SAS: Che Guevara t-shirts aren't woke

by Duncan Simpson, Policy Analyst

The terrorist chic of the Che Guevara t-shirt has had remarkable staying power. If you put his name into eBay, you get a staggering 36,000 results. Yet leading figures on the left and their media cheerleaders have long excused him.

This perceived trendiness is pernicious. By assuming that devotion to socialism is sometimes best personified through violent action, many utterances and activities of its proponents are conveniently forgotten or ignored.

Che Guevara, it turns out, wasn’t too hot on natural justice. Whilst due process is taken for granted in the UK, he was somewhat more cavalier. Speaking a few years after the Cuban Revolution at the State Security offices in Havana, Guevara freely admitted to executing people by firing squad without knowing if they were fully guilty.

And nor was he abashed about saying such things more publicly. Speaking at the UN in 1964, he responded to lines of questioning on executions bluntly. “Executions? Yes, we have executed, we are executing, and we will continue to execute.” He also admitted a willingness to unleash nuclear war if the Cubans, rather than Soviets, had been in control of the weapons during the missile crisis.

At least 36 million people starved to death in just two years under Chairman Mao. Yet the shadow Home Secretary says that on balance he did more good than harm. The man who wants to run the Treasury, John McDonnell, gleefully brandished the Little Red Book in the Commons.

By putting these agents of misery on a pedestal that they obviously don’t deserve, the dangers of these regimes are further forgotten. Our Stand Against Socialism campaign is there to ensure that they aren’t.