Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Revolution that is For Something Rather than Against Something

A Polish family, in Poland, with the food they'll eat in one week. Source.


Purity. 

Going through old files this morning and came across a couple of quotes.

The first quote is from Che Guevara's 1966 Message to the Tri-continental Conference in Havana:

“Hatred as the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent…hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold-blooded killing machine …We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow … The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas [Americans] are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

The second quote is from Adam Michnik, in conversation with NY Times columnist Roger Cohen:

“Anyone who has suffered that humiliation, at some level, wants revenge. I know all the lies. I saw people being killed. But I also know that revanchism is never ending. And my obsession has been that we should have a revolution that does not resemble the French or Russian, but rather the American, in the sense that it be for something, not against something. A revolution for a constitution, not a paradise. An anti-utopian revolution. Because utopias lead to the guillotine and the gulag.”

I met Lech Walesa in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I asked him, "How did you do it? You unleashed a great deal of human passion. It didn't end like the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. There was no bloody purge, no chaos."

He replied, and I wish I had had a tape recorder going, but I didn't, so I can only report, here, a paraphrase of my memory of his reply, "We used the Judeo-Christian tradition as our guide. That is the foundation of Poland." Did he really say "Judeo-Christian tradition"? I don't know. I do know I asked him about Polish-Jewish relations, and in that reply he did emphasize the kinship of Christians and Jews, that, as John Paul II, inspired by Adam Mickiewicz, said, "Jews are Christians' older brothers in the faith." But I can say that Lech Walesa, unprompted by me, did emphasize the biblical foundation of the Solidarity Revolution, and he did cite that as the reason it worked out as it did.

I include the photo, above, of a Polish family and their weekly food stuffs exactly because it is so bourgeois, so common. I could go on and on here about the fiery purity radicals yearn for, or I could just say that there's a lot to be said for a revolution that cares about how we pray, what we are allowed to think, and what we can eat.

The article in which the Adam Michnik quote appeared is "The Glory of Poland" by Roger Cohen. New York Times. April 12, 2010. Full text is here.

Che

Have never seen this Catholic electrician on a t-shirt. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. 


4 comments:

  1. Thanks. This is a great assessment. The fall of communism has been relatively bloodless compared to other revolutions. I do think this is because, rather than being against the previous order, it is for the future.

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  2. I CANT stand the face of this narcisstic,cowardly mass murderer being paraded around-I know, its like a canvas people project their real, good feelings onto (to give it face and form) but STILL.The same goes for Mao. Id like a Che-style t-shirt with a real hero, like Witold Pilecki. Anyone there to design one?

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  3. Great work Danusha. Its a pleasure to see the blog prolific again. Mieszko hits it well too: the Che thing is unbelieveable. He's still up on posters in present day "immigrant support" organization offices in places like Arizona, visible in news reports. No one mentions it. He's just there in the background on a poster. Yes, and that family would have had to have good access to a Pewex to have that food display before the fall of Communism.
    MB

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would like to elaborate a little bit further on my thoughts about Che. Imagine,You were a Cuban who has fled his beloved Cuba. You went to the US.There, you are constantly meeting young people sporting Che, the murderer of some of your family, on their clothes.You explain to them your feelings.You are called a "heartless" fascist.Che and Fidel, they are secular saints.There are also secular devils,especially for a certain kind of left-leaning liberals (who seem to lack some education).F.e Pinochet. So lets compare Pinochet and Che.Pinochet had the support of many Chileans who saw their earnings dissolve into thin air thanks to Allendes reckless spendings. During Pinochets regime around 3000 people disappeared or were killed,quite many ofthem (but not all,some were extremely unlucky) communist sympathizers.This is somewhat tragic,why were they not just incarcarated? but in Cuba, over 20 000 were murdered by Che and the Castros, sometimes for as little as being religious or opposing the collectivization of their land.The death sentence, which is still in use today in Cuba,was abolished under Pinochets regime. In Cuba, homosexuals were send and are still heavily discriminated against, which is not so the case in Chile, where homosexual people can and are openly demanding recognition-one day, they will surely get it in this CATHOLIC country (btw, catholic countries, such as Poland,Spain,Italy, were the first one to stop throwing homosexuals into prison.go figure :-D s.th to be proud of).In 1988, Pinochet stepped down peacefully-today, Chile is a vibrant democracy.And Cuba? In Chile,Pinochets regime launched massive economical reforms-Today, Chile is the most developed state in South America-and Cuba? My friend went there, it is in SHAMBLES,the people are demoralized (kind of like the Polish,Romanian,Bulgarian ect. Nation),prostitution and drug usage is rampant,as is corruption.

    But yes, Pinochet is a devil. So dear hippies, keep on wearing St. Che gear.

    ReplyDelete

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