In his article for Counterpunch, oh-so-aptly titled "Red Hot France; Tepid Britian," Tariq Ali praises the French for taking to the streets in protest again Sarkozy's pension reforms while lamenting the British aversion to organized mass demonstration in the face of the harshest cuts in 60 years—set to hit the poorest hardest.
The French—students and workers, men and women, citizens all—are out on the streets again. A rise in the pension age? Impossible. The barricades are up, oil supplies running out, trains and planes on a skeleton schedule and the protests are still escalating. More than three million people a week ago. Hundreds of thousands out this week, a million yesterday, and more expected this weekend. And what a joyous sight: school students marching in defense of old people's rights. Were there a Michelin Great Protest guide, France would still be top with three stars, with Greece a close second with two stars.
What a contrast with the miserable, measly actions being planned by the lily-livered English trade unions. There is growing anger and bitterness here too, but it is being recuperated by a petrified bureaucracy. A ritual protest has been planned, largely to demonstrate that they are doing something. But is this something better than nothing?
As protests spread in France over the planned increase to the pension age, Tariq Ali asks "Why can't we protest against cuts like the French?"
Now up at Huffington Post is Christian Avard's interview with Tariq Ali about his new book, The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad.
Is president Barack Obama the change America has been waiting for or is he another corporate Democrat representing elite interests? According to Tariq Ali, very little has chanced between Obama and former president George W. Bush. In his latest book The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad, Ali argues that Obama is carrying on the reckless policies of the Bush regime. If Obama continues down this path, the Democratic Party not only face the prospect of the House & Senate in 2010 but also the presidency in 2012. This should be a cause for concern.
Visit Huffington Post to read the interview.
An extended version of the interview is available at pulsemedia.org.
To coincide with his event in Melbourne to launch The Obama Syndrome, Tariq Ali has written an article for The Age in which he lays out just how Obama's foreign policy "mirrors the ugliness of the Bush years." In an effort to match the brilliance of Verso's cover for The Obama Syndrome, The Age accompanied Ali's article with this image by Matt Davidson—not bad at all.
In his review of Tariq Ali's The Obama Syndrome for The National, Scott McLemee hits the nail on the head straight off where the book's title is concerned:
The election of Barack Hussein Obama felt like the triumph of cosmopolitan possibility over rugged provincialism ... there was a spark of intelligence in the new president's eyes, where his predecessor had never shown more than a glint of dim cunning. World opinion was festive, for a while [...]
The very title of Tariq Ali's new book treats all of this as a kind of mental disorder—a "syndrome" to be treated, if not cured, by a strong reminder of political realities. Obama is "an extremely intelligent human being", he writes, but "not a progressive leader by any stretch of the imagination. Wishing that he were is fine but does not bring about the required transformation ... To talk of betrayal is foolish, for nothing has been betrayed but one's own illusions."