Most Americans despise communism. But British Trotskyist Alan Woods has a different story to tell in his 2005 book, “Marxism and the USA.”
Woods’s book, which shows that Marxist and socialist ideas have not entirely been alien to the American traditions, has now been made available to Pakistani audiences in Urdu.
Translated by Pakistani comrades of the biweekly socialist magazine Jedd-o-jeh’d (The Struggle), the book was launched at a ceremony at the National Press Club on Saturday.
In the Urdu edition’s Introduction, which is also available online, John Peterson, the secretary general of Workers International League of America, noted that Woods finds examples of class struggle from the American Revolution to Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves.
Peterson explained that the book’s basic premise is that US society is also affected by “class contradictions”, just as other countries and America’s historical revolutionary traditions will resurface.
Examples such as the Occupy Movement of 2011-12 and the workers’ agitation for collective bargaining rights in the US state of Wisconsin provide evidence for such pro-labour or socialist resurgence, according to Peterson.
In his online post for Marxist.com, Peterson suggests that just as American workers can learn from the millions of Pakistanis who participated in the 1968 protest movement against dictatorship, Pakistani workers can also learn from examples of Americans such as the iconic union leader Eugene Debs.
Peterson said that with the global superpower status of the US, a victory for the socialists in America would be monumental for the socialist cause worldwide. That is why, he said, Marxism and the USA is an important read for Pakistani comrades and youth.
Asian Marxist Review Editor Dr Lal Khan and rights activist Dr Farzana Bari also spoke at the ceremony and appreciated the translation.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2014.