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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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9781644212912

A biography of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by Che Guevara, revealing Che’s fervent interest in studying their lives and writing.

Che Guevara wrote this biographical introduction to Marx and Engels after his 1965 mission to Africa. He studied the writing of the German revolutionaries intensively, and in his travels he immersed himself in the classic works of Marxism. He sought to draw lessons and inspiration from Marx and Engels, and noted: “The Cuban Revolution takes up Marx at the point where he put aside science to pick up his revolutionary rifle.”

Many of Che’s comments about Marx might also refer to Che himself, such as his observation: “Such a humane man whose capacity for affection extended to all those suffering throughout the world, offering a message of committed struggle and indomitable optimism, has been distorted by history and turned into a stone idol.”

With his tremendous grasp of theory and his own practical experience, Che observes Marx’s evolution through his own view of radical change in Cuba, considering how it might apply to other countries after they achieve their definitive liberation from colonialism.

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9781644212912

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ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA is profoundly radicalized when, as a young doctor traversing Latin America for the second time, a journey he later describes in Latin America Diaries/Otra Vez, he witnesses first the Bolivian Revolution, and then, in Guatemala, the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jacobo Árbenz by U.S.-backed forces. After escaping to Mexico, Guevara meets up with a group of Cuban revolutionaries exiled in Mexico City led by Fidel Castro and immediately enlists in their planned expedition to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The Cubans nickname him "Che," a popular form of address in his native Argentina. The group sets sail for Cuba on November 25, 1956, aboard the yacht Granma, with Che as the group's doctor. Within several months, Fidel appoints him a commander of the Rebel Army, though he also continues to minister to wounded guerrilla fighters and captured Batista soldiers.

After General Batista flees Cuba on January 1st, 1959, Che becomes one of the key leaders of the new revolutionary government. He is also the most important representative of the Cuban Revolution internationally, heading numerous delegations and earning a reputation as a passionate and articulate spokesperson for Third World peoples. In April 1965, Che leaves Cuba to lead a guerrilla mission of some 200 Cuban soldiers to support the revolutionary struggle in Congo, a mission he recounts in Congo Diary. The book is characterized by Che's brutal, disciplined honesty, as he recounts the succession of failures and dead ends that characterized the mission, analyzing each one, and never losing sight of his innate optimism and clarity of mission. After returning to Cuba in December 1965, Che prepares another guerrilla force, this time to Bolivia, where he arrives in November 1966 with a small guerrilla force, intending to challenge the country's military dictatorship. He is captured there by U.S.-trained counterinsurgency forces on October 8, 1967, and murdered in cold blood the next day. His Bolivian diaries were later edited and published as The Bolivian Diary/El Diario de Che en Bolivia. Che's other works include Reminisces of the Cuban Revolutionary War/Pasajes de la Guerra Revolucionaria, I embrace you with all my revolutionary fervor/Te abraza con todo fervor revolucionario, and The Motorcycle Diaries/Diarios de Motocicleta. More of his political writings are collected in the Che Guevara Reader/Che Guevara Presente.

Other books by Ernesto Che Guevara