Vijay Prashad

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Unequal socioeconomic conditions of today, based as they are on racisms of the past and of the present, are thereby rendered untouchable by the state. Color-blind justice privatizes inequality and racism, and it removes itself from the project of redistributive and anti-racist justice. This is the genteel racism of our new millennium.

Vijay Prashad (born 14 August 1967) is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and Marxist intellectual.


  • The problem of the twenty-first century, then, is the problem of the color-blind. This problem is simple: it believes that to redress racism, we need to not consider race in social practice, notably in the sphere of governmental action. The state, we are told, must be above race. ... We are led to believe that racism is prejudicial behavior of one party against another rather than the coagulation of socioeconomic injustice against groups. If the state acts without prejudice (this is, if it acts equally), then that is proof of the end of racism. Unequal socioeconomic conditions of today, based as they are on racisms of the past and of the present, are thereby rendered untouchable by the state. Color-blind justice privatizes inequality and racism, and it removes itself from the project of redistributive and anti-racist justice. This is the genteel racism of our new millennium.
    • Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity (2002), p. 38
  • For the past 40 years, the IMF has had the same agenda: to make sure that developing countries adhere to the rules of globalization set by the advanced capitalist states... Over these four decades, fires have burned on the streets of the countries that have gone to the IMF and then forced austerity upon their populations. In the 1980s, these uprisings used to be called “IMF riots.” It was clear to everyone that the IMF’s policies had provoked desperate people to take to the streets. The name given to these riots was precise. The emphasis had to be on the IMF and not on the riots themselves. The most famous of these riots took place in Venezuela—the Caracazo of 1989—which opened up a process that brought Hugo Chavez to power and that created the Bolivarian Revolution. It is reasonable to call the Arab Spring of 2011 an IMF riot because it was provoked by IMF austerity policies combined with rising food prices. The current unrest from Pakistan to Ecuador should be filed under IMF riot... The main lesson of these uprisings is not only that the people want fuel subsidies or a stable currency; what they want more than anything is democratic control over their own economy.
  • The consequences of IMF orthodoxy are often deadly, with the Malawi case as one very painful episode. In 1996, the IMF staff pushed the government of Malawi to privatize its agricultural development and marketing corporation. This body held Malawi’s grain stock, and it regulated the price for the sale of grain in the country. Privatization of the corporation in 1999 left Malawi’s government without a means to protect its population in case of an emergency. Between October 2001 and March 2002, the price of maize shot up by 400 percent. Flooding in 2000-2001 and a year of drought set the food production in the country into distress. People began to die of starvation... The IMF did not relent. Malawi had to continue to service its debt. In 2002, it spent $70 million on its debt service payments, which was 20 percent of its national budget (more than Malawi spent on health, education, and agriculture combined). There was no lifeline through to Malawi, whose food crisis continues till today... No one within the IMF meeting will raise the question of democracy, both in terms of the IMF’s own functioning and in terms of the IMF’s relationship with sovereign countries around the world.
  • Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. Bolivia claims to have 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves... Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol—its national mining company—and Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB)—its national lithium company—as equal partners... Tesla (United States) and Pure Energy Minerals (Canada) both showed great interest in having a direct stake in Bolivian lithium. But they could not make a deal that would take into consideration the parameters set by the Morales government. Morales himself was a direct impediment to the takeover of the lithium fields by the non-Chinese transnational firms. He had to go.

Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations (2020)[edit]

Monthly Review Press, 2020 ISBN 978-1583679067
  • The CIA teachers were excellent at their jobs. Dan Mitrione of the CIA went to Uruguay, where ge taught the right wing groups how to use torture. 'The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect' - that was his credo. His favorite torture was to electrocute the genitals. He was killed by the left-wing Tupamaros in 1970.
    • p. 84
  • In 1965, one section of the Indonesian Army moved against Sukarno, and took over the institutions of the country. Then began what is generally understood to be one of the ghastliest political purges in modern times. The Indonesian Army and its allies - mainly fanatical anti-Communists, including religious groups - killed at least a million people in this pogrom. What is beyond doubt - even though the US refuses to release fully its documents on this period - is that the United States and the Australians provided the Indonesian armed forces with lists of Communists who were to be assassinated, that they egged on the Army to conduct these massacres, and that they covered up this absolute atrocity.
    • p. 85
  • In South America, the US government worked with the archipelago of military juntas from Argentina to Paraguay to abduct, torture, and murder Communists in the continent. This programme, which ran from 1975 to 1989, was called Operation Condor. It would kill around 100,000 people and imprison half a million.
    • p. 87
  • If the United States or the French or the British intervened into countries of the Third World, this was for freedom; the Soviets and the Third World project were the essence of unfreedom: this was a remarkable feat of interpretation.
    • p. 91
  • As the lights went out in the USSR and as the Third World Project surrendered before imperialist liberalization, a new era of intervention opened up. If the previous era felt like a roll call of coups, interventions, and invasions, populated by a rogues' gallery of butchers, assassins, and wheeler-dealers backed by Western intelligence services, now, after the fall of the USSR and the surrender of the Third World, the shield at the UN disappeared and the interventions from the West came like a tsunami.
    • p. 115

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