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

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  •  Should I call you a Nazi? (none)
    Because it applies to you about as much as Stalinist applies to Che.

    Che was a revolutionary. He believed revolution was a liberating experience, and that by participating in a revolution a person experienced a total individual renovation, who would be capable of living an entirely different kind of life. Old rules no longer applied, and new possibilities abounded.

    When Che was Minister of Finance in Cuba, he abolished money. The idea was to let the true economic impulses of the New Man (as Che called the product of the revolutionary experience) to flourish. The result, of course, was a disaster.

    Che also believed that physically eliminating people corrupted by the old regime was an appropriate way to liberate society so the revolutionary flourishing he believed in could be unleashed. So, he killed a lot of people he believed were corrupted by the old regime.

    In the end, of course, Che's theory of revolution proved to be hopelessly naive, and the Cuban New Man turned out to be an awful lot like the old, pre-revolutionary man. Along the way a lot of innocent people got killed.

    What's undeniable, however, is that Che's theory is centered on the individual, and in his writings and his actions he confirmed his belief that revolutionary violence was a means towards liberating the individual.

    Stalinism, on the other hand, is clearly centered on the state, and whatever liberatory content it contains is pushed off to a distant and rhetorically impossible to achieve future. It's a system designed to keep the dictator in power, and bend all in the society to his will.

    •  Just admit you're okay with murder, Litho (none)
      I follow the examples of Gandhi and MLK. I'm not okay with someone going on killing sprees just because they happen to be defined by political scientists as being on the "left" side of some imaginary number line. I think thuggery is thuggery.

      Just admit you're okay with murder as long as murder gets "your side" more political power. That's how Che felt.

      •  Now why should I admit to (4.00)
        something I don't believe, simply because you insist on calling Che something he wasn't?

        I'll tell you the truth, your logic escapes me...

        •  Che murdered unarmed prisoners (2.50)
          If you can't accept that a person that is proven to have murdered thousands of unarmed prisoners is a murderer, then you're into "faith-based" communism. All opinion. All belief. No facts.
          •  Nobody's disputing your facts (4.00)
            we're disputing the context.

            (Actually, I could quibble with the facts as well -- I believe most of Che's victims faced summary trials and were killed by firing squads -- but you're basically right that he's responsible for large numbers of deaths.)

            •  Gandhi's hunger strike to save political opponents (none)
              IMHO, Gandhi's treatment of his political opponents is a lesson to all mankind. Gandhi didn't just not personally take revenge on political opponents, he damn near killed himself in a hunger strike to stop riots and violence against Gandhi's political opponents.

              What I'm trying to say is why waste time and energy defending Che when you could be using that time and energy promoting a much better role model like Gandhi?

              •  Gandhi (4.00)
                was also assassinated, and his followers created a corrupt, single-party, socialist state that both plunged the Indian sub-continent into civil war and pursued a failed economic policy for the better part of a century. The dominant political party in Gandhi's India is an ultra-nationalist, racist party that condones violent mob attacks on non-Hindu minorities.

                Nobody's perfect, Bad Santa, and Che Guevara is perhaps more imperfect than many. But let's have our discussion of him based on who he actually was, what he actually did, and what he actually believed in, rather than in false and misleading stereotypes.

                Che did in fact believe in something beautiful. His theory of politics, obviously quite different from Gandhi's, told him violence could help achieve that beautiful thing.

                He was wrong.

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