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Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties

One of the world's best-known radicals relives the early years of the protest movement.

In this new edition of his memoirs, Tariq Ali revisits his formative years as a young radical. It is a story that takes us from Paris and Prague to Hanoi and Bolivia, encountering along the way Malcolm X, Bertrand Russell, Marlon Brando, Henry Kissinger, and Mick Jagger.

Ali captures the mood and energy of those years as he tracks the growing significance of the nascent protest movement.

This edition includes a new introduction, as well as the famous interview conducted by Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1971.

Reviews

  • “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.”
  • “We need to remember the sixties, and Tariq Ali's book is valuable and well presented evidence of the time ... as Ali points out the transition from revolutionary to arch-conservative is nothing new ... we may frequently have been misguided, but nothing is sadder than a generation without a cause.”
  • “Has me rapt on the hearthrug, peering into the embers of memory ... the Memoir proposes that the overriding themes were the confrontation with US imperialism ... the efforts of a generation to shake off the shackles of social-democracy and conduct war on capitalism à l'outrance.”
  • Street Fighting Years is readable, informative and also inspirational ... the recollections of a person who has remained true to himself.”

Blog

  • Verso's Essential Labour Party Entryist Reading List

    If you believe the mainstream press, the spectre of Militant seems to be looming over the Labour Party once more. Tom Watson and a whole swathe of the Labour Right, not content with forcing their way into the dustbin of history with every botched job against Corbyn, are apparently turning into Britain's least organised historical reenactment society. Watson has confronted Corbyn with what he claims is proof of mass Trotskyist infiltration to the Labour Party—the news of which is probably most suprising to every Trotskyist in the country.

    But, what if you've joined Labour and want to find out more about this trendy new doctrine that's taking hundreds of thousands of young left activists by storm? Well never fear, Verso Books have you catered for with our new Labour Party Entryist Starter Pack! Below you'll find all the books you'll need to be the hip young thing in your local CLP meetings.


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  • Ten Questions for Tariq Ali

    The interview below was conducted via email by Selim Nadi as part of his research on theoretical and political exchanges between the French and German radical left during the era of decolonization, between 1945 and 1975.



    How did you politicize yourself? In particular, what was the process that made you such a leading figure in the anti-imperialist camp (especially during the Vietnam war)?

    It wasn’t exactly a self-politicization. I was born in Lahore, grew up in that city, went to school and university, and didn’t move to Britain until October 1963. My class locations were contradictory: the larger family were feudal, but my parents had broken loose on many levels and become members of the Indian Communist Party and later, after Partition, its weak Pakistani offshoot. In other words, I grew up in a communist milieu, and mixed, from a very young age, with the intellectuals, poets and journalists of the left, as well as peasant and trade union leaders who were always welcome in our house. My first recorded attendance of a meeting is when I was almost 6 years old. There was a large May Day meeting in Lahore in 1949, as the Eighth Route Army and other guerrilla detachments, triumphant against the Japanese occupiers and the corrupted and brutal nationalists of the KMT, were converging on Beijing. The main chant in Lahore was “Friends, we will take the Chinese Road.”

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  • Tariq Ali Against Trident—CND Rally, 27th February 2016

    Tariq Ali spoke at Britain's biggest anti-nuclear march in a generation yesterday alongside Jeremy Corbyn, Giles Fraser and party leaders at a rally organised by the CND. Thousands of protesters gathered in London, some travelling from as afar as Australia to protest against the renewal of Trident.

    "There is no practical, utilitarian or financial justification for Trident but we need it because it upgrades Britain's position in the world. I think it downgrades Britain's position in the world [...] If it really wants to upgrade its moral position in the world it needs to get rid of Trident," he said. 


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Other books by Tariq Ali