Vijay Prashad – India & USA

Linked with The Nuke Deal Is Dead.

He says: “The clash of civilization is a tired approach to the contradictions that we face, as is Benjamin Barber’s Jihad vs. McWorld (Tariq Ali’s book from Verso The Clash of Fundamentalisms will take the piss out of this approach, I’m sure). My own sense, and I’ve actually worked this out in a book for Leftword called War Against the Planet (released in Calcutta in the first week of Feb. 2002) is that we are in a condition of McJihad, where the forces of capitalist globalization and those of retro-Islam and retro-Hinduism and retro-Christianity seem to emerge from the very same flat approach to our current political, economic and social crises. Whereas the fat cats and the running dogs sap the ability of people to transform their rights into reality, the forces of McJihad offer tired eschatological visions of a heavenly future (the American Dream, Paradise) that is without a program for actual social change. Which brings us to polyculturalism: Firstly, we need to get out of the idea that the “West” is the fount of all that is good in the world, that it is the place from which all reason and justice comes. Secondly, we need to see that the world as formed by interconnections between that zone known as the “West” and the vast Rest, and that the cultures that we see in motion around us are dynamically generated by the various and complex interactions, which later are denied in bad faith in the service of nationalism. So, these two facets of polyculturalism may, I think, help us think out of the rhetoric of Good and Evil, Us and Them, etc. … (full interview text).

Vijay Prashad two.jpg.

Vijay Prashad – USA

Vijay Prashad is Professor and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, Ct. His most recent books are The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New Press, November 2006) and (with Teo Ballve) Dispatches from Latin America: Experiments Against Neoliberalism (South End Press, October 2006). He is the author of ten other books, including two chosen by the Village Voice as books of the year (Karma of Brown Folk, 2000; Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting, 2001). He is on the board of the Center for Third World Organizing, United For a Fair Economy, and the National Priorities Project. He writes a monthly column for Frontline, India, and occasionally for Counterpunch.
See whole text here.

Read him in books and articles: his newest book The Darker Nations, A People’s History of the Third World (New Press People’s History), by Vijay Prashad (Author), Howard Zinn (Series Editor); ; A Perilous Way to Socialism, Dec. 16/17, 2006; Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting, Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity, by Vijay Prashad, Beacon Press, November 2001, 256 pages; The Karma of Brown Folk, by Vijay Prashad, University of Minnesota Press, 248 pages; Cindy Sheehan’s Tragedy is Real, The Rosa Parks of the Anti-War Movement; – see also his publications on amazon; on ZNet Commentaries; on Google book-search; on Googles blog-search; on Google Scholar-search.

He says: “When I came to study in the US, particularly in graduate school, what surprised me was the dismissal of nationalism as a concept. This simple dismissal, an almost untutored dismissal: all nationalisms were bad. What struck me about this – this was in the late 1980s – was that this dismissal, both in popular and academic culture, was at some level symptomatic of not just theories in fashion, but it was symptomatic of a reality, which is that nation states were being put under a great deal of stress and strain, and that many of the national movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America had fallen apart. There was the famine in Africa and the drought, and it was then you had the emergence in Europe and the United States of a kind of “I want to save Africa” consciousness. In Britain you had Band Aid led by Bob Geldof – there the song was “Save the World.” Of course, when this translated across the Atlantic and Quincy Jones picked it up, there was a certain amount of arrogance that became attached to it, so it became “We are the World.” Both “Save the World” and “We are the World” were a response to the situation of nation states that were put in a position where they were unable to provide for their populations. Nationalism as a concept was then demeaned. I wanted to recover that project. I wanted to recover the days when there was something before us, when nations and international solidarity in the Third World meant something tangible and real. When it wasn’t just rhetorical, and it hadn’t yet been “structurally adjusted” by the forces of finance capital. That was my interest” … (full interview text, October 3, 2007).

He writes: The Generals are jumping the ship. Retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, onetime head of the US army in Iraq, is the latest to put daylight between himself and the White House. The Bush team, he said in early October, is “incompetent and corrupt.” Their policies in the Iraq sector, he pointed out, would have earned them a court martial had they been in the military … (full text, October 21, 2007).

He says also: “Polyculturalism, taken seriously, obliterates authenticity. The pose of authenticity offers the ruling elites of a “race” to attain demographic power vis-?is other “races,” to argue that they represent a group of people and because of “race” can speak for them. Authenticity allows race to top all other social fractures, and thereby give entrenched elites of color the power to be representative when all they are is compradors. Fanon’s diatribe on the “pitfalls of national consciousness” is an early smash at the idea of authenticity. By the way, the argument about the authentic (whose content is often colonial ethnology) allows white supremacy to adjudge who is a real native, to say that the rebellious Asian, for example, is doing a disservice to Asian culture” … (full interview text).
His podcast on radio4all.net, 12.13 min.

… The Shakening of the East: As NATO expands eastwards, and as the Quad comes into effect, both China and Russia have reacted with exertions of their own. In a forthcoming book from New Delhi’s LeftWord Books, the former diplomat M. K. Bhadrakumar considers that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is becoming a “NATO of the East.” Formed in 1996, the SCO includes Russia, China, and four of the Central Asian states (it was initially called the Shanghai Five, and renamed in 2001 when Uzbekistan joined). As the Quad formulated its own moves, the SCO countries conducted a military exercise of their own, the Peace Mission 2007 held in Chelyabinsk in Russia’s Volga-Ural region, as well as in Urumqi, in China’s Xinjiang. The 6500 troops that took part in this exercise showcased not only their military prowess, but also the increasing cooperation between China and Russia. When Washington, Tokyo, Canberra and New Delhi are asked if their military moves are a threat to China, they typically say that there exercises are for goodwill and not for threats. Mimicking this kind of rhetoric, Russia’s Sergei Ivanov said of the SCO games, “The military exercise is not targeted at a third country.” The heat, in other words, is up … (full text).
Books: He is the author of eight books, including two that were chosen by the Village Voice as the top 25 books of the year, Karma of Brown Folk (2000) and Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity (2001). His most recent books are Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses: Debt, Prison, Workfare and Namaste Sharon: Hindutva and Sharonism under US Hegemony. He is currently writing The Rise and Fall of the Third World. Prashad writes two monthly columns for South Asian magazines: “Letter from America” and “Under Construction.” He also publishes frequently in ColorLines, ZNET, and in Counterpunch. He is Vice Chair of the Executive Board of the Center for Third World Organizing; www.ctwo.org [1], on the Advisory Board of the Connecticut Union Community Fund (AFL-CIO), and an editor of Amerasia Journal and of The Subcontinental. He lives in Northampton, MA, where he is on the collective of the Valley War Bulletin. Sponsors: Co-Sponsored by the Citizenship and Democracy in the 21st Century Faculty Research Group, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center; the Asian American Studies Department, and the MultiCultural Center. (full text, scroll down).

The U.S. and British governments admit that they have occupied Iraq, but they categorically deny that their pursuit is imperial. They say that they are there to liberate the country and hand it back as quickly as possible to the Iraqis. After the fierce anticolonial movements of the past century, ?imperialism? has become an irredeemably bad word. That imperialism has such a soiled name is one of the major achievements of anticolonial nationalism … (full text, August 16, 2003).

A website denying him.

And he says: “When the Quakers, the Unitarians, and other pacifists introduced Gandhi into the U.S., as a figure, they brought him as an essentially passive character, as a saintly man. They took his teeth out. It’s different when you read the black press. There, Gandhi is a figure of great anti-imperialist passion. People know that India fought for its freedom — the word is fought — and yet we think, “Well, they just sort of stood there passively, and got beaten and the British got fed up with beating them, so they left.” Gandhi wrote of active nonviolence. There’s nothing passive about it. Radicalism of South Asians overseas has been integral both to the history of South Asia and to the history of South Asians overseas” … (full interview text).

links:

In Jews, Indian-Americans See a Role Model in Activism, Oct. 2, 2007;

Govt to roll out new agri insurance plan, Oct, 22, 2007;

Culture Shock keynote speaker discusses history of the “Third World Project”, Oct. 11, 2007;

EXPERIENCING THE WORLD THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE’S EYES
, March 1999;

Michael Barker, Promoting Humanitarian Imperialism, Oct. 19, 2007;

Uncle Bob Jindal, Man of No Color, Oct. 26, 2007;

US votes in its first South Asian governor, Oct. 24, 2007;

US Elections 2008 – covering in full;

In a Southern U.S. state, immigrants’ son takes over, Oct. 22, 2007.

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