Nigel D. White

The facts that the UN and other similar inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) are operational and that their decisions affect the lives of millions, have led to greater demands for accountability of IGOs and access to justice for victims when they have caused. This chapter looks at how the primary and secondary rules of international law are upheld in different forms and mechanisms of accountability, including courts. The inadequacies of the International Court of Justice as a constitutional court have led to victims seeking justice before regional and national courts. The chapter explores the practicalities of accountability both at an institutional level and at a more local level. It concludes with an examination as to how far the UN has evolved in terms of accountability for wrongs committed by those working for it by considering sexual abuse committed by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

in The law of international organisations (third edition)
Abstract only
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

Israel has been made an alibi for a new climate of antisemitism on the left. Much of the animus directed at Israel is of a plainly antisemitic character. It relies on anti-Jewish stereotypes. This can be shown with near mathematical precision; in this article, Geras endeavours to show it by discussing four forms of the Israel alibi phenomenon. The first form is the impulse to treat such of the antisemitism as there is acknowledged to be as a pure epiphenomenon of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The second form is the plea that antisemitism should not be ascribed to anyone without evidence of active hatred of Jews on their part; without some clear sign of antisemitic intent. Gunter Grass's poem may serve to introduce a third form of alibi antisemitism that is rhetorical status of Israel. The fourth and final alibi phenomenon relates to the climate of complicity in Israel.

in The Norman Geras Reader
Abstract only
The anatomy of a bitter divorce battle
Matt Qvortrup

This chapter pertains to the United Kingdom European Union (EU) membership referendum in 2016. It first traces the last days events which finally led to David Cameron announcing his resignation in the morning of 24 June 2016. Then, the chapter discusses the initial days of the campaign when a poll the 18 February 2016 Daily Telegraph showed 54 per cent for Remain and a mere 46 per cent for Leave. The signs of erosion of the Remain group were seen in the 16 March budget, which contained cuts to disability benefits as well as tax cuts for the wealthier. Wavering voters were not responding to the predictions of economic gloom presented by David Cameron and his allies. On 7 June, sensing that the economic argument had been exhausted, the UKIP leader NIgel Farage told ITV News, 'there is more to life than GDP'.

in Government by referendum
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

An article by Mark Mazower for the journal World Affairs characterizes the concept of humanitarian intervention as 'dying if not dead'. Mazower's approval of the demise of humanitarian interventionism has been made explicit. There's a 'new realism', he says, that is welcome; again, the 'new maturity in international relations' is to be viewed positively. Since it is an elementary truth that an intervention that fails or makes things worse will not effect a rescue of those in need of one, accounts of the principle of humanitarian intervention invariably emphasize that unless there is a good prospect of success, intervention cannot be justified. But Mazower writes as if part of the new and welcome 'pragmatism', 'realism', 'maturity', is the wisdom 'that without willing the means, intervention leads to political and moral failure'.

in The Norman Geras Reader
Matt Qvortrup

This conclusion presents some closing remarks on the preceding chapters of the book. The book has presented the briefest of historical outlines of how referendums have been used in Britain and abroad, and in doing so, it has implicitly presented some of the arguments for and against this institution. Between 1920 and 1960, there was little reason to have referendums in Britain as compared to constitutional referendums in Denmark and Ireland which were held in the 1950s. The referendum campaign in 1975 challenged the tribalism that had characterised the politics of the United Kingdom. The Brexit referendum and the referendum on the alternative vote electoral system saw spirited debate as well as disinformation on both sides. However, one cannot reject the referendum in general just because one disagrees with the way David Cameron blundered into to calling one.

in Government by referendum
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

This chapter reviews a fast-growing sector of the current literature on Karl Marx, i.e. whether Marx condemn capitalism in the light of any principle of justice. It surveys the case for thinking he does not and the case for thinking that he does. Beginning with a preliminary sketch on the general lines of Marx's account of capitalist exploitation, the chapter reviews the texts and arguments put forward by those who deny that Marx condemned capitalism as unjust and the texts and arguments put forward by those who claim he did so condemn it. It also offers some conclusions, and argument in support of them. Marx's impatience with the language of norms and values is global in range. And yet he himself, despite it, does plainly condemn capitalism; for its oppressions and unfreedoms and also, as the argument of this chapter has been, for its injustices.

in The Norman Geras Reader
The key to governance
Nigel D. White

The possession of international legal personality explains how the UN and similar inter-governmental organisations have extensive powers separate from those rights of states. The UN Security Council has the power to impose sanctions on a state or an individual, thereby creating binding duties for all states; no state, no matter how powerful, has that legal right. This chapter addresses the debate about the extent of the doctrine of legal powers through three case studies. The case studies include the legality of peacekeeping undertaken by the UN (including a discussion of the Expenses opinion) and the competence of the WHO and UN in relation to the possession or use of nuclear weapons by states (including a discussion of the Nuclear Weapons opinions). They also include the legislative powers of the Security Council (focusing on its counter-terrorism decision in Resolution 1373 of 2001).

in The law of international organisations (third edition)
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

There is an aspect of the unconditional in the duty to come to the help of people in danger. This has about it the pull of an irresistible demand. A sense of its unconditionality suffuses the literature of catastrophe. This chapter looks for it first in what may appear the least likely of places. In the general theoretical sense our responsibility for all of humankind and our guilt for the ills befalling others are universal and unlimited. However, it is different with respect to the amount of help any single person's duties can be thought to encompass. Within general moral code, we should not be drawn into a moral absolutism, permit ourselves a standard fit only for saints. This is for metaphysical and anthropological reasons, and it is also for reasons straightforward humanity in the ethical sense. The chapter considers these three kinds of reasons in turn.

in The Norman Geras Reader
Abstract only
Reflections on the work of Norman Geras
Terry Glavin

Terry Glavin here speaks of how he was attracted to Normblog and offers some reflections on the work of Norman Geras, particularly citing the 9/11 incident and the terror against the Afghan democrats by the United States. By the time Norm's conversations evolved into the Euston Manifesto, Norm's helpfulness and the significance of his work was made plain in the way the modest document was greeted with such livid fury from so many on the left. If there is a single point when it can be said that the left's hegemonic narrative for the coming years was inaugurated, that the die was fatally cast and the primary expression of left-wing activism for more than a decade was set in motion, there is no better marker than 18 October 2001. Norm Geras's writings and commentary retain a surprisingly vivid and prescient sense about them all these years later.

in The Norman Geras Reader
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

This chapter presents the text of the 2006 Euston Manifesto, in which Geras outlines the principles for a democratic and anti-authoritarian left-wing politics. The initiative has its roots in and has found a constituency through the Internet, especially the 'blogosphere'. The broad statement of principles that are outlined is a declaration of intent. The initiative sets forth that leftists must define themselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic 'anti-imperialism' and/or hostility to the US administration. The values and goals which properly make up that agenda i.e. the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression, are what most enduringly define the shape of any Left worth belonging to.

in The Norman Geras Reader