misssylviadrake (misssylviadrake) wrote,

Tariq Ali's Street Fighting Years

Dear friend and readers,

As I've already expended myself on a blog this morning and have a few postings I want to write before turning to my day's reading, this is a quick recommendation: Tariq Ali's Street Fighting Years.  Read it. The 2004 introduction alone makes it worth it.

Tariq Ali, from 2006, teaching in Imperial College, London

The key insight in the opening is what has been done since the 1960s is to make every job precarious, every single economic arrangement dependent on temporary circumstance. You make each basic need and support dependent on money ultimately coming from some institution which is corporate in structure. You develop a reserve of employees rendered docile by the permanent threat of unemployment. You render obsolete pension rights as a given to stand up in court after decades of an individual work. The reserve army exists at all levels, even the mangers near the top and also for some at the top. It's a structural brutality at the core of all arrangements. Marriage imitates this. And of course the re-distribution of wealth and opportunity and education through the tax codes and social agencies (say schools) supported by the tax system is simply unacceptable.

If you think of what has happened since the 1970s in many western "democracies" you will see this is the policy made pervasive everywhere.

The Occupy movement, the Arab springs, all the street protests over the last two years are a desperate attempt on the part of this 99% to try to change things, but they have arrayed against them a fearful lot of military power in ruthless police, an increase of lawlessness called law (you just re-rig the laws to permit the powerful authority to do as he pleases after defining the situation), as in strip searching an innocent person without a warrant, and calling peaceful demonstrations (say in Chicago coming up) support of terrorists.

In the introduction he honors several people, Edward Said, Paul Foot, Abdelrahman Munif. He talks of his concern for women and quotes thinkers but there is no woman among any of those cited. He talks about his years at Channel 4 (before Thatcherism) and how he writes for the New left Review to help support himself. He does originally come from a privileged group of Pakistani people. At the close of the book there are a couple of "open letters to John Lennon" exposing the naivete of this young man's stances.

More when I've read more.

Tags: 20th century, capitalism, occupy movement, politics, social life

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