Tariq Ali and Anthony Arnove: ‘The challenge to the empire’

‘The challenge to the empire’, an interview with Tariq Ali and Anthony Arnove for Socialist Worker, October 20, 2006

After Hugo Chávez’s United Nations (UN) speech in September, the U.S. media either denounced him or treated him with derision. Does Chávez deserve to be dismissed as a madman?

Tariq Ali: In a world deep in neoliberal sleep, any person who tries to disturb this sleep and to wake people up is denounced and traduced. Hugo Chávez, who I have met and talked with on several occasions, is an extremely intelligent and enlightened political leader. In the public arena, he uses a language that is no longer considered acceptable by the proponents of the Washington consensus. The U.S. media has, in the main, been so slavish toward the Bush regime that Chávez appears extreme.

What he says, in fact, is the common sense of large swathes of world public opinion. He represents it in the global arena. That’s why they carry his portraits on demonstrations in Beirut. In a crazy world of imperial wars and occupations, and the economic fundamentalism of the IMF and the WTO, anyone who speaks up against this is denounced as insane. read more