Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, hell there’s even Hoshaism, but what exactly is Guevarism? Quite simply the form of communism espoused by Che Guevara. You know the guy on the caps and the t-shirts?
In fact unlike Marxism, or Leninism the theory of Che Guevara relates more to military strategy and how to overthrow a capitalist regime, but on this we will get to later.
Overview of Che
After the victory of the Cuban Revolution by Fidel Castro a certain Ernestor Che Guevara became a national hero in Cuba, despite being an Argentinian. Initially the Cuban revolution had not been communist, with some feeling that it was US pressure that led Cuba into the bed of the Soviet Union.
Regardless of if Fidel was a real communist, or not, Che was red through and through. What they did both have in common though was that they both believed the United States to the great evil affecting the progress of devoting countries in the world, particularly the Americas.
For Che he held some jobs in Cuba, before deciding it was time to export some revolution, something that would become a key component in Guevarism. This led Che to the Congo, and eventually death in Bolivia. His methods though were to live on, although with various degrees of success.
To read about the death of Che Guevara click here.
Key tenants of Guevarism
The key ideological look for Guevarism promotes exporting revolution to any country whose leader is supported by the United States – most nations of the time, as well as those being oppressed by their leaders.
Militarily his focus was on constant guerrilla warfare in rural non-urban areas to essentially suffocate the cities and thus dive out the leaders. Thus his military thesis had much more in common with Maoism, of whom he greatly admired than other red leaders.
Another key tenet was that the oppressed of the countryside were an easier base to get followers and soldiers and this this was where the revolution would start and end. This was particularly thought of with regards to land reform, with rural peasants more pro this than an urban elite.
In this respects his methods were deemed perfect for developing countries, particularly in the Americas.
Che on the New Man
Much has been made of the New Soviet Man, which you can read about here, but Che really lived this. After the revolution he regularly volunteered for extra labour and felt others should do the same.
In the military sense he wanted to transform his soldiers not just into fighting machines, but also active communists above what Marx described as bad humanism. In essence he declares that: the revolution of the workers, peasants and other exploited classes are the only way to end exploration of man by man.
Was Guevarism a success?
Was Gueavrism a success? In reality, no it was not as literally no countries succeeded in a Che inspired revolution. With that being said that though it was exported to numerous countries in the Americas and Africa and due to its potential was fought against heavily by the US, who threw billions against these groups.
And there are still groups that use this tactic even today, namely the ELN of Colombia who are still fighting the good fight in 2022.
To read about the Colombian Civil War click here.
And while the dream might be over, you can still celebrate all things Che with us in Cuba. You can check out our May Day Tour here.