“Today, these ideas [of Guevara and the Sandinistas] are alive again in the arguments of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in the pronouncements about ‘market socialism with Chinese characteristics’ by the Chinese Communist Party or in the ’21st century socialism’ of Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. Each of these leaders or parties attempts to sustain their legitimacy and thus power by playing off the private sector against the working class. That triangle of forces remains a critical dynamic in the post cold war global economy. Thus, the ethereal image of ‘Che’ now spreading around the globe should come as no surprise – he was a key protagonist of such a bureaucratic and authoritarian world view. If not a surprise, however, his ubiquitous presence should sound an alarm bell among those who hope for an equitable and democratic alternative to the bureaucratic forms of power, both capitalist and ‘post-capitalist,’ that are now taking hold around the world and that are having such a widespread influence on the hearts and minds of millions.”
Some things speak for themselves and certainly this clip from a speech by Che Guevara on how workers should sacrifice their free time for the state is a classic example, but you can find my take on Che’s policy towards workers and their unions and the influence he, tragically, still has on the world here.
I wrote in that paper – called” Will the Real Che Guevara Please Stand Up?” – the following:
Che is a hero to the authoritarian “social justice” crowd and, amazingly, some in America’s Schools of Education like UCLA’s Peter McLaren. In some peculiar way I can excuse young and naive activists who think Guevara had something to do with “liberating” the Cuban people but once they reach drinking age they should know better. But the idea that Guevara has anything to contribute to theories of education for America is risible.
Interestingly, despite their shared admiration for Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez (have these guys ever met an opponent of U.S. foreign policy they do NOT like?) McLaren and Bill Ayers seem to be engaged in some kind of competition for the title of who can be the most absurdly authoritarian figure in American educational theory and policy.
Believe it or not McLaren’s pseudo-Marxist theories of “oppression” are trumped in absurdity only by Ayers’ argument that “white supremacy” is the critical factor explaining problems in U.S. schools.
And all of this in the pages of Columbia University’s Teachers College Record, which brands itself “the voice of scholarship in education.” Really?