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

  • ‘Ill fares the land’

    August 15, 2011

    ‘Ill fares the land’ by Tariq Ali for the Times of India, August 12 2011

    The queasy condition of Pakistan, incapable of either a complete collapse or of throwing up a regime that could move the country even a few steps forward, has been a cause for depression for many a decade. The privileged elite — military and civilian — live happily in their bubble exercising military, political, administrative, economic and judicial power over the whole land.

    This is, of course, the case in most countries, but in Pakistan the contrast between rulers and ruled is so stark that there is nothing to protect the weak majority from the powerful and rich minority. Kinship networks, like protection offered by gangsters, can do a bit but any notion that this can substitute for the state in providing the necessities of  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘A Civilizing Influence’ – The Walrus reviews The Islam Quintet

    July 1, 2005

    ‘The Islam Quintet’ reviewed by Charles Foran for The Walrus, July 1, 2005

    Making the boldest time leap in the series, The Stone Woman bypasses the glory days of the final Islamic empire to meditate on its long twilight. The novel, which details the story of a disaffected Turkish aristocrat named Nilofer who returns to her family home outside Istanbul in 1899, is a Chekhovian exercise in philosophical sighs and political inertia. Characters squander afternoons lamenting the retreat of the Ottoman Empire from the Europe that emerged out of the Renaissance. “Istanbul,” one character remarks, “could have been the capital of invention and modernity like Cordoba and Baghdad in the old days, but these wretched beards that established the laws of our state were frightened of losing their monopoly of power and knowledge.” The “beards”  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘The Assault on Ilhem’

    February 25, 2010

    ‘The Assault on Ilhem’ by Tariq Ali for Le Monde, republished in English for Counterpunch, February 25, 2010

    Forgive an outsider and staunch atheist like myself who, on reading the recent French press comments relating to Ilhem Moussaid the hijab-wearing NPA candidate in Avignon, gets the impression that something is rotten in  French political culture. Let’s take the debate at face-value. A young  Muslim woman joins the NPA [New Anti-Capitalist Party]. She obviously agrees with its program that defends abortion, contraception, etc, i.e. a woman’s right to choose. She is then told that despite this she does not have the right to choose what she wears on her head. It’s astonishing. There is no Koranic injunction involved.  The book says: “Draw their (women’s) veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty”, which can be interpreted  …