notion of working class politics. That notion was not always just a quasi-religious talisman to ward off awkward political realities (though it frequently was).

‘It was also, and can be again, the basis of a rational politics of hope. For it remains the case that the unique combination of interest, capacity, and social weight possessed by the global working class can still provide a foundation on which a rational and radical democratic politics and a viable strategy and tactics could be elaborated.’

Yet the funny thing is, the working class - as recently as 2003 the basis of a rational politics of hope - gets the barest of walk-on parts in the EM. They are reduced to yet another interest group that the popular frontist good guys promise to deliver some reforms. How quickly things change.


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