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

  • Tariq Ali on Imperialism, the Arab Spring, and the crisis

    March 23, 2012

    David Barsamian interviewed Tariq Ali in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on October 26, 2011 for the International Socialist Review.

    The Revolts in the Arab Middle East, beginning in Tunisia in December of 2010, seemingly took the world by surprise. But before we talk about what’s happened in the last year, set the historical context of the post-colonial Arab states.

    Essentially what happened in the Arab world after the Second World War was that the weakening of the British and French empires made it very difficult for them to exercise any real control. So it was only a question of time. Saudi Arabia had already been sorted out during the Second World War itself, when Roosevelt and the American government took charge of the kingdom without a word of thank you to the British. Saudi Arabia was then safe with  …

  • 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.

  • ‘Thinking of Edward Said’

    December 24, 2007

    ‘Thinking of Edward Said’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, December 24, 2007

    I think of Edward Said often, especially, but not only, when I read of the sordid deals in which the PLO is engaged with Israel and its US backers. I miss Edward’s impetuosity and righteous indignation. He would have had no truck with the shrivelled little Bantustans that the PLO wants to accept and would have morally destroyed the apologists for such a scheme or those intellectual fellow-travellers who think that defending the idea of a secular Palestine means remaining silent on the US-EU embargo on Hamas and who, exhausted by years of struggle and the receipt of handsome cheques from some corrupt NGO, are yearning for an accommodation with the enemy on almost any terms.

    Already in his last writings Edward Said had supported the  …

  • 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.

  • Lennonisms

    February 2, 2010

    Tariq Ali on John Lennon’s politics and Power to the People, for The Guardian, February 2, 2010

    John Lennon’s power for the people … Whether or not Lennon did regret his associations with the radical left, I still remember his beliefs—and his voice—fondly.

    Maurice Hindle’s comments raise some interesting questions regarding John Lennon’s politics. For the record, it might be useful to point out that it was Lennon who rang and wanted a conversation, a year after the 1969 exchange on the Beatle’s album Revolution in the “ultra-left” Black Dwarf. We met a number of times before the interview that Robin Blackburn and I conducted for the even more “ultra-left” Red Mole.

    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  …