The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali (born 1943) is an author, filmmaker, and historian. He was born and grew up in Lahore, now part of Pakistan, into a communist family. While studying at the Punjab University, he organized demonstrations against Pakistan's military dictatorship. His wealthy parents sent him to England to study at Oxford, because they feared for his safety due to his connections to radical movements. There he quickly became a leader, being elected President of the Oxford Union.

As one of the "brown sahibs" left by the British Empire, Tariq Ali distinguished himself a spokesman for anti-imperialism. His extensive knowledge of history and his dedication to the ideals of the Enlightenment made him a popular figure in the radical circles of the 1960s and early 1970s.

His reputation 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 Israel foreign policies, and emerged as a figurehead for critics of American foreign policy across the globe. He was also incensed by American relations with Pakistan that tended to back military dictatorships over democracy.

He was one of the founders of the New Left of the 1960s and has long been associated with the New Left Review. Once himself a member and leader of a Trotskyist party, the International Marxist Group (IMG), and co-author of Trotsky for Beginners, in 1990 he wrote a bitter satire, Redemption, on the inability of the Trotskyists to handle the downfall of the Eastern bloc.

His book Bush in Babylon attacks the invasion of Iraq by American president George W. Bush. The book contains a unique style, using poetry, and critical essays in portraying the War in Iraq as a complete failure. An atheist who grew up around Muslims, Ali is skeptical that the new Iraqi government will be effective.

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

Tariq Ali is also a contributor to Counterpunch Magazine.

Partial Bibliography

  • A Sultan in Palermo (Verso Books, 2005) ISBN 1844670252
  • Speaking of Empire and Resistance: Conversations with Tariq Ali by Tariq Ali, David Barsamian (The New Press, 2005) ISBN 156584954X
  • Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties (Verso Books, New Ed. 2005) ISBN 1844670295
  • Bush in Babylon (Verso Books, 2003) ISBN 1859845835
  • Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (Verso Books, 2002) ISBN 1859846793
  • The Stone Woman (Verso Books, 2000) ISBN 1859847641
  • The Book of Saladin (Verso Books, 1998) ISBN 1859848346
  • Fear of Mirrors (Arcadia Books, 1998) ISBN 1900850109
  • Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (Verso Books, 1992) ISBN 0701139447
  • Can Pakistan Survive?: The Death of a State (Verso Books, 1991) ISBN 0860912604
  • Redemption (Chatto and Windus, 1990) ISBN 0701133945
  • Revolution from Above: Soviet Union Now (Hutchinson, 1988) ISBN 0091740223
  • Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties (HarperCollins, 1987) ISBN 000217779X
  • Nehrus and the Gandhis: An Indian Dynasty (Chatto and Windus, 1985) ISBN 0701139528
  • Who's Afraid of Margaret Thatcher?: In Praise of Socialism by Ken Livingstone, Tariq Ali (Verso Books, 1984) ISBN 0860918025
  • Trotsky for Beginners by Tariq Ali, Phil Evans (Writers' & Readers' Publishing Co-op, 1980) ISBN 090649527X
  • Chile, Lessons of the Coup: Which Way to Workers Power? (Red Books, 1978) ISBN 085612107X
  • Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power (Jonathan Cape, 1970) ISBN 0224618644

External links

Last updated: 08-24-2005 17:21:51