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

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  •  Red-Baiting is So Easy (3.85)
    But useless if you want to have an intelligent debate.

    Acknowledging that the Cold War was more complicated than a saintly America protecting the world from the Satanic Commies is not the same as calling the leaders of the Soviet Union heroic.  I would never defend the atrocities committed by the leaders of the USSR, particularly Stalin, on their people.  Nor would I defend the atrocities committed by the leaders of the USA, particularly LBJ and Nixon, on the people of Southeast Asia.

    You cannot equate the two sides: the repressiveness of the Soviet Union to its people, even under the more liberal leaders like Khruschev and Gorbachev, was exponentially worse than McCarthyism in the US. But there were few heroes on either side.

    I'd be happy to discuss why you think Che is a "murderous rat bastard" or that he or Gorbachev were "Leninist-Stalinists." But to just throw names and inaccurate terminology out there doesn't acccomplish anything.

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

    by SFprogressive on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 10:01:37 AM PST

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    •  Stalinism was not anything politically left (none)
      Stalinism was a totatitarian dictatorship using Marxism as a false front. There was nothing progressive about Stalinism.

      What made the Cold War complicated was all the things done wrong by the US in the name on "liberty/democracy." That included the US stomping on a lot of real efforts at positive social progressivism and social justice.

      There was nothing complicated about Stalinism. It was flat out wrong.

      •  I agree completely (4.00)
        with your view on Stalinism.  I disagree with your conclusion that Gorbachev was a Stalinist.  I'm not sure if you described Che as a Stalinist, but that would be completely inaccurate as well.  A large part of Che's popularity is based on his rejection of the warring ideologies of Communism and Capitalism.  He refused to join the Communist Party, feuded with them and with the Soviet Union after the success of the Cuban Revolution, and developed his own revolutionary theories (which unfortunately were as dogmatic and flawed as Lenin's).

        One of the most interesting facts about the Cuban Revolution is that the only political party in Cuba that did not support the revolutionaries was the Communist Party.  The Communist Party leaders in Cuba, as orthodox Marxists, argued that Cuba was not ripe for revolution because it was not yet industrialized. They could not conceive of a revolution succeeding that was not driven by workers in Havana and other Cuban cities.

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

        by SFprogressive on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 10:51:56 AM PST

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        •  IMHO, Gandhi wiped the slate clean (none)
          IMHO, Gandhi started progressivism over at square one. We don't need to include bad examples of our past any more.

          I simply refuse to accept murderers in my list of role models. I don't care what else they did. The fact they went on killing sprees of unarmed prisoners in their custody ruins any/all possible "legacy" they could have had to future generations. There are potential justifications for what happens on a battlefield during wartime conditions, but once someone starts killing those who are not armed and can't defend themselves, they have become the very thing we are fighting against.

          •  We agree more than I thought (4.00)
            I do not think Che should be a role model for progressives. I'm opposed to the death penalty even with a fair trial, so I find Che executing prisoners after the revolution to be particularly despicable.

            That being said, I don't think that this means we can't learn anything from Che. No historical world leaders that have lived up to every ideal. Some (like Che) are more flawed than others. But Martin Luther King slept around. So did FDR (to me our greatest president). During the Civil War, Lincoln set the precendent that the Bill of Rights does not apply during wartime by suspending habeas corpus.  Despite their flaws, we have a lot to learn from these great men.

            Che was not a great man.  But we can still learn something from him about integrity, commitment, and dedication. I have no doubt that he believed that his misguided cause and unacceptable tactics were serving the best interests of the world's poor, though I think he was wrong.  And I can respect his bravery in going against a country as powerful as the US, and one that had caused so much damage to Latin America.

            Progressives in the US don't need to adopt Che's tactics or theories.  But we could learn something this current crop of progressive leaders in Latin America. We may not be able to use the "s" word in the US without being branded as Commies, we could be a little less fearful of addressing issues of class and poverty in the US.

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

            by SFprogressive on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 02:20:52 PM PST

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