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Does the liberation of the third world depend on the destruction of the first world?

+1 vote
I've come to my personal conclusion that the majority of those living in the US and other first world countries will fight to the end to hold on to their luxuries and current way of living, more or less. They will always care more for the lives of their own population more than the populations that they pay taxes to bomb. When their own die as a result of their way of life, they have an uproar and crucify those who point it out as heartless or insensitive; and when you point to the third world that suffers from their way of life, they show no remorse. So I believe the third world, the poorest and most oppressed countries, can only achieve freedom when the first world crumbles to dust. I'm sorry for the rant, but I feel its necessary to know better where I'm coming from. I'm asking for what the @s here think, and hoping for a critique of the first/second/third world categorization if there is one.
asked Dec 15, 2012 by anonymous

2 Answers

0 votes
not interested in defending the "first world", nor valorizing the "third world", but i do think that i'm up for at least starting a critique of the 1st/2nd/3rd world categorization.
my understanding is that there are places of extreme poverty and lack of access to resources within the u.s. (the only place i can really speak to), that are comparable to broke-ass places in the world. and that in some non-measurable way, those places in the u.s. are challenging differently from money-lacking and environmentally-degraded areas elsewhere because the u.s. culture is so broken, encouraging people to blame themselves (for example) and each other, instead of an external enemy.

the 1st vs 3rd world construction is very much of an us/them construction, and encourages looking at the world in a christian way (we must intervene somehow to save people), vs the innovation of the situationists, which is that we all are fucked up and alienated in this system, and are therefore motivated to change the system in order to save ourselves.

i guess i'm implying, so will here state it explicitly, that your construction of the problem seems to be part of the problem you're angry about.

on the other hand, people don't seem to be motivated to save themselves either, but i think that that gets us into questions of hopelessness and size (and psychology and many many other things), that are less related to economics and colonization.
answered Dec 16, 2012 by dot (51,490 points)
The us/them aspect of first/third world categorizations is in no small part due to its' origins in the cold war (the second world having been the USSR, PRC and their allies). In addition to the reasons dot brings up, I think the framework just doesn't hold up outside of the paritcular geo-politics of that era.
–1 vote
My answer is a dismissal of your third worldism which hones in on the idea of an "oppressed country" and I don't really directly address your notion that it would take a collapse of "the first world" to engender circumstances where significant change could happen in the "the third world",  so I will think on that some more. But for now this will do.

To echo ingrate's comment, the third/second/first world paradigm was concocted as social science jargon during the cold war. The third world was simply non-aligned states. Its coincidence with the content of Leninist theories of exploitation as euphemisms for those ideas lends no theoretical value to it whatsoever. It is a stereotype that is propagated by concurrent lapses of many minds in political discourse of the post-cold war world, plain and simple. There is no such thing as an oppressed country.

‘"Every other leader looks after his own country properly even if it means going to war," fumes a Tibetan scholar in Dharamsala who did not want to be quoted by name. "Here we talk about world peace, about taking care of the whole world. What about taking care of our own country? Our leaders are more concerned about how to present themselves to the rest of the world—peace-loving and kind. If you care about your own country, you have to do everything for it: kill, cheat, lie, steal."’ (From some article which I cannot recall enough of to link to.)

Another generation in another time learned this bloody lesson  in the Russian Civil War. Nine million dead, not a minority of them at the hands of the Red Army, and the crowning massacre perpetrated in 1921 in the town of Kronstadt in response to seditious organization among former workers, sailors, and soldiers, many of them anarchists. For that reason alone anarchists could never accept Third Worldism. A country in the depths of poverty and war, blockaded and ostracized by wealthier states, lived up to the murderous ambitions that engender any nation-state's "development" in spectacular fashion and anarchists were among the prime obstructions in the way of its odious success.

The prosperity that you loathe is hardly distributed in an even manner, as dot explains, and it is also largely a facade. People in the US are working for wages of an average value that hasn't changed since the 1970's. What's the figure of indebtedness again? 75% of households? The entire thing is built on easily accessible and cheap credit that supplements the stagnant wages and fickle job market. Relying on the standard channels of livelihood you pretty much have to be in debt in America to achieve a quality of well-being that would be considered not impoverished or untenable. (More on these matters in this book review: http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/stupid-regulators-and-greedy-financiers-or-business-usual )

The only thing more stupid than patriotism is patriotism for someone else's country! And that is really all I have to say about that!
answered Dec 18, 2012 by madlib (3,990 points)
edited Dec 24, 2012 by madlib