The Left

Euston Rough Cuts

For those of you who couldn’t make last week’s sell-out Euston Manifesto “Solidarity and Rights” conference, Damian Counsell has found his magic scissors, chopped up his recordings of the event and dunked them in some special Cillit Bang to give them that extra bit of sparkle. You can download all five talks on the Euston Manifesto website.

In his own words:

Every seat was taken and then some. It was a superb meeting with some of the most interesting and thoughtful lectures I’ve heard in years—and that includes the stuff I thought was wrong. One of the best things about the manifesto phenomenon has been reading, listening to, and talking with others on the Left whom I disagree with profoundly about matters of life and death—and doing so in a healthy, comradely, and civilized atmosphere.

For me the talks that stood out were Eve on the boycott (the UCU ballot being announced just before she gave her presentation), Fred Halliday on complex solidarity (whilst taking on all and sundry from the New Left Review to certain dubious politicians) and Michael Walzer enthralling us with his take on Just War. Norm and Shalom? Well it’s not that they didn’t stand out – I just didn’t catch much of their talks. At that point I had several jobs that needed doing so I’m looking forward to downloading them and working out exactly what they said to spark the heated debates witnessed in the corridors and hallways during the interval.

Get stuck in and see what you think:

Norman Geras, University of Manchester: Deficits of International Law [MP3, 45Mb]—text here

Shalom Lappin, King’s College London: Multiculturalism and Democracy [MP3, 55Mb]—text to follow

Fred Halliday, London School of Economics: Solidarities Simple and Complex [MP3, 56Mb]—text to follow

Eve Garrard, Keele University: The Academic Boycott: Justifications, Objections, Explanations [MP3, 48Mb]—text to follow

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton: Terrorism and Just War [MP3, 73Mb]—text to follow

I’ll post a link to the remaining transcripts as soon as they’re available.

N.B. PooterGeek General’s Warning:

The files are noisy and hit digital zero a lot, so I’d advise you to keep the volume down when you click on the links, especially during the first couple of minutes of each when you’ll hear the rustling of lecture scripts, feedback from the mics, coughing, people finding their seats… Ironically, one of the most annoying sounds popping up from time to time in all the lectures is, I believe, the whirring of one of the professionals’ recording machines.

Do persist, however. In most cases the sound quality improves significantly and every single one of the talks is both thoughtful and provocative. For example: Geras and Garrard give masterclasses in stepping through difficult moral arguments and dealing with hostile questions; Lappin’s views on multiculturalism are genuinely challenging and unconventional; Halliday displays erudition, drops names, and manages to be very funny indeed, becoming ever more indiscreet as his part of the event proceeds; and Walzer argues that the detonation of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki was terrorism. [A shame Oliver Kamm wasn’t in the audience…]

PS: You can also download the entirety of Norm’s talk here (with thanks to Nadim Mahjoub).