Wednesday, October 13, 2010

che guevera reader: writings on politics & revolution pgs. 72-73

Revolution, in history, is like the doctor assisting at the birth of a new life, who will not use forceps unless necessary, but who will use them unhesitatingly every time labor requires them. It is a labor bringing the hope of a better life to the enslaved and exploited masses.

In many Latin American countries revolution is inevitable. This fact is not determined by the will of any person. It is determined by the horrifying conditions of exploitation under which the Latin American people life, the development of a revolutionary consciousness in the masses, the worldwide crisis of imperialism and the universal liberation movements of the subjugated nations. - from the Second Declaration of Havana (1962)

"We shall begin from this basis to analyze the whole matter of guerilla warfare in Latin America.

We have already established that it is a means of struggle to attain an end. First, our concern is to analyze the end in order to determine whether the winning of power in Latin America can be achieved in ways other than armed struggle.

Peaceful struggle can be carried out through mass movements that compel - in special situations of crisis - governments to yield; thus, the popular forces would eventually take over and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. Theoretically this is correct. When analyzing this in the Latin American context, we must reach the following conclusions: Generally on this continent objective conditions exist that propel the masses to violent action against their bourgeois and landholding governments. In many countries there are crises of power and also some subjective conditions necessary for revolution. It is clear, of course, that in those countries where all of these conditions are found, it would be criminal not to act to seize power. In other countries where these conditions do not occur, it is right that different alternatives will appear and out of theoretical discussions the tactic suitable to each country should emerge. The only thing history does not allow is that the analysts and executors of proletariat politics be mistaken.

No-one can solicit the role of vanguard party as if it were a diploma given by a university. To be the vanguard party means to be at the forefront of the working class through the struggle for achieving power. It means to know how to guide this fight through shortcuts to victory. This is the mission of our revolutionary parties and the analysis must be profound and exhaustive so that there will be no mistakes." (pgs. 72-73)

How does one integrate "revolution" into pacifism, i.e., at what intersections do Che and Jesus meet together? Furthermore, what does the outworking of this hybrid of passion look like in regards to this relationship?

Recently I've been stirred by the writings and ideology of 'Che' Guevera as is sampled in the above section from the Che Guevera Reader and as a result my conclusions about the medium(s) of liberation are being challenged. I am not saying I choose to adopt violence, per se, but I am interested in the emotion and commitment that compel such physical force.

For the past few years I have been persuaded by a pacifist disposition based on scripture and theology and now I am feeling some of its structural columns begin to shake as I listen to a man who believed more so in the immortality of a cause than his own mortality. Sound familiar?

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