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Rice and Resistance

Climate Imperialism in Pakistan

Love Pakistani food? Hate imperialism?

Join us for dinner and discussion as we unpack the impact of climate change, imperialism, and political-economic crises in Pakistan.


Saturday, Oct. 22, 6 pm

Sixth Street Community Center,

Lower East Side,

New York City

About this event


Together with scholars of Pakistani history and organizers from grassroots movements, we hope to broaden our understanding of the conditions that precipitated this crisis. A multitude of factors, including the increasing prevalence of contract farming and the dedication of productive land to cash crops, the economic devastation following the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing liberalization of the economy have led to an upward redistribution of wealth, and left poor farmers and landless laborers at greater risk of debt and impoverishment following natural disasters such as floods. State abandonment following these crises is rooted in historical and ongoing imperialism, as IMF-led economic restructuring continues to serve as a precondition to acquiring loans, leading to the privatization of industry, imposed austerity measures, the gutting of social spending, and ever-increasing public debt. 


While we call to memory the long history of suppression of progressive movements by the Pakistani state and its US and western backers, we also gather to recognize the long and rich tradition of left resistance in Pakistan, as well as its current forms. We will discuss ongoing movements against austerity as farmers, students, women, and working classes are coming together to build momentum at a local level. We will also discuss growing calls for climate reparations, situating them within the long history of movements against state and imperial violence. 


Saadia Toor is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island, the City University of New York (CUNY). Dr. Toor’s scholarship revolves around issues of culture, nationalism, gender/sexuality, state formation, and international political economy. Her book, The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan was published by Pluto Press in 2011. A special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly on the theme of Solidarity co-edited by Dr Toor was published in November 2014.

Tabitha Spence s a doctoral student of anthropology at American University in Washington DC. Her work is on climate politics and the American war machine. She is a member of Haqooq e Khalq Party in Pakistan, where she resides part-time and supports the growing labor, student, and women’s movements. She is also a member of Democratic Socialists of America and Progressive International.

Mohiba Ahmed is a member of many grassroots feminist and students’ rights organizations in Pakistan and one of the founding members of Progressive Students’ Collective and Hakooq-e-Khalq Party Pakistan. She was involved in orchestrating the Students’ Solidarity March in 55 cities of Pakistan in 2019 as the spokesperson of the Student Action Committee (SAC), the first national students’ alliance in Pakistan since the 1980s. Currently, she is pursuing her Master's at NYU’s Near Eastern Department.

Flood Relief Support

We are accepting donations for flood relief on behalf of our partners at the Women's Democratic Front. Women Democratic Front (WDF) is a Pakistan-based, independent socialist-feminist resistance movement. All proceeds from this event will go directly to their flood relief efforts in Pakistan. You can also send donations via PayPal to @southasianleft using the button below, or via Venmo (at the event). If you would like to donate directly to relief efforts, you can do so at any of the links here.

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