No Free Left

The Futures of Indian Communism

Vijay Prashad


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2015

Language: English

378 pages

Price INR 395.00

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Over the past twenty years, the Indian political climate has shifted decidedly to the Right – with the BJP and the Congress dragging India into a growth trajectory that squanders the hopes of working people. The old consensus on Indian socialism is threadbare, and socialist parties in disarray.

The future of Indian communism is rooted in the popular hopes for a better tomorrow and in the popular discontent with the bitter present. No Free Left is a critical examination of the past of Indian Communism and an assessment of its future.

Most literature on Indian communism feels claustrophobic. It assumes that the communist movement lives on a detached landscape – its programme and political judgments are adjudged against a divine standard. A history of communism cannot be written, Gramsci said, without writing a 'general history of a country'. Vijay Prashad does exactly that.

No Free Left stays alive to the details of the present while drawing out the long term dynamic, combining a rich historical survey with acute political analysis of the present. It is a compelling work for students of Indian politics. For activists of the Left, it is indispensable reading. Above all, it is a live work, an invitation to debate and discussion.

Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian and journalist. Prashad is the author of forty books, including Washington Bullets, Red Star Over the Third World, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. He is the Chief Correspondent for Globetrotter and editor at LeftWord Books. He has appeared in two films – Shadow World (2016) and Two Meetings (2017).


Vijay Prashad's commanding knowledge of the material . . . his passion for the subject and his meticulous research combine to show that for the left, new tomorrows await.

The Hindu

A sympathetic, yet critical account of the Left, Prashad's book delves into history to trace the rise and fall of Indian Communism. Prashad also includes comparative vignettes from Left movements worldwide to bolster his arguments. The strength of the book is Prashad's access to top Communist leaders and intellectuals and good use of internal party documents. He combines academic depth with a racy writing style.

The Book Review

Vijay Prashad has brought not the strains but the travails of the communist heartstrings to the public domain. This book . . . explores the polity, state and society in India from the Marxist perspective, bringing into sharp focus what remains buried under deep layers of oblivion in the annals of official and mainstream history.