Che the backbone of the revolution

2017-10-11 06:02
OJ Fourie, deputy district secretary, SACP, Kimberley District:

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Che as he is affectionately known, has become a symbol of freedom and human rights around the world. He has been, and still is, a beacon of hope for millions of people who live under oppressive regimes and who are fighting for a better life. On 9 October 1967, the already wounded Che Guevara was shot dead by a member of an elite Bolivian army unit in the remote village of La Higuer, Bolivia.

Che has been an example of the kind of cadre that any revolution needs to succeed. Today, he also serves as an example of the kind of cadre that the Alliance needs in South Africa to overcome its current challenges.

One of the published writings of Che Guevara is The Cadres: Backbone of the Revolution (1962). In it, he raised very important points with regards to the type of cadre needed to lead a successful revolution and to lead in government. Some of the points that he raised are still very relevant to our current situation in South Africa and I would like to reflect on some. In his opening remarks, Che notes the following:

“When it became clear that a new social class had definitely taken power in Cuba, the great limitations which the exercise of state power would encounter because of the existing conditions in the state became evident: the lack of cadres to cope with the enormous tasks which had to be carried out in the state apparatus, in political organisation, and on the entire economic front.”

It remains critical that we need to deploy capable cadres into government positions that can cope with the tasks of effectively using state apparatus to serve the people of the country and not serve selfish interests. Deployment has unfortunately been misused as a shortcut to prosperity at the cost of poverty for others.

Che elaborates on the challenges of wrongful deployment when he says that deployees become “totally separated from the masses, which became recognised as a springboard for promotions and for bureaucratic posts of major or minor importance”.

Che continues by asking a very fundamental question: “We can ask ourselves what a cadre type is”.

He answers his own question as follows:

“We should say that a cadre person is an individual who has achieved sufficient political development to be able to interpret the extensive directives emanating from the central power, make them his, and convey them as orientation to the masses, a person who at the same time also perceives the signs manifested by the masses of their own desires and their innermost motivations. He is an individual of ideological and administrative discipline, who knows and practices democratic centralism and who knows how to evaluate the existing contradictions in this method and to utilise fully its many facets; who knows how to practice the principle of collective discussion and to make decisions on his own and take responsibility in production; whose loyalty is tested, and whose physical and moral courage has developed along with his ideological development in such a way that he is always willing to confront any conflict and to give his life for the good of the revolution. Also, he is an individual capable of self-analysis, which enables him to make the necessary decisions and to exercise creative initiative in such a manner that it won’t conflict with discipline.”

Che is emphasising the fact that it remains pivotal, as an individual cadre, that you render yourself useful to the revolution and not useless. The only way in which you can render yourself useful is when you make use of all possible opportunities to skill and develop yourself in order to play a more constructive part in society.

We need skilled cadres in various fields in order to ensure that we bring excellence in what we do and in order to ensure that we move South Africa forward.

Che Guevara led by example. Throughout the Cuban Revolution (1956-1959) he fought alongside soldiers from start to finish.

He knew first-hand what it meant to sacrifice for something that you believe in, to sacrifice for something that will improve the lives of millions.

Love him or hate him, he has forever impacted the world and continues to motivate revolutionaries around the world to continue fighting for their rights.

We salute you, Ernesto Che Guevara, for sacrificing your life for a better, more humane, world.

May we also have the courage of our conviction to fight for a better and just world.


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