Speaking of Empire and Resistance

Published by The New Press, 2005

A leading political writer and activist speaks out on the crisis in the Middle East, the war on terror, and the resurgent militarism of the American Empire.

Exiled from Pakistan in the 1960s for his activism against the military dictatorship, Tariq Ali has gained a reputation as one of the English-speaking world’s most forceful political thinkers, speaking out consistently against imperialism, religious fundamentalism, and, most recently, the misguided Anglo-American war on terror, including the disastrous fiasco in Iraq. Ali’s most recent books, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and Bush in Babylon, have been widely praised and read. A prolific and eloquent writer, Ali is also a captivating conversationalist, and Speaking of Empire and Resistance captures him at his provocative best. This series of interviews brings together Ali’s insights into a wide range of topics—among them the fate of modern-day Pakistan, the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the state of the Islamic world, and the continuing significance of imperialism in the twenty-first century. Speaking of Empire and Resistance reinforces Tariq Ali’s reputation as one of the most perceptive and engaging figures of today’s Left.

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From the archive

  • ‘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.  …

  • The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power

    September 1, 2008

    Published by Scribner, 2008

    Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It is the only Islamic state to have nuclear weapons. Its border with Afghanistan extends over one thousand miles and is the likely hideout of Osama bin Laden. It has been under military dictatorship for thirty-three of its fiftyyear existence. Yet it is the linchpin in the United States’ war on terror, receiving over $10 billion of American aid since 2001 and purchasing more than $5 billion of U.S. weaponry in 2006 alone.

    These days, relations between the two countries are never less than tense. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf reported that U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage threatened to “bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age” if it did not commit fully to the alliance in the wake of 9/11. Presidential hopeful Barack  …