Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where did the term Third World begin?

AAPA Newspaper Vol.1 No.4 1969 Article

"The Bandung Conference (Indonesia) of April 1955 was the first instance when representatives of a large number of “underdeveloped” nations congregated. The Bandung Conference was one of the major impetuses in the development of Third World consciousness among the nations of Asia, Latin America and Africa. The following are excerpts from Chou Enlai’s (Peoples Republic of China) speech at the conference:

'The people of Asia and Africa created brilliant ancient civilizations and made tremendous contributions to mankind. But ever since modern times, most of the countries of Asia and Africa in varying degrees have been subjected to colonial plunder and oppression, and have been thus forced to remain in a stagnant state of poverty and backwardness. Our voices have been suppressed, our aspirations shattered, and our destiny placed in the hands of others. Thus, we have no choice but to rise against colonialism. Suffering from the same cause and struggling for the same aim, we the Asian and African peoples have found it easier to understand each other and have long had deep sympathy and concern for one another.

‘...However, the rule of colonialism in this region has not yet come to an end, and new colonialists are attempting to take the place of the old ones. Not a few of the Asian and African peoples are still leading a life of colonial slavery. Not a few of the Asian and African peo­ples are still subjected to racial dis­crimination and deprived of human rights ...We need to develop our countries independently with no outside interference and in accordance with the will of the people.

...the days when the Western powers controlled our destiny are already past. The destiny of Asian and African countries should be taken into the hands of the peoples themselves. We strive to realize our own...Independence. but this does not mean the rejection of…cooperation with any country outside of the Asian-African region. However, we want to do away with the exploitation of backward countries in the East by colon­ial powers in the West and to develop the independent and sovereign economy of our own countries. Complete independence is an objective for which the great majority of Asian and African countries have to struggle for a long time.

‘...we Asian and African countries, which are more or less under similar circumstances, should be the first to cooperate with one another in a friendly manner and put peaceful coexistence into practice. The discord and estrangement created among the Asian and African countries by colonial rule in the past should no longer be there. We Asian and African countries should respect one another and eliminate any suspicion and fear which may exist between us.

This meeting of ours was not easily brought about. Though there are among us many different views, they should not influence the common desires that we all hold. Our conference ought to give ex­pression to our common desires and thus make itself a treasured page in the his­tory of Asia and Africa.’

—-Chou En-lai


Ed. Note :Non-alignment and underdevelopment defined the "Third World". Asia, Africa and Latin America underdevelopment stemmed from European colonialism exploiting their natural resources, markets and cheap labor. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) saw the Third World as part of a worldwide strategy against U.S. and Soviet Union worldwide hegemony. This "Three Worlds" analysis placed the U.S. and the Soviet Union within the First World; Europe, Japan and the Soviet Satellite Countries in the Second World; and the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America within the Third World.

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