The Inconography of Che

Ryan Clancy, in a USA Today op-ed: “Che Guevara should be scorned ā€” not worn.”

Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I'm reading, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. For updates, get my weekly email newsletter.

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  1. Hi, David — thanks for writing. Glad you like the site. Che’s legacy is a complicated one. I suppose my reaction to your thoughts about socialism “in its purist form” is the same as my reaction to those who say that about communism: the proof is in the pudding.

    Communism doesn’t work — and has never worked anywhere in the world, including Cuba. That’s because in theory it’s flawed: while I’m not sure people world-wide have an inherent desire to be “free,” I do think there’s a universal longing for comfort and security that communism doesn’t address (sure, party leaders tend to be materially comfortable, but the masses often aren’t). I think capitalism is so successful because it meshes with innate human desires for individual expression and accumulation of wealth.

    As for US imperialism, I’d say that’s another topic. In South America, the most common sentiment I’ve heard local folks express is this: “Yankee go home — and take me with you!”

  2. Long time reader, first time responder. Great site Newley!

    I agree with the fact that people should have an idea of the charged meaning behind their threads and bumper stickers alike, but I feel that Clancy is not looking at Che as a man, but the corruption that followed his revolution. (most of which was [arguably] instigated by the covert operations of the CIA.) We will never experience socialism in its purist form in the US. No country will unless there is a major paradygm shift. I believe Che had the insight to see where US imperialism was heading, and was willing to sacrifice himself in the name of freedom.
    In many ways his revolution failed… or did it ever end?