Reading Trotsky in Pakistan

Published on ZNet, by Farooq Sulehria, April 13, 2015.

It is hard to say when exactly Leon Trotsky’s ideas begin to draw attention in Pakistan. However, by the 1930s his theories as well as his struggle against Stalinism won some support in pre-partition India. In Clash of Fundamentalisms, Tariq Ali narrates the proceedings of a meeting held in Lahore in April 1969 where his Trotskyist ideas were received as a novelty.  

In recounting that Lahore meeting, Ali tells the story of an old and witty comrade who staunchly believed in the left unity: “He turned to the pro-Moscow stalwarts: ‘Here we have our Sunnis.’ He glared at the Maoists: ‘Here we have our Shia.’ Then he looked in my direction and smiled: ‘And now this young firebrand wants us to embrace Wahabism’”(1).

Given Trotsky’s demonization by Stalinist and Maoist bureaucracies, it is impossible that the old left guard in Pakistan was unaware of Leon Trotsky. In any case, by the 1980s Marxist ‘Wahabism’ arrived in Pakistan in an organized form. It all began in 1980 in Amsterdam when a bunch of young left-wing exiles launched Jeddojuhd (Struggle), an Urdu-language journal. A small group of activists gathered around the journal. By 1986 a few leading members of the Struggle Group were able to return from exile and organize in Lahore.

The Struggle Group and Militant Labour in England: … //
… Getting recruited: … //
… The cult of personality: … //

… (full long text, notes).


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