Today, forms of obscurantism—both “sophisticated” and less so—are seeing a revival as important tools of the governing order. In his Foreword to Hubert Krivine's The Earth, Tariq Ali urges us to see beyond a facile opposition between religious dogmatism and relativism, and instead look to the rich development of science in the Islamic world.
Pages from Tadhkira fi ‘ilm al-hay'a (Memoir on Astronomy) by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, dating from 1389.
The below is an extract from Tariq Ali's introduction to Class War Conservatism: And Other Essays, by Ralph Miliband - currently 50% off as part of our UK Election reading list (ends today). See the full reading list and sale here.
Ed and David Miliband play backgammon with their father, Ralph, in 1976. Photo credit: the Guardian.
Economically, the country is far from the visions of recovery and renewal promised by the Coalition and its media retinue. If anything, conditions are getting worse for the majority, while markets remain volatile. Underlying this trend is a continuing engrossment of wealth and privileges enjoyed by the rich. As pointed out by countless observers, while the earnings of the average employed person are either static or declining, the salaries and bonus options of the 1 per cent continue to rise. In this extract from The Extreme Centre, Tariq Ali critiques the politics of Thatcher and Blair.
The origins of the new politics are firmly rooted in Thatcher’s response to Britain’s decline. Unemployment was ruthlessly held above three million for ten years, enabling the Conservatives to push though a programme of social re-engineering – deploying state resources to crush the unions and initiate the privatization of public utilities and housing, in hopes of creating a nation of ‘property-owners and shareholders’ – that transformed the country.1 The defence industry was ring-fenced while the rest of manufacturing was handed a collective death warrant. The defeat of the miners’ strike obliterated any possibility of resistance by the trade-union leaders and the rank and file. The triumph of finance capital was now complete. The decline of large parts of the country continued apace, and in turn, the country became increasingly restive.