|Education||The Doon School
Pomona College (BA)
University of Chicago (PhD)
Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist. He is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. In 2013–2014, he was the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut.
Prashad is the author of seventeen books. In 2012, he published five books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press) and Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today (The New Press). Two of his most well-known books, Karma of Brown Folk (2000) and Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting (2002), were chosen by the Village Voice as books of the year.. His book The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (2007) 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. In 2013, Verso published his The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. He is author of No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (LeftWord Books, 2015) and the editor of Letters to Palestine (Verso Books, 2015), a book that includes the writings of Teju Cole, Sinan Antoon, Noura Erakat, and Junot Diaz.
He is the nephew of Indian politician Brinda Karat.
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 theorise but also organise.
Criticism of US Foreign Policy
Arab Revolt of 2011
The Mexican Revolution opened up in 1911, but didn't settle into the PRI regime till the writing of the 1917 constitution and the elevation of Carranza to the presidency in 1920 or perhaps Cárdenas in 1934. I find many parallels between Mexico and Egypt. In both, the Left was not sufficiently developed. Perils of the Right always lingered. If the Pharonic state withers, as Porfirio Díaz's state did, the peasants and the working class might move beyond spontaneity and come forward with some more structure. Spontaneity is fine, but if power is not seized effectively, counter-revolution will rise forth effectively and securely.
In a subsequent essay, he asserted that the Arab Revolt is part of a long process, the Arab Revolution. He argued that the Revolt of 2011 continues to raise the two "unanswered questions" of the Arab Revolution: that of politics (freedom from monarchies and dictatorships) and of economics (to make an independent economy). In addition, he considers the Revolt part of a historical process that he characterises as a "revolt against the market" (as opposed to revolts in Eastern Europe which he sees as a "revolt for the market"). In two essays, he lays out what he describes as the failures of US policy in the Middle East. The two pillars of US cynicism are its need for autocracy as an ally in its "war on terror," and its need to support Israel in any way possible. The test for this conservative US policy came in Obama's choice of Frank G. Wisner, who he calls the "empire's bagman," as the US envoy to Mubarak.
In a further essay he offered an analysis of the collapse of the national liberation dynamic which is evident from his book, The Darker Nations. This essay goes over the recent history of Libya and proposes of the recent upsurge there, "Old rivalries and new grievances are united. Some of them are for reactionary tribal purposes, and others seek liberation from 'reforms.' Some cavil that a country of 6 million with such oil wealth does not look like the Emirates, and others simply want to have some more control of their lives. But most want release from the hidden corridors of the Libyan labyrinth."  Prashad debated historian Juan Cole on the US-French-NATO military intervention. Cole was for it. Prashad against. Prashad argued that the genuine Libyan rising had been "usurped" by various unsavory characters, including someone with CIA connections.
He gave a talk on the geopolitics of the Iranian nuclear deal.
Critique of Mother Teresa and western charity
|“||The Communists don't give people fish, so they might eat for a day; the point of Communism is to teach the masses how to fish, so that they might eat forever. Each day, Calcutta's Communists – as real nameless Mother Teresas! – conduct the necessary work towards socialism, for the elimination of poverty forever.||”|
— Mother Teresa: A Communist View, Vijay Prashad, Australian Marxist Review No. 40 August 1998 
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. He argued 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. He contends that the Bhopal disaster 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 totaled $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 West 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." Pope 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 Haitian dictator 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".
Prashad, along with his FOIL compatriot Biju Mathew, is also an outspoken critic of the resurgence of Hindu cultural nationalism, known as 'Hindutva'. 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. He also identifies himself as an anti-Zionist and has advocated for the end of US aid to Israel.
Books and publishing
- (2015) No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (LeftWord Books).
- (2015) Letters to Palestine (Verso Books).
- (2013) Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso). Foreword by Boutros-Boutros Ghali.
- (2012) Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today. (The New Press), ISBN 978-1-59558-784-8
- (2012) Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, (AK Press), ISBN 978-1-84935-112-6.
- (2007) The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, The New Press, ISBN 978-1-56584-785-9
- (2003), Keeping up with the Dow Joneses: Stocks, Jails, Welfare, South End Press, ISBN 978-0-89608-689-0
- (2003), Namaste Sharon: Hindutva and Sharonism under US Hegemony, LeftWord Books, ISBN 81-87496-35-5.
- (2002) Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0-8070-5011-8
- (2002) Fat Cats and Running Dogs: The Enron Stage of Capitalism, Zed Books, ISBN 978-1-84277-261-4
- (2002), War against the Planet: The Fifth Afghan War, Imperialism and Other Assorted Fundamentalism, Manohar, ISBN 978-81-87496-19-9
- (2002), Untouchable Freedom: A Social History of a Dalit Community, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-565848-4
- (2000), The Karma of Brown Folk, University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 978-0-8166-3438-5
- "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 
- "I came to Marxism against my self-interest. Born into affluence, I was raised in an revolutionary city (Calcutta, India)" Left history, Volumes 11–12, pp 61, Dept. of History, Queen's University, 2006
- "Welcome aboard, Mr. Chief Editor". LeftWord Books. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
- The Dragons, Their Dragoons
- "Ten years ago, I co-founded the Forum of Indian Leftists." ZSVS Participant Interview with... Vijay Prashad, ZSVS June 2006: Interviews 
- Hindutva For a Few Dollars a Day (author info) People's Democracy, Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
- "Vijay Prashad has come to be known for his expert critical analysis of US imperialism and war", Chopping Through the Foundations of Racism With Vijay Prashad, Joel Wendland, August 8th.2003, FrictionMagazine.com
- Casual Imperialism, Vijay Prashad, People's Weekly World, Global Policy Forum, 16 August 2003 
- http://www.counterpunch.org/prashad02022011.html; http://www.counterpunch.org/prashad02082011.html
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmDFE-9YV74 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkcHWEdqvBs.
- 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
- 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 0-7914-5477-0, ISBN 978-0-7914-5477-0
- Vijay Prashad, "Letter to a Young American Hindu," Countercurrents.org (23 May 2007).
- "I also write about Israel in the hope that others will join in the campaign to end our subsidy for its human rights violations, this both from the U.S. taxpayer and from the Indian government (in the arms purchases)." My Investment in Israel, April 21, 2010, CounterPunch
- Vijay Prashad's Faculty Profile at Trinity College
- Vijay Prashad's Curriculum Vitae
- Reality Asserts Itself – Vijay Prashad. A set of 4 interviews on The Real News. (October 2014)
- Making Poverty History. Jacobin. (November 2014)
- What Was Missing from Obama's Anti-Terrorism Speech. "Vijay Prashad says President Obama failed to acknowledge how Western intervention has contributed to the rise of extremism." (February 2015)