Was Che Guevara a Stalinist sympathizer after the Secret Speech?

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devoration1
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Sep 5 2011 04:03
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But Che was a deeply committed to egalitarianism in organization and conduct and there's no point in denying it.
.

I disagree with your entire categorization of the man, the history of his actions and his legacy.

S. Artesian
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Sep 5 2011 04:28
devoration1 wrote:
Quote:
But Che was a deeply committed to egalitarianism in organization and conduct and there's no point in denying it.
.

I disagree with your entire categorization of the man, the history of his actions and his legacy.

Exactly what are you disagreeing with?

Categorization of the man? You don't think he's an interesting character? You don't think he wrote some very interesting memoirs on armed struggle?

The history of his actions? You don't think he went to Africa? You don't think he tried and failed to organize coordinated armed struggle against the extension and deepening of capitalist control of the Congo?

You don't think he undertook a critical analysis of the economy of the fSU and declared it state capitalist, tracing that state capitalism back to Lenin and the NEP?

You don't think he actually was in Bolivia? You don't think he picked the wrong place, and by hundreds of miles to attempt to develop a guerrilla foco?

I didn't characterize his belief in guerrilla warfare as correct. I stated he believed it.

And all accounts by Che's comrades in and out of combat is that he insisted on egalitarianism: the equal sharing of rations, and burdens in the field. You don't agree with that?

Or the fact that I say he was hardly a Stalinist of the "most fanatical type." You think he was a Yagoda? A Yeshov?

OK, go ahead produce the evidence that he was a blind adherent, a supplicant to Stalin-- demanding imprisonment and death to anyone who didn't accept socialism in one country; accusing anyone and everyone of being part of a fascist-Trotskyist-Bukharinist conspiracy.

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Entdinglichung
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Sep 5 2011 08:30

around 10 years ago, there was an issue of Revolutionary History on Cuba, but I do not remember if there were any useful articles on the "Che question"

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Sep 5 2011 09:39
S. Artesian wrote:
Beginning, I think upon his return from the failed mission in the Congo, Che began working on a critical analysis of the economics of the Soviet Union. Examination of the drafts of the work show that Che thought the SU was in fact "state capitalist" and the roots of that state capitalism were not in the changes made after the death of Stalin, or in Stalin's purges and veritable civil war in the 1930s, but rather in Lenin's NEP.
S. Artesian wrote:
You don't think he undertook a critical analysis of the economy of the fSU and declared it state capitalist, tracing that state capitalism back to Lenin and the NEP?

I am some what dubious about it and would like to see some quotations to the effect. I believe that the book you are referring to is this one:

I have never read it, and it was only published last year.

Devrim

S. Artesian
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Sep 5 2011 11:26

I haven't read the book either, I've read about the book, and I believe extracts of it have been reproduced and quoted in a documentary about Che produced in Argentina in 2010.

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Sep 5 2011 14:08

Here is the quote:

Quote:
‘It is a real fact that all the juridical superstructure of the current Soviet society comes from the New Economic Policy; in this the old capitalist relations are preserved, the old categories of capitalism, i.e., commodities exist, to a certain extent, profit and the interest that the banks appropriate exist and, of course, there exists the direct material interest of the workers’ (ibid., in ‘Some thoughts about the socialist transition’, p. 11).

(The text is against Guevara's interpretation.)

Also devoration1, here's a text against Cliff's theory.

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Devrim
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Sep 5 2011 14:08
S. Artesian wrote:
I haven't read the book either, I've read about the book, and I believe extracts of it have been reproduced and quoted in a documentary about Che produced in Argentina in 2010.

In which case unless you have actually read it, I am pretty dubious about it. I would imagine that somebody somewhere in the Cliff tendency has read it, and if he was saying that Russia was state capitalist directly we might well have heard about it.

If it doesn't say it clearly, I would be very wary of political grave-robbers trying to interpret some book and suggest that he said this or that, or that this sentence really means...

Devrim

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Sep 5 2011 14:10
Noa Rodman wrote:
Here is the quote:
Quote:
‘It is a real fact that all the juridical superstructure of the current Soviet society comes from the New Economic Policy; in this the old capitalist relations are preserved, the old categories of capitalism, i.e., commodities exist, to a certain extent, profit and the interest that the banks appropriate exist and, of course, there exists the direct material interest of the workers’ (ibid., in ‘Some thoughts about the socialist transition’, p. 11).

(The text is against Guevara's interpretation.)

You posted when I was typing. I don't think this suggests any break with Stalinism at all.

Devrim

S. Artesian
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Sep 5 2011 14:15

From a review of the book at:

http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1218

Quote:
He attributed the impasses of the USSR in the 1960s to ...the NEP of Lenin! Certainly, he thought that if Lenin had lived longer - he made the mistake of dying, he noted ironically - he would have corrected the most retrograde effects of this policy. But he was convinced that the introduction of elements of capitalism by the NEP led to the nefarious tendencies that could be observed in the USSR in 1963, which were going in the direction of the restoration of capitalism. All of Guevara’s criticisms of the NEP are not without interest, and they sometimes coincide with those of the Left Opposition in 1925-27: for example, when he remarks that “the cadres allied themselves to the system, constituting a privileged caste”. We are left wondering whether he hadn’t read Trotsky, who is nowhere mentioned in these notes... But the historic hypothesis which made the NEP responsible for the pro-capitalist tendencies in the USSR of Brezhnev is quite clearly not very applicable. It quite simply ignores Stalinism and the monstrous deformations that it introduced into the economic, social, and political system of the USSR. We find few references to Stalin in these notes; one of the rare ones is quite critical: “the terrible historical crime of Stalin: to have treated communist education with contempt and instituted the unlimited cult of authority”. That is accurate, but it’s a little bit insufficient as an analysis...

I never claimed Che had ever "broken" with Stalinism. I claimed he was not a Stalinist of the most "fanatical" type. And he probably didn't regard himself as a Stalinist at all, but that's just speculation on my part.

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Sep 5 2011 15:05

The working class in some republics was also not ready to break with Stalinism;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Georgian_demonstrations

ah history

working class
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Sep 5 2011 18:01
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
working class wrote:
. . . . . since all such nationalist revolts after World War II and before/after the fall of the U.S.S.R. have ended up being subservient to the interests of one or the other faction of imperialism

Since the sky is green with purple polkadots .................................

The facts speak for themselves. Here is a list of all the anti-colonial national liberation struggles so far. Though I don't agree with some of the inclusions, not a single one of them has avoided being subsumed by imperialism.

wikipedia wrote:
Explicit wars of decolonization:

The Philippine Revolution
In Vietnam, by the Viet Minh against France (also, during World War II, against Japan) and later against the United States in the Vietnam War.
The Indonesian National Revolution
The Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
The Jewish struggle against the British Mandate for Palestine, involving the Lehi and Irgun and later the Haganah.
The Israeli War of Independence, against the invading Arab nations.
The Madagascar revolt against the French in 1947
The Algerian war of independence against France (1954–1962).
In Angola (MPLA, FNLA, UNITA), Mozambique (FRELIMO), Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC, FLING), and Cape Verde (PAIGC) against Portugal
In Cameroon, by the UPC against France
In South Yemen by various nationalist organizations against Britain
the Mau Mau revolt in British-ruled Kenya
the Second Chimurenga (a/k/a Rhodesian Bush War) in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), led by ZANU and ZAPU
In Western Sahara, by the Saharan Liberation Army against Spain & France, and by the Polisario Front against Morocco & Mauritania
In Namibia, by SWAPO and SWANU against apartheid South Africa
The Dhofar Rebellion in Muscat and Oman
The Brunei Revolt
In Afghanistan, against the occupying Soviet Army.
In Ireland, the Irish War of Independence and The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA insurgency against Britain aimed at a united Ireland from 1969 until 1998.
In Cambodia, against the occupying Vietnamese Army.
In Nicaragua, by Augusto Sandino's forces against the occupying U.S. Marines.
In Chad, by FROLINAT against the Tombalbaye dictatorship
In South Africa, against apartheid by Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo.
In China, the Second Sino-Japanese War against Japanese subjugation of China.
the Bangladesh Liberation War
the Eritrean War of Independence against Ethiopia
In West Papua, by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka
In Bougainville, by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army
In Canada during 1837 and in subsequent years English Canadian and French Canadian reformers of William Lyon Mackenzie and the patriotes of Louis Joseph Papineau fought the British Empire for the independence of Canada. See Rebellions of 1837

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Sep 6 2011 01:02
S. Artesian wrote:
devoration1 wrote:
Quote:
But Che was a deeply committed to egalitarianism in organization and conduct and there's no point in denying it.
.

I disagree with your entire categorization of the man, the history of his actions and his legacy.

Exactly what are you disagreeing with?

Categorization of the man? You don't think he's an interesting character? You don't think he wrote some very interesting memoirs on armed struggle?

The history of his actions? You don't think he went to Africa? You don't think he tried and failed to organize coordinated armed struggle against the extension and deepening of capitalist control of the Congo?

You don't think he undertook a critical analysis of the economy of the fSU and declared it state capitalist, tracing that state capitalism back to Lenin and the NEP?

You don't think he actually was in Bolivia? You don't think he picked the wrong place, and by hundreds of miles to attempt to develop a guerrilla foco?

I didn't characterize his belief in guerrilla warfare as correct. I stated he believed it.

And all accounts by Che's comrades in and out of combat is that he insisted on egalitarianism: the equal sharing of rations, and burdens in the field. You don't agree with that?

Or the fact that I say he was hardly a Stalinist of the "most fanatical type." You think he was a Yagoda? A Yeshov?

OK, go ahead produce the evidence that he was a blind adherent, a supplicant to Stalin-- demanding imprisonment and death to anyone who didn't accept socialism in one country; accusing anyone and everyone of being part of a fascist-Trotskyist-Bukharinist conspiracy.

Throwing a bone that you do not agree with Foco does little to ameliorate your obvious sympathy for the man (as an icon) and his social (if not political) legacy. Egalitarianism? A man who built up the state security service, was involved in extra-judicial killings personally (by pulling the trigger literally and figuratively through ordering such killings in person), pontificated on the benefits of nuclear war (including acting as a nuke-hawk during the Cuban Missle Crisis), an unrepentant Stalinist. There's no evidence that he supported a theory of state capitalism of any kind. In fact, He seems quite typical of the 'anti-revisionist' Marxist-Leninists who saw in figures like Khrushchev and Xioping a detente with imperialism and return to capitalism, rather than through the actual property relations in 'Real Existing Socialism' and tendencies in global capitalism since the 20th century.

His 'Motorcycle Diaries' may be of interest to read as a piece of art (specifically as a companion text to W.S.Burroughs "Yage Letters"), but that smacks of the same arguments for letting Roman Polanski get away with rape. He's an artist, he's interesting- it's bad form to hold him accountable for his crimes. He was interesting, he was a rebel- don't worry about his support for nuclear war, his personal involvement in extra-judicial killings and his actions as an important part of a Stalinist state bureaucracy. Keep defending the man as some kind of revolutionary icon, a Red Christ, a 'man against time' who's selflessness and passionate adherence to his beliefs was too pure for this world.

Quote:
Also devoration1, here's a text against Cliff's theory.

Thanks, I am reading it now. But of all of the state capitalist theories, Cliff's is probably the weakest.

S. Artesian
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Sep 6 2011 01:10

Tell us about those "extra-judicial" killings. Who were the "extra-judicial" victims? Are you talking about the officials of Batista's secret police who were executed?

Nice to know that you think that only certain countries should have nuclear missiles and be able to threaten to use them. Lord knows we wouldn't want those hot-headed Latin types to get a hold of a nuke or two.

He didn't have the usual "theory" of state- capitalism, if such a thing can be said to exist in Marxism, but he did have a view of the fSU as state-capitalist.

And by the way, you can take your Polanski comparison and choke on it.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 6 2011 04:57

Devoration1:

I am more familiar with Paul Baran and C. Wright Mills than I am with Tony Cliff's views on the Cuban Revolution but nothing as stated above sounds too far off to me. The very best piece I ever read on the Cuban revolution by a Trotskyist group - the Spartacist League was Marxist Bulletin #8 "Cuba and Marxist Theory."

The Chinese Revolution was a wholesale peasant war against the foreign overlords as well as the local warlords and the bourgeoisie. The workers were caught in the crossfire. The result was of this "bourgeois revolution against the bourgeoisie" was a "capitalist state without a capitalist class" with the bureaucracy as a stand-in, Trotskylike, for the ruling class - only that was not the "workers" it stood in for but the capitalists.

The Indochinese Revolution was virtually the same as the Chinese.

The Cuban Revolution, on the other hand was actually only a fraction of a class going to war against the old gangster-capitalist ruling class of Cuba and not even fully that. None-the-less the stupidity of the United States forced the Castroites to either rescind the nationalizations which were essential to its national tasks or "go over" to a similar result - a "capitalist state without a capitalist class." Tim Wohlforth, a pitiful character of questionable political credentials, actually stated at one point the interesting idea of a "decomposed capitalist state" which he abandoned as soon as he was anointed by the SLL's Healy. I would have been curious to read a full explanation of this idea.

All three are examples of successful “second wave” bourgeois national revolutions which workers in the first world should have given critical military support.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 6 2011 05:21
wikipedia wrote:
Explicit wars of decolonization:

The Philippine Revolution
In Vietnam, by the Viet Minh against France (also, during World War II, against Japan) and later against the United States in the Vietnam War.
The Indonesian National Revolution
The Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
The Jewish struggle against the British Mandate for Palestine, involving the Lehi and Irgun and later the Haganah.
The Israeli War of Independence, against the invading Arab nations.
The Madagascar revolt against the French in 1947
The Algerian war of independence against France (1954–1962).
In Angola (MPLA, FNLA, UNITA), Mozambique (FRELIMO), Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC, FLING), and Cape Verde (PAIGC) against Portugal
In Cameroon, by the UPC against France
In South Yemen by various nationalist organizations against Britain
the Mau Mau revolt in British-ruled Kenya
the Second Chimurenga (a/k/a Rhodesian Bush War) in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), led by ZANU and ZAPU
In Western Sahara, by the Saharan Liberation Army against Spain & France, and by the Polisario Front against Morocco & Mauritania
In Namibia, by SWAPO and SWANU against apartheid South Africa
The Dhofar Rebellion in Muscat and Oman
The Brunei Revolt
In Afghanistan, against the occupying Soviet Army.
In Ireland, the Irish War of Independence and The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA insurgency against Britain aimed at a united Ireland from 1969 until 1998.
In Cambodia, against the occupying Vietnamese Army.
In Nicaragua, by Augusto Sandino's forces against the occupying U.S. Marines.
In Chad, by FROLINAT against the Tombalbaye dictatorship
In South Africa, against apartheid by Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo.
In China, the Second Sino-Japanese War against Japanese subjugation of China.
the Bangladesh Liberation War
the Eritrean War of Independence against Ethiopia
In West Papua, by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka
In Bougainville, by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army
In Canada during 1837 and in subsequent years English Canadian and French Canadian reformers of William Lyon Mackenzie and the patriotes of Louis Joseph Papineau fought the British Empire for the independence of Canada. See Rebellions of 1837

.

workingclass wrote:
The facts speak for themselves. Here [above] is a list of all the anti-colonial national liberation struggles so far. Though I don't agree with some of the inclusions, not a single one of them has avoided being subsumed by imperialism.

Gee whiz. I think I would agree that the "anti-colonial" Israeli War of Independence, against the invading Arab nations" resulted in being subsumed by imperialism.

Let's see the Phillipine Revolution was defeated so, yes, indeedie, that resulted in "being subsumed by imperialism."

The Vietnamese Revolution was "subsumed" by what imperialist power? Russia? Come on.

The Indonesian National Revolution was defeated.

Here's a big winner: "The Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories." Gee whiz. I celebrate their triumphant victory march every year !

And here we see a double listing for yet another bogus entry: "The Jewish struggle against the British Mandate for Palestine, involving the Lehi and Irgun and later the Haganah." I would certainly have to agree that this resulted in being "subsumed by imperialism."

Your list falls to shreds as you look at it one by one. Either the struggle is not anti-colonial or it is directly in the service of an imperialist superpower or it was defeated. The few and far between "winners" of anti-colonial struggle are not "subsumed" by any imperialist power at all.

Your sky remains green with purple polkadots !

working class
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Sep 6 2011 07:14
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
wikipedia wrote:
Explicit wars of decolonization:

The Philippine Revolution
In Vietnam, by the Viet Minh against France (also, during World War II, against Japan) and later against the United States in the Vietnam War.
The Indonesian National Revolution
The Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
The Jewish struggle against the British Mandate for Palestine, involving the Lehi and Irgun and later the Haganah.
The Israeli War of Independence, against the invading Arab nations.
The Madagascar revolt against the French in 1947
The Algerian war of independence against France (1954–1962).
In Angola (MPLA, FNLA, UNITA), Mozambique (FRELIMO), Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC, FLING), and Cape Verde (PAIGC) against Portugal
In Cameroon, by the UPC against France
In South Yemen by various nationalist organizations against Britain
the Mau Mau revolt in British-ruled Kenya
the Second Chimurenga (a/k/a Rhodesian Bush War) in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), led by ZANU and ZAPU
In Western Sahara, by the Saharan Liberation Army against Spain & France, and by the Polisario Front against Morocco & Mauritania
In Namibia, by SWAPO and SWANU against apartheid South Africa
The Dhofar Rebellion in Muscat and Oman
The Brunei Revolt
In Afghanistan, against the occupying Soviet Army.
In Ireland, the Irish War of Independence and The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA insurgency against Britain aimed at a united Ireland from 1969 until 1998.
In Cambodia, against the occupying Vietnamese Army.
In Nicaragua, by Augusto Sandino's forces against the occupying U.S. Marines.
In Chad, by FROLINAT against the Tombalbaye dictatorship
In South Africa, against apartheid by Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo.
In China, the Second Sino-Japanese War against Japanese subjugation of China.
the Bangladesh Liberation War
the Eritrean War of Independence against Ethiopia
In West Papua, by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka
In Bougainville, by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army
In Canada during 1837 and in subsequent years English Canadian and French Canadian reformers of William Lyon Mackenzie and the patriotes of Louis Joseph Papineau fought the British Empire for the independence of Canada. See Rebellions of 1837

Gee whiz. I think I would agree that the "anti-colonial" Israeli War of Independence, against the invading Arab nations" resulted in being subsumed by imperialism.

Let's see the Phillipine Revolution was defeated so, yes, indeedie, that resulted in "being subsumed by imperialism."

The Vietnamese Revolution was "subsumed" by what imperialist power? Russia? Come on.

The Indonesian National Revolution was defeated.

Here's a big winner: "The Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories." Gee whiz. I celebrate their triumphant victory march every year !

And here we see a double listing for yet another bogus entry: "The Jewish struggle against the British Mandate for Palestine, involving the Lehi and Irgun and later the Haganah." I would certainly have to agree that this resulted in being "subsumed by imperialism."

There is no argument in the above.

Either the war of national liberation has been "defeated" or in case it is "victorious", the country has become part of one or the other imperialist bloc (American, Russian, Chinese etc). In either case, there is no real gain for any of the working classes.

Quote:
Your list falls to shreds as you look at it one by one. Either the struggle is not anti-colonial or it is directly in the service of an imperialist superpower or it was defeated. The few and far between "winners" of anti-colonial struggle are not "subsumed" by any imperialist power at all.

As noted previously, this is a list from wikipedia, some of whose inclusions I disagree with. As such, you don't seem to have any arguments against the main points being discussed, except making irrelevant metaphors.

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Sep 6 2011 15:47
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Tell us about those "extra-judicial" killings. Who were the "extra-judicial" victims? Are you talking about the officials of Batista's secret police who were executed?

Not a great source, but it quotes from the biographies and memoirs of relevant persons (especially Guevara himself) and will do for now:

Quote:
Guevara’s disposition when he traveled with Castro from Mexico to Cuba aboard the Granma is captured in a phrase in a letter to his wife that he penned on January 28, 1957, not long after disembarking, which was published in her book Ernesto: A Memoir of Che Guevara in Sierra Maestra: “Here in the Cuban jungle, alive and bloodthirsty.” This mentality had been reinforced by his conviction that Arbenz had lost power because he had failed to execute his potential enemies. An earlier letter to his former girlfriend Tita Infante had observed that “if there had been some executions, the government would have maintained the capacity to return the blows.” It is hardly a surprise that during the armed struggle against Batista, and then after the triumphant entry into Havana, Guevara murdered or oversaw the executions in summary trials of scores of people—proven enemies, suspected enemies, and those who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In January 1957, as his diary from the Sierra Maestra indicates, Guevara shot Eutimio Guerra because he suspected him of passing on information: “I ended the problem with a .32 caliber pistol, in the right side of his brain.... His belongings were now mine.” Later he shot Aristidio, a peasant who expressed the desire to leave whenever the rebels moved on. While he wondered whether this particular victim “was really guilty enough to deserve death,” he had no qualms about ordering the death of Echevarría, a brother of one of his comrades, because of unspecified crimes: “He had to pay the price.” At other times he would simulate executions without carrying them out, as a method of psychological torture.

Luis Guardia and Pedro Corzo, two researchers in Florida who are working on a documentary about Guevara, have obtained the testimony of Jaime Costa Vázquez, a former commander in the revolutionary army known as “El Catalán,” who maintains that many of the executions attributed to Ramiro Valdés, a future interior minister of Cuba, were Guevara’s direct responsibility, because Valdés was under his orders in the mountains. “If in doubt, kill him” were Che’s instructions. On the eve of victory, according to Costa, Che ordered the execution of a couple dozen people in Santa Clara, in central Cuba, where his column had gone as part of a final assault on the island. Some of them were shot in a hotel, as Marcelo Fernándes-Zayas, another former revolutionary who later became a journalist, has written—adding that among those executed, known as casquitos, were peasants who had joined the army simply to escape unemployment.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1535

Quote:
Nice to know that you think that only certain countries should have nuclear missiles and be able to threaten to use them. Lord knows we wouldn't want those hot-headed Latin types to get a hold of a nuke or two.

That's a ridiculous assertion. Guevara was a monster who supported a nuclear holocaust:

"If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.”

Saying so doesn't make me a proponent of nuclear weapons, nuclear war or imperialism. However, your defense of Cuban nuclear weapons against the superpowers indicates you are the one who thinks some countries should have nuclear weapons.

Quote:
He didn't have the usual "theory" of state- capitalism, if such a thing can be said to exist in Marxism, but he did have a view of the fSU as state-capitalist.

It doesn't appear by any stretch that he had any theory of state capitalism. His line is, as I said, much closer to the traditional line of anti-revisionists (which fits perfectly given his disillusionment with the 'weakness' of Khrushchev and saw strength in Mao). Pointing to capitalist restoration in the USSR in the ’60s is an argument of M-L hardliners against the 'Revisionists'- something also done by Maoists against Deng Xaoping in the PRC- it is not a theory of state capitalism, however you judge it.

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Sep 6 2011 16:20
devoration1 wrote:
"If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.”

Sweet Jesus, did he really say that shit?

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Sep 6 2011 18:51

The quote came from an interview Guevara gave to The Daily Worker correspondant Sam Russell in November 1962 (not long after the Cuban Missle Crisis). It is one of many of the incidents and quotes referenced above contained in Jon Lee Anderson's 1997 book Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life.

S. Artesian
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Sep 6 2011 19:26

So what [referring to the nuke quote]. That was also the line of a section of the Trotskyists, wasn't it? BFD. Is it crazy? Yep. Does it make anyone who says it a Stalinist of the most fanatical stripe, not hardly. It makes them stupid, that's for sure, talking out their asses, but none of those qualities are exclusively Stalinist.

And the summary executions? First off, if Vargas Llosa told me it was raining outside, I'd send somebody out to check before I reached for the umbrella.

But let's say in this, he just happens to be correct. There is no justification at all for those actions without there being real evidence of betrayal. But such summary executions are not exclusively the products of Stalinists of the most fanatical stripe. The workers militias in Russia were inclined to summary executions. The Red Army was so inclined. Trotsky practiced it. Doesn't make it right, doesn't make it acceptable, but it is not a characteristic confined to Stalinists.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 7 2011 03:05
working class wrote:
As noted previously, this is a list from wikipedia, some of whose inclusions I disagree with. As such, you don't seem to have any arguments against the main points being discussed, except making irrelevant metaphors.

You would like for me to remain in the land of meaningless abstractions (the "main points") without ever coming down to the level of the concrete ("irrelevant metaphors"). When I try to pin you down you wiggle out complaining that the list that you used to make your argument was written by someone else and so you are not responsible for "the details."

There is no such thing today as "Russian Imperialism." I would argue that there hasn't been any "Russian Imperialism" since 1917 outside the borders of traditional Czarist Russia. The conversion of the cordon sanitaire from a ring of countries around Russia protecting Western Europe from Bolshevist Russia to a ring of countries protecting Stalinist Russia from Western Europe notwithstanding. I would also argue that there has never been any such thing as "Chinese Imperialism" - at least up until very recently - certainly none from 1949 - 1980 or so. The notion that Vietnam became a "satellite" of the Soviet Union is Cold War poppycock. The idea of the "Third Camp" that there were "two imperialist camps" during the Cold War cannot be sustained with argument. Russia and China were indeed "authoritarian" during all their lives as "communist" countries and much of that time could be classed as "totalitarian." Many, including myself, would see them as a sort of basket case "degenerated capitalist state" but that does not make them "imperialist."

Make an argument.

P.S. I apologize to those who are more interested in a microscopic analysis of the internal psyche of Ché Guevara. I feel even this depends on who he was and what he was. If you got that wrong then the whole point is lost.

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Sep 7 2011 04:29

Yeah, you're the master of the concrete. Especially when you ignore the concrete support that Gaddafi had from some factions of the US imperialists even as other factions were supporting his elimination.

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Sep 7 2011 08:23

This is an extract from an article written by our comrades in Mexico, responding to a letter which claimed, among other things, that Che was a trenchant critic of the USSR. The problem for him, certainly in 1962, was that the USSR wasn't Stalinist enough. The whole article can be read here: http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2007/che-guevara


The origin of Che's critiques of the USSR was the missile crisis of1962. For the USSR, its domination of Cuba was a godsend. Finally, it could return the favour to the United States, who threatened the USSR directly from countries close to it, like Turkey. The USSR began to install nuclear missile bases only a few miles from American coastlines. The United States responded by putting in place a total embargo of the island, forcing the Russian ships to return home. Khrushchev, the master of the Kremlin at the time, was finally forced to remove his missiles. For a few days in October 1962, the imperialist confrontations between those who presented themselves as the "free world" and those who presented themselves as the "socialist and progressive world" almost pulled mankind to the brink of extinction. Khrushchev was then considered by the Castroist leadership as lacking the "balls" to attack the United States. In an excess of patriotic hysteria, where the Castroist slogan "fatherland or death" takes it most sinister meanings, they are prepared to sacrifice the people (they'll say that it's the people who are willing to sacrifice themselves) on the altar of atomic war. In this perverse delirium, Guevara could only be in the forefront. He writes: "They are right (the countries of the OAS) to be fearful of 'Cuban subversion', it is the frightful example of a people willing to pulverize itself with atomic weapons so that its ashes will serve as cement for building a new society, and who, when an agreement is reached on the removal of the atomic rockets without it being consulted, doesn't sigh in relief, doesn't receive the truce with gratitude. It throws itself into the arena to [...] affirm [...] its decision to fight, even alone, against all the dangers and against the atomic threat of Yankee imperialism". This "hero" decided that the Cuban people are willing to extinguish itself for the fatherland... Thus, at the origin of the critique of the USSR is not a loss of faith in the virtues of "Soviet communism" (Stalinist capitalism in reality); on the contrary, Che's complaint is that the system didn't go to its logical conclusion of military confrontation. And the talks in Algiers on which you base your claim that Che departed "from the social-imperialist model of the USSR", don't change the fact of Guevara's attachment to Stalinist positions. On the contrary! During those famous talks, he questions the "mercantilism" in the relations between the countries of the Eastern bloc but he still calls them socialist, and "friendly peoples": "the socialist countries are, to a certain extent, accomplices in imperialist exploitation [...]. [They] have a moral duty to end their tacit complicity with the exploiter countries of the West". Beyond its radical appearance, such a critique is thus that of someone within the Stalinist system. Worse still, it emanates from a leader who participated with all his energy in the instalment of state capitalism in Cuba! Anyway, after that, Guevara will no longer officially offer the slightest critique of the USSR.

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devoration1
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Sep 7 2011 14:28
S. Artesian wrote:
So what [referring to the nuke quote]. That was also the line of a section of the Trotskyists, wasn't it? BFD. Is it crazy? Yep. Does it make anyone who says it a Stalinist of the most fanatical stripe, not hardly. It makes them stupid, that's for sure, talking out their asses, but none of those qualities are exclusively Stalinist.

And the summary executions? First off, if Vargas Llosa told me it was raining outside, I'd send somebody out to check before I reached for the umbrella.

But let's say in this, he just happens to be correct. There is no justification at all for those actions without there being real evidence of betrayal. But such summary executions are not exclusively the products of Stalinists of the most fanatical stripe. The workers militias in Russia were inclined to summary executions. The Red Army was so inclined. Trotsky practiced it. Doesn't make it right, doesn't make it acceptable, but it is not a characteristic confined to Stalinists.

I was criticizing the man and the image of him supported by various stripes from 'The Left'- including your sympathetic comments about his 'egalitarianism' etc. No, support for a nuclear war and participating in extra-judicial killings are not de facto defining traits of Stalinism. I'm not out to prove Che's ultra-hardline Stalinism- only that this image of him promoted by you earlier in this thread that he was some kind of progressive revolutionary is wrong. His extremist Stalinism should be pretty obvious given his ass-kissing remarks about 'Comrade Stalin', his support for Soviet-style society (including being one of the biggest advocates for exporting the Soviet model to Cuba) and his proto-anti-Revisionism against Khrushchev (specifically backing down in the military conflict with the West over Cuba in '62 and his promotion of 'Peaceful Co-Existance' as the line of the so-called 'socialist' states) prove this. You mention Yagoda specifically- which is interesting because Che was directly involved in establishing Cuba's secret police apparatus the G2 ('Department Of State Security').

S. Artesian
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Sep 7 2011 20:04

1. But Yagoda did not establish the Cheka. The Cheka was established by the Bolsheviks in 1917-18. What Yagoda did do was utilize the Cheka, upon instructions, to purge RCP members, to imprison them, to accuse them of conspiracy, of being agents of Hitler and Japan. Did Che direct the actions of the political police against members of the Communist Party in Cuba?

2. I think Che was a Stalinist, personally. And I do not think he represented a "progressive revolutionary movement," anymore than I think Ho Chi Minh represented a revolutionary movement. I said I don't think Che was a "Stalinist of the most fanatical type," using Yagoda and Yeshov as examples of fanatical types. I don't know what he thought he was, and I don't really care.

His military operations in the Congo and Bolivia appear to have had a strong egalitarian orientation in the distribution of burdens and rations among the participants, based on various writings of Che and others. That makes him an interesting character to me, not a revolutionist. I should have not used the phrase "remarkable character."

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Arbeiten
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Sep 7 2011 23:58


Did somebody say....REVOLUTION!

I think Castro fits the Stalinist bill more solidly than Che. There again, I'm not particularly overwhelmed by either...

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CRUD
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Sep 8 2011 02:42

Question - Was Che Guevara a Stalinist sympathizer after the Secret Speech?

Answer (in the form of another question) - Who gives a shit?

I have a more relevant question....did Boss Hog sleep on a water bed filled with Bo and Luke Dukes urine and or masturbate to mental images of Roscoe P Coltrane tied up in a gimp suit?

the anarko Stalinist chipmunk must know!!

working class
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Sep 8 2011 02:52
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
There is no such thing today as "Russian Imperialism."

I do not think there can be any such thing as no Russian imperialism. Imprialism is a world system in the current age of capitalism and all capitalist countries today are de facto imperialist. The same goes for little imperialist powers like Vietnam too.

Quote:
I would argue that there hasn't been any "Russian Imperialism" since 1917 outside the borders of traditional Czarist Russia.

I may be mistaken here, but I would have thought Poland, East Germany and the rest of the Eastern Bloc were outside the borders of traditional Czarist Russia. wall

Quote:
I would also argue that there has never been any such thing as "Chinese Imperialism" - at least up until very recently - certainly none from 1949 - 1980 or so.

You have a very wrong view of what imperialism constitutes of.

Quote:
The notion that Vietnam became a "satellite" of the Soviet Union is Cold War poppycock.

Vietnam (and Cuba, and the rest of Stalinist countries) certainly did depend to a large extent on the Soviet Union for trade and economic sustenance.

Quote:
Many, including myself, would see them as a sort of basket case "degenerated capitalist state" but that does not make them "imperialist."

I do not think that any country can be capitalist without being imperialist.

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CRUD
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Sep 8 2011 03:11
working class wrote:
I do not think that any country can be capitalist without being imperialist.

Boss Hog was an imperialist banker.

Tina Turner has the right idea when it comes to Che...

(sorry, I cant take threads dedicated to Che seriously)

wojtek
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Sep 8 2011 19:12
Arbeiten wrote:

Did somebody say....REVOLUTION!

Lol I well freaked out when I saw that. I thought that Che faked his murder in '67 and reappeared 31 years later only to star as Raoul Duke in 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' alongside Johnny Depp... but then I realised it was Benicio del Toro. embarrassed

I wish Stalinists were that interesting in real time!