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Thursday, Feb. 22
The Indiana Daily Student

national

Leftists: Unite, don't squabble

I read once that among student protesters in South America, a person who is thought to be ostentatiously showing off his or her revolutionary credentials is said to be “measuring his/her Che.”

That’s what an Internet message board told me, at any rate.

Apocryphal or not, I have taken a liking to this phrase. It refers to the famous Marxist revolutionary/T-shirt icon Che Guevara as well as some males’ preoccupation with the size of certain parts of their anatomy.

The implication, of course, is that bigger is better. In terms of political ideology, the phrase implies the person with the strictest revolutionary ideals and most cachet is better than fellow protesters.

I can see this phrase being quite applicable to a number of people in American political life as well, including many here in our university.

Being a leftist myself, I often come into contact and conversation with people who are ever-so-concerned with “measuring their Che” rather than actually achieving any political goal, no matter how modest or grand.

These somber philosophers seem to fancy themselves the next Peter Kropotkin and seem infinitely interested in advancing their particular, and often ridiculously named, brand of communism or what have you at the expense of meaningful interaction with others of similar — but not identical — views.

I’m not saying these earnest believers need to change their views. Not at all.
I just think that they should realize that keeping these views in their own inward-looking, hostile-to-outsiders circle of associates isn’t going to bring about any kind of change, whether small steps toward a less oppressive brand of capitalism or a full-blown revolution.

To these Che-measurers, I say be realistic with your political views. Engage the system, even if it’s repugnant concerning issues which you feel are important, and try to enact as much change as you can that way.

Really try, and if that doesn’t work, find other non-alienating ways to make changes.
Find a balance between ideological purity and realistic pragmatism.

Not everyone will agree with you all the time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a valuable ally.

Remember, leftists of all kinds, I am with you. Joking aside, I’m not saying these things to offend. Rather, I want to improve the efficacy of our movement.

So, please, stop measuring your Ches, and come have a chat. We’ll do great things.

­— estahr@indiana.edu

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