Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Back in his day, of course, he described it as straightforward imperialism, but no matter, the subsequent substitution of the symptom, neoliberalism, for the disease, imperialism, has merely sharpened the understanding of the nature of the conflict. Hence, in Venezuela, in Bolivia, in Brazil, in Argentina, indeed, throughout the continent, he retains his mythic stature, even after the leftists inspired by him put down their arms, and embarked upon a generational effort to build a social alternative from the ground up, an effort that required the most intense faith to be sustained, because, after all, how could they be sure that decades of activism, of relatively non-violent confrontation with the state, its affiliated labor unions and paramilitaries, would come to fruition?
But it did. As with any transformation, the results are uneven, with success in Venezuela, enthusiasm in Bolivia, increasing cynicism in Brazil, and an anti-capitalist, non-hierarchical social movement struggling to survive in Argentina. Thus, the incongruity of Chavez and Morales, two men who achieved power non-violently through democratic means because of the failure of structural adjustment policies, sharing murals with Che, the man who walked out of the party bureaucracy and into the jungle to arm the peasants for the coming revolution.
Che failed, but it was a failure that educated others about what was necessary to ultimately prevail. He was consistently and unabashedly with the victims of US imperialism, even though his methods of armed resistance and bureaucratic socialism were repudiated. Chavez, Morales and millions of others understandably identify with Che for this reason, as they are likewise irrevocably aligned with the impoverished and exploited of their countries, recognizing the great debt they owe him for educating them about the difficulties of confronting global capitalism.