Tariq Ali: Global revolt against corporate capitalism & inequality - 'On Contact' with Chris Hedges



welcome to on contact today we'll sit down with a great radical intellectual tariq Ali there are growing discontents all over the world uprisings occupations attempt governmental attempts by Social Democratic style governments to do something which come to note because the system has such a grip on all the global institutions get back into your cages the elites tell us return to watching the lies absurdities trivia and celebrity gossip fed to us in 24-hour cycles on television invest your emotional energy and the vast system of popular entertainment run up your credit card debt pay your loans be thankful for the scraps we toss chant back to us our phrases about democracy greatness economic recovery and liberty vote in our rigged political theater send your young men and women to fight and die in useless unwinnable Wars that provide corporations with huge profits stand by Newt Lee as the corporate state plunges you into a society without basic social services and adequate employment pay for the crimes of Wall Street the system is not sustainable violence will increase as the elite seek to keep us in check John F Kennedy said those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable let us pray that this is a dictum we never have to apply to ourselves we'll begin with a look at the reality of global inequality with anja parental who does our economy work for does it work for you does it work for most people most of us are so caught up participate we don't even think about that question but according to Oxfam over the last five years alone the wealth of the top 1% of society has increased by 44% meanwhile the remaining 99% of the world has lost its share of global wealth to put that in perspective we're looking at a world where 62 billionaires control about 1.8 trillion dollars the same amount as a 3.6 billion people who make up the poorer half of humanity and that gender and equality gap extends to the 1% 53 of those 62 people are men so what exactly does it take what do you have to accumulate to join the 1% some serious cash about seven hundred and sixty thousand dollars in cash and assets to be exact according to the BBC additionally it's extremely difficult to truly measure the top tier of wealth because so much of their fortune is hidden Oxfam estimates that around a seven point six trillion dollars is stored in offshore accounts but the real issue with inequality is that things haven't always been this bad it's not as though the haves and the have-nots are fighting over some little pie that hasn't gotten any bigger the pie of wealth has actually increased and while salaries of CEOs have skyrocket over the past decades as a result wages for the average worker have stagnated and the wealth isn't trickling down for a lot of people with all the distractions life provides us it feels nice just to have a little bit of pie but in a global economy designed for the 1% most people are left craving a livable wage tariq Ali is one of the most trenchant critics of global capitalism his books novels screenplays and plays and his journalism in the black dwarf newspaper and the new left review have proven to be prophetic Ali is an oxford-educated intellectual and longtime gadfly who once stood as the Trotsky ice candidate for Parliament in Britain he joins me now to talk about the global revolt against corporate capitalism and its implications from Athens to Washington let's talk about where we are today a graham she calls it the interregnum well but what what's happening in terms of capitalism and and it's it's systems of power well the capitalist system I think is in a deep crisis it's very difficult for even its apologists to deny it quite a lot of capitalist economies so prou capitalist economies are saying that the 2008 Wall Street Crash wasn't the last word that it is going to repeat it so they're all they're doing what they were doing before with that with money handed to them by the Fed at 0% interest exactly so what we've had is state-funded capitalism all these people who used to attract the state it don't do anything for not allowed to do anything for the poor but it can bail out the rich whenever it wants and so in this situation there are growing discontents all over the world uprisings occupations attempts governmental attempts by Social Democratic style governments to do something which come to note because the system has such a grip on all the global institutions of capital of politics of so-called humanitarianism that every time there is an attempt to go beyond it they stop it so grungees description of this world as something more babies is the morbid symptoms of decline but somehow nothing is emerging that we can say is sort of way out of the cry which is dangerous very dangerous because if you have lots of protests and and expressed in different ways we should be clear that these are non-violent Civic protest to ask for water can only be considered the most basic of democratic rights and we're watching it in the presidential elections where Bernie Sanders supporters ask that their vote counts and of course the Democratic Party is created conditions where their vote doesn't count exactly and on a global level especially in Europe but even in other parts of the world we can see this phenomenon repeating yeah that young people and older people who would completely abandon the British Labour Party came back when they saw Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate bought back into the labour party joined it and elected him leader and it's the same phenomena and we saw in Greece where they passed a referendum and saying we we don't want to be enslaved to European or an international banking system and the and the referendum passes what I mean what percentage I don't remember sixty four sixty one sixty one percent and then but even though the government's ERISA which was elected on that platform it ignores it well we now know of course that tsipras this greatly syriza leader and the current prime minister was so convinced that the referendum would fail that he thought that people would vote not no but yes and he was stunned when they voted no in other words mass support to break with the troika and the European Union demands instead of lifting him up made him depressed and he sold out the very next day within 24 hours he sacked his finance minister Yanis varoufakis and told the Europeans we're here on our knees before you do what you want which although to be fair to him and answer a sir I think we spoke about this last time where they got they the international finance system would have destroyed Greece in the same way they destroyed Salvador Allende and Chile it wasn't wrong about how they would punish him because I think as you have often pointed out this is a political war it's not an economic or what Greece is what 2% of the EU economy it's nothing no this is true Chris but there's one thing we have to bear in mind that said but a yen day was destroyed on kissinger's orders at the height of the Cold War they were really worried that here was a non-violent form of what could possibly be a democratic revolution contrasting with the Cuban one and its attraction could be large so destroyed there's no cold war what these people in Greece were asking is what many are Bernie Sanders is supposed just we need democratic rights and a little bit of social democracy engines yeah not too much a little bit of social democracy and even that the system isn't permitting them so that's the crisis and let's go back to this as you said it is dangerous because of the obtuseness of the elites who by not responding I think you would agree are ultimately digging their own grave well they're digging their own grave not in the sense that capitalism will necessary go under with them but that this particular model that they have been developing will have to be changed and the danger lies that having attacked the left destroyed and not permitted even a tiny bit of social democracy they are actually now encouraging the growth of a far-right and right all over the Western world you see it in the rise of the extreme right in France in Austria they actually elected a fascist president in Germany the so they already had fall times so it's the second time around yeah the world I'm trying to keep it quiet right here skies open a bathroom you know and in Germany the sort of so-called German nationalist parties are taking votes from both Social Democrats and conservatives it's not a pleasant situation see and we see what's happening in the United States and it's very similar the phenomenon new Europe is not that different I mean it is in some ways but the Sunda phenomenon is not that far removed from the far-right phenomenon in Europe in the following sense that he says some things which appeal to underprivileged nativist workers that's what fascism always does yeah but they're doing it now at a time where conditions are really bad right and if Trump wins of course it will be a huge boost for these forces but on the other hand what is the alternative to trump you know a crazy really crazy Pro imperialist pro-israeli democratic figure who represents everything that you know all sides of the political spectrum have risen up against we're going to take a break and return in a minute with tariq Ali welcome back to on contact and my discussion with the great intellectual and radical tariq Ali so let's look a little bit of Greece because Greece is a kind of perfect case study of the myopic thinking on the part of international elites where they are squeezing everything they can out of this country knowing full well that the that it's ultimately not sustainable we're gonna open with a clip from the former Greek finance minister who resigned from the government in protest over its capitulation to the EU banking system surprised me these days in Europe we seem to be doing the wrong thing consistently it's a comedy of errors from 2010 onwards it's my considered opinion that the responsible thing to do for our party will be to hand over the keys of government to those who believe in this program in this fiscal consolidation reform program and the new loan because we don't believe in it and we should not be trying to implement a program whose logic we contest the comedy of errors I mean a lot of people in Greece are suffering and a lot more gonna suffer and they will yeah they will carry on suffering because what people especially in North America but also in the rest of the world don't realize that already even before this last capitulation by tsipras the figures coming out of Greece were horrific malnutrition increase Chris people died lack food people using butter to survive pensions going down and down and down in a poor country at the same time as the shipowners plutocracy which has owned that country carry salt there's no problems as far as they are concerned at all they don't pay their taxes they register their ships somewhere else and even when they don't they're not they don't think it's their duty well it's like we have a tax boycott by Wall Street and large corporations here it's a global problem but we know from emails that have been leaked that the European banking system that is imposing this track Honi and austerity knows that ultimately it's going to collapse they're totally aware of what they're doing why I think basically what they wanted to do though they don't say it in public they realize that the way in which they had launched the euro zone and the euro currency was deeply flawed because this is the first time ever in the history of the world that a currency has been launched by a state which isn't even a state which isn't even federal which includes countries where conditions are very different from what they are in Germany or France and they've been waiting for an opportunity to revise it which is why that's one stage in the negotiations Wolfgang köhler the German Finance Minister made an offer to Greece go quietly and we'll give you a few billions to sort it out I said to borrow Farkas at a private thing I said you know that offer was made did you discuss it seriously because this is not a question of principle but I'm trying to do something to lift the standards of the people and he said it wasn't you know the the leadership refused to take it seriously but it was men serious and God knows what the Germans would have demanded in return but effectively it's right to say it's the banking system but it's the German banks who are very dominant in in this whole business they know it's going to end badly some of them are waiting for it to end badly so that can restructure the whole zone and possibly the EU this is a political issue and a global issue I believe you've said that the the reason that the banking system in essence has to destroy Greece is to send a message to countries like Portugal Spain Ireland whose economy is a mess which really goes like this as long with the rest of the global international markets don't try this I think it was that like here the your analogy with Salvador Allende in Chile absolutely fits this was a message to other countries where there was no armed struggle no guerrilla warfare don't try coming to power like this and nationalizing industries and wrapping us on the knuckles this is how we'll deal with you that is what was done to Greece by the European Union and you know one has to be honest here Greece it's at its it's pushed people back the Spanish radical group of the most stepped backwards and so it's it's it's had its effect and which is why the struggle in Europe a has to be internationalist but also has to target the EU you know using the UN looking at it this is the gold standard it means absolutely nothing and the left I think is generally very confused on well you know we won't get into the EU but in essence what these countries like Greece did is give up control over their own currency which is deadly for any completely and it's wrecked Greece and it's even more the Italians are in a state about this currency in the way in which it functions because it's wrecked their economy too so it isn't their capitalist interests as rational capitalist countries to quit the eurozone but they won't do it because they're scared of the unknown right isn't though in essence international finance in a way by you know imposing these draconian conditions on countries like Greece just putting more fingers in the dike I mean it's not isn't it ultimately I mean on some level they have to know that collapse is coming they do know the collapse is coming and they are trying to make sure that it doesn't affect them so the German banks are not prepared to allow the politicians to take any risk by bailing out Greece or bailing out other countries in trouble it was one thing bailing themselves out the banks and the hedge fund system by the banks but anything else they say is unacceptable because it will bring the collapse closer and our interest is to defend the banking system it's short-sighted and they live for today as we know capitalism get capitalists by and large don't think of the long term even Keynes said in the long term quarterly profits yeah that's it and but I mean at a certain point you know because I think they are aware of how fragile the system is aren't they just looting and stealing as much as and as fast as they can on the way down isn't that really kind of what it boils down to well it does they just did an Argentine yeah Argentina is a absolutely disgraceful story the hedge fund managers put up their candidate and as soon as he gets into office he sells out the entire country to pay back almost what is it I don't know if it's a penny on a dollar but I mean he's hedge funds made a killing off the Argentine they've made a killing they're hoping on making a similar killing now in Brazil in Venezuela they don't give up we just saw let's call it what it is a kind of you know congressionally sanctioned coup d'etat on Brazil you know it's a constitutional coup to try and get rid of a president and more importantly a political party that has stayed in power for a long time despite all the predictions of the so-called pundits that's what we're seeing it's a big counter-offensive by capital backed of course by Washington and it's not over but it's it's going to leave a very unpleasant so let's talk about this convergence as we spoke at the beginning of the interview the rise of these proto-fascist movements in Europe people nativists gathering racists white racists gathering around Trump who has a legitimate or a real possibility becoming president coupled with instability and global capital how do they come together at what point do they come together and what are the consequences the principle reason for them coming together is that the elites who have run the United States and Western Europe have proved incapable of offering even the smallest palliatives to their populations they have allowed the poor to rot regardless of skin color and grow in terms of numbers and so what we have is a protest against this central elite which I call the extreme center because whether it's Social Democratic or conservative they unite to crush and against that the left has been weak and the right has come out now very strong and in country after country in Europe you see them growing with the exception of Spain which is quite interesting and in the United States they found in Trump someone who as their most crazed fantasies at the same time who attacks the banks at the same time attacks these new treaties which are being carried through and promises some palliatives to the poorer section of the white work line it won't happen but he the fact that he's promising it and it was very interesting rosario Dawson at Bernie Sanders is a huge rally in New York made an appeal she said we know where many of Trump supporters are coming from we need to be reaching out and talking to those folks who are supporting Trump why because they're supporting him for a reason they're standing up behind him because he's against the establishment as well and they're literally standing behind the guy who they know is gonna go into the Oval Office and go you're fired I can understand that but I'm supporting the guy who's looking at all of us and saying you're hired and we want you to know we're thinking about you we know who you are we can serve your interests better than he can so she understood it let me just close yeah if we get a financial crisis given the political configurations in Europe in the United States does this see an explosion of the radical right I think right I don't think there's anything on the left at the moment of course these things are volatile things can route has been consciously destroyed in the name of anti-communism whether you had anything to do with communism or not the labor unions are broken all of the mechanisms by which working people had the ability to express their voice or have their voice heard has been dismantled and and and that is a recipe for fascism it's a recipe for something very unpleasant whether it takes the exact form of fascism take the exact know but it's a it's a recipe that comes from the radical right given the big vacuum in the absence of a left on this scale you know one has to show them and there but let's remember that vimar was a political vacuum thank you Tarek that was author tariq Ali the corporations that own the media have worked overtime to sell a bewildered public the fiction that we are enjoy in a recovery employment figures are fictitious those who have not looked for work in the past month are magically erased from the unemployment statistics the underemployed even if they work as little an hour a week are countered is employed those locked in our jails and prisons are removed from unemployment rolls real unemployment is at least 10 percent probably higher we live not in a recovery but in the twilight stages of global capitalism which may be surprisingly more resilient than we expect but which is ultimately terminal Karl Marx knew that once the market mechanism becomes the sole determining factor for the fate of the nation state as well as the natural world both would be demolished no one knows when this will happen but that it will happen perhaps within our lifetime seems certain thank you for watching on contact you can find us on our t-dot-com slash on contact see you next week




Comments
  1. Democracy has failed before ex: greece, communism has fail as well ex: russia, no system can ever be perfect, the race to the moon and back, should only give us an example what the human condition is capable of when united.

  2. I wish more was talked about on the issue of the worldwide revolt against Christian fascism as well. We need more on this topic too. But I’m so sick of filthy Christians exploiting the poor and homeless in America and how they kill Buddhists Hindus Kenyans and Ugandans! Government needs to step in and regulate Christianity and limit its power grabbing !

  3. Unfortunately when there is a drastic, lightening change in sovereign nations; extremists,fanatics,profiteers, puppet masters, warmongers, all instantly appear out of nowhere to take their pound of flesh, leaving the country in chaos and the masses in despair. Typical examples: The Russian revolution, the fall of the Soviet Union, the invasion of Iraq, the demise of Libya, the catastrophe in Yemen, the disaster in Syria, the various calamities in South America. It looks like that there is no profit in stability and peace.

  4. Bernie Sanders is a Socialist parrot,who repeats and repeats the same old warn out messages; Socialism should be brought into the 21st Century, with a 21st Century message.

  5. Hedges is such an absolute sell out, he goes on and on about how much he hates neoliberalism, corporate fascism and the suppression of civil liberties but then goes on to work for Russian State television. The media arm of the oligarchic nation that has laid waste to Syria and does nothing for the Palestinians that Hedges feigns sympathy for.

  6. Our friends Chris (especially) and Tariq are pulling their punches when it comes to Tsipras. We know about the challenges facing Alexis Tsipras. But his character can't be ignored and his eagerness to deal with war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu speaks volumes. 'That' Tsipras would be capable of betraying the people willingly.

  7. My comment re JfK was disappeared here. It would not have been Chris who did it. This is the problem when we have to go to the enemy – Google-owned YouTube – to fight the enemy.

  8. Thats a damn disgrace. 1% of the wealthiest people on the planet – Men ? It should be a .5 % split I say take the billions of some of the men, and give it to about 20 women so they can be billionaires too.

  9. How do you measure (economic) class ?? In my opinion, class should be measured by affordability of not having to work.
    If you can live decently for 5 years without having to work, you're middle class. If you can live decently (or better) without having to work, EVER, you're part of the upper class. If you have to work to pay bills so that you don't starve (or are left without housing, etc), sorry charlie, you're working class. And if you're starving, you're poor.

    (repeating it separately from an earlier reply. I wonder what others think). Quick definitions: decently can have many meanings. Here I mean someone that is living off their resources within bounds of decency as deemed by similar people in their class or lower (e.g for middle class, I mean people that are starving, people that work to make ends meet). Also I also do not mean that one MUST not work to be part of a class. The point is affordability to not work.

  10. I just watched Saturdays 7/16 episode on RT, great program ! Now if only other honest journos like Paul Jay at TRNN and Thom Hartmann would climb aboard Ms. Steins bandwagon we could have a real movement forming.

  11. "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective, toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection." – Henry Wallace.

    This is a perfect description of the GOP (+ corporatist DINO's). Republicans only want smaller government when it comes to taxing the wealthy & regulating industry. They actively sabotage/obstruct government so they can point & say "look! isn't government terrible!" One example is how they starve funding, it's so they can convince their low-information base that privatization will fix everything! They want everything to be privatized, like Social Security and public schools, so that banksters can make even more profit at societies expense..

  12. What the hell kind of statement is that by yanis? This is clearly class war. They impose these fiscal policies, not because they want banks to be solvent. They do it to inflict pain and desperation on the poor. When you live in a nightmare, you're susceptible to "salvation".

  13. I like chris hedges because he DOESN'T have that instinct for the ever so universal cadence and pitch of an anchor. It shows a dismissal of conformity and showmanship. Even tough this is also a mere superficial observation, it must be made because this kind of thing is what kills shows. It shows the pettiness of management.

  14. I can't help but think of Tsipras and his wide smile when he made the dirty deal with the Troika. He must have been given a sweet deal behind the scenes. He is a turncoat. He is a weasel. He betrayed his cause and the people of Greece. He has a fortune somewhere, hidden in the US banking system, probably. They bought him off. I feel it in my bones.

  15. I hope so much the memory of the Salvador Allende, President of Chile, who was assassinated with the help of the CIA with approval of Henry Kissinger on 9-11- '73, never dies.

  16. How dare Bernie Sander's supporters ask "for the most basic of democratic rights … " that their votes be counted. The sheer gall! Please, I beg you, know your place, ….

  17. C'mon Chris, working for $ for a Kremlin propaganda megaphone doesn't add to your credibility AT ALL, in fact may be it's about time to find new pastures of critical thought .'

  18. It's a generally accurate critique, but i diverge with the gender gap stuff. That has been routinely debunked and shown to be nonsense. It conflates wages with earnings, and when more factors are taken into consideration like degree choice, field of study, hours worked, and other lifestyle choices, we find there is no gap generally. If anything we now see females under 35 making 108-120% of their male counter parts. There is class warfare going on, but gender has nothing to do with it.

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