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Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope by…
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope (2006)

by Tariq Ali

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Tariq Ali examines the impact of Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution on Latin America.
  Fledgist | Oct 20, 2007 |
Pirates of the Caribbean is about an important subject, and offers a forceful alternative view of recent developments in Latin America, particularly Venezuela and Bolivia, to what we are given in the mainstream media. It breaks what Hugo Chávez calls the Washington Consensus (abbreviated by Tariq Ali to WC). It's a crying shame that it's not a better book. In the preface, Ali writes, 'This book, please be reassured, is definitely an argument.' Sadly, an awful lot of it is nothing of the kind. I've been inspired by Tariq Ali as a public speaker; when I've ventured into its depths, I've found New Left Review, of which he has been editor for many years, dauntingly impressive; and his occasional articles in the Monthly Review, to which I used to subscribe, have helped clarify things for me in the past. But this book disappointed me.

In an argument, the reader has a chance to weigh up evidence, test logic, hear opposing views; the arguer seeks to win the reader's agreement. In this book, there's very little of that. It's less an argument than a hectoring speech on a street corner calling on the passers-by to convert. It's like one of those pamphlets trotskyists hand out at demonstrations, only it goes on for 130 pages. The idea of Chávez, Castro and Bolivia's Evo Morales, not to mention Simón Bolívar and Tariq Ali himself, as pirates hangs around the edges of the book, undeveloped and largely unexplained, except for a reference to a book by Martin Rediker, Villains of all Nations. Maybe that's my problem with the whole book: I haven't read everything that Tariq Ali would like me to have read, but then if I had I wouldn't need to be reading this.

On the other hand, we get the neo-liberal world view thrust at us from every side,so that it comes to seem like unmediated Truth. So it's probably churlish to complain when a book that takes it on is rude and pugnacious. If nothing else, the appendices that reprint interviews with allies of Chávez and speeches by Chávez and Morales are well worth reading. And the footnotes look as if they'd form the basis for a fruitful study program. ( )
  shawjonathan | Aug 13, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184467102X, Hardcover)

A revolution is moving across Latin America.

Since 1998, the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela has brought Hugo Chavez to world attention as the foremost challenger of the neoliberal consensus and American foreign policy. While Chavez's radical social-democratic reforms have brought him worldwide acclaim among the poor, he has attracted intense hostility from Venezuelan elites and Western governments.

Drawing on first-hand experience of Venezuela and meetings with Chavez, Tariq Ali shows how Chavez's views have polarized Latin America and examines the hostility directed against his administration. Ali discusses the enormous influence of Fidel Castro on both Chavez and Evo Morales, the newly-elected President of Bolivia, and contrasts the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionary processes.

Pirates of the Caribbean guides us through a world divided between privilege and poverty, a continent that is once again on the march.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:20 -0400)

A study of the revolutionary process throughout Latin America as a challenge to the neoliberal consensus and American foreign policy focuses on the radical social democratic reforms of Venezuela's Hugo Chvez.

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