Tan was born in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, and studied Ancient & Medieval History at university. He is a qualified teacher.

He enjoys science fiction, fantasy and horror, both in books and on screen, as well as collecting and painting miniatures, and table top war gaming. He is a lover of art, music, film and classic computer games.

He tells us he has loved cyberpunk-themed films, games and music for many, many years. This, in part, inspired his cyberpunk science-fiction books. He has also written and published horror, poetry, fantasy and children’s books.

Alongside his writing, he is a keen pencil and digital artist.

To find out more about his work, please visit www.tanweerdar.com

Which book do you think all socialists should read?The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. I have yet to find a better exposition of the innate problems of capitalism.
What was the most important event in the history of socialism?I still think the October Revolution in 1917 was the most important event. It shook the world and it allowed socialist ideas to gain mainstream recognition and discussion for decades thereafter. Whatever people’s thoughts on the Soviet Union, while it lasted socialists and socialism could not simply be dismissed (anywhere).
Who would you rate as the outstanding political leader of your generation?In terms of inspiration, the late Tony Benn. He always spoke truth to power. And he encouraged us. In terms of actual national leadership, there are precious few to choose from. Hugo Chavez stands out as having galvanised the Left in Latin America and having stood up to George W Bush and the United States. And although he wasn’t really of ‘my generation’, Fidel Castro helped forge a Cuba in which education and healthcare were given top priority (despite poverty caused by US sanctions) and one which sent doctors and medical aid to those in need while the US and its allies were bombing and destroying.
Which film should socialists watch?Gaza Fights for Freedom by Abby Martin and The Empire Files. It’s informative, moving and vitally important. As is almost everything Abby Martin does.
Which single political event was most instrumental in your political development?It’s tricky to pinpoint one specific event, but the so-called War on Terror definitely played a huge part during my formative years. It was so clear that those carrying it out were lying and it was also clear that so many unscrupulous corporations profited from war.
I’ll also never forget the footage of that Palestinian man desperately trying to save his young son from Israeli troops. Both were killed. The images are burned onto my mind like a scar.
With which historical socialist do you most identify?It’s very difficult to pick just one. Although not a socialist (as he predates socialism), Percy Bysshe Shelley really speaks to me. I’ve also always admired Rosa Luxemburg. Che Guevara’s sheer presence and determination and energy have always inspired me. I probably haven’t really answered this question particularly well, but it’s the best answer I can give.
Which single reform could make capitalism work?Its abolition.
Have you ever been on strike, if so, did you win?A couple of times. On one of these occasions it led to a positive outcome.
Do you think we can get socialism through the ballot box?This is the big question, isn’t it? A capitalist world won’t just allow it to happen. It’s clear to see what happens when socialism succeeds anywhere in the world – blockades, sanctions, misinformation, coups and even direct military intervention. That Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK came so close (although most of their policies were social democratic/New Dealer rather than socialist), is both a cause for hope and a concern (in that they were obviously not allowed to succeed). A LOT of young people flocked towards socialism and political activism, though. That’s very encouraging. I guess this is a long-winded way of saying yes, but it’s going to require a monumental effort.
What do you do when you are not doing politics?I read, I write (I’m an author and a poet) and I draw (I’m an artist). I work in education. I enjoy films, especially horror and Sci-Fi, and tabletop gaming (especially Warhammer 40,000).
Do you ever feel like giving up politically and why don’t you?There have been times, I won’t lie. But Tony Benn, whom I mentioned earlier, taught us that there were two flames burning in the human heart. One of anger against injustice and one of hope for change. As long as there is injustice, I won’t give up.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist when you think of the future for the left?I think the Left has a bright future, but that it won’t materialise without plenty of hiccups and problems and dilemmas along the way.
Is socialism inevitable?Karl Marx hasn’t been proven wrong yet.
It’ll come. Sooner or later, it’ll come. Capitalism has run its course and is definitely crumbling. It hasn’t got answers for the problems the world faces. It’s a victim of its own making. I think more and more people are realising it, too.

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