The struggle that the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism; whereas the struggle waged by such "desperate" democrats and "Socialists," "revolutionaries" and republicans as, for example, Kerensky and Tsereteli, Renaudel and Scheidemann, Chernov and Dan, Henderson and Clynes, during the imperialist war was a reactionary struggle, for its results was the embellishment, the strengthening, the victory, of imperialism. For the same reasons, the struggle that the Egyptians merchants and bourgeois intellectuals are waging for the independence of Egypt is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the bourgeois origin and bourgeois title of the leaders of Egyptian national movement, despite the fact that they are opposed to socialism.
People who categorize themselves as anti-imperialists often state that they are opposed to colonialism, colonial empires, hegemony, imperialism and the territorial expansion of a country beyond its established borders. They might not be communists either, but can be part of the national bourgeoisie or the non-socialist proletariat. The governments of Iran, Syria and Russia for example are currently anti-imperialist but are also opposed to communism.
The phrase gained widespread use after the Second World War and at the onset of the Cold War as political movements in colonies of European powers promoted national sovereignty. Some anti-imperialist groups who opposed the United States supported the power of the Soviet Union, such as in Guevarism.
- Richard Koebner and Helmut Schmidt, Imperialism: The Story and Significance of a Political Word, 1840–1960 (2010).