Worldly Marxism Rethinking Revolution from Pakistan’s Peripheries

Noaman G. Ali, Shozab Raza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


How can Marxism, a theory and practice that emerged from the European experience, speak to contexts outside that experience? Recent scholarship has returned to the moment of the 1960s and 1970s to examine how political movements in the global South that embraced Marxism grappled with this question, aiming to reformulate Marxist theories and categories of analysis for postcolonial realities. Whereas this scholarship focuses on the writings of intellectuals, in this article, the authors supplement prose with oral history and ethnography to also identify the theory immanent in practice. They show how the translation of Marxist theory for political practice in the peripheries instantiated what the authors call a worldly Marxism: that is, a Marxism that is constantly renewed as it exceeds its origins in Europe and attends to the specificities of settler-colonies, (post-)colonies and metropoles. Worldly Marxism thus entails theorizing in the conjuncture, that is, from a particular historical moment, and involves arranging multiple conceptual elements to clarify and understand the political task at hand. The authors illustrate how such worldly Marxism was produced in Pakistan by examining the Mazdoor Kisan Party (MKP), the country's historically largest communist party, as it engaged with agrarian transitions, religion, and gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-504
Number of pages16
JournalComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


For feedback on earlier iterations of this article, the authors would like to thank Stephen Campbell, Layli Uddin, the special section’s editors Elleni Centime Zeleke and Arash Davari, the journal’s anonymous reviewers, and participants of a dissertation writing workshop at the University of Toronto.


  • gender
  • Marxism
  • Pakistan
  • peasantry
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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