‘‘Che Guevara....’’

Paresh Chattapadhyay

We read with considerable interest the article by Subrata Bagchi on ‘Che Guevara’ which appeared in FRONTIER recently [Vol 46, No 51, June 29-July 5, 2014]. The author's ardour for a radically changed world mediated by individuals like Guevara deserves admiration.

Coming to the content of the article, Guevara's heroism, his passionate attachment to the ‘wretched of the earth’, his uncompromising position as an internationalist fighting for world revolution, highlighted by the author, are beyond dispute. However, what kind of revolution we are speaking of? Anybody can give her/his own specification on revolution, and has the right to be its partisan. In this paper where the author speaks of 'hard line socialism' of Guevara, he being the 'grammarian of socialist dictatorship', and the mention of Marx somewhere, leave no doubt that we are invited to a Marxian kind of socialism. The rub is precisely here. Why is the need for bringing in Marx whose whole outlook on socialism is the exact opposite? To refresh our memory, there is no 'socialist dictatorship' in Marx's universe of discourse. For Marx it is a postulate that the labouring people must emancipate themselves. This is the outcome of the 'autonomous movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority' (Marx and Engels). And this self emancipation means the establishment of a 'Union of free individuals', which alone is socialism. It follows, secondly, that this is not the task of a group styling itself as the vanguard irrespective of the group's revolutionary ardour and spirit of self-sacrifice.

In fact when examined closely the Cuban socialism like all other socialisms of the twentieth century, is a heritage of the Bolshevik socialism of the early twentieth century, gained by the seizure of political power by a groupscule of radicalized middle class,far removed from the real process of material production, with no mandate from the labouring people, and where the abouring people had no role either in initiating or in leading the revolutionary movement. Their only role was to follow the directives of the 'vanguard'. And all these socialisms were in fact the dictatorship of the single party calling itself communist with no free election and recall of the members. These revolutions were indeed bourgeois [anti-democratic] revolutions against the pre-capitalist modes of production and foreign imperialism.

Vol. 47, No. 3, Jul 27 - Aug 2, 2014