Here are the words of forty rebels and scholars of the Third World in a volume which is distinctly more than just another radical reader. C. R. Hensman, a Ceylonese journalist and editor, has written extensive commentary of his own, in addition to collating the excerpts of his writers.
First is Hensman’s essay on Third World studies. He posits a wary case for the existence of a “Third World” belt around the center of the globe, “modern human communities which freely and on their own initiative appraise the conduct and claims of two foreign groupings of states.” These, he says, are: the First World (Europe and the United States), and the Second World (the Soviet Union). The Third World is “the field of contest between forces loyal to the United States . . . and to the Soviet Union.”
Next comes a section on the origins of the Third World. His writers tell us how each region developed along separate but authentic patterns. The third section—description of the present situation—is given in language ranging from Germán Arciniégas’ fatherly liberalism to Lin Piao’s strident call to mass peasant warfare.
Part four hits the key—goals, objectives, and values—and shows by inference that the Third World thinkers who are included agree on one necessity: to eliminate First World economic exploitation. Asians dominate this section again, 7 out of 14 writers, and the clearest exposition is Mao Tse-tung’s plan for “Revolutionary Leadership and the Good of the Whole People.” The fifth section is one-upmanship on Vladimir Ilich: “What Has To Be Done.” The range is great: a scholarly plan for “Self-Reliance in Agricultural Production” by Indian economist V. K. R. V. Rao to José Ma Sison’s scheme for recovering Philippine economic independence.
Mr. Hensman’s volume brings much Third World radical thought together as modern intellectual history, with a careful indexing job. But he is selling a cause—the authenticity of Third Worldology—and must therefore be judged accordingly. Despite Mr. Hensman’s case for a First World and a Second World which equally misunderstand the Third World, most of his spokesmen hate the First, use the ideology of the Second in a local framework, and say many things about the Third which apply only to their personal sectors of their own cultures. Other rebels—religious, militarist, populist, and millenarianist— are omitted. But his book still is much more than collated graffiti and should make an excellent text for general undergraduate courses in world culture, social sciences, and humanities.