Ernesto 'Che' Guevara

First, My Views...

Let me start off with my political angle so you know where I'm coming from. Although I majored in both Political Science and International Studies and consider myself fairly interested in and opinionated on world affairs, I do not align myself politically for many reasons.

Four reasons for this are as follows: First, I believe that no political system is perfect, either in ideology or practice, because each functions for the individual scenario in which it is employed in vastly different, and often unpredictable, ways.

Second, I feel it is important to realize the pros and cons of each system and keep an open mind to the benefits of every model of political framework available.

Third, although I can enjoy a spirited exchange of opinions, aligning oneself inevitably leads to hours of often pointless conflict with those who disagree with your professed viewpoint and not much beyond swearing, wrestling, and breaking stuff is ever accomplished in these "debates."

Finally, I've noticed that once anyone puts effort into selecting a party affiliation, it becomes that much harder to backtrack towards open-mindedness and much easier to block out conflicting views. Considering these, I find it then impossible to associate myself with any pre-packaged ideology or party, as the inherent nature of organized systems is to reflect the wishes of a core of people, the ideology becoming a smoothed down average of vague interests created and continually hewn by the forces of compromise (which is essentially unavoidable, since politics is the art of compromise).

This is not to say that I will remain silent on my views or remain apathetic to the actions of my government, however, it appears more logical to hold out for a system that mirrors my ideas than committing half-heartedly to a cloudy, generic ideal subscribed to by millions.

This being said, let me get to Comrade Guevara (who coincidentally, also avoided committing to a political ideology until after he was 25). I'm not a big believer in the physical manifestation of communism or socialism as it has occurred in the 20th century (the design is noble but the actual performance of the machine speaks for itself), nor would I say that capitalist democracy and borderless neoliberalism should be this planet's only system, I simply respect Che and the ideas and actions he followed in his life.

The goal of Che's life work was to form a "new society in which men will have different characteristics: the society of communist man" ("Socialism and Man in Cuba," p.7). Che pursued his goal of changing society and redefining the interactions of men doggedly throughout his life. However, what I feel deserves my ultimate respect is that, unlike many political theorists, not only did he develop and preach his ideologies, but he was fully prepared to put his life up and fight for them.

Again, to throw out a disclaimer, I am personally against the mindless pursuit of Absolute Ideals and furthermore I vehemently detest war (as it is unjustified in 85.4% of its occurrences....yeah, yeah, I know, how would you define "justified?" I won't nor would I be able to, as right and wrong are concepts dependent on the individual, so bear with my estimate for the length of this page), but the intense resolution of this man to pursue that thing that he felt so absolutely, unwaveringly for, to put forth his life, his willingness to sacrifice his incredible political value, intelligence, and physical body for the masses of Guatemala, Cuba, the Congo, and finally, Bolivia, is an existence to which I must cede my full respect.

Ultimately, however, Che failed to convince those he wished to free from their many complex bonds of oppression. The peasants that he sought to release could not muster the courage to fight the machine that chained them to their wretched existence and the lack of support Che received from them led to his capture by the Army of the Bolivian state (with certain help by the CIA) on the 8th of October, 1967.

Even in the face of death, a witness to his last hours claims, he would not renounce his faith in the conviction that under socialism, man realizes his best possible existence. Indeed, he felt that "we socialists are freer because we are more complete; we are more complete because we are freer" ("Socialism and Man in Cuba," p.16).