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View Diary: Che Guevara Smacks Bush! (205 comments)

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  •  that's simplistic (4.00)
    He was a power-hungry thug, and no friend to the masses, whatever hopes they placed in him.

    Che was a controversial figure. He has been romanticized by the powerless and poor in ways that do not conform to the realities of his life.   Unlike most progressives, he opposed elections and wanted the masses to conform to the state.

    But it adds nothing to the discussion to spout out the tired anti-Communist talking points that have been used for so many decades to stifle debate in the US.

    To address just one of your comments: it is counter-intuitive to call Che "power-hungry."  Unlike almost every other major leader of revolution throughout history, Che did not become corrupted by power.  Castro was merely an opportunist interested in replacing one repressive dictatorship with another, who latched onto the Soviets for geopolitical (not ideological) reasons.  But unlike the other Cuban revolutionaries, Che did not live a life of luxury in Cuba after the revolution.  He chose to travel to the Congo and Bolivia in doomed attempts to create more socialist revolutions.

    Most of us disagree with Che's revolutionary goals and renounce his commitment to violence. Though he rejected the dogmas of the West and the East, his own theories turned out to be just as flawed.  It is unhealthy to whorship Che, but it is just as unhealthy to ignore history and borrow the arguments of the Right to reject him completely.

    "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world." - Michael Franti

    by SFprogressive on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 09:29:52 AM PST

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    •  Arguments of the right? (none)
      With regard to Che, I have no idea what those might be, and I certainly wouldn't borrow them. From what I can tell, the right ignores Che completely, and the left obsesses about him, is conflicted about him.

      From my personal standpoint as a pacifist, I reject Che's methods as harmful, even on the occasions when he was "successful." It seems to me that he left Cuba because he couldn't outshine Castro, and spent his last few years unsuccessfully looking for his own Cuba to rule.

      •  maybe I was wrong (4.00)
        to accuse you of purposefully using the arguments of the Right.  Your comments echoed the way Che was described by anti-Communists in the US during his lifetime. I agree that the contemporary Right has little interest in him.

        I guess we can never know for sure what drove Che to refuse the opulent lifestyle the other Cuban revolutionaries adopted.  Perhaps he was driven, as you conclude, by a desire to rule another country alone. But this unlikely based on the historical record. The current consensus is that Che was uninterested in being in power, that he was almost pathologically a revolutionary.  This is based in part on his total disinterest in the trappings of power during his time in Cuba after the victory of the revolution, though also on his writings and the testimony of those who interacted with him.  I don't have time to find a link, but you should check out the biographies by David Sandison or Daniel James.

        For all Che's faults, a desire for power was not one of them. I cannot accept him as a hero, for he believed violence was the answer and that the masses should conform to a socialist government. He was a real person whose complexity is often lost because those who reject him and those who whorship him reduce him to a symbol.

        "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world." - Michael Franti

        by SFprogressive on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 10:35:02 AM PST

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