Tariq Ali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Varlaam (talk | contribs) at 21:07, 24 October 2007 (→‎Career: Link to Ali Bhutto). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali (Urdu: طارق علی) (born October 21, 1943) is a British-Pakistani historian, novelist, filmmaker, political campaigner, and commentator.[1][2] He is a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review, and regularly contributes to The Guardian, Counterpunch, and the London Review of Books,

He is the author of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope (2006), Conversations with Edward Said (2005), Bush in Babylon (2003), and Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002).


Ali, the eldest of three children, was born and raised in Lahore, British India, now Pakistan. He is the son of journalist Mazhar Ali Khan and activist mother Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan (daughter of Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan who led the Unionist Muslim League and later Chief Minister of the Punjab in 1937).

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.[3] 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. Drawn into revolutionary socialist politics through his involvement with The Black Dwarf newspaper, he 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 February 1974 UK general election and was co-author of Trotsky for Beginners, a cartoon book. In 1981, the IMG dissolved when its members entered the Labour Party: the IMG was promptly proscribed. Ali then abandoned activism in the revolutionary left and supported Tony Benn in his bid to become deputy leader of the Labour Party that year.

In 1990, he published the satire Redemption, on the inability of the Trotskyists to handle the downfall of the Eastern bloc. The book contains parodies of many well-known figures in the Trotskyist movement.

His book Bush in Babylon criticizes the 2003 invasion of Iraq by American president George W. Bush. This book has a unique style, using poetry and critical essays in portraying the war in Iraq as a failure. An atheist who grew up around Muslims, Ali believes that the new Iraqi government will fail.

His previous book, Clash of Fundamentalisms, puts the events of the September 11 attacks in historical perspective, covering the history of Islam from its foundations.

Ali has been a critic of modern neoliberal economics and was present at the 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil where he was one of nineteen to sign the Porto Alegre Manifesto.

He was also the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' song "Street Fighting Man", recorded in 1968 [1].

He currently lives in Highgate, London with his partner Susan Watkins, Editor of the New Left Review. He has three children: Natasha, Chengiz, and Aisha.

Tariq Ali's The Leopard and The Fox, first written as a BBC screenplay in 1985, is about the last days of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Never previously produced because of a censorship controversy, it is finally to be adapted and staged as a play by Alter Ego Productions in mid October 2007. [2]


  1. ^ Tariq Ali Biography, Contemporary Writers, accessed October 31 2006
  2. ^ "As 250 Killed in Clashes Near Afghan Border, British-Pakistani Author Tariq Ali on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Ongoing U.S. Role in Regional Turmoil". Democracy Now!. 2007-10-10. Retrieved on 2007-10-11.
  3. ^ "Tariq Ali profile". BBC Four Documentary article. Retrieved 2007-04-26.

Bibliography (partial)

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope (2006)
  • The Leopard and the Fox (2006)
  • A Sultan in Palermo (2005)
  • Conversations with Edward Said (2005)
  • Rough Music (2005)
  • Speaking of Empire and Resistance: Conversations with Tariq Ali (2005)
  • Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties (2005)
  • Bush in Babylon (2003)
  • Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002)
  • Masters of the Universe: NATO's Balkan Crusade (2000)
  • The Stone Woman (2000)
  • The Book of Saladin (1998)
  • Fear of Mirrors (1998)
  • 1968: Marching in the Streets (1998)
  • Ugly Rumours (1998)
  • Necklaces (1992)
  • Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (1992)
  • Can Pakistan Survive?: The Death of a State (1991)
  • Redemption (1990)
  • Moscow Gold (book) (1990)
  • Iranian Nights (1989)
  • Revolution from Above: Soviet Union Now (1988)
  • Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties (1987)
  • The Nehrus and the Gandhis: An Indian Dynasty (1985)
  • The Stalinist Legacy: Its Impact on 20th-Century World Politics (1984)
  • Who's Afraid of Margaret Thatcher?: In Praise of Socialism (1984)
  • Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
  • Chile, Lessons of the Coup: Which Way to Workers Power (1978)
  • 1968 and After: Inside the Revolution (1978)
  • Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power (1970)

External links