When I was sitting with one of my friends, I was reading the book off my phone’s Kindle app. She asked me, “Are you planning on starting a guerrilla revolution?” My first thought wasn’t, “I’m reading this for background information” but rather, “Do you think the American Revolution was a guerrilla war?” I asked her the question but unfortunately she never gave me a solid answer.
I started really asking myself, “Was our country found through a guerrilla war?” Guevara says, “…the guerrilla fighter is a social reformer, that he takes up arms responding to the angry protests of the people against their oppressors, and that he fights in order to change the social system that keeps all his unarmed brothers in ignominy and misery.”
One could argue that the American Revolution was a fight for social reform. The Americans were living under the oppressive British rule and fought for their freedom. The major difference between the American Revolution and all the guerrilla wars that happened in Cuba, Columbia, or other Central/South American countries is that the American Revolution was to establish a system to keep an oppressive government out, not replace an oppressive government with a military-run government.
While the American army during the Revolution was initially a rag-tag team of small militia, the militia had no intentions of doing a hostile takeover of the colonies. In fact, they were aware that governments lean towards tyranny, not freedom. When Guevara described what the nature of a guerrilla army was like, he said, “ The original nucleus also continues to grow…men continue to arrive; the administration of government, with the promulgation of laws continues; schools are established, permitting the indoctrination and training of recruits.”
During and after the Revolution, the Americans sought to educate, not indoctrinate. In fact, right before the Revolution, journalism became a growing field. In Democracy in America, the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville explained that journalism was a means for anybody, no matter what their education status was, to write and warn the common folk about the oppressive government. Due to a lack of education, the pamphlets and articles that were printed out were not the most eloquently written; however, this was a reflection on the importance of the common man understanding what was happening at the time and that anybody could have a voice to alert people.
Allowing people to have their own voice is a symbol of education, not indoctrination. In a guerrilla war, the recruits don’t have their own individual voice but are rather pawns of the leader of the revolution. Indoctrination seeks to censor out. Education seeks to consider multiple options.
Not only was the American Revolution about educating over indoctrinating but also was not about destroying what the Colonists had already established in America. During guerilla wars, the revolutionaries did hostile takeovers of farmlands and businesses. The American revolutionaries sought to protect the farmers and business owners. In fact, the Americans despised the idea of having to house British soldiers.
Guevara hailed himself as a voice for social justice but his voice was merely a false promise. A social justice war is a key ingredient in the recipe of tyranny. When a leader promises to provide some sort of hand-out, the leader automatically controls the people. While a leader (or dictator to be precise) can easily give something (or at least promise to give something), the leader can easily take that thing away.
Now, the question is, why is Guevara hailed as a freedom fighting hero? Guevara was simply another ruthless and power hungry dictator replacing a dictatorship with what he wanted. He and Fidel Castro weren’t looking for the best interest of the Cubans but rather wanted to replace Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship with their own form. The FARC in Columbia, another guerrilla movement, has also ripped apart the lives of many Columbians. The FARC followed Guevara's principles and has literally taken away thousands of lives. The fighters in the American Revolution were replacing an oppressive government with a limited government. The American Revolution is the genuine picture of freedom fighting.
Young college “revolutionaries,” it’s time to replace those Che Guevara t-shirts with t-shirts of the Founding Fathers if you really want to proclaim your love for freedom.