Institutionalizing Postcolonial Internationalism: The Apparatus of the Third World Project

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 4:10 PM
Marshfield Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Jeffrey James Byrne, University of British Columbia
At the high point of decolonization, elites in Asia, Africa, and Latin America faced the challenge of translating the rhetoric of Third World solidarity into state policy. With the achievement of post-colonial statehood, the ethos of anti-imperialist internationalism met the era of international organization. Given the rapid increase of Third World representation in the UN General Assembly, United States’ officials already felt that they were losing control of that body by the early 1960s. But the Third World project extended well beyond the General Assembly: the countries of the Global South cooperated, successfully, to steadily increase their representation in the various bureaucracies of the wider United Nations system. At the same time, the post-colonial approach to international politics found its expression in new organizations that excluded the great powers: the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League, and UNCTAD. The latter was a particularly potent effort to apply the Third World’s collective institutional power in the economic realm. But with decolonization still incomplete, a real tension existed within the Third World project: how were national liberation movements, inherently subversive non-state actors, to be accommodated in this new institutional constellation?
<< Previous Presentation | Next Presentation