Scots, undo this union of rogues. Independence is the only way to fulfil your potential

For the first time since 1707, Scotland has its sovereignty, honour and dignity within its grasp

Independence is the only way Scotland can realise its full political and cultural potential in the 21st century. This is not always the case when new states are born – the break-up of Yugoslavia is sometimes cited, and with good reason, to demonstrate the opposite. But Yugoslavia was wrecked by the IMF with disastrous consequences: ultra-nationalism, civil war and ethnic cleansings at home exacerbated by a German intervention to divide the country, followed by the Nato bombing. A better analogy for Scotland is Norway’s peaceful and collaborative secession from Sweden in 1905.

Scotland was tricked into the 1707 union with England, sold down the river by what Robert Burns called its “Parcel o’ Rogues”: What force or guile could not subdue, through  …

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How Vladimir Putin became evil

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  …

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Stuart Hall’s message to those who want change

It is the way our sympathy flows and recoils that really determines our lives. This opening sentence from Stuart Hall’s 1960 review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover belongs to DH Lawrence. The critic had unearthed it from deep inside the novel. It could serve as an epitaph for Stuart himself. His own sympathies and aversions played a huge part in determining his political makeup. It is not easy to sum up what he leaves behind in a few words. Soon, one hopes, that the conversation his colleague and friend, Bill Schwartz had been conducting with him over several years will be edited and published in book form.

He was, first and foremost, a political person. Politics mattered to him and enabled him to develop his skills as a mesmerising orator.

He was a 1956-er. The twin crises that erupted that year  …

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Pakistan’s future is tied to the Taliban

Twelve years ago, a few weeks into the occupation of Afghanistan, I suggested (in these pages) that the euphoria aroused by an easy conquest was misplaced. It would be a long war and one of its side effects would be to seriously destabilise Pakistan. Unfortunately, events have not contradicted the analysis. The spillover into Pakistan has been creating havoc for years. The view that this has nothing to do with Afghanistan is too shallow to deserve serious consideration.

It’s no secret that, since 9/11, successive governments –Musharraf, Zardari and now the Sharif brothers – have agreed to US drone attacks and been aware of covert CIA operations being carried out in Pakistan. Opinion polls, however, reveal that a large majority of Pakistani citizens are opposed to US policies. The capitulation of liberal secular parties to Washington left the field wide  …

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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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From the archive

  • ‘Bhutto’s Bloody Return’

    October 20, 2007

    ‘Bhutto’s Bloody Return’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, October 20, 2007

    The massacre in Karachi had been widely predicted. Benazir Bhutto herself has stated that she was aware of the dangers. The government pleaded with her to delay her return. Jihadi leaders, angered by her slavish support of US foreign policy, had publicly threatened to kill her. She survived but a few hundred people have been killed without reason.Her husband, who decided not to accompany her, has accused Pakistani intelligence of complicity in the attacks. Benazir Bhutto herself has preferred to attack the followers of a dead military dictator.

    Once it had become obvious that something was being planned, she would have been better advised to make a quiet return, but she insisted on a show of strength. The planning had been going on for over a month.  …

  • “Greek Democracy is in Tatters”

    November 27, 2012

    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  …

  • Bush in Babylon: The Recolinisation of Iraq

    January 1, 2003

    Published by Verso, 2003

    The bestselling history of the resistance in Iraq that vitalized the antiwar movement

    The assault and capture of Iraq—and the resistance it has provoked—will shape the politics of the twenty-first century. In Bush in Babylon, Tariq Ali provides a history of Iraqi resistance against empires old and new, and argues against the view that sees imperialist occupation as the only viable solution to bring about regime-change in corrupt and dictatorial states. Like the author’s previous work, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, this book presents a magnificent cultural history.

    Detailing the longstanding imperial ambitions of key figures in the Bush administration and how war profiteers close to Bush are cashing in, Bush in Babylon is unique in moving beyond the corporate looting by the US military government to offer the reader an expert and in-depth analysis of the  …