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

  • ‘Operation Enduring Disaster’

    November 16, 2008

    ‘Operation Enduring Disaster’ by Tariq Ali for TomDispatch, November 16, 2008

    Afghanistan has been almost continuously at war for 30 years, longer than both World Wars and the American war in Vietnam combined. Each occupation of the country has mimicked its predecessor. A tiny interval between wars saw the imposition of a malignant social order, the Taliban, with the help of the Pakistani military and the late Benazir Bhutto, the prime minister who approved the Taliban takeover in Kabul.

    Over the last two years, the U.S./NATO occupation of that country has run into serious military problems. Given a severe global economic crisis and the election of a new American president—a man separated in style, intellect, and temperament from his predecessor–the possibility of a serious discussion about an exit strategy from the Afghan disaster hovers on the horizon. The  …

  • 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.

  • ‘Musharraf was rambling and impervious to tormented cries from his people’

    August 18, 2008

    ‘Musharraf…’ by Tariq Ali for The Independent, August 19, 2008

    General Pervez Musharraf acted swiftly and ruthlessly when he seized power to become Pakistan’s fourth military dictator in October 1999. He proclaimed himself Chief Executive of Pakistan. When he lost the confidence of two key board members—the United States and the Pakistan Army—majority shareholders of Pakistan plc, he realised his time had come. After a rambling, incoherent address to the nation, replete with the most puerile self-justifications, he resigned. He should have done so when his term expired, but afflicted with the power disease, his mind remained impenetrable to the tormented cries from below.

    We can only speculate whether he would have lasted nine years had it not been for 9/11 and the “war on terror”. A previous dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-88), had similarly become a vital cog  …