On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Coversation

Published by Haymarket Books, 2011

In working together on two challenging new documentaries—South of the Border and the forthcoming 13-part, 13-hour Untold History of the United States series for Showtime—filmmaker Oliver Stone engaged with author and filmmaker Tariq Ali in a probing, hard-hitting conversation on the politics of history. Their dialogue brings to light a number of forgotten—or deliberately buried—episodes of American history, from the U.S. intervention against the Russian Revolution, to the dynamic radicalism of the Wobblies, how Henry Wallace’s nomination for the vice-presidency was deliberately thwarted by Democratic Party machine insiders, to the ongoing close connections between various U.S. presidents and the Saudi royal family. For Stone and Ali—two of our most insightful observers on history and popular culture—no topic is sacred, no orthodoxy goes unchallenged.

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From the archive

  • ‘Ravi Shankar’s music was a world apart from the hippy culture that embraced it’

    December 13, 2012

    ‘Ravi Shankar’s music was a world apart from the hippy culture that embraced it’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, December 12, 2012

    Ravi Shankar was a virtuoso sitar player long before he became a cult for a drug-fuelled hippy generation that found the exquisite music he plucked from the strings a perfect accompaniment to the consumption of marijuana and LSD. Had technology been what it is now, plugged ears would have been listening to him all the way from London to Kathmandu.

    The Beatles, who flirted with Indian mysticism for a while (provoking some delicious satire from Private Eye, which called the Maharishi “Veririchi Lotsamoney Yogi Bear”), became seriously fascinated by the sitar and George Harrison took lessons in Indian classical music. The results were limited, Norwegian Wood probably ahead of the others. Not to be left behind, Brian  …

  • 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.

  • ‘Fight the power’

    April 23, 2005

    ‘Fight the power’ b y Tariq Ali for The Guardian, April 23, 2005

    It is as difficult to define or classify Islamic cinema as it would be a Christian, Jewish or Buddhist one. The language of cinema has always been universal. Interpretations vary. Censors had different priorities: in 1950s Hollywood a married couple could not share a double bed and had to be clothed. In South Asia, the censor’s scissors clipped out kisses from western films. The birth of commercial and art movies did not remain confined in the west for too long.

    The Lumière brothers first exhibited moving pictures in Paris in 1896. A year later there was a private showing at the Yildiz palace in Istanbul. The viewers consisted of the Ottoman Sultan/Caliph – the temporal and spiritual leader of Sunni Islam – and a few  …

  • 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.

  • Entrevista a Tariq Alí para ‘El Viejo Topo’

    April 2, 2008

    An interview with Tariq Ali by Joan Benach and López Arnal for El viejo topo, April 2008

    Tariq Alí es un conocido intelectual, escritor, historiador, cineasta y activista paquistaní, autor de libros de historia y política así como de varias novelas. Alí escribe habitualmente para revistas y periódicos como The Guardian, Monthly Review, o Z Magazine y es editor y asiduo colaborador de sinpermiso y New Left Review.

    Entre sus libros más recientes cabe citar: El choque de los fundamentalismos: cruzadas, yihads y modernidad (Alianza editorial, 2004), Bush en Babilonia: la recolonización de Iraq (Alianza editorial, 2005), Años de lucha en la calle. Una autobiografía de los sesenta (Foca, 2007) y Piratas del caribe. El eje de la esperanza (Foca, 2008). Durante su reciente visita a Barcelona a principios de abril, en compañía del periodista y escritor Richard  …