GE3V17049 The Cultural Cold War

Class 2 The Third World Takes off











  • Prashad

  • Outline 2

  • Key ideas marked in red

Class Description



  • Windrush Generation

- "London Is the Place for Me" is a 1948 calypso song by Aldwyn Roberts. Roberts, under his calypso stage name Lord Kitchener, sang the first two stanzas of "London is the Place for Me" on camera for reporters upon arrival at Tilbury Docks on the HMT Empire Windrush, and was recorded by Pathe newsreel cameras. Roberts, as Lord Kitchener, did not record the song until 1951. The song was also popularised during the 1950s (1954) by bandleader Edmundo Ros.

- The Windrush generation, it turned out in the wake of Brexit did not have British citizenship, creating a whole range of problems. The postcolonial world, thus comes back in unexepected ways.

  • Civil Society

After the Bandung Conference Thirdworldism had been translated from an intellectual project into a political project. What followed, now was the creation of a what we might call a Third World civil society.

- Different groups, women, economist, writers, were all politically educated in the course of the liberation struggle and advocated their issues at they were altered by anticolonial activism in the 1960s


What we will discuss in this class is a lot, but basically boils down to the issues that come out of Bandung and the political coalitions they inspired in the course of the 1960s


  • Societies all faced the same challenges

  • Issue 1: Nationalism v. internationalism of the Third World

  • Issue 2:  The level of inclusion: role of democracy and egalitarianism?

  • Issue 3: Relationship to violence: rethoric v. liberation struggle?

Intro Module 2




Like Accra, Like Cairo, Kinshasa these cities became ideological centers for Pan-Arabisme, Pan-Africanism etc..

  • Cairo opend its doors to the Afro-Asian solidarity organisations. These were Non-State organisations that emerged from Third World solidarity.

  • Late December 1957: Afro-Asian Peolple’s Solidarity Conference

1. Militant position against the First World

2. Role of Women was an important topic of discussion

Nasser che.jpg

Nasser meeting Ché in Cairo , 1966


  • Coup (23 July 1952)

The revolution was initially aimed at overthrowing King Farouk.

end the British occupation of the country, and secure the independence of Sudan (previously governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium). 

  • Nasser

Following a 1954 attempt on his life by a Muslim Brotherhood member, he cracked down on the organization, put President Muhammad Naguib under house arrest and assumed executive office, officially becoming president in June 1956.


Nasser exchanged letters with his mother and visited her on holidays. He stopped receiving messages at the end of April 1926. Upon returning to Khatatba, he learned that his mother had died after giving birth to his third brother, Shawki, and that his family had kept the news from him.

In 1937, Nasser applied to the Royal Military Academy for army officer training ut his police record of anti-government protest initially blocked his entry. Disappointed, he enrolled in the law school at King Fuad University, but quit after one semester to reapply to the Military Academy.

Nasser's first battlefield experience was in Palestine during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War


  • Ideology of Arab Socialism

Nasser wanted to developed a secular nationalism in Egypt and Arab Socilaism was his tool.

Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab nationalism: the Eisenhower doctrine and the Middle East, 2004

According to Yaqub the administration's plan was fatally flawed from the start. Washington overestimated the public relations bounce that the United States received from the Suez Crisis. Arab sentiments were more upset about displaced Palestinians than massacred Hungarians, and despite the Eisenhower administration's often cool relations with Israel, America was still seen as a supporter of the Jewish state. 

Eisenhower wanted to prevent the Soviets from filling the power vacuum left behind by the British in the Middle East. At the same time the so-called Eisenhower doctrine also sought to contain Nasser’s radical Arab nationalism, as Salim Yaqub has convincingly argued


  • Suez Crisis, 1956

    • Nasser nationalizes the Suez channel which is part of at British-French company

    • 31 October, Nassers let’s the ships in the Suez Strait sink so it blocs the canal

    • Nassar asks the USSR for money for the dam


  • Michel Aflaq, the co-founder of the Ba'ath Party and Ba'athist thought, coined the term Arab socialism.

Socialism was a major tenet in Ba'athist thought, and it featured in the party's trinity slogan "Unity, liberty, socialism". However, by using the term Arab socialism Aflaq did not mean socialism as used normally; his version equated socialism with Arab nationalism. In a written statement from 1946, Aflaq wrote "The Arab nationalists are socialists", hence "there is neither incompatibility nor contradiction nor war between nationalists and socialists."


Nasser talking to homeless man as an expression of Arab Socialism


Gender struggles seen as part of the wider struggle against empires

  • Aisha Abdul-Rahman (1913-1998)

Born in 1913, did not consider herself a  feminist.

Studied through mail and go teacher degree at Al-Azhar University (1964)

She wrote fiction and biographies of early Muslim women, including the motherwives and daughters of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as literary criticism. She was the second modern woman to undertake Qur'anic exegesis, a popular columnist for Egypt’s leading newspaper Al-Ahram


The history of national liberation movements, Abdul-Rahman pointed out, often ignores the central role played by women in them, and in the liberation of women by the struggle

  • Link with European feminisim?

Women form organisation: Egyption Feminist Union formed by Huda Sha’rawi. At the same time Third World feminists also had to struggle against orientalist ideas of European feminism: “The idea of the veil kept the real, living struggles of the Egyptians out of the European feminist mind, which "made them ignorant of everything about us.”

Many Third World feminists came out of ruling class and drew inspiration for mass action against imperialism that enveloped them. They even  fought to win the vote!

  • Afro-Asian Federation for Women, 1957 (created at meeting in Cairo)

Ideas of equality did not scare anticolonial activists who had to draw on every section of the population. Female forebears fought national liberation and now had the right to craft future

Women joined the guerrilla wars in Algeria, Cuba, Guinea, Indonesia, Kenya….


Meetings also implicit critique on the new decolonial politics

Birth of the Nation is seen only as a first step to true solidarity

1. Choice over marriage

2. Abolish polygamy

3. Right of married women to work

4. Cultural rights (education etc…)


  • ‘State Feminisim’

There is a conservatist element to feminism sanctioned by the state.

Nationalist regimes produced women who were economicaly independent of their families but dependent on the state for employment


Nasser’s relationship to Women is conservative. He wanted to eliminate the limites imposed by Sharia, but at the same time “personal status laws” upheld the patriarchy.


Lenin also promoted equal rights between men and women, inspired by Communism.

Russian feminisst, Alexandra Kollontai, works with Lenin. Lenin said to Kollontai “if even the most resolute and courageous fighter on the war front returns home and has to listen day after day to the grumbles and complaints of his wife as a result of her lack of political consciousness, an opponent to the continuing struggle for Soviet power, the will of even a valiant warrior hardened in battle may weaken, and he who did not surrender to counter-revolution may surrender to his wife and come under her harmful influence. Therefore, we must mould the female working masses into a solid bulwark of Soviet power against counter-revolution. Each woman must understand that, in fighting for Soviet power, she is fighting for her own rights and for those of her children.”

Nasser condemns the Muslim Brotherhood for wanting women to wear a head scraf




How to explain underdevelopment? There have been two theories about this.

Development Economics

  • Raul Prebisch, “The Economic Development of Latin American and its principled Problems”, 1949

Prebisch argues there is a prosperous core and a less prosperous periphery that provides raw materials to the core. The basic problem raised by the paper is elementary: how should the overwhelmingly impoverished Third World create economic policies geared toward the development of the totality of its population? After centuries of imperialism, the new nations had been left with economies that relied on the sale of raw material and the import of finished goods.

  • In 1951 , the United Nations released a report on the theme of capital investment, Measures for the Economic Development of Under-Developed Countries. It centered on the problem of Capital formation: how could enough capital be accumulated for investments?


  • The solution:

Capital formation (via savings policies) + Industrialization (not only raw material production)



Modernization Theory

  • Max Weber argued that countries willed themselves into poverty. His history of Capitalism linked Capitalism with the attitudes of that were engendered by  protestantism (hard work, self reliance).

  • Walt W. Rostow - thé key intellectual of modernization theory in the 1950s - argued in his the Stages of Economic Growth in 1960 that ​not poverty but traditional society was the enemy of development. 

=> Disagreement between Rostow and Prebisch. Prebisch ​argues that the export of cheap raw material will continue to drain capital and fail to enable the conduct of technological improvements towards socioeconomic development, as Rostow argued. The cycle of dependencey would intensify rather than break as Rostow claimed.


Max Weber​

Raul Prebisch

Walt Rostow


These theories also enabled Third World leaders to make demands

  • Critique of Third World Delegates at UN Conference on Trade and Employment in Havana, Cuba, 1948

  • Tariffs

- The question of preferential treatment in interstate trade, mainly the use of tariffs, continued to be a central instrument on the Third World economic agenda. Local, Third World economies had to be protected from outside competition. It was the main economic plank out of Bandung.


  • Grapple with capitalism’s uneven effects

- Cartels and searching for solutions to get more money for primary commodities were a solution.


New institutions were created to create and unite economic and political power

  • Afro-Asian Organization for Economic Cooperation

Called for the creation of an Afro-Asian Common Market. Other organisations were the ECLA and the Oficinas de Estudios , Afro-Asian Organization for Economic cooperation, Afro-Malagasy Union…

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization's goals are to: "maximize the tradeinvestment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis."

In the 1960s  the UNCTAD was taken over by Third World leaders. 



  • Global Cold War dynamic

First world pushes its own agenda for development and foreign aid

Eugene Black (World Bank) makes comment on how development is good for U.S. business

  • Both US and USSR:

    • Try and develop a dependency relationship with the Third World, according to Prashad by establishing "unequal terms of trade"

    • Marixst Paul Baran criticized this dynamic in  The Political Economy of Growth in 1957 . He views Capitalism as a stagnating force.




  • Nationalisation of oil company

Mossaddeq was the head of a democratically elected government, holding office as the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d'état aided by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service.

The clip you see here shows the British interpretation of what happend

Mossaddeq's administration introduced a range of progressive social and political reforms such as social security and land reforms, including taxation of the rent on land. His government's most notable policy, however, was the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC/AIOC) (later British Petroleum and BP

  • Tudeh Party of Iran

Communist party that was destroyed with the overthrow of Mossaddeq in 1953. For Prashad this is proof that all 'progressive forces' are targeted in the Third World Project


  • Cultural imperialism is used as political argument to obscure social woes

Al-e Ahmad “Occidentosis” as an example

Europe said it was materially and morally superior: its material strength needed no resume, and it had this great material advance on the basis of its moral and cultural inheritance. Rest of the world also needed a reformation

Al-e Ahmed argued that it was because of military power that seems as if culture of Europe is more important

Al-e Ahmad knew that this was an inversion of the problem. A Reformation does not lead to the Industrial Revolution-indeed, to see cultural and economic history in such a way is to miss the theft of the wealth of the Americas for the glory of Europe, and the development of European liberalism in relationship to the degradation of the rights of the people in the colonies.

Other examples of cultural Third Worldism also exist

  • 1956 Conference in Paris hosted by Présence Africaine 

at a 1956 conference hosted in Paris to promote the journal Presence Africaine. The most influential writers from the black. Atlantic gathered to push these ideas around (they included Leopold Senghor, Cesaire, Richard Wright, and Frantz Fanon

  • Afro-Asian writers’ conference in Tashkent, October 1958

  • Alioune Diop

    • welcomed the delegates: "If to the non-European mind the Bandung meeting has been the most important event since the end of the War, I venture to assert that this First International Congress of Black Writers and Artists will be regarded by our peoples as the second event of the decade." The conference was thus seen as an explicit follow up for the conference.



  • Dichotomous view of culture

One side: Culture seen as something belonging to Europe without a connection to anticolonial nationalism. Culture exported to the Third World.


Other side: Anticolonial nationalism seen as a return to ancient culture. A cultural fantasy about being untouched by modernity


  • However culture is not dichotomous

French discussion of Negritude show this as well. Someone like Leopold Senghor, for instance, through his concept of Negritude argued African and European culture had a joint development.


  • Third World internationalism rejected the idea of nationalism

Colonial states were artificial creations and the liberation struggle had been transnational. States should therefore not be culturally nationalistic.​


  • At UNESCO someone like Luis Perez of Cuba was very idealist

He spoke wistfully about national education policies based on a multinational ethos. "Diversity rather than uniformity should be encouraged," he said, " for it would be a disaster to the world to suppress differences and refreshing tendencies in matters of education


Fanon was also idealistic and aruged nationalist culture would explore other cultures as a resource. He viewed Third World nationalism as something different.


  • Creating a national identity is problematic because it has a 'majoritarian cast'

Canons had to be created for new states. The national canon had to include the cultural practices and hopes of all the communities within a nation.

BUT: how to avoid a cultural majority within a nation-state from dominating? Third World Internationalism provided a solution.  At UNESCO's founding conference in 1 945, the delegates agreed, "No longer must our children be taught to think in terms only of the glory of their own country; they must think of their country as being no more than a unit in and dedicated to the service of the larger whole of a world state.


  • National history was being rewritten as liberation history as a way to give the new state legitimacy


  • Importance of Culture 1: Democracy and self-rule on grounds of cultural maturity

Education had to be provided

Teheran hosted the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy, 1965


  • Importance of Culture 2: Europe = base of enlightenment

Crude rendition of defensiveness

“own definitions of science, Islamic sicence Asian sience etc.”

The Enlightenment challenged the Third World intelligentsia to engage with it, rather than whether to do so in the first place. Al-e Ahmad called this engagement rushanfekri, a way of the world that does not inculcate "blind obedience or fear of the supernatural" but instead insists that the social individual has the ability " to choose, to be free and responsible."


  • Importance of Culture 3: The Machine & Technology

Third World countries should not simply accept the Enlightment which was a Western idea, but they should engage with it. 

Technology was not 'neutral' according to Al-e Ahmad  who called upon Third World peoples to engage with technology, an engagement he called 




  • Non-Alignment Movement

With the Non-Aligned Conference in Belgrade of January 1961, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) became an international reality. In July 1956, Nasser, Nehru and Tito had decided on a conference during their meeting in Brijuni.

USSR: Khrushchev solidified the concept in Soviet foreign policy in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The policy arose as a temptation to reduce hostility between the two superpowers, particularly in light of the possibility of nuclear war. The Soviet theory of peaceful coexistence asserted that the United States and USSR, and their respective political ideologies, could coexist rather than fighting one another, and Khrushchev tried to demonstrate his commitment to peaceful coexistence by attending international peace conferences, such as the Geneva Summit, and by traveling internationally, such as his trip to America's Camp David in 1959. The World Peace Council founded in 1949 and largely funded by the Soviet Union attempted to organize a peace movement in favor of the concept internationally.


US: Dulles called non-alignmnet or “neutralism” immoral (BUT it is more complex own research shows, thus this critique is weird.


  • Definition what is Non-Alignment?

​Haziness of their framework is non-alignment swiss type neutralism?

Belgrade conference.jpg


  • The Atomic bomb meant that weak Third World states were under threat.


  • “Appeal for Peace” in speeches  at Belgrade meeting​

5.3 ISSUE 2: UN

  • More democracy in the UN

With the entry of Third World countries in the UN, the United Nations became more 'democratic' since former colonies.


  • However, Jan Christian Smuts was also a prominent author of the UN Charter

Smuts was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as prime minister of the Union of South Africafrom 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948.

Smuts viewed the UN as an institution that could maintain colonial divisions.

  • With decolonisation Third World leaders won the U.N. and succeeded in changing the institution into something more democratic

Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples Adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960



  • Cuban Revolution

Fulgencio Batista Regime overthrown by  a Castro revolution in 1959

  • Cuban theory of 'in foco'

The foco theory of revolution by way of guerrilla warfare, also known as focalism (foquismo [foˈkismo]), was formulated by French intellectual and government official Régis Debray, whose main source of inspiration was Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara's experiences surrounding his rebel army's victory in the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Its central principle is that vanguardism by cadres of small, fast-moving paramilitary groups can provide a focus (in Spanish, foco) for popular discontent against a sitting regime, and thereby lead a general insurrection. Although the original approach was to mobilize and launch attacks from rural areas, many foco ideas were adapted into urban guerrilla warfare movements by the late 1960s.


  • Send out help everywhere: doctors to Algeria and South Africa etc…



  • Sino-Soviet Split

Mao breaks wiht the Soviet Union because he does not agree with the notion of 'peacful coexistence with the Soviet union'

  • Lin Biao’s theory of “people’s war”

Liberation organization demanded and insurrection. Rejection of peaceful coexistence


  • 1966 First Solidarity Conference of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America

  1. It drew together national liberation regimes and movements from all three continents

  2. Strategy? à impressed by success of Vietnam violence



  • Frantz Fanon argued that violence was a necessary tool to break colonial rule in his book ​The Wretched of the Earth, 1961

Others, such as Kwame Nkrumah, disagreed wiht Fanon. He argued non-violence was more important

By 1966, Nkrumah seemed to have come around to Fanon’s assertion when he voiced regret about the fact that his policy of African liberation has been leaning so heavily on propaganda:

As I wrote to you some time ago, the situation in Africa and the stage which the African revolutionary struggle has reached, demands a new approach as to political action. Persuasion and propaganda must be backed by revolutionary armed struggle [...] This is now my conviction after 18 years struggle by other means.




  • Prashad points out another weakness in the Third World Project (!)

  • Not only the Bourgeois focus is a weakness for Prashad, but ​ALSO Amilcar Cabral's “Claim no easy victories” 

“Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children. We should recognise as a matter of conscience that there have been many faults and errors in our action whether political or military: an important number of things we should have done we have not done at the right times, or not done at all.”

  • The many internal contradictions in culture and economy and other structures of the new postcolonial state.




FLN mobilized the UN where it spread propaganda for its fight for independence an from 1954 onwards is also organised a violent insurgency on the ground


  • Strugggle within the FLN: Benn Bellah v. Boumédienne

Prashad argues that Boudédienne is forced out at the point when he introduces full Socialism


  • Wretched of the earth “the Pitfalls of National Consciousness”

What with violence once a society is established?

After the simplistic fight for independence was over, the building of a new society would be more difficult. Prashad uses it as an example of the 'masses' being abandoned by the Bourgeois leadership.


“This fight for democracy against the oppression of mankind will slowly leave the confusion of neo-liberal universalism to emerge, sometimes laboriously, as a claim to nationhood. It so happens that the unpre-paredness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps. National consciousness, instead of being the all-embracing crystallization of the innermost hopes of the whole people, instead of being the immediate and most obvious result of the mobilization of the people, will be in any case only an empty shell, a crude and fragile travesty of what it might have been.”

  • Autogestation

After independence Algeria introduced 'Autogestation' which was the Algerian form of socialism with factory workers managing their own factory. it was the cornerstone of Algeria’s Socialist experiment. Workers democratically manage their own enterprise free from state interference.


  • New economic interpretation of liberty


  • In 1973, Algeria hosted the Fourth Non-Aligned Summit, the largest until then. At the summit, Boumedienne called for the construction of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) . He argued that non-alignment must be given a new meaning, where economic liberation must be paramount and political questions should be secondary. Political rights within a nation can be subsumed as long as the rulers had an economic agenda that confronted capitalism. This view found few detractors, mainly because by the time of the summit in Algiers a number of Third World leaders arrived either in military fatigues or with military designations before their names


  • Huntington

Huntington,who taught at Harvard University, was a regular consultant to the C IA during the 1 960s, and in the circle of senior government figures such as McGeorge Bundy

1968 Political Order in a Changing Society

Founded in 1973 by representatives of the dominant classes of Asia, Europe, and North America, the Trilateral Commission was of the opinion that world elites must be " concerned more with the overall framework of order than with the management of every regional enterprise."

"liberal democracy in the tropics might " serve to perpetuate antiquated social structure. The state needed to concentrate political power as a prelude to economic development, and so there was no better social institution to govern in these parts than the military.

Few will be able to defend this line of analysis in hindsight-the aftermath of Mobutu's C ongo, Suharto' s Indonesia, or Pinochet's Chile hardly validates the promise of military modernization. 

  • First

The militant South African intellectual Ruth First published her monumental, and now forgotten, study on coups on the continent The Barrel of a Gun.


  1. Rejection of cultural argument (Thrid world- political personality of the culture of the darker nations)

  2. Uncomfortable with politics so “above politics” + monopoly of violence

  3. Rejects Theory of “slow development”


  • Prashad

Generals’ coup often reversed the gains of national liberation


​The issues that animate Third World social debate remain unresolved.

  • Nationalism v. internationalism of the Third World: is Third World Internationalism possible?


  • The level of inclusion: What is the role of democracy and egalitarianism?


  • Relationship to violence: What is the role of rethoric v. violent liberation struggle?