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Today we’re joined by internationally renowned writer and activist Tariq Ali. Tariq is visiting from London where he is editor of the New Left Review.
A writer and filmmaker, Tariq has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, including The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, The Obama Syndrome and On History. We talk specifically about several turning points in global history, the Occupy movement and US elections. .
- The think the First World War was crucial but it wasn’t the war itself; it was the consequences of that war. Here you had huge empires.
- The Russian revolution challenged capitalism frontally and its leaders said we want Europe to be with us, on our own we can’t do it. We need the Germans, we need a German revolution. That frightened the capitalist class globally.
- Woodrow Wilson decided that the time had come to intervene. 22 countries came to intervene.
- This intervention made it impossible for the early infant Soviet Union to achieve what it wanted to achieve.
- The Second World War was an effort by the German ruling class to get its share of the world market in countries.
- The US helped rebuild Japan and Germany. They helped build France and Britain with the Marshall Plan and that has never been done by a big imperial power before.
- They managed to get the Soviet Union to implode by having an arms race. The Russians fell into their trap and decided to go for the arms race; had they not history might have been different.
- I hope the Chinese do not fall into the same trap, threatened by Obama’s puny little bases in Australia.
- People, early settlers in the United States got land totally free and they took it and that created the belief in the American psyche of private property.
- The Soviet Union imploded because the people lost faith in the system.
- The entire elite in the United States and western Europe is wedded to the Washington consensus that emerged after the collapse of communism. The center piece of this consensus was a system which believed in market forces. I refer to it as market fundamentalism.
- We are confronting the extremism of the center and the result of this is that no alternatives exist within mainstream politics. The effect that this is having is hollowing out democracy itself.
- Occupy: What we need is for these movements to call an assembly nationally and discuss a charter of demands for progressive America–which need only be ten demands but something around which people can rally. I think it’s a movement that should be created bearing what the needs of ordinary people are.
- In order to understand the laws of motion of capital, you have to read Marx. It’s true capitalism has become much much more complex. Zombie capitalism, or fictitious capitalism, where money is used to make more money.
- It’s not money that’s creating productive goods.
- I had written a book on South American because I got very engaged in the Venezuela-Boliverian struggle and got to know Chavez very well.
- If Americans had access to Cuban medicine, the pharmaceutical companies would collapse, they would never let it happen.
Guest – Tariq Ali, writer, journalist and filmmaker, born in Lahore and educated at Oxford University. He writes regularly for a range of publications including The Guardian and the London Review of Books. He has written more than a dozen books, as well as scripts for both stage and screen.