[10/09/07] MST Informa #143: Che Lives!
Dear friends of the MST,
Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of the revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. In countries around the world and especially in Latin America, activists from the left and social movements are carrying out events to commemorate the man who has been transformed into one of the greatest symbols of struggle for the freedom of Latin Americans, Africans, and people of the Caribbean.
It was obvious that the bourgeoisie and the imperialists would also not allow this date to pass by without notice. For the conservative forces, the cold-blooded killing that they promoted in La Higuera, Bolivia, was not enough to placate the class hatred that they felt for the revolutionary leader. Besides killing him in body, they needed to assassinate history. It fell to Veja magazine, of the Abril Group, to once again be the spokesman for the reactionary forces and to practice journalism without any relation to the facts.
For us, men and women workers, the month of October is a period of rescuing history, the teachings and the example of Ernesto Che Guevara. Why remember Che? Because he dedicated his life to the people’s cause. He left us a legacy of unconditional solidarity with all the oppressed and of commitment to the people’s liberation struggles.
Fidel said about Che: “He left us his revolutionary thought, his revolutionary virtues, his character, his will, his tenacity, his spirit of work. The man who should be the model for our people.” The contribution of Che – his ideas and example – cannot be summarized in military strategies or the taking of political power. We should not see him as an infallible superman with superpowers. And he should not be reduced to a myth.
Looking at his spoken and written work as well as his life, we can identify his profound humanism. The human being was the center of all his concerns. Our admiration and respect should be directed toward his life, his dialectic capability to continue learning, his persistence in struggling against all forms of injustice, his leadership capacity and his humility. He himself would never allow himself to be transformed into a myth.
For us, Che is an example of overcoming personal limits and of profound love for humanity.
“Allow me to say, at the risk of appearing ridiculous, that the revolutionary is motivated by great feelings of love […] we must struggle every day to transform this love of humanity into concrete facts, into acts that serve to mobilize” (Che Guevara).
An anger at and opposition to social injustice and his revolt against imperialist policies, no matter where they were implemented, was what motivated him to struggle. He said “…each time a country unhooks itself from the imperialist tree, it not only wins a partial battle against the basic enemy but also contributes to the actual weakening and moves a step closer to final victory”.
His persistence, not holding back forces in any circumstances, is measured by his work, his struggles and above all by his practical example. Even as a Minister of State, a leader of the Cuban Revolution, he performed solidarity work, building housing, hospitals, and schools for the people, as well as cutting sugar cane. “In the future, we will all have to fulfill our revolutionary duties and temporarily renounce certain privileges and rights to benefit collectivity.”
He defended, with his theoretical elaboration and in action, the principle that the people’s problems can only be resolved if all people actively participate in seeking and implementing solutions for their own problems. He believed in the power and the need for the people to be the protagonists of their own history. For him, a social revolution was characterized by people assuming their own destiny, participating in all the political decisions of society.
He always defended complete integration of political leaders and citizens. In this way he combated populist demagogues, and thus combined the strength of the organized masses with the role of the leaders, of the activists, thus practicing that which Gramsci had already characterized as the function of the intellectual organic collective.
He had a simple unspoiled life. He never sought material goods. He denounced the fetish of consumerism and ardently defended the need to permanently raise the level of knowledge and culture of all the people. For this reason, Cuba was the first country to eliminate illiteracy and in Latin America to reach the greatest index of higher education.
Knowledge and culture were for him the main values and goods to be cultivated. “On the day that we stop learning, that we believe we know all or that we have lost our capacity for exchange with the people, will be the day in which we have stopped being revolutionaries”, he stated. And he added, “society as a whole should be converted into a giant school”.
For us, the knowledge and the experience left by Che Guevara are learned every day, in all our daily activities, in our training, our persistence in education, our confrontation with imperialism and with the Brazilian bourgeoisie, which abandoned the idea of building a nation in our country. For more than 500 years, the elite in our country were concerned only in reinforcing a policy of subordination to the interests of the international market and of facilitating the exploitation of our natural wealth and of our people. More than ever, the ideas and the ideals of Ernest Che Guevara are present, together with the Brazilian working class.
In the month of October, the rescue of Che’s teachings is transformed into homage. But also into practical actions that spread throughout the country by means of the Solidarity Campaign and Voluntary Work. In his memory, we are going to study, carry out solidarity actions, and celebrate him in all the Agrarian Reform areas, camps, and settlements.
We know that we need to follow his steps, trying every day to be better in our activism, our studies, and in our living together with others. To believe in Che, to remember Che today is above all, to cultivate his values of revolutionary practice that he left us as a legacy. The bourgeoisie wants to kill Che. His body was killed but his example lives on.
Che lives! Long live Che!
National Leadership of MST
“We have a difficult road to follow. Our strength lies in the unity of workers and peasants, of all the needy classes, who must march toward the future”. Ernesto Che Guevara