Sunday, November 10, 2013

Che, Hemingway, and Change: free write

this is free write style. I'm still sorting my thoughts.

I recently read "Killing Che" a novel by Chuck Pfarrer which I found very interesting.  I do not know much about Che and I think I want to learn actual history about the man and the movement and what he stood for.  In the book there is reference at some point to Russia backing Che and the movement he was involved with in Cuba, but then cutting him loose later because he'd turned to Maoist Communism instead of Marxist.  I mentioned this to my husband's brother Patrick, and I said I didn't know there was a difference.  Patrick is a history buff and took several classes that overlapped with military history as well, raised his eyebrows at me and said "oh yes there is.  A big difference."  Something else I need to go learn about.
I tie this into Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" because there is a conversation in the book in which the Spaniards that the American is fighting with start asking about the United States.  And land ownership, and isn't there corruption? And the American says yes, there is corruption by the corporations.  And the Spaniards ask why is there no revolution then?  And the American says, taxes.  Taxes are supposed to stop the corruption.

yes, it is a novel but consider what Hemingway writes:
"Is the land there [United States] owned by peasants?" [Augustin is one of the Spaniards]
"Most land is owned by those who farm it.  Originally the land was owned by the state and by living o it and declaring the intention of improving it, a man could obtain a title to a hundred and fifty acres."[Robert Jordan is the American helping these Spaniards fight for the revolution.]
"Tell me how this id done" Augustin asked. "That is an agrarian reform which means something."
Robert Jordan explained the process of homesteading.  He had never thought of it before as agrarian reform.
and they go on to ask do you have communism? and Robert Jordan says no this is done under the Republic. And then another Spaniard asks do you have no big proprietors? And Robert Jordan says many.
"Certainly.  There are many abuses."
"But you will do away with them?"
"We try to more and more.  But there are many abuses still."
"But there are not great estates that must be broken up?"
"Yes.  But there are those who believe that taxes will break them up."

Robert Jordan explained how the income tax and inheritance tax worked.
"But surely the big proprietors and the rich will make a revolution against such taxes.  Such taxes appear to me to be revolutionary.  They will revolt against the government when they see they are threatened, exactly as the fascists have done here," Primitivo said.
"It is possible."
"Then you will have to fight in your country as we fight here."
"Yes, we will have to fight."

I think about that.  "taxes" and what they mean.  What they mean to small business owners.  For example.  My Pilates instructor and I were talking about taxes; her husband is a contractor.  Last year they owed 1/3 of their income in taxes.  One third!  Together they make less than 100K a year.  They have 4 children.  They are helping pay college tuition for two of them and they paid 1/3 of their income in taxes.  How is that okay?  I do not have an issue with taxes per se.  We need roads, police officers, teachers, schools, and so on.  Personally I would argue for a flat tax. But even if we meet in the middle and agree that a scaled tax is the way to go, a person earning $90 thousand dollars should not pay $30 to state and federal taxes.  That is insane.

I keep thinking about President Obama's first campaign for office.  The images of him:

from I hate the media:
reminded me visually of images I have seen of Che Guevara.  I went on a hunt for a historical poster of Che which led me to an interesting history behind the iconic portrait by the Cuban photographer Alberto Korda.  

and this freaks me out. Do you know what was done in Spain to landowners and capitalists?  Do you know what Che did in Cuba? from Cuba Archive"Che led Marxist revolutions in Mexico, Congo, Bolivia, and most successfully, in Cuba. He took quite seriously the Marxist view that only a violent revolution would install communism in society pg 5" Che Guevara executed political "prisoners" without trial, he said to a British journalist that if the Soviet Union had not betrayed Cuba and removed the nuclear missiles he would have used them. The cost in Cuban and US lives was worth the political goals in Cuba. pg 9.

from Hollowverse: Whilst contemplating the final defeat of capitalism, we must decide who is at its head, and it is the United States of America.5

from an open letter to Urban Outfitters by Thor Halvorssen regarding a T-shirt with the image of Che Guevara: "We urge you to consider that the image of Guevara represents tyranny and repression for the millions of people who have suffered under communism. Fifty-three years after Guevara's rise to power, Cuba is still ruled by the Communist party, while all alternative political parties and dissenting civil society groups are outlawed. Any expression of dissent is considered a subversive act, a free press does not exist, and the government regularly imprisons those who speak out. Mr. Marlow, the Cuban government of today, a legacy of Guevara, is the most repressive regime in the Western hemisphere.
These facts forced Polish lawmakers to recently propose a ban on t-shirts with Guevara's image, as part of a previous law banning fascist and totalitarian propaganda." 

There are stories from Spain.  When the revolutionaries took over a town, and they marched all the business owners out into the town square and shot them.  For owning a business.  For being capitalists.
All this talk of "fairness."
I do not trust the word "fair."  
I worry about my country that elects a person into office whose campaign tried to associate with a violent revolutionary. twice.


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