On October 7th 2001, US-led forces invaded Afghanistan, marking the start of George Bush and Tony Blair’s “War on Terror.” Six years on, where have the policies of Bush and Blair left us? Bringing together some of the finest contemporary writers, this wide-ranging anthology, from reportage and “faction” to fiction, explores the impact of this "long war” throughout the world, from Palestine to Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the curtailment of civil liberties and manipulation of public opinion.
Published in conjunction with Stop the War coalition and United for Peace and Justice, War With No End provides an urgent, necessary reflection on the causes and consequences of the ideological War on Terror.
It has become popular today to say that we live in an era of what Benjamin Barber has labelled "Jihad vs. McWorld." The globalising powers of capitalism ("McWorld") are confronted with or resisted by the forces that Barber labels "Jihad" — the variety of tribal particularisms and "narrowly conceived faiths" opposed to the homogenising force of capital. Even those with a critical view of the growth of American empire and the expansion of what is erroneously termed the global market usually subscribe to this interpretation. In fact it is the critics who often argue that we need a better understanding of these local forms of resistance against the "universal" force of the market.
The terms of this debate are quite misleading. We live in an age, to adapt Barber’s nomenclature, of "McJihad." It is an age in which the mechanisms of what we call capitalism appear to operate, in certain critical instances, only by adopting the social force and moral authority of conservative Islamic movements. It may be true that we need a better understanding of the local forces that oppose the globalisation of capital; but, more than this, we need a better understanding of the so-called global forces of capital.
This essay is excerpted from Sohail Daulatzai's Fifty Years of The Battle of Algiers: Past as Prologue, published by the University of Minnesota Press. A new 4K restoration of The Battle of Algiers is currently touring theaters across the United States.
Though it is both troubling and telling, the screening of the film by the Pentagon in the aftermath of 9/11 and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is only the latest chapter in the afterlife of The Battle of Algiers. In many ways, the film is a battleground and a microcosm of the enduring struggles between the West and the Rest, whiteness and its others. But in a post- 9/11 moment, it’s hard to ignore the ways in which the centrality and omnipresence of the figure of the Muslim and the “War on Terror” have not only coded and shaped every aspect of social life but have also sought to undermine the power and politics of The Battle of Algiers.
"John Berger...is one of the world’s most vital corresponders" - Ali Smith
As leading radical writer on art John Berger celebrates his 90th birthday this week, he brings a lifetime's engagement with the ideas, artists, and thinkers that have shaped his thinking: Walter Benjamin, Rosa Luxemburg and Bertolt Brecht among them.
To celebrate this milestone we have 40% off all his books until November 9th. See also: our John Berger giveaway competition (with Zed Books and Penguin books) and John Berger at 90: The Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop.
Here we publish the text of a speech given by Ali Smith last year at the British Library, at an event to launch Portraits: John Berger on Art, in honour of his contribution to art and politics.