The Third World perspective has been formulated by intellectuals and academics integrally related to the anti-colonial and anti-neocolonial movements of the Third World (for more on the movements, see “What is the Third World Revolution,” posted 7/18/2013). Some are organic intellectuals, whose capacity to formulate insights was developed in the movements. Others are academics whose search for understanding led them to encounter the movements and take seriously their insights. The formulation of this perspective reached a zenith in the 1960s and 1970s, suffered setbacks with the imposition of the neoliberal project after 1980, and since 1995 has experienced a renewal that has brought it to its most advanced stage.
The Third World perspective is fundamentally anti-colonial: it seeks to overcome structures of colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism and to establish the self-determination of peoples, the sovereignty of nations, and true independence for all countries. The formulators of the perspective of the Third World Revolution include: Simón Bolívar, José Martí, Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, y Salvador Allende. In its renewal since 1995, important leaders include Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa. Thousands of intellectuals, known and unknown, whose work includes the careful study of the speeches and writings of the charismatic leaders, also have contributed to its formulation and dissemination among the people.
The Third World perspective has been constructed on the common experiential foundation of colonialism. For the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, colonial domination occurred principally in the 16th century, in the aftermath of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of vast regions of America. The peoples of Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia were conquered and colonized during the period 1763 to 1914 by England, France, and other European powers. The conquest and colonization of these regions involved the destruction of traditional autonomous empires and societies and the incorporation of the conquered peoples into a world economy as suppliers of cheap raw materials and purchasers of surplus goods of the manufacturing center of the world system.
The formulators of the Third World perspective, integrally tied to anti-colonial movements, sought to form the consciousness of the people and to participate in the transformation of colonial structures through mass movement, seeking the autonomy and genuine independence of their nations and the self-determination of their peoples. Many, most notably Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro, forged their understanding through a creative synthesis of Marxism-Leninism and an anti-colonial perspective of national liberation.
Key words: Third World, revolution, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, democracy, national liberation, sovereignty, self-determination, socialism, Marxism, Marxism-Leninism, Cuba, Latin America