9781784782627-max_221

The Extreme Centre: A Warning

Britain’s leading radical delivers an eviscerating attack on the indistinguishable political elite of the UK.

What is the point of elections? The result is always the same: a victory for the Extreme Centre. Since 1989, politics has become a contest to see who can best serve the needs of the market, a competition now fringed by unstable populist movements. The same catastrophe has taken place in the US, Britain, Continental Europe and Australia.
 
In this urgent and wide-ranging case for the prosecution, Tariq Ali looks at the people and the events that have informed this moment of political suicide: corruption in Westminster; the failures of the EU and NATO; the soft power of the American Empire that dominates the world stage uncontested.
 
Despite this inertia, Ali goes in search of alternative futures, finding promise in the Bolivarian revolutions of Latin America and at the edges of Europe. Emerging parties in Scotland, Greece and Spain, formed out of the 2008 crisis, are offering new hope for democracy. 

Reviews

  • “Ali remains an outlier and intellectual bomb-thrower; an urbane, Oxford-educated polemicist.”
  • “It will not open doors at the White House because it makes for uncomfortable reading ... a wide-ranging and powerfully argued critique, that gives pause for thought.”
  • “Tariq Ali has not lost the passion and vim which made him a symbol of the spirit of ‘68 ... has not seen fit to join forces with the terminally cynical, or set up a graven god that can be accused of failing ... Ali has spent much of his life documenting America as the arsenal of counter-revolution.”
  • “For years, left-wing critics have framed the debate. Angela Davis, Ruthie Gilmore, Marc Mauer and, more recently, Michelle Alexander gave us the terminology to speak about all this: the prison industrial complex, abolition, non-reform reform and The New Jim Crow…. [Ali’s theorized term “extreme center”] provides us with a new language to describe our problems…[O]ne of the key tasks of the extreme center is to take center stage, to ensure that no alternative seems either reasonable or possible.”

Blog

  • Brexit and the European Union: Essential Reading

    Since David Cameron announced a referendum on whether Britain stays in the European Union, the debate surrounding Britain's role in Europe has triggered a flurry of conjecture regarding the likely outcome of the referendum and the consequences of a vote to leave the EU.

    Gordon Brown is the latest to come out in support of the campaign to stay in the EU, claiming it is "not British to retreat to Europe's sidelines" and arguing that Britain needed to be in the EU to shape the continent's responses to terrorism, immigration and climate change. The Economist published a story this week outlining security concerns and questioning whether Britain is safer in the European Union, or outside of it.

    Whilst the narrative of opposition to the EU is largely dominated by the right, we've put together an essential reading list of books that critically engage with the debate from a perspective of internationalism rather than the xenophobia that is so common amongst EU critics. Additional books on the list analyse the refugee crisis, the Syrian civil war, the Greek debt crisis, and the nature of the contemporary British far right. 


    Also new on the Verso blog is an exclusive extract from John Gillingham's The EU: An Obituary, in which he comments on Brexit, the EU’s democratic failures and offers cogent predictions of the European Union’s decline.


    (image from The Economist)

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  • The Courage of Nuit Debout

    This letter was first published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.


    (via Wikimedia Commons)

    As a rule, crises open up the terrain of the possible, and the crisis that began in 2007 with the collapse of the subprime market is no exception. The political forces that upheld the old world are now decomposing — first among them social democracy, which has since 2012 entered a new phase in its long process of accommodation to the existing order. As against these forces, the National Front has diverted part of the anger in society to its own advantage. It has adopted the pretense of an anti-systemic stance, even though it challenges nothing about this system, and least of all the law of the market. 

    Such is the context in which Nuit Debout was born — a movement that now marks the first month of its existence. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the opposition to neoliberalism has taken various different forms: the “Bolivarian” governments in Latin America in the 2000s, the “Arab Spring,” Occupy Wall Street, the Spanish indignados, Syriza in Greece, the Corbyn and Sanders campaigns in Britain and the USA…. Future historians delving into our era will doubtless say that it was particularly rich in social and political movements.

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  • 50% off for May Day!


    May 1st marks International Workers' Day, a festival of working-class self-organization stretching back over 130 years. It was originally inaugurated to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, where a bomb thrown during a worker's strike kicked off a period of anti-labor hysteria.

    May Day 2015 in London saw a rally of trade unions, migrant workers & London’s many communities and other organisations finishing in Trafalgar Square. 2016 demos include speakers such as Yannis Gourtsoyhannia (from the Junior Doctor’s dispute), Christine Blower (the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, to talk about the government’s attacks on education), Frances O'Grady (TUC General Secretary), Jeremy Corbyn, and John McDonnell. See the full details here!

    In New York there's a rally and march in Union Square on Sunday starting at noon, in Los Angeles there's a May Day March and Bernie Sanders rally on Saturday starting at 3pm, and in Oakland there's a rally at the Fruitvale Bart starting at noon. See an incomplete list of May Day activities here.

    This May Day we bring you the following reading list, AND we're doing a FLASH SALE with 50% off all of them! Don't forget - we have free worldwide shipping and free bundled ebooks where available!

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Other books by Tariq Ali

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