There is an energy drink which sits next to my bed. It has never been opened. It probably never will.
Why did I buy it? Well, I was waiting at the checkout in a department store when this conveniently placed beverage in the impulse-buy rack screamed out at me.
The can was covered in the iconic image of Che Guevara…
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There is a quote I like,
“My ultimate goal as a socialist revolutionary was to have my face plastered on the t-shirts’ of rich white kids” – Che Guevara
Ok, so I know this is a fake quote, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the meaning, truth & impact that I like from a good quote. A good quote for me, is a small nugget of gold that, inspires, challenges, shapes me, awakens, makes me cringe, cry, gasp, live, or leaves me in awe.
So that is why I chose this bogus quote to launch the quote section of this blog, you see regardless of whether you view Che as a Robin Hood revolutionary or a mass murdering commie terrorist, this much remains true, Che Guevara wasn’t a capitalist.
That iconic image which has come to stand for revolution is anything but.
That college kid who wears the Che t-shirt feels he’s a bit rebellious, a little revolutionary, a little anti-establishment. That $25 t-shirt is made by the same people who make the flag waving I love George Bush t-shirt. They don’t care why you buy the shirt, just that you do.
You were sold a small taste of revolution, a wee sip from the anti-establishment can of energy drink. You were sold a lie.
And in your purchase you support the very systems Che & your anti-establishment self are meant to oppose. Isn’t that the greatest con, to turn something that is opposed to your way of life, to your systems, into something that supports it. To co-opt someone’s message instead of opposing it.
Why does that drink sit beside my bedside.
To remind me of what a co-opted message looks like, a hijacked revolution. Why do I need reminding?
Can you think of anyone else in history this has happened to….