Occupation of Wall Street—What Would Che Guevara Do?

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Guevara would clear the occupation of Wall Street in a New York nanosecond. His colleagues of the time recall Che cheering the Soviet tanks slaughtering Hungarian freedom-fighters in the streets of Budapest. The youths they machine-gunned and blasted were all “fascists and CIA agents!” he raved.

“I’m a Stalinist,” Che Guevara boasted to Cuban colleague Carlos Franqui in 1957. That sniveling speech by Khrushchev denouncing Stalin’s crimes was nothing but “imperialist lies.”  But Khrushchev’s subsequent spunk in sending tanks and battle-hardened Siberian troops to massacre Hungarian protesters, Che later conceded, certainly helped ameliorate his speech’s doctrinal errors.

Forty-four years ago this week, Ernesto “Che” Guevara got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he was declared a murderer, stood against a wall and shot. If the saying “What goes around comes around” ever fit, it’s here.

Two years ago, the U.K. Guardian interviewed Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro regarding his Cannes-winning role as Che Guevara in Stephen Soderbergh’s movie Che. “Dammit This Guy Is Cool!” was the interview title. “I hear of this guy, and he’s got a cool name, Che Guevara!” says del Toro. “Groovy name, groovy man, groovy politics! So I came across a picture of Che, smiling, in fatigues, and I thought, ‘Dammit, this guy is cool-looking!'”

There you have it. In effect, Benicio del Toro probably revealed the inspiration (and daunting intellectual exertion) of millions of Che fans, including hundreds currently “occupying” Wall Street.

As a celebrity-hipster fan of Che Guevara, del Toro has plenty of company. Johnny Depp often wears a Che pendant and in a Vibe Magazine interview proclaimed his “digging” Che Guevara. In fact, had del Toro or Depp been born earlier and in Cuba and attempted a rebel lifestyle, their “digging” of Castroite Cuba would have been of a more literal nature. They’d have found themselves chained and digging ditches and mass graves in a prison camp system inspired by the man they “dig.” Had their digging lagged, a “groovy” Communist guard might have shattered their teeth with a “groovy” Czech machine-gun butt, or perhaps slashed their buttocks with some “groovy” Soviet bayonets.

In a famous speech in 1961, Che Guevara denounced the very “spirit of rebellion” as “reprehensible.” “Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates,” commanded Guevara. “Instead, they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service, should learn to think and act as a mass.”

Among the first, the most militant, and the most widespread opposition groups to the Stalinism Ernesto “Che”  Guevara (who often cheekily signed his named as “Stalin II”) imposed on Cuba came from Cuban labor organizations.

And who can blame them? Here’s a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report on Cuba circa 1957: “One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class,” it starts.

“Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8-hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure is 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent. 44 per cent of Cubans are covered by Social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S.”

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  • UCSPanther

    I think I can guess what Che would do…

    It would've had something to do with "painting wall street red"…

  • Daniel Fagan

    Myth always out trumps reality, Che was a homicidal thug. So much a coward that he had the victims of his blood bath mouths taped shut so he would not have to hear their dieing declarations. When he went to see a real guerrilla leader, Mao, Mao let him cool his heels in an outer office and never gave him an audience. Che never fired a shot at a armed opponent during his operations in Cuba, he was a party enforcer, nothing more. The more you know about this person, the less there is to admire. He was such a screw-up Castro basically kicked him out of the country, to become an ambassador of the revolution. When he tried to start his own revolution in Bolivia, his incompetence and ego got he and his men killed. So much for the great revolutionary icon.

  • maturin20

    A testament to the power of iconography.

  • tagalog

    I hate to bust the writer's balloon, but Che Guevara was shot down in a road in Bolivia by Bolivian cops. He was not stood up against a wall and shot. But it's true that he didn't get a trial. They just shot him down where they found him like the mad dog he was.

    I take it back; there's a credible story that Che Guevara was not shot down, but wounded and captured, and later executed by the Bolivian military. But even that story claims that Che was shot in a hut by some Bolivian officer, not stood up against a wall.

    • StephenD

      In this instance…the End is justified…by any Means.

  • StephenD

    I have the T-shirt that has Che's picture on it with the caption:

     "Communism killed 100 million people and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

    I would proudly wear this to one of the "Wall Street Protests" but I think the message would be lost on the protesters.

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks


    What do the filthy, dirty, violent, mooching leftist losers of the anti-American, business hating, Occupy Wall Street movement want? One poster slogan says it all, "THE BANKS GOT BAILED OUT WE GOT LEFT OUT!." In other words, these bankrupt human beings want to be bailed out like the banks, not by the government which is broke, but by the financial institutions and corporations which busted the government when billions were given them. These empty, miserable, envious souls are greedy for corporate wealth; for that $2 trillion dollars in sidelined cash that corporate America is sitting on unspent because of regulatory uncertainty.

    continued below

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    In other words, they want what isn't theirs, want what they haven't earned, want what they're not entitled to. In short, they "want the world and and it now!" as acid freak Jim Morrison sang in the 60s. This is the last hurrah of Woodstock Nation; the terminal convulsions of 1960s counterculture radicalism; its last collective fling before it burns out and dies. It is the hard left's last shot at transforming the American Dream into an egalitarian communist nightmare-the revolution that never came, Obama's "More Perfect Union." These fringers want the banks, financial institutions and corporations to pay their fair share, not to Washington but TO THEM; to subsidize their non-productive, hedonistic, drug abusing, rock n roll lifestyles. Those who have given up on life and lack the will to succeed want a new, massive spread the wealth program tailored to their desires and needs. The time has come for the real revolution. The time has come for NO BUMS LEFT BEHIND.

    Click my name to continue reading this piece.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      You sound so Iranian.

  • flyingtiger

    Eric Burton, lead singer of the animals is a great admirer of Che. He has been seen many times wearing the Che shirt. The irony is that any Cuban found with an albul by the Animlas or by Eric Burton would have been shot by Che himself.
    This is proof that drugs screw up your thinking.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      And your much revered discography of funky records that you produced is…..?

  • Steve Chavez

    I have been offering FREE INNER TUBES TO ANY OF THE PROTESTERS to be the first to float TO Cuba to live in ideals they now preach. They'll love it there since there are no election hassles there since one man runs and one man gets 100% of the vote. You don't even have to think there since one man does all the thinking for everyone.

    No bank hassles! No corporate greed! Jobs are guaranteed! Free healthcare! Low rent if at all! Free rations of food. Great beaches!

    To the protesters: Be true to your ideals and move to Cuba. End your suffering! Be free in PARADISE!

    • sal

      We staying here and we will not move an inche…. get your antidepresants ready!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ben

    American and Israely protests are inspired by leftist`s money and organizers as the "Arab spring"- by the oil money.All of them are in turn insired by Obama`s prsidency that have strengthen all lefist Dems. They see the West`s economic weight lowering as the sign of capitalism` end.This is the dangerous period for all sober people among the mad lumpen mobs. We must unite.

  • LindaRivera

    The Obama administration is now requiring banks to lower mortgage underwriting standards and approve loans for minorities with poor credit as part of a new crackdown on alleged "discrimination."

    The vicious attacks to utterly DESTROY the American economy never stops. Why are Americans so hated?

  • LindaRivera

    Obviously, Wall Street is not the place to protest. The correct place to protest is outside the White House whose failed and disgraceful policies are DESTROYING our country.

    An inferior health care plan that no one wants and CANNOT afford to pay. The threat to jail and/or fine those who don't purchase the government enforced plan.

    Massive spending as if there is no tomorrow. Fighting wars we have no money for. Massive borrowing.

    The Massive giving away of Billions of dollars every year to other countries, including the oil-wealthy Middle East, Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Palestinian Authority organization who fill their war chests, build mansions and laugh all the way to the bank with free infidel money. Whilst in America, homeless shelters are filled to capacity; tent cities have sprung up all over the U.S. filled with desperate, jobless, homeless, neglected Americans.

    Massive debt. The massive printing of paper money out of thin air to DELIBERATELY create out-of-control inflation. There is no question that the total DESTRUCTION of America's economy is planned. The results will be horrifying. In the once wealthy and great nation of America, millions of Americans will become destitute, hungry and homeless with no money or resources to help them.

  • mrbean

    These useful idiots who love communism should try demonstrating like this in a communist country like China and see what happens,

  • http://democracynow.org gkuhl3

    You are a bunch of phonies.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    Every macho Cuban expatriate has in the back of his mind the question of whether he can fight like Che and bone Jane Fonda to satisfaction. The answer is no.

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