What can we do in the twilight of democracy? What is the point of elections when the result is always the same? A victory for the Extreme Centre. Since 1989, politics has been replaced by a contest between who can best serve the needs of the market, fringed by unstable populist movements. The same catastrophe can be seen in the US, Britain, 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, meanwhile the soft power of the American Empire continues to dominate the world stage uncontested. Despite this inertia, Ali also goes in search for alternative futures: the Bolivarian revolutions in Latin America, as well as signs of change at the edges of Europe. Emerging parties in Scotland, Greece and Spain, formed out of the 2008 crisis, are offering new hopes for democracy.
Britain's leading radical delivers an eviscerating attack on the indistinguishable political elite of the UK.
"Ali remains an outlier and intellectual bomb-thrower; an urbane, Oxford-educated polemicist." Observer Praise for The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad "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." - Financial Times Praise for Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties "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." Christopher Hitchens, Observer "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." - James Kilgore in CounterPunch, author of Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of our Era
TARIQ ALI is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics - including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome - as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.