More on Tariq Ali:
While studying at the Punjab University, he organized demonstrations against Pakistan’s military dictatorship. Ali’s uncle was chief of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence. His parents sent him to England to study at Exeter College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He was elected President of the Oxford Union debating club.
His public profile began to grow during the Vietnam War, when he engaged in debates against the war with such figures as Henry Kissinger and Michael Stewart. As time passed, Ali became increasingly critical of American and Israeli foreign policies, and emerged as a figurehead for critics of American foreign policy across the globe. He was also a vigorous opponent of American relations with Pakistan that tended to back military dictatorships over democracy.
Active in the New Left of the 1960s, he has long been associated with the, New Left Review. He was drawn into involvement with revolutionary socialist politics through his involvement with The Black Dwarf newspaper and joined a Trotskyist party, the International Marxist Group (IMG) in 1968. He was recruited to the leadership of the IMG and became a member of the International Executive Committee of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International.
During this period, he was an IMG candidate in Sheffield Attercliffe at the Feburary 1974 UK general election and was co-author of, Trotsky for Beginners. In 1981 the IMG dissolved when its members entered the Labor Party and was promptly proscribed. Ali then abandoned activism in the revolutionary left and supported Tony Benn in his bid to become deputy leader of the Labor Party that year.
In 1990, he published the satire Redemption, on the inability of the Trotskyists to handle the downfall of the Eastern bloc, which contains parodies of many well-known figures in the Trotskyist movement.
His book, Bush in Babylon, criticizes the WOT by President George W. Bush. The book portrays the war in Iraq as a failure. An atheist who grew up around Muslims, Ali believes that the new Iraqi government will fail.
He currently lives in London with his partner Susan Watkins, editor of the New Left Review. He has three children: Natasha, Chengiz and Aisha.
New Left Review
The Black Dwarf:
The Black Dwarf was a political and cultural newspaper published between May 1968 and 1972 by a collective of socialists in the United Kingdom. It is often identified with Tariq Ali who edited and published this newspaper until 1970, when the editorial board split between Leninist and non-Leninist currents.
The Leninists, including Ali and other members of the International Marxist Group, went on to find the Red Mole.
The Black Dwarf published a special edition in autumn 1968 devoted entirely to the Bolivian Diaries of Che Guevara, in a translation first published by Ramparts in the United States. Included is an introduction by Fidel Castro. This edition appears to be in response to a version of the diaries being published by “some publishers in league with those who murdered Che”.
The fuse often comes in ways that are unpredictable. The big fuse which stopped the Vietnam War was the inability of the United States to win that war -- the fact that it was suffering defeats on the battleground, and the body-bag factor. Sometimes when I'm arguing with hard-core fundamentalists, Islamic ones, I [ask] what threatened the Pentagon more: a few idiots throwing bombs on it, a building which can be repaired within two weeks? Well, I think that did not threaten anyone. It's just an act of stupidity, foolishness, politically. Compare that to the seventies when you had a quarter of a million GIs who had fought in the war -- veterans on their crutches, with their medals, marching outside the Pentagon and chanting that they wanted the Vietnamese to win. What affects them more? Obviously, the latter, because that shows that the core of that state apparatus is infected with ideas which challenge the empire. Ultimately, that has got to be the route.
I've been reading about this lately, that when the United States occupied the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century, a group of intellectuals led by Mark Twain, and Henry James, and William James, and Thomas Dewy, and the cream of the American intelligentsia, organized the Anti-Imperialist League. There was a massive gathering in Chicago in 1898 or '99, and within a year and a half, it had a quarter of a million members. So, that's necessary for educational purposes.
What is necessary for what you are asking is a political party, because if these movements, whether it's the Anti-Imperialist League or anything like it, are not reflected on the level of politics, then they will be ineffective, in my opinion. What is very noticeable is that this giant antiwar movement which erupted before the war in Iraq, which is unprecedented in world history, wasn't reflected on the level of politics. The anti- Vietnam War movement was. I remember vividly the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under William Fulbright putting pressure to get the truth, and a whole wave of politicians, Democratic politicians, challenging the official view. Since 9/11, it's been the silence of the lambs. They've given up, the Democrats, you feel. And sooner or later, if they can't do it, something will have to emerge in this country which does reflect the view of a sizable section of the people. Unless that happens, I think we're doomed. We have to find ways of doing that.