Daily Archives: August 6, 2009

All Cultures Are Not Equal

by Kenan Malik

‘I denounce European colonialism’, wrote CLR James, ‘but I respect the learning and profound discoveries of Western civilisation.’ (1)

James was one of the great radicals of the twentieth century, an anti-imperialist, a superb historian of black struggles, a Marxist who remained one even when it was no longer fashionable to be so. But today, James’ defence of ‘Western civilisation’ would probably be dismissed as Eurocentric, even racist. Continue reading


Filed under Colonialism, culture

Gramsci and Pakistan

By Taimur Rahman.

Antonio Gramsci was the founder of the Communist Party of Italy. He struggled courageously against the rise of Mussolini’s Fascist government. For his revolutionary activities he was arrested on November 1926 and was imprisoned. After ten years of incarceration he died in 1937 at the age of 46. Just like Faiz Ahmed Faiz of Pakistan, Gramsci produced some of his most enduring writings from prison. His writings filling some 2,848 pages in 33 notebooks, painfully put together after his death, and which are now world famous by the title The Prison Notebooks. Widely regarded as a defender of Lenin’s Third International and a creative Marxist-Leninist, the influence of Gramsci’s thought has implications far beyond Italian fascism. Some of Gramsci’s concepts may offer vital insights into recent events in Pakistan. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan

Hitchens Says Palestinians Need A Mandela Not A Gandhi

New Statesman

My column in last week’s magazine focused on the need for a Palestinian (and an Israel) Gandhi figure, to renounce terror on both sides and end the destructive “cycle of violence” and mutual fear and distrust:

“…neither side has ever come even close to producing viable leaders committed to non-violence and able to articulate an authentically Gandhian vision for ending the conflict. On the Palestinian side, Yasser Arafat’s approach can be summed up in his warning about having an olive branch in one hand but a gun in the other. On the Israeli side, Yitzhak Rabin, the joint architect of the Oslo Accords, will always be remembered by the Palestinians as the man who also ordered Israeli troops to “break the bones” of protesters during the first intifada.Those considered to be peacemakers fall hopelessly short of being a latter-day Gandhi or a Middle Eastern Martin Luther King. Waiting for such figures to emerge, even in the Holy Land, could be like waiting for Godot.”

Now Christopher Hitchens has emailed me to say that I may be focusing on the wrong role model – it is a Nelson Mandela that the Palestinians need, not a Mohandas Gandhi. He writes:

“Edward Said used to talk and write about the need for a Palestinian Mandela. I think that might lead you – and such Israelis and Jews as will listen – in a better direction than Gandhi. But the ANC wasn’t pacifist in name or in fact, despite the Mahatma’s early input.” Continue reading


Filed under Palestine-israel

The Idea of Pakistan: Ambedkar’s Analysis

By K R Phanda

Dr BR Ambedkar, whose birth anniversary was celebrated on April 14, is remembered for his commendable work for the uplift of Dalits. What, however, is not known, is that he had made an analysis of the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan at the 1940 Lahore Congress. No other writer during the time, had such a clear observation vis-à-vis the demand’s ramifications. Even Jinnah was impressed by Ambedkar’s analysis that appeared in Pakistan or the Partition of India (Thackers, Bombay, 1940). Continue reading


Filed under India, Jinnah, Pakistan

Lenin and Pakistan’s Lawyers’ Movement

This was written at the height of the Lawyers’ Movement and gave the Marxist-Leninist point of view on the Lawyers’ Movement.   It is being reproduced because it remains relevant in modern context. A viable Left in Pakistan is a guarantee of a democratic progressive Pakistan. This is the reason why we put up articles that seem to some as being far left.   -YLH

by Bhagat Singh

It is important to understand the nature and scope of the movement for the restoration of judiciary in the context of the stage of the revolutionary movement. The Marxian method of reasoning is based on analyzing the general case, and moving to the concrete case, and deducing general implications from the analysis. I would like to explain the general Leninist appreciation of the bourgeois democratic movement, and will then move on the specific case of the current movement of the judiciary. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan

Power with responsibility

By Haris Gazdar writing for the DAWN today

THE Supreme Court’s ruling on July 31 striking down some of the actions taken by former President Musharraf as unconstitutional has been hailed as historic.

This is hyperbole. What is more important is how the judges and their supporters plan to use the power they are acquiring with respect to the key challenges facing the state and society.

The constitutional petitions before the Supreme Court related to the legality of judicial appointments during the 16-month period when Mr Iftikhar Chaudhry had been removed from his position as chief justice. The court ruled these judicial appointments to be illegal. The jobs of 110 judges of the higher courts were put on the line. In effect, a few judges of the Supreme Court gave themselves veto power over the composition of the higher judiciary as a whole. Those declared as ‘non-judges’ included not only the so-called PCO judges but also all those judges appointed to the higher courts between Nov 3, 2007 and March 22, 2009. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, Politics, south asia

Ahmadinejad and Palin: Kindred Souls

 By Juan Cole 

 Is Sarah Palin America’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The two differ in many key respects, of course, but it is remarkable how similar they are.

There are uncanny parallels in their biographies, their domestic politics and the way they present themselves — even in their rocky relationships with party elders. Both are former governors of a northwest frontier state with great natural beauty (in Ahmadinejad’s case, Ardabil). Both are known for saying things that produce a classic Scooby-Doo double take in their audiences. Both appeal to a sort of wounded nationalism, speaking of the sacrifice of dedicated troops for an often feckless public, and identifying themselves with the common soldier. Continue reading

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Filed under Iran, USA