[Marxism] Was Che Guevara a Stalinist?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 12 16:36:06 MST 2012

Working my way at a leisurely pace through Sam Farber’s egregiously 
wrongheaded “Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959”, I came across this 
remarkable comparison between Joseph Stalin’s foreign policy and Che’s:

	The second major source of Cuba’s foreign policy was the independent 
Communist perspective of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who according to his 
biographers was a self-described admirer of Stalin even after 
Khrushchev’s revelation of the Russian leader’s crimes in 1956. Guevara 
was an ally of the old Cuba Communists from 1957 to 1960, a decisive 
period during which the key divisions about the kind of society that 
would be built in Cuba were made. But after 1960, Guevara’s views and 
practices began to differ from those of the USSR and the old Cuban 
Communists on matters of domestic and foreign policy. The Soviet Union 
and the old Cuban Communists were supporting the “right-wing Popular 
Front approaches, which as I earlier indicated, were initially developed 
in the mid-thirties by the Soviet Union and the Communist Parties 
involving alliances with forces to their right including the 
“progressive bourgeoisie.” Guevara’s approach was more similar, although 
not identical, to the far more intransigent and aggressive policies that 
Stalin adopted during other periods.

I really don’t want to make this article any longer than it has to be so 
I will not take apart all the factual and analytical errors contained in 
this excerpt but limit myself to Farber’s observation about Guevara 
adopting a policy “more similar” to the “the far more intransigent and 
aggressive policies that Stalin adopted during other periods.” They say 
that very observant Muslims can be identified by the appearance of a 
bruise-like marking on their forehead developed through a lifetime of 
prayer. I sometimes worry that I will develop the same kind of mark 
through slapping my forehead after reading another Farber howler. What 
it god’s name is this professor emeritus talking about? Stalin’s 
“aggressive” policies? If this is a reference to the “third period”, 
then aggressive is hardly the operative term. Instead, imbecilic 
ultraleftism might obtain. There was nothing “aggressive” about the 
policy of lumping together National Socialism and “social fascism” (in 
other words, the German Social Democracy).


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