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.
“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.”