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

  • ‘Mystic River’

    November 13, 2005

    ‘Mystic River’, a review by Tariq Ali of Amartya Sen’s The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity for The Nation, November 17, 2005

    The sage of Bengal has pronounced. Pluralism, we are informed, has an ancient pedigree in Indian history. It is embedded in the oldest known texts of Hinduism and, like a river, has flowed through Indian history (including the Mughal period, when the country was under Muslim rule) till the arrival of the British in the eighteenth century. It is this cultural heritage, ignored and misinterpreted by colonialists and religious fanatics alike, that shapes Indian culture and goes a long way toward explaining the attachment of all social classes to modern democracy. The argumentative tradition “has helped to make heterodoxy the natural state of affairs in India,” exerting a profound influence on the country’s  …

  • A New York Times review of Bush in Babylon

    January 25, 2004

    Bush in Babylon reviewed by Serge Schmemann for The New York Times Book Review, January 25, 2004

    “An often compelling insider’s perspective … with some valuable insights into the sensitivities that explain why the occupying coalition in Iraq is not being treated as a savior.”

    It is difficult to believe that George W. Bush has been in the White House for only three years. It seems ages now that we have been living in a new world, in which his administration is closely identified with new passions, new fears, new enemies. Sept. 11, of course, is the dominant reason; it has effectively divided our life into a ”before” and an ”after,” pushing the 20th century with its hot and cold wars, its thickets of nuclear missiles and its arguments into a foggy past. George H. W.  …