Marxism And The Postcolonial World: Footnotes to a Long March

Critical Encounters

By Aditya Nigam

Introduction

This paper is as much about the postcolonial world as it is about marxism. More importantly, it is about the relationship about the two. I use the term ‘postcolonial’ here to refer to something more than a mere temporal marker – as more than something that comes after the end of colonialism. Rather, it refers to the entire region of the Three Continents (Abdel-Malik 1981) since the beginning of its encounter with colonialism, and through it, their encounter with modernity; it therefore points towards a whole range of conditions that mark it out as distinct from the first world – political, economic, psychological and cultural. If colonialism was the dominant agent of modernity in these societies, it was certainly no the only one. A certain marxism, particularly after the Russian revolution of 1917, became a potent force through which the emancipatory ideals of the secular-modern imagination…

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