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

  • An Open Letter to Fausto Bertinotti on Afghanistan

    July 8, 2006

    An Open Letter to Fausto Bertinotti on Afghanistan by Tariq Ali, July 8, 2006

    Dear Fausto:

    I was surprised to hear that Rifondazione was preparing to vote in favour of keeping Italian troops in Afghanistan, for ‘humanitarian reasons’. I want to try and convince you that this would be a serious error, just as I argued in the last century with those on the left, who supported the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

    Big powers or surrogate states acting on their behalf have no right to occupy countries. The two big projects of the global neo-liberal order have been (1) to insist that the new capitalism is the ‘sole’ way of organising humankind from now till the planet implodes and (2) to disregard national sovereignty as a key to international relations in the name of ‘human rights’.

    A few weeks after  …

  • ‘Throttling Iraq’

    September 1, 2000

    ‘Throttling Iraq’ by Tariq Ali for New Left Review, Sep-Oct 2000

    On May 23rd of this year the British Defence Minister Geoff Hoon was questioned in the House of Commons about the pattern of Anglo-American attacks on Iraq. He replied:

    Between 1 August 1992 and 16 December 1998, UK aircraft released 2.5 tons of ordnance over the southern no-fly zone at an average of 0.025 tons per month. We do not have sufficiently detailed records of coalition activity in this period to estimate what percentage of the coalition total this represents. Between 20 December 1998 and 17 May 2000, UK aircraft released 78 tons of ordnance over the southern no-fly zone, at an average of 5 tons per month. This figure represents approximately 20 per cent of the coalition total for this period.

    In other words, over the  …

  • How Vladimir Putin became evil

    March 31, 2014

    Once again, it seems that Russia and the United States are finding it difficult to agree on how to deal with their respective ambitions. This clash of interests is highlighted by the Ukrainian crisis. The provocation in this particular instance, as the leaked recording of a US diplomat, Victoria Nuland, saying “Fuck the EU” suggests, came from Washington.

    Several decades ago, at the height of the cold war, George Kennan, a leading American foreign policy strategist invited to give the Reith Lectures, informed his audience: “There is, let me assure you, nothing in nature more egocentric than embattled democracy. It soon becomes the victim of its own propaganda. It then tends to attach to its own cause an absolute value which distorts its own vision … Its enemy becomes the embodiment of all evil. Its own side is the centre  …