Tariq Ali

British political activist, writer, and historian (born 1943)

Tariq Ali (born 21 October 1943) is a British-Pakistani Marxist, author, and filmmaker.

We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane


  • The government of the US has no moral authority to elect itself as the judge over human rights in Cuba, where there has not been a single case of disappearance, torture or extra-judicial execution since 1959, and where despite the economic blockade, there are levels of health, education and culture that are internationally recognised.
  • We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane.
    • Commentary essay, "For one day only, I'm a Lib Dem: We must take the politics of the anti-war front into the electoral arena," The Guardian, March 26, 2005.
  • For all their incoherence and senseless rage, their message is attractive to those layers of the population who yearn for some order in their lives. If the fanatics promise to feed them and educate their children they are prepared to forgo the delights of CNN and BBC World.

  • Let's discuss the world. To answer the question, "is globalisation possible without God", the simple answer is "yes". Globalisation is after all itself a code word, a mask, for not using the C-word, capitalism. Globalisation is basically the latest phase of expanding capitalism. This not something which is neutral, this is a capitalism that has its rules: it has its economic rules, it has its political rules, it has its cultural rules and it has its military rules. It is a system. At the heart of this system is the United States of America, the world's only existing empire today. The first time in the history of humanity that you have just had a single empire, so dominant, whose military budget is higher than the military budgets of the next 15 countries put together, and whose military-industrial complex itself is the eleventh largest economic entity in the world. This is the reality we live in, and this is the reality which confronts us in different ways.
    • 10th Globalisation lecture, VRPO. [2]

The Clash of FundamentalismEdit

  • Tragedies are always discussed as if they took place in a void, but actually each tragedy is conditioned by its setting, local and global. The events of 11 September 2001 are not exception.
  • Even if you reject everything, it is always better to know what it is you are rejecting.

The Extreme Centre: A Warning (2015)Edit

The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution (2017)Edit

  • History handed Lenin a gift in the shapre of the First World War. He grasped it with both hands and used it to craft an insurrection. It is revolutions that make history happen. Liberals of every sort, with rare exceptions, are found on the other side.
    • Introduction, p. 3
  • Revolutionary periods invariably encompass a huge fluctuation of political consciousness that can never be registered accurately by any referendum.
    • Introduction, p. 7
  • Fractures in the state, divisions in the ruling class and indecision on the part of the intermediate classes pave the way for dual power, which, in Russia, led to the creation of new institutions and later, in China, Vietnam, and Cuba, rested on revolutionary armies with varying class compositions that were locked in battle against their respective state machines.
    • Introduction, p.8
  • Why is insurrection an art? Because an armed uprising against he capitalist state or occupying imperialist armies has to be choreographed with precision, especially during its final stages.
    • Introduction, p. 9
  • Time, then, to bury Lenin's body and revive some of his ideas. Future generations in Russia might realise that Lenin still has a bit more to offer than Prince Stolypin.
    • Introduction
  • The assassination of the Austrian crown prince by a Serbian nationalist was the trigger for the conflict, not the underlying cause, comparable in modern times to the explosions of 9/11 that provided the pretext for the war on Iraq, the destruction of Libya, Syria and the Yemen and the total destabilisation of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The post 9/11 wars have lasted longer than the First and Second Wars put together.
    • pp. 133
  • Had the United States remained neutral, as a majority of the country wanted, a ceasefire and truce between the British and German empires would have been the only realistic solution.
    • pp. 142
  • In State and Revolution. the unfinished theoretical text interrupted by the revolution, Lenin abandoned all references to the divide between Russia and Western Europe that had littered previous writings.
    • pp.175
  • Not even the largest party can 'make' or 'steal' a revolution, but the success of such an endeavor depends on the ability, lucidity, energy and single-mindedness of a revolutionary party when confronted with a prerevolutionary crisis.
    • pp. 179

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