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Vijay Prashad is George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He is the author of eleven books, most recently The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (2007). Two of his books, Karma of Brown Folk (2000) and Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting (2002), were chosen by the Village Voice as books of the year.[citation needed] The Darker Nations was chosen as the Best Nonfiction book by the Asian American Writers' Workshop in 2008 and it won the Muzaffar Ahmed Book Award in 2009.

His pieces of journalism frequently appear in South Asian periodicals (his monthly column "Letter from America" in Frontline magazine, his book reviews in the Kathmandu based Himal, for which he is a contributing editor), in North American periodicals (Z Magazine, ColorLines Magazine, The Indian American) or else on the web (monthly at ZNET and at CounterPunch). He is a contributing editor at the online magazine Naked Punch and a member of the editorial boards of the scholarly journals Amerasia Journal and Left History.[1][2][3]

Contents

Background

He received a B.A. from Pomona College in 1989, and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1994.

Views

Prashad is a well-known commentator on world affairs, writing in many journals on and off the web. At Counterpunch and in Frontline one can follow his writings on the United States, on India, on war and on economics. His recent writing includes pieces on the Fort Hood shooting [6], Mali and Africom [7] and American policy on the Afghanistan war [8]. In his article for The Nation, Prashad lays out his vision for the struggle toward socialism. He argues progressive forces typically have very good ideas, but no power. He asserts that without power, good ideas are of little consequence and claims that socialists must not simply theorize but also organize.[4]

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Capitalism

Prashad is a Marxist[5] and a co-founder of the Forum of Indian Leftists or FOIL.[6][7] His views on capitalism are most clearly summarized in his book Fat Cats and Running Dogs.

Prashad offered his analysis of Mother Teresa's missionary work in Calcutta, designating her as a representative of the collective 'bourgeois guilt' of western nations[8]. He shows how people like Mother Teresa obscure the tragedies of capitalism. For instance, " During the night of December 2–3, 1984, methyl isocyanate left the environs of a Union Carbide factory and poisoned thousands of people. The Bhopal massacre by Union Carbide was but the most flagrant example of a transnational corporation's disregard for human life at the expense of its own profit. In 1983, Union Carbide's sales came to $9 billion and its assets totalled $10 billion. Part of this profit came from a tendency to shirk any responsibility towards safety standards, not just in India, but also in their Virginia plant.After the disaster, Mother Teresa flew into Bhopal and, escorted in two government cars, she offered Bhopal's victims small aluminum medals of St. Mary. "This could have been an accident," she told the survivors, "it's like a fire (that) could break out anywhere. That is why it is important to forgive. Forgiveness offers us a clean heart and people will be a hundred times better after it." John Paul II joined Mother Teresa with his analysis that Bhopal was a "sad event" which resulted from "man's efforts to make progress."

In the same article he also commented on Mother Teresa's alleged links with Charles Keating and Michele Duvalier (wife of Baby Doc Duvalier). Denouncing the 'cruel rule of capital' he also offered the view that the communists of Calcutta were the 'real nameless Mother Teresas who conduct the necessary work towards socialism, for the elimination of poverty forever'.[9]

Religion

Prashad, along with his FOIL compatriot Biju Mathew, is also an outspoken critic of the resurgence of Hindu cultural nationalism, known as 'Hindutva'.[10]. He has also critiqued what he described as the 'epidermic determinism' of V.T. Rajshekar, an advocate for Dalit rights, and others, and suggested that a 'polycultural' approach is needed instead.[11]He also identifies himself as an anti-Zionist, and opposes the existence of Israel. He has claimed that a secret conspiracy of Hindus and Jews (led by the Israeli Mossad) perpetrated the 2008 Mumbai attacks. [9].

Books

  • (2007) The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, The New Press, ISBN 978-1565847859
  • (2003), Keeping up with the Dow Joneses: Stocks, Jails, Welfare, South End Press, ISBN 978-0896086890
  • (2002) Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0807050118
  • (2002) Fat Cats and Running Dogs: The Enron Stage of Capitalism, Zed Books, ISBN 978-1842772614
  • (2002), War against the Planet: The Fifth Afghan War, Imperialism and Other Assorted Fundamentalism, Manohar, ISBN 978-8187496199
  • (2002), Untouchable Freedom: A Social History of a Dalit Community, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195658484
  • (2000), The Karma of Brown Folk, University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 978-0816634385

References

  1. ^ Naked Punch "About us"
  2. ^ Amerasia Journal is issued by UCLA [1]
  3. ^ Left History is published by York University. [2]
  4. ^ The Dragons, Their Dragoons
  5. ^ "I am a Marxist who has an affinity with working-class movements around the world." ZSVS Participant Interview with... Vijay Prashad, ZSVS June 2006: Interviews [3]
  6. ^ "Ten years ago, I co-founded the Forum of Indian Leftists." ZSVS Participant Interview with... Vijay Prashad, ZSVS June 2006: Interviews [4]
  7. ^ Hindutva For a Few Dollars a Day (author info) People's Democracy, Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
  8. ^ White Women in Racialized Spaces: Imaginative Transformation and Ethical Action in Literature, Samina Najmi, Rajini Srikanth, Mother Teresa as the Mirror of Bourgeois Guilt- Chapter 4, pp 67,Published by SUNY Press, 2002, ISBN 0791454770, 9780791454770
  9. ^ Mother Teresa: A Communist View, Vijay Prashad, Australian Marxist Review No. 40 August 1998, previously published in Political Affairs, the Journal of the Communist Party USA
  10. ^ [5] Letter to a Young American Hindu, by Vijay Prashad,23 May 2007
  11. ^ http://www.jstor.org/pss/524727

External links


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