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Che Guevara

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Che Guevara
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bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Che Guevara

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The life and legacy of Che Guevara has caught my interest lately, however I've found it difficult to find biographical sources that don't either overly praise him as an inspirational hero, or vilify him as a totalitarian war criminal, or just give some minimal facts on his life. I've never looked into him or the history of Marxism in general before so a good 'starting point' to branch my personal research from would be appreciated.(Would prefer to focus on Che rather than general Marxism) Two things I'd like to request in order to further my knowledge of the man and to cultivate a new/different discussion on the forum (it needs it).

1: Opinion: What is your opinion of Che Guevara, his ideology, acts and impact. Further expand this to include your opinions on Fidel Castro and the Marxist movements he and Che participated in.

2: What sources do you know of that are unlikely to be too biased towards anything but the objective truth of what he did, better or for worse? (Books, sites, films, documentaries, etc.)
Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:55 am
VisakiUser avatarPosts: 648Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pmLocation: Helsinki, Finland Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

Like almost everyone else I barely know the guy (note to self, get a good biography of him). But I'll say one thing; if he hadn't been killed when he was but died of lung cancer in 1989 he'd be a side note in history and not a pop culture icon (oh the irony) he is today.
Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:44 am
theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

I can recall John lee anderson's "Che Guevara: A revolutionary life" off the top of my head, however as i haven't read it or read any reviews of it i therfore cannot comment on it as a reputable biography or not.

My opinion on Che and Castro? They were certainly no better than Fulgencio Batista (the dictator they overthrew) for a start. I think the number of Cubans swimming Shark infested waters to reach America will tell you how awful the system really is over there. The pathetic idolizing of him and that photo created by Alberto Korda seems to me to stem from a certain contingent of the political left (that is to say not all leftists follow this line) who think it's "cool" simply to be "Anti-USA" or "Anti-USA-foreign policy" or something along those lines and therfore it's cool also to associate with others who share such "Anti-USA" sentiments like Che or Hugo Chavez.

Apologies for being a bit ranty but i think i made it clear. I'm not a fan of either!
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:37 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

I just finished watching Che

It was interesting I suppose, painted Guevara as a well meaning leader
Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:45 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

Double post in order to bump and continue this.


I'm nearly finished reading Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War by Guevara.

My opinion of Guevara has been steadly improving however I have yet to research both the truth value of his book nor the exact nature of the early suban government he participated in. My impression of him is of a man who practiced what he preached and participated in the activites mandated by the government he had a hand in organizing, but impressions can change.
Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:52 pm
PABUser avatarPosts: 382Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:34 pmLocation: UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

Che was a great man, and is idiolised for good reason. In many countries in south america he is still idiolised by young and old, and this applies globally from europe to asia.
An argentinian who went to fight for cuba and then went on to fight for bolivia, where he died. A man who literally gave his life to liberty and socialism.

let us look at some remarks on the man

Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom"
Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age".
philosopher Frantz Fanon professed Guevara to be "the world symbol of the possibilities of one man",
Black Panther Party head Stokely Carmichael eulogized that "Che Guevara is not dead, his ideas are with us."
journalist Christopher Hitchens commented that "[Che's] death meant a lot to me and countless like me at the time, he was a role model, albeit an impossible one for us bourgeois romantics insofar as he went and did what revolutionaries were meant to do,fought and died for his beliefs."

Wiki


All lefties who just think its "cool" to snuggle up to che, presumably ......?

Personally i have alot of respect for the things Che did, as well as critisisms.

As a marxist, a leninist and a communist i can relate with che, his actions and what he fought for and of course his beleifs . This is a man which fought for what we fight for still today. And is a form of martyr for millions who are poor, exploited and oppressed today.

(and the reason this is expressed as 'anti usa' is because the usa was and is an exploiter)

a quote by Che

For us there is no valid definition of socialism other than the abolition of the exploitation of one human being by another. As long as this has not been achieved, if we think we are in the stage of building socialism but instead of ending exploitation the work of suppressing it comes to a halt , or worse, is reversed , then we cannot even speak of building socialism.
"The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil...there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy." Albert Einstein
Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:08 am
theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

PAB wrote: let us look at some remarks on the man

Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom"
Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age".
philosopher Frantz Fanon professed Guevara to be "the world symbol of the possibilities of one man",
Black Panther Party head Stokely Carmichael eulogized that "Che Guevara is not dead, his ideas are with us."
journalist Christopher Hitchens commented that "[Che's] death meant a lot to me and countless like me at the time, he was a role model, albeit an impossible one for us bourgeois romantics insofar as he went and did what revolutionaries were meant to do,fought and died for his beliefs."

Wiki


All lefties who just think its "cool" to snuggle up to che, presumably ......?


Ahhh careful there, i did not say "all leftists". What i actually said was a "certain contingent" of leftists and what i was referring to were those types who buy literally into the complete image of Cuban propaganda and who think Cuba is this really great place without seeing all the actual nuances. Well it does have better healthcare than the USA for a start (an embarassment for a First World Nation) but in terms of political freedom it's still a vile dictatorship (Not a land of freedom or democracy) and i cannot bring myself around to supporting that. Sorry i just cannot.

Now as it so happens out of this very propaganda there is a certain coolness about Che, ironically given his politics this very coolness actually props up Capitalism due to the sheer volume of things it sells and the private profits out of it companies keep. The image may be public domain but all those T-shirts and Bikinis and Buckle-belts etc sure aren't.

(and the reason this is expressed as 'anti usa' is because the usa was and is an exploiter)


You do know things are always a bit more complicated than Black and White thinking and the simple lines of "Everything Cuba/[insert supposed socialist state here] does is good and Everything USA/Capitalism does is bad" right?
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:56 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

One should make note Che died early on in the life of Castro's Cuba and that Fidel set out on his mission to overthrow Batista as a nationalist, and it was Che who convinced him to align with Marxism. Che started his journey to Marxism as a medical student travelling across South America living on nearly nothing and witnessing the poverty and suffering that is often a consequence of capitalistic societies, or societies that are exploited by capitalist powers. Che started out as a medic for the 26th of July Movement until a battle forced upon him the choice to either pick up a rifle or medical bag, he chose the rifle and quickly rose in rank.

During Che's time in Cuba post-revolution he personally participated in agricultural labor and started a successful literacy campaign. In 1965 Che resigned from his positions in the Cuban government in order to participate in armed struggles in the Congo and Bolivia where he was murdered(an appropriate word considering the context of his non-combat execution) in 1967. The Cuban Revolution ended in success officially on January 1, 1959, so Che spent about 6 years participating in the governing Cuba and travelling abroad as an ambassador. So I would hesitate to attribute the nature of the Cuban government under Castro to Che, or assuming that supporting Che and his ideals is automatically supporting the Cuba which Castro has shaped since 1965, as Che was part of it for only 6 years and was gone and dead before economic stagnation and its consequences occurred.

Also would not dismiss or take lightly the imperialistic nature of United States foreign policy and the hand it played in the shaping of Castro's Cuba. For example, the seizing of assets of U.S. companies such as United Fruit Co. was a direct response to the predatory nature of their policies of making as much profit at the cost of foreign producers as possible. It was the United States that supported the attempted Bay of Pigs Invasion(And then abandoned the exiles that trusted the U.S. for support, when the battle turned in Cuba's favor) and it was the CIA that trained the unit that would capture and then execute Che and who were behind numerous attempts that were made to assassinate Castro and provoke resistance. Not to mention the embargo that contributed to economic ruin. Take economic, political instability and the constant threat by a foreign power and you have possible reasons for a totalitarian style of government. Cuban actions may not have been the moral foil to U.S. actions, but they certainly were responses to U.S. actions, similar to how the efforts by Iran to become a nuclear power are likely partly an effort to deter the kind of U.S. military actions that devastated two of their neighboring countries already.
(Edited on and off)

I'll cut the text down since I didn't organize it or draft it that much,

1: Castro didn't share Che's ideals from the start and may never have to the point Che did. Judging Che by Castro's example is not sound.
2: Che joined the revolution as a medic at first and only became a soldier later, perhaps demonstrating a lack of immediate ambition for power or authority.
3: Che 'practiced what he preached' and actively worked toward a proper socialist system. His efforts failed and he was gone to other insurgencies before the consequences rose.
4: Che did not live long in Castro's Cuba, we don't know how it would be if he was around all this time nor if he would have supported what it became. We do know he gave up being 2nd in command of an entire country and left to go back to rough and dangerous insurgency and died for it.
5: The totalitarian nature of Cuba since the revolution is partly due to the economic, political and subterfuge pressure of the United States.
Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:18 pm
theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

bluejatheist wrote: Also would not dismiss or take lightly the imperialistic nature of United States foreign policy and the hand it played in the shaping of Castro's Cuba.


Oh certainly and in the two posts i have submitted thus far i do not believe i have done that. There seems to be a hidden inference here that i might be on a rush to defend capitalist autocracy or the foreign policy of the USA at any given moment. As much as i do not exonerate Left Wing dictatorship from blame so i do not Right wing ones either (I have my favourite socialist author George Orwell to thank in that regard if you want to know the influences in how i think). I belive it is well agreed that collusion between the US and Batista was what drove the revolutionary fervor there and even JFK admitted it as such

"I believe that we [the United States] created, built and manufactured the Castro movement out of whole cloth and without realizing it ["¦.] In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries." - Source


but two wrongs do not make a right and let's just say i haven't heard too many pretty things about what Che did in his time at Cuba either

If it looks like i've rushed my thoughts than apologies in advance
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:25 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

My point is that the totalitarianism of Cuba is not necessarily what Che envisioned or worked towards.

Here also comes up another major issue; the reliability of sources. I have seen few sources for and against Che that were verifiable and considering the nature of the sources of the two sides (U.S. and Cuba, both of which greatly vilify or romanticize Che, respectively.) there is much BS. Most of my information on Che comes from his writings that I mentioned earlier. I don't take these as automatically true, but they are the most direct sources of information I've found so I consider them a source of information from Che's perspective which is obviously thus suspect of bias and doctoring by the Cuban government. All in all I consider both sides untrustworthy including Cuba Archive(Though when looking I can see it has sources for its pages which is reassuring). This goes back to my original premise that I'm seeking sources of information on Che that are as unbiased as possible, rather than debating for or against him since I know very little of exactly what occurred during his time.

I admit I have had a bias in his favor likely from a want for such an ideal and legitimate person as he is painted to be to exist in a time when I've found all those who I previously considered worthy of emulation and remembrance to be in reality, dirty human beings(The very term 'human being' becoming derogatory to me the more I learn about the world). But then this sets an important precedent that history shows; that people rarely if ever lived up to the images they are remembered as.
Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:42 pm
PABUser avatarPosts: 382Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:34 pmLocation: UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

bluejatheist wrote:
This goes back to my original premise that I'm seeking sources of information on Che that are as unbiased as possible, rather than debating for or against him since I know very little of exactly what occurred during his time.

I admit I have had a bias in his favor likely from a want for such an ideal and legitimate person as he is painted to be to exist in a time when I've found all those who I previously considered worthy of emulation and remembrance to be in reality, dirty human beings(The very term 'human being' becoming derogatory to me the more I learn about the world). But then this sets an important precedent that history shows; that people rarely if ever lived up to the images they are remembered as.


I don't think its possible to divorce the subjective factor here. We could lay out all the objectives facts out about che here for the world to see. And there will be those who will say 'see, he was an evil commie bastard' and also " yes, he was a great man, who tried to help people". with many shades of grey inbetween.

I think you are right about bullshit being on both sides, and to inquire about the objective facts is the only way to do it. But they cannot be in themselves exclusive. Also i would suggest that to understand the man, it is necessary to understand the forces that drove him, so it is important to have a good understanding of marxism/communism as well as its history.



and i would also suggest reading for background information, Revolution Betrayed by trotsky. It explains reasons which allowed the hijacking of the revolution by stalin, and the counter revolution which followed. It lays a foundation for understanding that ;
1. that marxists fight for socialism internationally not simply out of principle but out of neccessity,
2 isolation and failed revolutions limit revolutions and lead to their opposite. This holds similarily true with Castro's dictatorship of cuba.

if you havent seen it- I would suggest the film - the motorcycle diaries , which is okay, but paints che in a slightly biased good light.
"The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil...there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy." Albert Einstein
Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:18 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Che Guevara

Yes The Motorcycle Diaries is on Netflix, along with the two-parter Che which basically reenacts parts of his memoir.
Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:17 pm
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