Renowned left-wing author Tariq Ali told a packed public lecture at the Seymour Centre on June 26 that claims that we had reached the "end of history" had been well and truly disproven by the revolutions now sweeping Latin America.
Speaking for Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series, Ali addressed the themes of his latest book, Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope. He explained how South America, particularly Venezuela, once "a laboratory for US privatisation and neoliberal policies", has begun to challenge the "Washington consensus", providing the world with a new axis of hope.
Turning to the Middle East, Ali said that many had asked when the Arab world would produce a leader like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, especially after he came out strongly against Israel's invasion of Lebanon last July.
Ali said that while the resistance movements in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, demanded our international solidarity in their struggle against US imperialism, the fact that the secular revolutionary movements had largely been wiped out had weakened them.
Ali also spoke about the current crisis in Palestine, quoting the late historian Edward Said as saying: "A Palestinian civil war is a permanent twinkle in the Israeli general's eyes." He also touched on the "real possibility" of US-led balkanisation of Iraq if the US isn't forced out soon.