Tariq Ali interviews John Lennon on revolution and politics

In this fascinating interview conducted for Red Mole, Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn interview John Lennon at his home, discussing Lennon’s political beliefs and ideological attitude. Tariq Ali remembered their meeting for the Guardian, 30 years after Lennon’s assassination, this week in 1980.

The day after the interview he rang me and said he had enjoyed it so much that he’d written a song for the movement, which he then proceeded to sing down the line: Power to the People. The events in Derry on Bloody Sunday angered him greatly and he subsequently suggested that he wished to march on the next Troops Out demonstration on Ireland, and did so, together with Yoko Ono, wearing Red Mole T-shirts and holding the paper high. Its headline was: “For the IRA, Against British Imperialism”.’

The full transcript of the interview can be  …

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L’Affair Milliband

The only function of the assault on the reputation of Ralph Miliband was to punish and discredit his son. This operation, masterminded theDaily Mail and its editor—a reptile courted assiduously in the past by Blair and Brown—has backfired sensationally. It was designed to discredit the son by hurling the ‘sins of the father’ on the head of his younger son. Instead, Edward Miliband’s spirited response united a majority of the country behind him and against the tabloid. Ralph, had he been alive, would have found the ensuing consensus extremely diverting.

The Tories and Lib-Dems made their distaste for the Mail clear, Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight held up old copies of the Mail with its pro-fascist headlines (‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ the best remembered), two former members of Thatcher’s cabinet defended Miliband pere with Michael Heseltine reminding citizens that it was  …

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A Question for Egypt

A Question for Egypt

Millions gathered in squares and streets

They wanted the end of the system

They wanted to topple Mubarik and his regime.

When the military men understood the resolve of the crowd

They took Mubarik away.

That was the first phase.

Then came the Brotherhood

Elected by many not of its number

They wanted to end the old regime for ever.

But the Brotherhood broke its promises,

Clung to the old system

Sent sewage down the tunnels of Gaza

Praised the man in the White House.

Did nothing at home

except torment Copt and women and Shia. Read more

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Decay and Ruin in Mrs. Thatcher’s England

This interview with Tariq Ali was conducted by Die Presse in Vienna and appears in German in the paper’s Sunday edition.

What is Mrs Thatcher’s legacy?

Her legacy is clearly visible in the state of Britain today. It is essentially a story of decay and ruin: A small, post-imperial vassal state dependent on nostalgia and, more importantly, the United States to keep itself afloat. On the economy the Thatcherite model (astonishingly, still being praised by blind politicians in denial) was effectively the deindustrialization of the country, the purchase of working-class votes by squandering the monies that accrued from North sea oil and laying the foundations for a financialised economic model that exploded with the Wall Street crash of 2008. We live in a world where it is convenient to personalize politics. Thatcher obviously pushed through the measures required by  …

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“Greek Democracy is in Tatters”

Tariq Ali interviewed by Kostas Pliakos for Counterpunch, November 15th, 2012

You have said that Europe is falling apart financially and that we should go back to the drachma. Do you insist on this view? This is a difficult dilemma; could the country survive without any similar moves in other European countries?

If Greece is to break free from the shackles of the Troika it will have no other option but to revert to its own currency. It won’t be worse than what is happening now. In fact it will be better because it will presage a return to reality and a break from total dependence on a currency over which the peripheral EU states have no control. A number of eastern European states who have preserved their own currency till now are better off than Greece, Spain, Ireland  …

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From the archive

  • ‘Particular viewpoint’

    September 9, 2007

    ‘Particular viewpoint’, and interview with Tariq Ali by Aoun Sahi for News on Sunday posted at Indus Asia Online, September 9, 2007

    The News on Sunday: How do you analyse the present political scenario in Pakistan ?

    Tariq Ali: We are caught into the rut of a political cycle, which has dominated the country since October 1958. We have had military coups followed by civilian governments. This is what has been going on in Pakistan for 50 years of our history. Now the question is: Why can’t we break through this. I think the one big chance Pakistan had of modernising itself and making a new start was at the time of the break-up of the country. It was a bloody and brutal trauma, especially for the population of the then East Pakistan .

    Pakistan had an opportunity to make a new start under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. People  …

  • A Review of The Clash of Fundamentalisms

    November 1, 2002

    The Clash of Fundamentalisms reviewed by Sara Powell for The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2002.

    There’s an old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover. With Tariq Ali’s latest offering, however, many people do. You can’t miss it: a picture of George Bush in Osama bin Laden’s beard and turban, against a blood red background. As we have taken it to conferences throughout the summer, the cover has sold a lot of books, and generated even more double takes. (The back cover shows Bin Laden in a Bush suit and tie behind a presidential podium.)

    But it’s the interior of a book that counts, and what is enclosed between Bush and Bin Laden is a treasure that both men—and you—should read. Written in response to the terror attack on the  …

  • ‘The ignoble Nobel’

    December 13, 2010

    ‘The ignoble Nobel’ by Tariq Ali for the Guardian, December 7, 2002

    On Tuesday, former US president Jimmy Carter will fly to Oslo and receive the Nobel Peace Prize from the unassuming bicycling monarch of Norway. Why him? Why now? And what is the real aim of the peace prize?

    When it was first established in 1900, the Nobel committee clearly thought it should be awarded to people who really did believe in peaceful solutions and non-violence. Accordingly, in 1901, the first brace of recipients were Jean Henry Dumont, the Swiss founder of the Red Cross, and Frédéric Passy, the French dreamer who founded the International League for a Permanent Peace. Similar recipients were sought and found over the next four years.

    A rearguard action must have been mounted soon after, because in 1906 the prize was awarded to  …