In the face of global neocolonial situation of the post-World War II era (see “What is the Third World Revolution?” 7/17/2013), two mutually contradictory tendencies of reform and revolution emerged in Latin America. The two tendencies reached their zenith in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, when the revolutionary tendency received a boost from the inspiring example of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, and the reformist tendency was following the developmentalist model under the direction of the industrial bourgeoisie. In Africa and Asia, the national bourgeoisie of the newly independent nations, a class of much more recent formation than its counterpart in Latin America, was similarly divided between moderate and radical approaches, with the latter symbolized by such leaders as Ho Chi Minh, Nasser, Nkrumah, and Nyerere.
Thus, by the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, there had emerged reform and revolutionary movements in virtually all of the nations of the Third World, shaking the world-system by its foundation. However, economic and political conditions did not permit that either revolution or reform could attain its goals. In the 1980s, taking advantage of the external debt of the Third World nations, the global powers imposed neoliberal policies on the peoples of the Third World. In response to this barbarous war against the poor, the Third World movements have experienced a resurgence and renewal since 1995. Whereas in the 1960s and 1970s, the reform and revolutionary tendencies were in tension and conflict, the renewed post-1995 movement is a hybrid of reform from below and revolution. The renewed revolutionary/reform movement seeks to establish the sovereignty of Third World nations in the face of the intentions of the United States and the ex-colonial powers to preserve the neocolonial system. The Third World anti-neocolonial movement today is a political, intellectual, and moral challenge to the capitalist world-economy, offering alternative understandings as well as developing alternative structures of international relations in practice.
Key words: Third World, revolution, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, democracy, national liberation, sovereignty, self-determination, socialism, African Nationalism, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Cuba, Latin America