We are approaching the 40th anniversary of the death of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, who was executed in La Higuera, Bolivia by a member of the Bolivian Army Rangers in the pay of the United States Government. Throughout the world there will be meetings to celebrate the great revolutionary internationalist’s life and work. In Ireland Sinn Fein is holding a week of events which will culminate with a ‘Celebración de un héroe internacional’. A night of Cuban music and food, Cuban Ambassador to Ireland Noel Carillo and Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly will be amongst the speakers. There will also be similar celebrations of the life of Che Guevara in London and other EU cities.
As is to be expected, the Neo-Conservatives, many of whom were once on the left; and the so called ‘new left’ as represented by New Labour etc, have been out in force in the media and on the internet smirking about Che Guevara. By condemning him so vigorously I wonder if they are not really angry with themselves for coming to an accommodation with the Capitalist system, which in their hearts and minds they know to be unjust and non-reformable.
Che Guevara, an Argentinean bourgeois from a comfortable middle class home, with a solid career in medicine before him, sacrificed a life of comfort and ease to become a front line combatant in the class war that was, and still is being perpetrated by the representatives of Capital against the world’s ‘have nots’. For he came to understand that the comforts he and his class possessed came at the expense of the toiling masses.
During what today would be known as his ‘gap year,’ Guevara traveled extensively in South and Central America. He quickly came to realize that it was the United States who provided the military muscle and the intellectual power house that impoverished two thirds of the worlds population. He concluded that those who ruled the USA or held its franchise in South and Central America would never leave the seat of power with out a violent upheaval.
Che Guevara regarded the USA as the ‘Great Satan’ long before the adherents of the Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama bin Laden reached a similar conclusion. He dedicated his life to opposing, no matter where in the world it existed, the exploitative tentacles of US multi national capitalism and the misery and hardships that came in its wake.
It was this Socialist Internationalism which made Che Guevara such a pariah and hate figure to the US establishment and its vicious third world political and military clientele. For they understood perfectly that it would make him an icon throughout the world, especially amongst those who are struggling in a world of plenty against unnecessary oppression, ignorance and poverty. For Che instinctively new that we are our brothers keeper and an injury to one is an injury to all. If a socialist society is to become a reality it’s practitioners must operate like capitalism, internationally. Otherwise Capital will simply play one nationality against another as indeed is increasingly happening in the globalized economy of today.
It was one of Che Guevara’s great strengths that he was never short of political ambition for the revolutionary movement; and he had an absolute hatred of class oppression, which he understood perfectly due to his upbringing. This when combined with his Internationalism became a priceless attribute in his struggle for a world without inequality and exploitation. For having seen what the the 26th of July Movement had achieved in Cuba, he became certain the exploitative classes could be removed from the historical stage. In many ways he was a throw back to the days of the early Comintern, when the Russian Revolution inspired leftists and working class people from around the globe that a fairer more equitable world was possible.
International solidarity and inter-action amongst the working class is multi-national capital’s greatest fear, for it would upset the whole rotten edifice, especially when taken to a political level. Capital thrives on making one set of workers compete with another so as to drive down the labour costs. To understand just how much Capital fears Internationalism one only has to look at the response of the US administration to al Qaeda, for in its own way this organization operates along internationalist lines, although they are limited to the islamic world and those who adhere to that faith.
Thus when Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s proclaimed there was no difference between the Cuban peoples struggle for freedom, equality and independence and the struggles of the peoples of Vietnam, Africa, the middle-east, south and central America and proved he meant it by going to some of these countries to fight along side those militants in these parts of the world who were struggling against a common oppression. He became much more than the poster boy the mass media portrays him as today; and it is for this reason that millions of people around the world will be celebrating his life.