Marxism and Resistance in the Third World

Cause and Effect

by Alex Alexiev


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A number of self-proclaimed Marxist regimes, many of which came to power with direct Soviet or Soviet-proxy military assistance, were established in the Third World in the second half of the 1970s. Countries in which such Marxist regimes took power include Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua. The new regimes not only subscribed openly to Marxist-Leninist ideology but also embarked on the wholesale transformation of their countries along the lines of the Soviet political and economic model, giving little consideration to prevailing conditions and/or their likely societal and economic impact. In virtually all cases, the policies soon engendered massive discontent that eventually spilled over into armed resistance. This report identifies and examines the factors that encouraged the emergence of armed resistance movements against Marxist regimes in the Third World. In particular, it analyzes specific regime policies that created widespread discontent and alienation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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