Monday, November 21, 2005

Today's thoughts on Ché Guevara

Everyone is a Marxist nowadays! Shmisani Kids, East Los Ammanyatos (that’s Spanish, I think). Even Zarqawi’s in some cases (people emerging from Los De Zarqa, not to be confused with the stupid terrorist who's head I’m offering $10 bucks on). Everyone is a revolutionary fighter of power. Everyone is hooked on anti-capitalism. And everyone is strutting around in a Ché Guevara top. Viva Ché, El Comandate Amigo. You’ve seen all those Ché Guevara tops around haven’t you? The all have that signature Alberto Diaz Gutierrez’s Photograph; with Ché’s eyes gazing into the distance like a prophet. Today, and due to kind weather one of my colleagues; who shall forever be unnamed *cough* Mohammed *cough* walked in wearing one. Following is the conversation we had: Me: Nice top you’ve got there, you listen to him? Him: Oh yeah, but I like Metallica much better (A long thoughtful beat, then-) Me: Yeah Metallica kicks ass! It’s kinda sad James Hetfeild doesn’t wear a beret. Cause those things are, like, so fucking cool. Him: Spot on man, spot on! Me: It’s a sad thing he died. Him: He did? No fucking way! Me: Yeah, it’s a sad world we live in mate. (We both agree and part ways) I can’t deny Ché is a cool name, we don’t see t-shirts that sprout “Viva Ernesto” for a reason. I can’t deny he’s quite a looker either, (that fucking cool) beret, beard and long hair do not hurt his looks. He’s indeed the perfect rock star revolutionary. What troubles me is the fact that most people I’ve met don’t know who he is. Those who did couldn't even provide a 10 seconds bio of him! Are we going to cluelessly start wearing images of Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and Charles Manson as a fashion statement? I can go on and on and on about this. I personally don’t have a Guevara top, for I’m still not a Cuban Marxist party member. I also don’t think wearing his photo is the best way to express solidarity with him. So unless you are the first person to ever wear a Ché Guevara T-shirt, you should probably know that you’re a total tool. Oh yeah. You revolutionary, power fighting Ché Guevara T-Shirt wearing bad-ass! You’re a total tool and I hate to break it to you but in your case, ass doesn’t take the prefix “bad”; it takes the suffix “hole”


Anonymous said...

so do you mean that you can write 10 lines about Ernesto Che Guevara ??

meen ana? oh well someone that wears CHE shirt sometimes and still think that i am not a tool and not an asshole too ;)


Yazan Malakha said...

Doesn't matter if I can or can't.. I don't wear Che :)

Anonymous said...

One must also notice the high irony to be found in the commodification of Che Guevara. The penultimate marxist hero has now become the perfect example of Marx's thoughts on fetishism and reification. It's absolutely hillarious. The forces of capitalist production were not simply content with killing, no they went further and turned him into T-shirt manufactured in china with cheap labour by multinational corporations in order to expand proft margins (or in Marxian terms "increase the surplus value").
From an academic standpoint, Che's essays aren't really that great nothing really original or that interesting. Plus I'd like to point out that marxism is not necessarily directly affiliated with revolution. Indeed Marx himself was sort of ambivalent on the subject. There is a alrge number of quite non-revolutionary marxist academics.
I think people that wear the Che t-shirt or have the poster or whatever, they really have absolutely no clue what Che's politics were. If they did they would certainly not buy into the commercialization of Che (As Marx would say, commodification). also, reviving Che's life can also be seen as an "expropriation of the commons" for profit. The commons of course being the cultural memory of revolutionary latin America. \
Point I'm trying to make. Wearing Che is about the most un-marxist thing someone could do

I read that comment on Sabbah's blog about Marxist Shemeisani kids, I really didn't see anything marxist there

neo-marxist Shemeisani kid in exile

jameed said...


We had this kid in the lab whose dream was to live in a 1960s VW van. He was all about "Che" and "Rage against the machine"; I once asked him who Che was and he told me "The Cuban guy, Castro's friend" I then proceded to give him a piece of my mind on the commercialization of the image of a revolutionary and as anonymous puts it "commodification" of his struggle.

Too bad ya Yazan, talking to some people is a waste of ATPs.

qal the cuban guy qal...

Nas said...

lol yeah i did notice the che shirts last time i was in amman. but then again u get those "7afartali" looking teenagers wearing spice girls, britney speares and backstreet boys tshirts. these are the guys who look like they havnt washed in a year and carry a butterfly knife in their backpocket

Ameen Malhas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ameen Malhas said...

The Che T-Shirt is too cliché. I will not render judgment on the underlying political/economic (ecopolitical?) ideology that is immediately betrayed by purchasing said T-Shirt as explained by my colleague in exile "Shmeisany Kid"...

Dave said...

If it's not Che, it's a Malcolm X car mirror adornment or sticker. I think people just like the "stick it to the man" icons, dead or alive, good or bad (and mostly bad).

Interestingly, a couple of years ago, Alberto Diaz Gutierrez won copyright protection on his famous image, since it has been so blatently misused for the past 45 years. I'm pretty sure your friend was wearing an illegal shirt...which kind of accentuates the point, doesn't it?

Roba said...

LOL, interesting turn of conversation..

Shmesani Kid in Exile, pretty good point you got there.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Marxism,
Thre is a lot of of confusion out there about marxist thought. A lot of people seemt to think that it is simply an alternative to capitalism or an alternative mode of production as embodied in the soviet union.
That is simply not the case. As a marxist studies minor, philosophy minor and economics major (of course economics is taught in the traditional neo classical liberal and keynesian schools of thought) I want to try to disspell that myth.
The alternative mode of production that comes to mind when people think about narxism is actually communism. Communism itselt was never really defined by marx and never has been. Even Lenin himself was unable to define it in any complete form.
Marxism is more of an economic/philosophic methodology for critquing capitalist production and relations of production.
Using the Marxian method (with enhancements by such illustrious marxist academics such as Michael Hardt, Blaut, wolf and many others one can contruct a framework for criticism. There is definitely a lot to criticize, plus I really do think that this whole notion that capitalism is the ultimate advanced mode of production is so eurocentric. That the end of the cold war signified the end of history int the sense that one mode of production has one over and that it will continue forever.
One shouldn't think 2-dimensioanlly about something as intellectually rich as the marxian academic legacy.
For example, I'm writing a thesis on trying to prove that a global corporation would in fact satisfy all the marxist criticisms of capitalism and this perhaps, the corporation-state, is the ultimate form of communism
AKA Shemeisani kid in exile

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to say that i purchased a che item and the reason i got it was because it was different and nobody else has it, i have to admit that i don't know as much as i should know about the history of che but i do know some things and if we going to criticize every clothing item that someone wears thats going to be a waste of time you could look at what someone wears and say oh u are wearing Sean John so that means u know what he's all about and u support him and his music when in fact u don't and u just happen to like one of his shirts....