The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.61/No.33           September 28, 1997 
`Socialist Revolution Opens Road For Workers To Take History Into Their Own Hands'
Preface to new edition of `Che Guevara: Economics & Politics in the Transition to Socialism'  
The struggle against imperialism, for liberation from colonial or neocolonial shackles, which is being carried out by means of political weapons, firearms, or a combination of the two, is not separate from the struggle against backwardness and poverty. Both are stages on the same road leading toward the creation of a new society of justice and plenty.

It is imperative to take political power and to get rid of the oppressor classes. But then the second stage of the struggle, which may be even more difficult than the first, must be faced.(1)

- Che Guevara

Algiers, February 1965

Che believed in man. And if we don't believe in man, if we think that man is an incorrigible little animal, capable of advancing only if you feed him grass or tempt him with a carrot or whip him with a stick - anybody who believes this, anybody convinced of this will never be a revolutionary, never be socialist, never be a communist.(2)

- Fidel Castro

Havana, October 1987

The questions that Ernesto Che Guevara, acting as part of the central leadership of the Cuban revolution, sought to help the vanguard of the working class answer more than three decades ago remain the most pressing of our epoch.

Guevara charted a course to rid the world of the capitalist system, with all its horrors, and open the way for working men and women to begin a transition toward a more just and human socialist society, transforming themselves in the process. That course determined his every deed as a conscious political person.

Like the young founders of the modern communist movement, Che deeply believed, and acted on his conviction, that "revolution is necessary .. not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fit to found society anew."(3)

Che died thirty years ago in the mountains of Bolivia, fighting to create the conditions out of which could emerge the leadership of a Latin America-wide movement of workers and peasants capable of winning the battles for land reform and independence from imperialist domination and opening the socialist revolution. Today's world would not be alien to him, however. The sharpening interimperialist trade and financial conflicts and looming economic crises, the deteriorating wages and living conditions facing working people everywhere, the depression levels of unemployment and poverty endemic throughout much of Latin America, the growing political polarization and incipient fascist movements rearing their heads in the imperialist countries, the social disintegration threatening large parts of Africa, and the booming cannons of imperialist powers firing the first salvos of World War III in Iraq and Yugoslavia - the deadly historic logic of capitalism continues to unfold. Details have changed since the 1960s, but the fundamentals of the world Guevara sought to lead working people to transform have not.

With one important qualification: Imperialism is weaker than it was thirty years ago, more vulnerable, and the working class is a larger percentage of the world's population. The stakes have gone up.

The shattering of the bureaucratic regimes and parties of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, culminating in 1989-91, would likewise not have been unthinkable to Che. Guevara was among the most conscious of the Cuban leaders that, despite the welcome aid Cuba received from the Soviet bloc, the political, economic, and social policies of the leaders of those countries were alien to the proletarian and internationalist course being charted in Cuba. Cuban President Fidel Castro addressed this fact, speaking to a gathering of Cuba's Union of Young Communists in April 1997. Referring to the events that unfolded in the Soviet bloc countries at the beginning of the decade, he noted that nearly forty years ago "no one could have imagined" what later transpired there. But "we did have one who could see into the future among us, and that person was Che," Castro said.(4)

For decades the methods employed in the organization of production, distribution, labor, and planning in each of the Soviet bloc countries, with this or that variation, were promoted by the big majority of those the world over who called themselves communists as the only road from capitalism to socialism. But the verdict on the so-called Soviet model has now been rendered by history: the planning and management systems in the USSR and Eastern European countries - and the organization of labor underlying them - were pushing these peoples away from socialism, not toward it.

The alternative course, advanced in Cuba by the central leadership in the opening years of the socialist revolution, and placed on its soundest theoretical foundations by Ernesto Che Guevara, is the subject of this book. It will be studied by revolutionary fighters the world over with even greater interest today because of the verdict of history that Guevara himself did not live to witness.


After Fidel Castro - the historic leader of the Cuban revolutionary forces from 1953 to today - Ernesto Che Guevara was the best-known leader of the revolution during its early years, when "we were used to making the impossible possible," as Castro said in paying tribute to Guevara in October 1987.(5)

Guevara was Argentine by birth. Having graduated from medical school in Buenos Aires in 1953, he met Fidel Castro in Mexico in July 1955 and immediately agreed to join the July 26 Movement and to sign on to the expeditionary force Castro was organizing to launch a revolutionary war against the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Guevara - soon nicknamed "Che" (a popular form of address in Argentina) by his Cuban comrades -was initially recruited as troop doctor, but he rapidly proved himself to be an outstanding combat leader and educator. In 1957 he became the first combatant promoted by Fidel to command a separate column of the Rebel Army. Guevara led the December 1958 campaign that culminated in the capture of the city of Santa Clara in central Cuba, effectively sealing the fate of the Batista dictatorship.

But Guevara's most important contributions to the Cuban revolution were not military. In paying tribute to Che in October 1967, a few days after his death, Castro called attention to this fact, saying:

Che was an extraordinarily able military leader. But when we remember Che, when we think of Che, we do not think fundamentally of his military virtues. No! Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution. The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!

And it is in that field, in the field of ideas, in the field of sentiments, in the field of revolutionary virtues, in the field of intelligence, that - apart from his military virtues - we feel the tremendous loss that his death means to the revolutionary movement...

Che was not only an unsurpassed man of action -he was a man of visionary intelligence and broad culture, a profound thinker. That is, in his person the man of ideas and the man of action were combined.(6)

During the opening years of the revolution, Guevara took on some of the most challenging, and heaviest, responsibilities. He helped draft the 1959 agrarian reform law, the measure that, in Castro's words, more than any other single act, "defined the Cuban Revolution."(7) Che headed the department of industrialization established by INRA, the National Institute of Agrarian Reform. He was president of the National Bank during the tumultuous year 1960, before the end of which virtually all foreign- and domestic-owned banks and major industries were nationalized, and the economic foundations were laid for socialized production and planning. He became minister of industry in 1961, assuming responsibility for reorganizing on new working-class foundations some 70 percent of industry in Cuba, while maintaining production as former owners and most management personnel, both foreign and Cuban, left the country. He represented the revolutionary government of Cuba on trips to dozens of countries, and spoke with a memorable and clarion communist voice at important international forums and conferences, from the United Nations General Assembly to the Organization of American States. He worked with revolutionists from around the world who were drawn to the example of the Cuban revolution and sought guidance in learning and applying the lessons of that struggle in their own countries. He helped bring about the revolutionary regroupment within Cuba that led in 1965 to the formation of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Amid all this intense practical work helping lay the foundations of a new society, Guevara also organized time to write a prodigious number of articles and letters. He made hundreds of speeches, many of which were published in Cuba and translated and distributed by supporters of the revolution around the world. He gave countless interviews.

In April 1965 Che left Cuba to lead a mission of internationalist Cuban fighters aiding the anti-imperialist struggle in the Congo. His longer-term aim was to return to Latin America to help advance revolutionary struggles that were building from Tierra del Fuego to the Río Bravo. Resigning his leadership posts and responsibilities in the Cuban government, party, and armed forces in order to take on these new revolutionary duties, Guevara left behind a rich written legacy of his political and theoretical contributions to the economics and politics of the transition to socialism. This product of Che's years of work as part of the communist leadership of Cuba's working class has been carefully mined by Carlos Tablada in crafting this book. Among Guevara's works cited in these pages are writings and transcripts that have not been published in full, and are as yet not available to the public to study or use. Many other works cited here have long been out of print.

The author of this book, Fidel Castro remarked in his October 1987 speech commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the death of Che, "compiled, studied, and presented in a book the essence of Che's economic ideas, retrieved from many of his speeches and writings - articles and speeches dealing witel Fuego to the Río Bravo???????????????????????????????????. Resigning his leadership posts and responsibilities in the Cuban government, party, and armed forces in order to take on these new revolutionary duties, Guevara left behind a rich written legacy of his political and theoretical contributions to the economics and politics of the transition to socialism. This product of Che's years of work as part of the communist leadership of Cuba's working class has been carefully mined by Carlos Tablada in crafting this book. Among Guevara's works cited in these pages are writings and transcripts that have not been published in full, and are as yet not available to the public to study or use. Many other works cited here have long been out of print.

The author of this book, Fidel Castro remarked in his October 1987 speech commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the death of Che, "compiled, studied, and presented in a book the essence of Che's economic ideas, retrieved from many of his speeches and writings - articles and speeches dealing with a subject so decisive in the building of socialism."(8)


The socialist revolution opened by Cuba's working people in the early 1960s did not fall from the sky. Their long emancipation struggle dates back to the first war of independence against Spanish colonialism, which began in 1868 and was closely intertwined with the revolutionary struggle by slaves to abolish the right to hold human beings as chattels. From the crucible of these and subsequent battles emerged leaders such as Antonio Maceo, Máximo Gómez, and José Martí, whose words and revolutionary deeds left a heritage of anti-imperialist intransigence, internationalism, political integrity, selflessness, and courage.

The leadership that launched the assault on the Moncada and Bayamo army garrisons of the Batista dictatorship on July 26, 1953, and later led the Rebel Army and working people of Cuba to victory, drew strength from this revolutionary heritage and enriched it. This legacy helped prepare these revolutionary leaders to uncompromisingly guide the transition from Cuba's national democratic revolution - that in the fall of 1959 brought a workers and farmers government to power -to the socialist revolution that accelerated in late 1960 and early 1961 in fearless response to the hostile actions of domestic and foreign reaction, above all U.S. imperialism.

The socialist road Cuban working people set out on in those years had been opened some four decades earlier by the October 1917 revolution in Russia. The Bolshevik Party leadership headed by V.I. Lenin directed the first efforts in history by workers and peasants to chart a course towards socialism as an integral component of the fight to advance the world revolution. These efforts, from the Bolshevik insurrection in late 1917 through the end of Lenin's active political life in March 1923, left an invaluable legacy to revolutionists who later sought to advance along a similar path. The record of the Soviet government, Communist Party, and Communist International in Lenin's time is rich in lessons in the economics and politics of the transition from capitalism to socialism that Guevara plumbed in such a disciplined manner some forty years later.

Che "advocated something that I have often insisted on," Fidel Castro emphasized in his 1987 speech. "Building socialism and communism is not just a matter of producing and distributing wealth but is also a matter of education and consciousness."(9)

The socialist revolution, as Guevara explains repeatedly in the works cited in these pages, marks the first time in history that expanding political participation and revolutionary self-consciousness of the toiling majority becomes necessary to the economic organization of society. The door is opened for working people to cease being the blind objects of economic laws that determine humanity's living and working conditions and social relations, and instead to begin placing society's productive forces, and thus their lives, under their own conscious control. As Che said in 1964:

With the revolution of October 1917, the revolution of Lenin, man acquired a new consciousness. The men of the French revolution, who told humanity so many beautiful things, who set so many examples, and whose tradition is still preserved, were nevertheless simple instruments of history. Economic forces were in motion, and the French revolutionaries sought to interpret popular sentiments, the sentiments of the men of that era. Some of them saw farther than others, but none were capable of taking history into their own hands, of consciously making their own history.

This became possible after the October revolution.(10)

As events in the twentieth century have amply confirmed, such a course - the Bolshevik course -is not optional; it is not just one way among others following a successful popular revolution for vanguard workers to advance the transition to socialism. The most committed and self-sacrificing vanguard of the working people, organized in a communist party, must lead growing layers of their class in taking more and more control over the political direction and administration of the state and economy. This is the only way workers can transform themselves as they collectively transform the social relations under which they work, produce, and live. It is the only way they can make these social relations among human beings more and more open and direct, tearing away the veils and fetishes behind which the capitalist system hides the reality and the brutal consequences of its exploitation of all toilers and obscures the unique contribution of labor to social and cultural progress. Along any other road, society will not advance toward socialism and communism, but instead - mired in bureaucratic planning and management - will regress toward capitalism.

"Socialism is not a welfare society," Che explained in one of the speeches cited in these pages, "nor is it a utopian society based on the goodness of man as man. Socialism is a system that arises historically, and that has as its pillar the socialization of the means of production along with equitable distribution of society's wealth, in a framework of social production."(11)

The fundamentally political character of economic questions and decisions during the transition to socialism is central to everything Guevara wrote on the subject, as well as to everything he did in practice. His contributions in this regard, like those of Lenin, extend well beyond what is normally, and narrowly, thought of as "economics." Che stressed the inseparable interrelationship and mutual dependence between the transformation of the social relations of production and the transformation of the political and social consciousness of the working people carrying out this revolutionary process. "In our view," Che emphasized in another speech cited by the author,

communism is a phenomenon of consciousness and not solely a phenomenon of production. We cannot arrive at communism through the simple mechanical accumulation of quantities of goods made available to the people. By doing that we would get somewhere, to be sure, to some peculiar form of socialism. But what Marx defined as communism, what is aspired to in general as communism, cannot be attained if man is not conscious. That is, if he does not have a new consciousness toward society.(12)

Such references to works by Marx, Engels, and Lenin occur throughout Guevara's speeches and writings, as Che reached back time and again to the lessons drawn by communist leaders from the experiences and struggles of previous generations of working people. He worked ceaselessly to deepen his understanding of the writings of the great historical leaders of Marxism, which he had begun studying well before he met Fidel Castro and other leaders of the July 26 Movement in Mexico.

As Che traveled throughout the Americas in the years before and after graduation from medical school, he absorbed the reality of imperialist domination of these countries, the human consequences of the superexploitation and wretched poverty forced upon millions of his Latin American compatriots. He met revolutionary-minded workers and others with whom he argued and exchanged ideas.

In the works of Karl Marx (whom Guevara affectionately referred to in his youthful letters to family and friends as "St. Karl") and Frederick Engels, the founders of the modern communist workers movement, and of Russian communist leader V.I. Lenin, Guevara increasingly found observations about and explanations for the workings of capitalism that confirmed his experiences. The scientific world view he discovered widened his horizons and helped him understand the exploitative class relations throughout Latin America that he was becoming less and less willing to accept, and more and more deeply committed to changing by whatever means necessary.

In the years preceding the launching of the revolutionary war in Cuba, Guevara concentrated on political economy through an intensive study of Marx's Capital. Later, as part of his responsibilities in Cuba, he sought to deepen his knowledge of Lenin's writings and speeches from the opening years of the workers and peasants republic in Soviet Russia and from congresses of the Communist International. Together with several colleagues in the ministry of industry and others, he devoted each Thursday night - often between midnight and dawn - to the study of Capital. In his writings and speeches, Che frequently went back to this book, to The Critique of the Gotha Programme, and to other works by Marx and Engels, including their rich, pre-1847 writings, prior to when they became consistently scientific in their new world outlook.

Following the revolutionary victory over the Batista dictatorship on January 1, 1959, Guevara - thirty years old at the time of the triumph - worked not only to set a practical example but to help lay a theoretical foundation for the transition to socialism in Cuba. As he did so, Guevara was in the thick of daily central leadership responsibilities in the revolutionary government and party. Photographs reproduced in this book record his activity as he carried out this work: his frequent meetings with assemblies of workers in various factories and enterprises, his participation in Sunday voluntary work mobilizations on priority social projects, his international responsibilities. Guevara immersed himself in the literature discussing the most modern industrial processes in use in other countries. He learned the principles of accounting and took classes in mathematics so he could help advance the application of computerization to economic planning and financial controls in Cuba, a task he considered vital.

It was common, Castro noted in his October 1967 tribute, to see the lights on in Guevara's office until all hours of the night, as he worked and studied. "For he was a student of all problems; he was a tireless reader. His thirst for learning was practically insatiable, and the hours he stole from sleep he devoted to study."(13)

The political and social course Guevara worked to implement as he carried out his leadership responsibilities was far from unanimously or enthusiastically supported by all in Cuba. In 1963-64 a public debate touching on many of the political and economic questions at stake took place in several Cuban journals and received considerable international attention. The debate reflected a growing conflict between two politically irreconcilable approaches to economic planning and management and the social organization of labor. Both approaches were being used in Cuba during those years.(14)

Guevara championed what was called the budgetary finance system, which was being applied under his direction in state enterprises responsible to the Ministry of Industry. The other was known as the economic accounting system (or sometimes the financial self-management system). Drawing heavily on contemporary experience in the USSR and Eastern Europe, this system had been chosen for use in enterprises organized by the National Institute of Agrarian Reform, then headed by Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, as well as those accountable to the Ministry of Foreign Trade, directed by Alberto Mora. Together these latter two comprised some 30 percent of industry in Cuba.

The articles written by Guevara in the course of this rich debate are generously cited by Tablada. For Che the budgetary finance system was not a "thing," not a set of administrative rules to be counterposed to a different set called the economic accounting system. Instead, the course he advocated and sought to apply was "part of a general conception of the development of the construction of socialism," and, what was essential, this course had to be evaluated as such in class terms.(15)

Guevara's aim was not to come up with ways to administer economic production and distribution, approaching the working class from the outside, as one "input" or "factor of production" (albeit the most important one, the "human factor," as post-Lenin, Soviet-trained economists often put it). The goal was, from within the vanguard of the working class, to organize and raise the political consciousness of workers, making possible their growing control over the economic and social decisions that simultaneously shape production and their daily lives. The aim was to increase workers' powers to determine society's collective needs, as well as their conscious command over the allocation of labor and resources to meet those needs. Through this effort, working people would transform their own values and attitudes; their creativity and imagination would begin to be freed from the stunting and alienating conditions of life and work under capitalist social relations.

The "muck of the ages" would begin to be washed away.


In the 1987 speech that serves as a prologue to this book, Castro remarks that "at a given moment some of Che's ideas were incorrectly interpreted and, what's more, incorrectly applied. Certainly no serious attempt was ever made to put them into practice, and there came a time when ideas diametrically opposed to Che's economic thought began to take over."

As a result, Castro said, while "much has been done to recall his other qualities," Guevara's contribution on these questions of economic and political policy "is largely unknown in our country."(16) Publication of this book in a print run of a quarter million in 1987 helped advance a timely recovery and discussion of Guevara's political economic ideas in the context of what was known in Cuba as the "rectification process."

Following a series of costly mistakes in the closing years of the 1960s, the government and party leadership in Cuba decided to adopt the system of economic planning and management used in one or another variant throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s it was this political course, not Guevara's budgetary finance system, that predominated on questions of economic policy. Guevara's rich legacy of practical activity and theoretical contributions was largely obscured behind the public image of Che the Heroic Guerrilla and man of spotless moral purity ("St. Che," as this icon has been dubbed in Cuba by partisans of Guevara's communist course).

By the early 1980s, however, the devastating political consequences of the course that had been copied and imported were becoming increasingly clear as communist political consciousness among Cuba's working people faltered, demoralization spread, and corruption grew. A relatively privileged layer of administrative personnel in the state and party apparatus, industrial enterprises, economic planning agencies, and mass organizations such as the trade unions began more and more to promote and implement policies that expressed their interests and improved their own living standards and working conditions, while disregarding many of the most pressing needs of the large majority of Cuban toilers.

During this "disgraceful period of building socialism," as Castro calls it in the speech reprinted here,(17) revolutionary victories elsewhere in the Americas simultaneously released new energies among Cuba's working people. Tens of thousands of teachers, doctors, engineers, construction workers, and others volunteered to risk their lives taking part in internationalist missions to aid the people of Nicaragua and Grenada. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Cubans were responding to the request of the Angolan government for help to defeat the invading forces of the South African apartheid government intent on preventing the newly independent government of the former Portuguese colony from being consolidated.

By 1986 Cuba's communist leadership, with Fidel Castro in the lead, had launched the revolutionary political counteroffensive on questions of economic policy that became known as the rectification process. Corruption and privilege were systematically addressed and substantially reduced. Living and working conditions of agricultural workers and others in the lowest-paid categories were improved. Child care and other needs of women workers were given new priority.

From the outset of the rectification process, volunteer labor - "one of the best things [Che] left us during his stay in our country and his part in the revolution," said Castro - was revived in Cuba. It was promoted by the leadership as a lever of revolutionary action to take steps forward, through collective efforts, to address the most pressing social needs such as housing, nurseries, clinics, and schools. For some fifteen years, Castro said, such efforts had been steadily on the decline because of "the bureaucrat's view, the technocrat's view that voluntary work was neither basic nor essential," but rather "kind of silly, a waste of time." Beginning in 1986, however, voluntary labor was reborn. The construction "minibrigades," as they were called, assumed an even greater centrality to the revolution and working class than similar efforts during the early years of the Cuban or Russian revolutions.

Rectification took on the character of a growing social movement led by Cuba's most conscious and disciplined working people who were convinced that the brigades opened the road toward a return to proletarian methods that could advance the revolution and strengthen social consciousness.

Just as the bureaucratic parties and regimes of Eastern Europe and the USSR were finally beginning to shatter in face of irresolvable economic, social, and political crises building up for decades, the Cuban revolution was gaining strength along the lines of the communist political course of rectification. This renewal, Fidel explained in his October 1987 tribute, would have given Guevara much joy and confidence, just as he would have been "appalled" by what had preceded it. Because, Castro said, Che "knew that communism could never be attained by wandering down those worn capitalist paths and that to follow along those paths would mean eventually to forget all ideas of solidarity and even internationalism."(18)

As the rectification process was gaining new momentum in 1989, the Cuban revolution was suddenly confronted with the most severe economic crisis in its history. The crisis was precipitated by the abrupt decline in aid and trade on favorable terms with the disintegrating regimes in the Soviet bloc. The "special period," as it is known in Cuba, registered a decline in economic production estimated at some 35 percent - equal to or greater than the fall in U.S. output during the opening years of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Stepped-up efforts by Cuba's revolutionary government to find new trading partners and sources of development capital were met by intensified economic warfare instigated and organized by Washington.

Enemies of the working class the world over gleefully predicted that the revolutionary government of Cuba would soon suffer a fate similar to the regimes of Eastern Europe and the USSR. Once again they were wrong. They failed to understand - as they had many times before -that the proletarian internationalist course Che's name was associated with in Cuba and around the world was not his alone, but was indeed the trajectory of Cuba's communist leadership, deeply rooted among the big majority of Cuba's working people. This was not a variant of the course in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but its antipode.

No other government in the world could have survived the test of popular support that Cuba's revolutionary leadership has faced in the 1990s. In meeting the challenge of the special period, moreover, the Cuban working class has emerged stronger, not weaker. Today it is more conscious of its historic responsibilities, and more confident of its collective capacity to resist, to fight, and to win. The rectification process of the previous decade was decisive in this outcome.

The slow and difficult economic recovery that has taken place since the bottom of the crisis in 1994 has been achieved only by taking countless measures that involve painful, temporary retreats from positions conquered earlier by Cuban working people - such as allowing use of the U.S. dollar as one of the legal currencies within Cuba. This and other steps taken to marshal the resources and capital investments required to reverse the accelerating decline in production have increased social inequalities, eroded social solidarity, and destabilized social relations that arose on the basis of previous revolutionary conquests.

What Cuba faces today is not a crisis of socialism, however. Above all, the Cuban toilers are confronting the brutal realities of an economically underdeveloped country in a world still dominated by capitalism, and the terms of struggle imposed by the exploiting classes on those who are determined to chart a way forward for humanity.

"We do not fight principally for ourselves," Fidel Castro told a convention of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers in April 1996. Cuba, he said, has become a standard bearer for the exploited and oppressed of the world. "That is why we are pleased to call ourselves internationalists, to call ourselves socialists, to call ourselves communists." These are three things that fortify us, Castro added, "the expression of what we have wanted to be, of what we are, and of what we will always be."

It is the capitalist world that will face the gravest crisis in the years ahead. "The exploiters are starting to get afraid again," Castro noted. "They're afraid of social upheaval, afraid of social explosions, afraid of chaos .. because they don't really know what's going to happen."(19)

That is why Che's course, Fidel Castro's course, is not a question of past history, or only of interest to some future communist society. It remains at the heart of the ability of Cuba's working people to resist, to limit the temporary retreat that has been forced upon them, to hold the line at not one step further than necessary to assure the survival of their political power, of their revolutionary government.

The new edition of this book, both timely and necessary, is a weapon that will help increase the battle-readiness and political effectiveness of a new generation of revolutionary- minded fighters throughout Latin America, the United States, and other countries of the world where Spanish-speaking workers continue to swell the ranks of the toilers.

Che Guevara's legacy - an irreplaceable part of the web of lessons learned by the modern working class through enormous effort and sacrifice - is a piece of our collective patrimony that Pathfinder Press is honored to publish.

Mary-Alice Waters

September 1997

1. "At the Afro-Asian Conference," February 24, 1965, in Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution: Writings and Speeches of Ernesto Che Guevara (New York: Pathfinder, 1987), p. 337.

2. "Che's Ideas Are Absolutely Relevant Today," see p. 42 in this book (page references here and below are to Pathfinder's English-language edition, Che Guevara: Economics and Politics in the Transition to Socialism).

3. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, "The German Ideology," in Collected Works, vol. 5 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), p. 53.

4. Granma International, April 23, 1997, p 7.

5. See page 37 in this book.

6. "Che's Enduring Contributions to Revolutionary Thought," in Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution (Pathfinder), pp. 24-25.

7. "Speech given in La Plata, May 17, 1974, in Granma Weekly Review, May 26, 1974. See also "Land Reform and Farm Cooperatives in Cuba," three Cuban documents with introduction by Mary-Alice Waters, in issue no. 4 of New International magazine, distributed by Pathfinder.

8. See p. 45.

9. See p. 45.

10. See p. 75.

11. See p. 93.

12. See p. 93.

13. Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution (Pathfinder), p.26.

14. Articles by Guevara from this debate in the early 1960s, together with discussions from the late 1980s and early 1990s of Che's views, appear in issue no. 8 of the magazine New International, entitled "Che Guevara, Cuba, and the Road to Socialism."

15. See p. 76.

16. See p. 45.

17. See p. 41.

18. See p. 42.

19. The speech was published in the May 15, 1996, issue of the weekly Granma International.  
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