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Che Guevara: Life of a Revolutionary

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Che Guevera
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« Reply #150 on: August 02, 2009, 02:52:50 am »

From a pro-Che perspective

    "During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it."
    — Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution [133]

Duke Latin American studies professor Ariel Dorfman hypothesizes that Che's been "comfortably transmogrified into a symbol of rebellion" precisely because those in power no longer believe him to be dangerous.[134] However, Dorfman suspects the attempt to subvert Che could backfire, positing that 3 billion people now live on less than $2 a day and thus "the powerful of the earth should take heed: deep inside that T shirt where we have tried to trap him, the eyes of Che Guevara are still burning with impatience."[134] Expressing a similar sentiment, director Jonathan Green acknowledges that "Che is turning over in his grave" because of the commercialization; however in Green's view, Che's visage also has the potential to be a "Trojan horse" of capitalist marketing, by embedding itself into pop iconography. In his example, corporations in their desperate drive to sell goods, create the opportunity for observers to see the "logo" and ask "who was that guy?"[125] Trisha Ziff, curator of Che! Revolution and Commerce believes that regardless of the "postmodern" diffusion, you can't disassociate Che from "radical ideas and change", nor can one control it. In Ziff's view, despite the endless array of merchandising, the symbol of Che will continue to be worn and have resonance.[125] Critical pedagogical theorist Peter McLaren theorizes that American capitalism is responsible for the Che phenomenon, stating that "the United States has a seductive way of incorporating anything that it can’t defeat and transforming that 'thing' into a weaker version of itself, much like the process of diluting the strength and efficacy of a virus through the creation of a vaccine."[135] Author Susan Sontag spoke of the potential positive ramifications of utilizing Che as a symbol, positing:

    "I don’t disdain the impact of Che as a romantic image, especially among newly radicalized youth in the United States and Western Europe; if the glamour of Che’s person, the heroism of his life, and the pathos of his death, are useful to young people in strengthening their disaffiliation from the life-style of American imperialism and in advancing the development of a revolutionary consciousness, so much the better."[136]
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