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The term "Third World"

We are often asked why we still include the term "Third World" in our name. It is completely out of fashion, a homogeneous "Third World" hasn't existed for a long time now, and besides, the concept creates hierarchy. Even in our own everyday language, we hardly ever use the word.

And yet there is no better term for what others call, in short, the "global south" or the "Trikont" - or even categorize with the condescending term "developing countries" -   because viewed from a historical perspective, the "Third World" is a progressive concept. The term was coined in France during the 1950s, and refers to the "Third Estate" which had been freed from feudal oppression during the French Revolution.   "Le tiers-monde", from anti-colonial theorist Frantz Fanon, popularized it worldwide. In his main work, "The Wretched of the Earth", he equates the Third World with the oppressed and colonized people of the world. In the 1960s, another meaning emerged: The Third World was to go an independent third way between authoritarian real socialism and exploitative capitalism.

This often-forgotten antiauthoritarian meaning is what we have in mind when we prefer the term Third World to present today's conventional euphemisms such as "One World".

This English translation was done within the project “Free translation of websites for NGOs and non-profit-making associations”, managed by Mondo Services. Translator: Chafyn Hörnecke

Wir über uns” auf deutsch

About us” in english

Qui sommes nous” en français

Quiénes somos” en español

"Quem somos" em português