The Rebel Road…

I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you’re only going to kill a man. – Ernesto Che Guevara

Che Guevara: The Intellectual Legacy of a true revolutionary.

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There are many efforts in the world to paint Socialist revolutionaries in colors other than their own. Mostly these efforts are made by toadies of Imperialism, if not Imperialist countries themselves. Bhagat Singh is presented, not as a Communist Revolutionary but as a Sikh-Nationalist. Che Guevara is presented as anarchist whose face adorns, not the hearts of his fellow Communist freedom fighters, but modern “revolutionary” fashion-ware. It is my belief, however, that these records need to be set straight.

Having read Lenin’s works on imperialism and having been inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution, Che surmised that the ‘imperialist chain’ referred to all capitalist nations – where the finance capital domination begins to seep into the poorer countries. At one end of this chair are the advanced countries who exploit those countries which lie on the opposite end of the chain i.e. the peripheral countries. It is the peripheral countries that produce raw materials and agricultural products and provides cheap labor yet must depend upon the advanced nations for capital goods. The Imperialists control everything; even the terms set for trade negotiations are in favor of the powerful countries As a consequence the poorer nations suffer. It is in this manner, that the poorer countries get poorer by degrees whereas the wealthy and power countries sap the very resources of these unfortunate entities, feeding off their vitalities like parasitic beings.
Although we reject any accusations against us of interference in the internal affairs of other countries, we cannot deny that we sympathize with those people who strive for their freedom. We must fulfill the obligation of our government and people to state clearly and categorically to the world that we morally support and stand in solidarity with peoples who struggle anywhere in the world to make a reality of the rights of full sovereignty proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
(Che Guevara, 1964).

Guevara emphasized the effect colonial rule upon the emergence of the native elite, often consisting of the bureaucracy and military that served as appendages of the colonial state to protect the colonial system of exploitation. When the colonizer granted formal independence to its colonies, the native elite as an outgrowth of colonial rule took the reins of state. The subcontinent is good example of this process. The bureaucracy and army which helped in the running colony were further augmented and its powers were increased. The economic system was unaltered as these former colonies continued to produce the raw materials and provide labor and were dependent upon their former colonial masters for capital goods thus the native elite provided the vital and sort of invisible link to their former masters, as we reached into a stage popularly known as neo-colonialism.

There was a misconception on the part of the elites of the local previously colonized states that following in the footsteps of their colonial masters i.e. modernizing themselves would pave the way towards their eventual economic salvation. In order to modernize, large scale industries were needed with consequently large investments of capital Since the countries themselves could not cover these large investments, foreign loans from the previous colonial masters were sought. A new problem arose the very capital that was to be spent in modernizing the country, now went toward covering the interest on those loans. Thus in reality even these steps benefited the donor countries. Instead of becoming economically independent these countries became swallowed up in the vicious cycle of debt repayments. Even the purposes of the loans are targeted so as to correspond to the plans of the previous colonizers; loans are given for specific purposes i.e. development of raw materials or goods which are required by the major world powers etc.

It is the analysis of these historical tendencies, of these events that led Che Guevara, and many revolutionaries that precede him, to declare that the only solution to the problems of the oppressed people of the world was a world revolution; a world revolution being the utter and complete victory of socialism, while the revolution in one country would be a partial victory of socialism; however a partial victory was absolutely acceptable as a short term measure. Such a revolution would be helped immensely by the structuring of the economy within the parameters defined within Marxism, but these principles would not find themselves confined to economics but would also impact social order and community culture. The strength of the Soviet bloc in the 20th century confirmed this theory, hence it can be said without a doubt that this was a successful strategy; one which later led to breaking of chains in various other countries, the most prominent of them being Cuba.

Having established that this was a successful strategy, further evidence of its need in today’s world can be explained now that the Soviet Union, in fact, does not exist. It was this unfortunate fall of the Soviet Union, coupled with the manner in which the assumed end to colonialism came about, that affected the economic hierarchy of the world; the capitalist nations now found themselves in a world with no power to challenge their looting, no voice for the oppressed anymore. Neo-liberalism was preached far and wide and many an economy literally destroyed in the name of progress. One does not have to venture far from South Asia and Africa to see how absolutely those countries are caught in the web of World Bank and IMF loans.

It is for this reason that Lenin and Che stressed the fact that the oppressors were backed by the huge resources at their disposal and it was for this purpose that the oppressed masses could only fight back with the only resource they had… their huge numbers. It is important to note here that according to Lenin the ends justified the means (again in stark opposition to Gandhi and other pacifist movements). Che’s famous book ‘The General Principles Of Guerilla Warfare’ explains that the oppressed must bear arms to oust their oppressors and to gain power within their lands. There has never been a stage in history, when Lenin’s concept of Imperialism and breaking the chain of imperialism at the hands of the oppressed has been as valid as it is today in Pakistan at least. Today when the Army snatches land away from its true owners to give to its loyal Generals; today when privatization occurs without hope of accountability; today when women are gang raped by feudal lords without regret or remorse. These are dark times for Pakistan; perhaps the shining teachings of Marx and Lenin can hope to be our salvation.
“The bestiality of Imperialism, a bestiality that knows no limits, that has no national frontiers. The bestiality of Hitler’s armies is the like the North American bestiality, like that of the Belgian paratroopers, and that of the French imperialists in Algeria…For it is the very essence of imperialism, to turn men into wild, bloodthirsty animals, determined to slaughter, kill, murder, and destroy the very last vestige of the image, of the revolutionary or partisan in any regime that they crush under their boots because it fights for freedom? …. Make sure that we will never trust imperialism, in no way at all…. Not an iota!”
(Che Guevara, 1961).


Written by redtribution

August 19, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Posted in Imperialism, Marxism, War

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