Aijaz Ahmad is a well-known Marxist literary theorist and political commentator based in India. Born in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India just before it gained independence from British rule, Aijaz Ahmad along with his parents migrated to Pakistan following partition. After his education he worked in various universities in US and Canada. At present Aijaz Ahmed is Professorial Fellow at the Centre of Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi and is visiting Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto. He also works as an editorial consultant with the Indian newsmagazine Frontline and as a senior news analist for The Real News Network, … (or theREALnews network) … (full text).
He says: … “The first option, I think, the time is gone for, actually, negotiations with the Taliban. The time to negotiate with the Taliban was when they were weak, that is to say, soon after the invasion, when they were in disarray. Today they control virtually as much territory as the Karzai government does. Secondly, I think the resistance from the Karzai government and many other of those tribal forces will be far too great for a real settlement with the Taliban, because the structure of power in Afghanistan has changed completely. Now drug lords are inside the government, outside the government, and so on, and a stable government in Afghanistan of that kind is actually not in their favor. I think that time is gone. So far as the other option, the pincer movement, is concerned, that is what actually a part of the Pakistani establishment is willing to do” … (full interview text).
Find this 4 Videos Reactions to Imperialism and Neoliberalism, November 16, 2007, Toronto:
- Part one: Introduction by Leo Panitch, 11.11 min;
- part two: Aijaz Ahmad, 18.30 min;
- part three: Sabah Alnasseri, 17.33 min;
- part four: Q+A with Sabah Alnasseri and Aijaz Ahmad, 10.06 min.
Read: ISLAM, ISLAMISMS AND THE WEST, 37 pages.
Aijaz Ahmad – India
His book: In Theory, Nations, Classes, Literature, by Aijaz Ahmad, 368 pages, 1994.
… The Cuban revolution was one of the key events in the political formation of my generation, just as the overthrow of the Allende government in 1973 was in its negative impact a decisive moment in the history of the global Marxist left. The more recent Latin American developments have been seen in India as both a certain return to what one might call “the Cuban moment,” but also the rise of a very different kind of left. My own writings on Latin America have been designed strictly for an Indian readership and try to grapple with just what this new left, in all its variations, is … (full text).
Video: US troops in Pakistan, 8.47 min.
… THE hastily confected judicial assassination of Saddam Hussein, the last President of independent Iraq, was part of an extraordinary three-month-long offensive that United States President George W. Bush has mounted on all fronts, domestic and international, since mid-October 2006. That offensive has now culminated in the invasion of Somalia by the Ethiopian proxy of the U.S., massive U.S. bombings of Somali territory by huge U.S. cargo planes that have been turned into gunships, and the “invitation” by the puppet regime, which the Ethiopian proxy has imposed on Somalia, to the U.S. to send its troops to this newly occupied country. A “new” Eastern Africa is now as much a U.S. objective as is a “new” West Asia. An integrated offensive from the Caspian Sea to the Mombasa Bay, so to speak … (full text).
Lineages of the Present: Ideology and Politics in Contemporary South Asia, 366 pages, 2000.
… Culture is not reducible to those processes that Marxist political economy studies for its own purposes, but culture is embedded in those processes. The so-called “mass culture” today is quite inseparable from processes of mass production, marketing, profiteering, systems of mass communication, etc. Every social practice and all material production involves signification, but neither communication nor fashion nor any other of those things that Cultural Studies takes as its specific object of study is merely or even mainly a signifying practice. Nor can the relation between cultural production and its basis in economic and political processes be read off anecdotally or epiphenominally; it has to be studied rigorously and structurally. You can’t just throw in a bit of economics here, a bit of technology there; you have to be able to locate individual facts in a complex historical process, and for that you need very considerable theoretical preparedness. In its beginnings Cultural Studies was quite aware of all this, and some have sought to remain true to those very prosaic origins. In the main, though, Cultural Studies has itself become one of those many styles of consumer capitalism that it sets out to study … (full text).
Carter says Israel has 150 nukes – Aijaz Ahmad: Why is corporate media marginalizing a former president, May 30, 2008.
… With the Bandung Conference and the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement, many of Europe’s former colonies banded together to form a common bloc, aligned with neither the advanced capitalist “First World” nor with the socialist “Second World.” In this historical context, the category of “Third World literature” emerged, a category that has itself spawned a whole industry of scholarly and critical studies, particularly in the metropolitan West, but increasingly in the homelands of the Third World itself. Setting himself against the growing tendency to homogenize “Third World” literature and cultures, Aijaz Ahmad has produced a spirited critique of the major theoretical statements on “colonial discourse” and “post-colonialism,” dismantling many of the commonplaces and conceits that dominate contemporary cultural criticism … (full text).
… The Real News Network Senior News Analyst Aijaz Ahmad tells us that when Obama finished his speech at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, he got an applause more thunderous than there had been for McCain on the first day … (full text).
He writes: … June 3 – When presumptive Republican nominee John McCain took the podium yesterday on the first day of the national conference for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, his diction shadowed an all-too familiar rhetoric: “Tehran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons poses an unacceptable risk, a danger we cannot allow.” McCain went on to assert that Iran’s “flouting of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty” could induce a Middle East nuclear arms race. The IAEA, on the other hand, acknowledges that Iran is acting strictly within the rights it has under the treaty, and calls upon Iran to provisionally suspend its enrichment program voluntarily, simply as a confidence building measure, says Real News Network Senior Analyst Aijaz Ahmad. This distortion of fact sounds a lot like the kind of spurious charges that were made against Iraq in the run-up to that invasion. Instead of meeting with Iranian leadership, which McCain refers to as a “spectacle” that would only strengthen hardliners, he is steadfast in his support of economic sanctions on Iran, and declaring the Revolutionary Guard, which is currently the bulk of the country’s defense forces, a terrorist organization. The Senator pointedly commented that this was a move supported by three quarters of the Senate, excluding potential Democratic running mate, Barack Obama. Hear more about McCain’s speech and how it’s hinting to illegal actions similar to what America saw in 2003 from The Real News Network’s Senior Analyst Aijaz Ahmad: http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0603-03.htm
McCain at AIPAC: Drumbeats of War? … (full text).
… The Real News Network’s Senior Analyst Aijaz Ahmed says trying to persuade the Iranians to accept this is unlikely. “What the US wants is bases, vast bases, in Iraq in perpetuity with limited sovereignty for any Iraqi government present or future which will have no control, jurisdiction or operation on these troops,” says Ahmed. The desperate effort to get Iran behind it is a lost cause as Iran “will never approve of US bases so close to their border” … (full text).
He says also: “I tremble with excitement at the audacity of an India as a fully modern society speaking in many tongues” … (full text).
He writes also: … The first area of differentiation lies within a cultural context. Abiding racism in some parts of the US will continue to impede Obama’s campaign as misinformation spreads. While the US has seen African Americans in high-level governmental roles before now, Obama is the first progressive, democratic candidate, poised to flout the imperialist objectives of a conservative ruling party. In the face of racism and fallacious cultural assumptions, Obama must remember to stay out of a defensive posture, to draw light to the second, and far more important issue: economic policy. “The real question would be: is there going to be an Obama presidency which turns American economy into a productive economy led by real investments in social infrastructure, infrastructures of various kinds?” says Ahmed. Will an Obama presidency drive the economy “away from the oil-weapon dollar corporations which were the ruling and dominant part of the American economy that were driving the Bush-Cheney crowd”? One thing is clear: An Obama presidency is going to require a mass movement not only of Democrats or built upon disaffection with the Republican policy, but built around the idea of change itself … (full text).
… In 1986 Aijaz Ahmad’s spirited debate with Frederic Jameson in the pages of Social Text was an exciting milestone in the study of ‘Third World’ literature. Since then the term ‘Third World‘ has been overtaken by ‘postcolonial’ and subsequently Ahmad’s book In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (1993) has consolidated and expanded those early arguments into a thorough critique of some of the cherished myths of postcolonial studies. Through detailed reconsideration of the works of Jameson, Edward Said, Salman Rushdie and a few migrant intellectuals, In Theory provides incisive analyses of the principal developments in literary theory in the last few decades, and of the conditions under which postcolonial studies emerged in metropolitan intellectual circles … (full text).
And he says: … The systematic awareness of the role of literature in imperialist ideology came in the 1960s, after the anti-war movements began such interrogations within Europe and the United States … and: The `received Communist tradition’ gave much credence to the fact of political conflicts inside Britain and thought of literature itself as a conflicted field. So when I read Conrad and Forster and Eliot as part of my syllabus, I had very different kinds of response. Conrad struck me as both conservative and a great imperialist, but Forster not nearly so much. There are a great many things I disliked about A Passage to India, but I didn’t think of Forster simply as an imperialist. It was quite clear that he disliked the Empire and that whatever he had to say about India got refracted through his own brand of liberalism. In Eliot’s case, I was outraged by the way a handful of words stand in The Waste Land for an Orientalized idea of Indian spirituality, but I disliked Eliot much more for being such a Tory and a monarchist. To give you another example, when Kiernan translated Faiz, the great Urdu poet, I was still in college and I didn’t like the translations at all. But I knew that he was a close personal friend of Faiz and numerous other Communists in the subcontinent. In fact, I have been told – this may not be true, but I was told – that when Kiernan first came to India, well before Independence, he occasionally served as an emissary between the CPI and the CPGB. As I said, this may not be true, but within that kind of history one couldn’t treat Kiernan’s writings on, say, Tennyson or Wordsworth as simply imperialist. In the present climate, that sort of complexity of the ‘received Communist tradition’ is, of course, charged with being soft on colonialism. I’m quite aware of that. (full text).
Find him and his publications on three essays; on amazon; on Global Research.ca; on wikipedia; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.
Kandahar braces for Taliban offensive, June 18, 2008;
Jammu & Kashmir to implement Panchayati Raj, reserve 33 percent seats for women;