In The Darker Nations, Vijay Prashad provided an intellectual history of the Third World and traced the rise and fall of the Non-Aligned Movement. With The Poorer Nations, Prashad takes up the story where he left off.
Since the ’70s, the countries of the Global South have struggled to build political movements. Prashad analyzes the failures of neoliberalism, as well as the rise of the BRICS countries, the World Social Forum, issue-based movements like Via Campesina, the Latin American revolutionary revival—in short, efforts to create alternatives to the neoliberal project advanced militarily by the US and its allies and economically by the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and other instruments of the powerful. Just as The Darker Nations asserted that the Third World was a project, not a place, The Poorer Nations sees the Global South as a term that properly refers not to geographical space but to a concatenation of protests against neoliberalism.
In his foreword to the book, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali writes that Prashad “has helped open the vista on complex events that preceded today’s global situation and standoff.” The Poorer Nations looks to the future while revising our sense of the past.
In an appearance on KPFA’s Flashpoints, Yasmin Nair and Vijay Prashad, alongside other commentators, addressed the state’s role in the normalization of anti-LGBTQ violence, the co-optation of queer struggles, and contradictory media responses to the Orlando attack.
I've been reading the later work of Derrida, in which the intensity about language remains but there's also a turn towards the thorniest questions of ethics. There's a remarkable passage in "The Gift of Death" (1995) that gets at something the news isn't touching on:
"...because of the structure of the laws of the market that society has instituted and controls, because of the mechanisms of external debt and other comparable inequities, that same 'society' puts to death or (but failing to help someone in distress accounts only for a minor difference) allows to die of hunger and disease tens of millions of children…without any moral or legal tribunal ever being considered competent to judge such a sacrifice, the sacrifice of the other to avoid being sacrificed oneself. Not only does such a society participate in this incalculable sacrifice, it actually organizes it."
“A complex, beautifully interwoven account of Europe from the ancient Greeks to modern absolutist monarchies…Exhilarating.” – Guardian