Three hundred people attended a launch of author and activist Tariq Ali's new book, From Bush to Obama — Change We Can Believe In? on October 6.
Ali said Obama’s election campaign had raised people's hopes and mobilised US youth, but people were now disillusioned and angry. He said Obama was a “master of bullshit”. Obama’s rhetoric sounded different, but fundamentally continued the policies of the Bush regime.
Obama plans to keep six bases and 50,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely. Ali said this was the “recolonisation of Iraq”, which aimed to stop it from doing anything the US didn’t like — such as taking control of the oil.
Obama called for a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but has taken no action to make this happen. If the US cut its subsidies to Israel, it would be forced to comply.
But Ali argued even this would be insufficient. A viable Palestinian state would be possible only if Israel withdrew to its pre-1967 borders, something unacceptable to Israel.
Ali said the goal should not be a two-state solution, but the creation of a single Palestinian/Israeli state. This would mean dismantling Israel as an ethnic state.
He highlighted the importance of the Latin American example of revolt against the International Monetary Fund, and the impact of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in the Arab world.