September 3rd, 2007

be different

Viva la revolucion! ????

I know you have come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.

these were the last words of Che Guevera before the Bolivians (and the CIA) gave him a dose of his own medicine and executed him.
These were also the words I found at the end of an email yesterday....an email from a friend of mine who is a human rights activist.

can someone please explain to me why Che Guevera is such a hero? i don't get it...... i never have...
i apologize in advance if my words about the man offend your sense of revolutionary heroism....
fuck it, no i don't. this is my journal. defend him here...help me understand. tell me why he is the romanticized symbol of revolution, in his little beret, rifle resting on his shoulder?

i am also tired of hearing how academia and those on the left sympathize with the Castros and Che. i am pretty damn left and i don't. i subscribe to some of Castro's ideals..... but not the imprisonment of those with voices, the book burnings, the midnight murders, inhumane prison conditions and the refusal to allow the Red Cross or Amnesty International to visit them.....

yeah, i think capitalism is the root of all evil. i am a socialist and a neo-Marxist. (why, too, do people use the words socialist and communist interchangeably?....think sweden not china....chavez not shwe)
Marx never suggested the way to deal with dissidents is to tie their hands behind their backs and blow their brains out. i'm sorry, but i don't think Marx would have befriended a man who believed the best place for women was as cooks or nurses. while Marx understood violence could be a component of revolution, he did not consider it necessary.

in Guerrilla Warfare, Che wrote, "Marx always recommended that once the revolutionary process has begun the proletariat should strike blows again and again without rest. "
did he not understand Marx didn't mean gunshot blows? and the blows were to be against the bourgeoisie, not the proletariat - the very folks for whom he should have been fighting?

Marx's revolutionary process was in the hands of the workers overthrowing the ruling class. Che was neither of the worker class nor for them. i don't have the quote at my fingertips, but i am pretty sure he made some comment along the way in his diaries about the "peasants not helping us at all."

“I ended the problem with a .32 caliber pistol, in the right side of his brain."
revolutionary.

do people ever think he led a peaceful revolution? that he wasn't directly responsible for thousands of executions, including children and peasants?

“hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become."
his hatred, unbending as it was, included "deviants" - children of political prisoners, christians, gays, people with AIDS, and others who "committed crimes against revolutionary morals". in fact, he set up a labor camp designed specifically for them, in which they many were tortured and executed. the sign over the camp read: Work Will Make Men out of You. (Auschwitz reminder, anyone?)
"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."

in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis, Che supported all-out nuclear war. his position was that if the world was blown away, he could build a better one from the ashes. the ashes? the ashes of innocent people around the world? that was the price for his brand of freedom.
"We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims."
my opinion of the murderer aside (and i admit i am not extremely knowledgeable of Cuban history), someone please tell me one thing good that came from him? don't tell me about Batista..... because he just replaced one oppressive dictator for another even more so. don't tell me about economics because once he took over the State banks, the economic situation was worse than it had ever been and the people were reduced to rations - a system still in place today.
isn't it ironic that most Cubans see Che as evil while Americans glorify him?
i know a lot of people contribute to the capitalism of Che by wearing merchandise with his face plastered on it..... the sad truth is that i know many people do it because it is cool, or looks cool... or they think it is some symbol of liberal revolution and freedom.... but they really have no idea who the man was or what he did. with that said, i can only hope they think of his victims while his face rests over their hearts.
anyway, i responded to my friend's email.... i asked him why he chose a Che quote as an email tagline. turns out he really didn't know much about Che. he knew the icon.
next time you see someone wearing something Che, ask who he was..... i dare you.