Pirates of the Caribbean

Published by Verso, 2006 (new and updated edition 2008)

A fiery polemic on Latin America’s challenge to US-led neoliberalism

The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela has brought Hugo Chávez to world attention as the foremost challenger of the neoliberal consensus and American foreign policy. Drawing on first-hand experience of Venezuela and meetings with Chávez, Tariq Ali shows how Chávez’s views have polarized Latin America and examines the hostility directed against his administration. Contrasting the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionary processes, Ali discusses the enormous influence of Fidel Castro on Chávez, President of Bolivia Evo Morales and, in this fully updated edition, the newly elected President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, the latest addition to the “Axis of Hope.” Infused with references to the culture and poetry of South America, Pirates of the Caribbean guides us through a world divided between privilege and poverty, a continent that is once again on the march.

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From the archive

  • Trotskyist or Trotskyish?

    September 3, 2010

    ‘Trotsky: past, present… future?’ an interview with Tariq Ali by Kirsty Jane for Vulpes Libris, September 3, 2010

    A leading figure of the Trotskyist movement in the sixties and seventies, Tariq Ali’s engagement with Trotsky goes far beyond party politics. Kirsty Jane met up with him at the Edinburgh Book Festival, where he was presenting his new novel Night of the Golden Butterfly, to talk about old friends… and new strategies.

    You mentioned in Street Fighting Years that you first read Isaac Deutscher’s biography of Trotsky when you were ill in bed (and I wish I hadn’t known the rather TMI details of that… you’ve scarred me for life). How, then, did you begin to read Trotsky? What was your first contact with him?

    After reading the Deutscher trilogy, I was just quite naturally drawn to read the  …

  • ‘Literature and Market Realism’

    May 1, 1993

    ‘Literature and Market Realism’ by Tariq Ali for New Left Review, May-Jun 1993

    These are strange times. Capitalism, crippled by its own contradictions—there are thirty million people out of work in the OECD countries alone—is nonetheless triumphant. From New York to Beijing, via Moscow and Vladivostok, you can eat the same junk food, watch the same junk on television and, increasingly, read the same junk novels. In the newly marketized counties of Eastern and Central Europe, a book can be consumed just like a McDonald’s hamburger. Indigestion and an excess of wind are no longer a preserve of the stomach. Just as the rival hamburger concerns advertise their respective wares, so the giant publishing concerns of North America and Britain buy authors and exhibit them like cattle. Potential bestsellers are auctioned by a new breed of literary agent.  …