”The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.”
‘Revolutionary’, in the image of the brutal if sincere Che, has a positive, romantic flair much in the same way as to ‘nurse’ something along is positive, and to ‘doctor’ it isn’t, inexplicably.
But nursing things along is not what revolutionising is all about, according to Che, and I dare say he knew. It is about short, sharp shocks. However, the problem with revolution’s revolutionaries is the penchant for reinstalling a ”past”, instead of wanting to take society a step forward. Granted, the laws of physics apply fully to politics: every action demands an equal reaction. How else could we explain Hitler, Pol Pot, Ayatollah Khomeini and Pinochet? How else could we explain the swing the Republicans took in USA, that sees them now seeking to ‘moralise’ while calling for ‘less government’?
Revolutions can work long-term. 1776 is the classic, as was the French revolution, kind of, and the Haitian revolution against slavery in 1791 (though massive repayments to previous slave owners after the successful revolution permanently damaged the nascent Haiti’s prospects).
Maybe Che Guevera was an exception, but his masters, or minders in Moscow – whether he liked them around or not – were among the most conservative of all, and the Soviet revolution had long lost its way. But Che’s early writings show a doctor horrified by poverty in latin America and its blatant causes, for which the North American and European continent heartedly contributed to.
Tonight 409 years ago, a revolutionary at the other end of the evolutionary scale called Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the houses of parliament, in order to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The 5th November has now accordingly become Guy Fawkes night in much of England, when British boys and girls blow their fingers off with fireworks instead. Hopefully not too many this year.
An effigy of Guy Fawkes, wheelbarrowed around streets by children mysteriously asking for ”a penny for the Guy” is followed by the tossing of the straw-filled figue onto a large bonfire in towns and villages nationwide.
The real Guy Fawkes fared little better, and was duly hung, drawn and quartered in the best tradition.
Guy Fawkes night needs to be expanded, to symbolically include all the fanatics and fundamentalists who have found their way through the woodwork, as worms do when the foundations are rattled. The trouble is that the foundations do need rattling. Strongly. Catch-22.