History Monday #30

Just over fifty years ago, el final capítulo de Che unfolded.

I’m live again on the blog after taking #CurrentEventFriday off last week. Yet, #HistoryMonday rolls on today. Today’s event would prove important in Cuban-American relations and T-Shirt industry sales. All this to say, today’s event was of serious consequence for all parties involved.

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It was on this date in 1967 that Ernesto “Che” Guevara was defeated by members of the Bolivian Army while leading a group of Marxist guerilla forces trying to overthrow the government in order to install a socialist government.

Born in Argentina on June 14, 1928 Guevara originally trained as a physician while attending the University of Buenos Aires. Shortly after his graduation from medical school, Guevara and friend Alberto Granada toured South America learning about the continent’s inhabitants and their concerns. These concerns and the story of the tour were immortalized in the 2004 biopic The Motorcycle Diaries.

This tour of the continent of South America and the plight of many citizens eventually led to Guevara’s Marxist leanings. The tour also led to his nickname “Che” thanks to the ubiquitous phrase in Argentinian dialect similar to “hey” in the American dialect.

Che’s Marxist leanings and insurgency exploits began in Guatemala in order to reform the ‘banana republic’ existence in the nation. Shortly after the Guatemalan Revolt, Che met with brothers Raul & Fidel Castro in Mexico City. After forming an alliance with the Castros, Che helped in the Cuban Revolution that expelled Fulgencio Batista from power on the Caribbean nation. Che and his traveling companion Alberto Granada were given important positions in the burgeoning Communist government. Che was appointed president of Cuba’s national bank and his friend Granada was instrumental in reforming and restructuring Cuba’s medical industry.

Che’s Marxist ideology led to his eventual guerilla for hire position. After leaving Cuba and his governmental capacities, Che traveled to the Congo to train forces on the African continent that faced similar problems of poverty and corrupt colonial systems. After moderate success in the Congo, Che traveled to Bolivia where he would eventually be defeated and captured.

Che’s capture eventually led to his execution by the Bolivian forces. The defeat of Che was especially aided by American CIA forces eager to thwart the spread of Communism as part of the ‘Domino Theory’ strategy prevalent at the time.

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After Che’s death his likeness graced multiple posters, t-shirts, and other promotional paraphernalia used by left leaning activists eager for revolution that would do away with greedy capitalists. Most of this usage of Che on mass produced t-shirts and posters is a textbook example of Capitalism. The irony of a revolutionary and violent Marxist being mass marketed as a neat face on apparel is hilarious to me.

Personally, I’m afraid that as Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Occasio-Cortez have become popular for their Socialist ideologies as acceptable is a direct result of the whitewashing and popularizing of Che. Most independent critics acknowledge Che’s complicity with Fidel Castro’s imprisonment and execution of political opponents. So, while it’s not ideal that someone was captured and executed, it’s more or less an act of war of corporal punishment for a murderer. CRTV associate Steven Crowder offers a parody version of the Revolution Red Che shirt. To purchase the satirical shirt on Crowder’s website, you can purchase it here.

History Monday #24

We are back with an all new #HistoryMonday

I’m finally back from seclusion and the land of homework, so that’s good news for my readers. If you’re new to my blog, Mondays are dedicated to an event from this same day in history. So, with that we return to #HistoryMonday. Today’s historical event is tied to the front page of the New York Times from 1952.

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27 August, 1952 New York Times Frontpage

On this date, in 1952 the New York Times reported on the growing pandemic in America of Communism. The New York Times published three separate stories addressing concerns that Communists were launching an attempt to undermine America.

The most damning story was based on reports on the Radio Writers’ Guild from investigations by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. For what it’s worth, this committee was not chaired by Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), but instead by Patrick McCarran (D-NV).  The NYT story about the Radio Writers’ Guild explained that a majority of the guild was communist and since they controlled much of American media there was a concerted effort to win hearts and minds of Americans to communism. The second NYT story detailed the concerns from the American Legion and their issues with Pres. Eisenhower. Supposedly the Legion was unhappy that Pres. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State David Acheson was not addressing the communist threats in Asia. For balance sake, the paper did include a rebuttal from Adlai Stevenson decrying patriotism with false bravado to combat the ‘Reds’ even including the name change of the Cincinnati Reds to the Cincinnati Redlegs.

While this may not exactly qualify as one specific event, it shows the mind of Americans and the press towards the Communist threat in America. Sen. McCarthy’s efforts to hunt down and expel Communists, along with his counterparts on the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) represented a mindset that existed at the beginning of the Cold War and suspicions about people who were sympathetic to Communism.

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What’s interesting, is some six decades ago, everyone was suspicious of Russian interference in American politics and everyday life. We still have suspicion of that, only the Russians are no longer Communist, and Communism’s little brother Socialism is tolerated and anyone claiming to be a Democratic Socialist is a serious contender for the Presidency and Legislative leadership. I would argue that we don’t have a Red Scare happening, but we have a Brown or Black scare. The media targets of Antifa are worried that Pres. Trump is either a Nazi or a Fascist, and Trump sometimes unfairly paints the media and celebrities with a broad brush like McCarthy, McCarran, et. al did towards the Radio Writers’ Guild, the Hollywood Blacklist, and the Rosenbergs. I agree that Jim Acosta and Don Lemon of CNN are too Leftist and antagonistic towards Pres. Trump for what seems like minutiae or trivial issues. I think Jake Tapper or Juan Williams do their best to ask legitimate questions of Trump and try to be as fair-minded as possible. I would like to see more of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry even their stance, but the money seems to be with the resistance, so most conservative celebrities will themselves be backlisted if they show any partiality to Trump. Although, I have seen promise from of all people Kanye & Kim Kardashian West to work with Trump. I also don’t think that we are in a place that the majority of Americans are afraid of Trump being a Russian puppet or fascist like Americans were during the Red Scare. I think people have found more media outlets and done their own research to make up their minds than buying into mob hysteria and believing the daily digest from Congress. Thanks to 24-hour news networks, CSPAN, and political media outlets online people can see beyond the lens of a monolithic media like everyone in the 1950’s did.

 

 

For a worthwhile look at McCarthyism and media, I’d recommend watching “Good Night and Good Luck” that depicts Edward R. Murrow’s attempts to challenge Sen. McCarthy’s anticommunist efforts.