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

  • Portland Oregonian reviews Night of the Golden Butterfly

    June 26, 2010

    Night of the Golden Butterfly reviewed by Lydia Beyoud for the Portland Oregonian, June 26, 2010

    Sicily, Spain, Istanbul, Jerusalem. For over a quarter-century, Tariq Ali has been transporting readers to Muslim lands through the historical novels of his Islam Quintet. In them, the staunchly leftist British-Pakistani filmmaker and historian marries tales of art, political intrigue, and sensuality with his particular blend of invective, highbrow intellectualism and bawdy humor.

    Though Ali’s writing is always a commentary upon the present day, the Quintet’s previous four novels are set in a different historical era when the bright lights of cosmopolitan and intellectually curious Islamic civilizations still shone but had begun to fade. In each, the fortunes of the West are inextricably bound to those of the waning East, a narrative theme commenting upon the preposterousness of  …

  • 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.

  • Tariq Ali: ‘The Americas and Us’ at the Salone dell’Editoria Sociale

    September 24, 2012

    Tariq Ali will be taking part in the fourth edition of the Salone dell’Editoria Sociale in Rome between the 18th-21st of October 2012. The new edition is entitled ‘The Americas and Us’ . Taking place only a few days before the American presidential elections, it serves as an occasion to reflect on what is happening in the country, but especially in the “Americas” of the South and the many cultural and economic contradictions and social policies that animate them.

    The event will also focus on the particular relationship between Italy and the USA.

    For more information visit the Salone dell’Editoria Sociale website

    (Website in Italian)

  • 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.

  • Preface – Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

    August 7, 2009

    Preface to The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

    What these essays share in common is a refusal to downgrade politics and history in favour of academic ‘discourse’, the general trend of which has, over the last three decades, been mind-numbing. Aijaz Ahmed, in particular, has written sharply on the impact of postmodernism on discussions of literature and culture as a whole. The same three decades also produced a single and dominant narrative in the form of global capitalism, policed by the economic, political and ideological instruments of the Washington Consensus. This ensemble of relations, in which campus postmodernism played a significant part by encouraging blindness, was severely disrupted by the Wall Street crash of 2008. The events of 9/11 and the subsequent occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq had already made it difficult to completely ignore history. The  …