Nonviolent vs. Violent Revolution

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Dulany Harms
Professor Guneyli
September 15, 2008
To Be Violent Or Not To Be Violent?
As long as there have been people on earth, there have been societal injustices. Societal injustices occur when one segment of society believes it ways are better than another segment of society and tries to oppress them. Eventually, the oppressed will revolt against the oppressors. When this happens, the revolution can take one of two approaches. There can be a violent movement or a non-violent movement. Revolutionaries such as Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Adolf Hitler used violence and death to accomplish their goals. Revolutionaries such as Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dalai Lama have used non-violent means such as strikes, marches, and sit-ins. Non-violent revolutions are characterized by peaceful demonstrations rather than violence, they set a better example for future generations, and they have met with more success than violent revolutions. As a whole, society has benefited more from non-violent revolutions than violent ones.

Violent movements, revolutions, and uprisings usually involve bloodshed. Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Adolf Hitler are three examples of violent revolutionaries. Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928. Due to his contempt for the corrupt Argentine militarist government, he became a dedicated Marxist and devoted his life to revolutionary causes. In 1953, Guevara left Argentina to take part in a Communist revolution in Guatemala. After the failure of that revolution, he then fled to Mexico where he was introduced to another Communist revolutionary in exile, Fidel Castro. In 1956, Guevara, Castro and 80 others attempted to overthrow Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista. After that failed attempt, they retreated into the mountains of southern Cuba where they honed their guerilla tactics until they successfully overthrew Batista and installed Castro as the leader of Cuba. Che Guevara was such a violent person that in 1960 he wrote a book titled “Guerilla Warfare,” which served as a “manual for Third World insurgents as part of his plan to bring Communism throughout the world” (Patay). In 1966, Che surfaced in Bolivia to organize another revolt by the local Communist peasants. With support for his cause failing, Che was captured by government Bolivian soldiers and executed on October 9, 1967. Fidel Castro’s beginnings are much like that of Che Guevara. He grew up living a wealthy lifestyle in spite of the poverty that surrounded him. A peasant rebellion in Cuba’s eastern Oriente province influenced Castro’s political preference, causing him to lean towards a Communist-style government. Castro ran for the Cuban Parliament, but that dream was dashed when Fulgencio Batista came into power. In 1953, Castro, and fellow revolutionaries, attempted to overthrow Batista. Castro was captured and imprisoned. In the short term, Batista succeeded, but, in the process, he made Castro famous throughout Cuba. After being granted amnesty in 1955, he then plotted with Che Guevara in a second attempt at overthrowing Batista.

The second attempt failed; however, Castro’s third attempt, in 1958, succeeded, forcing Batista to flee the country. In 1959, Castro became the new prime minster of Cuba. He accomplished his goals of an egalitarian democratic government; however, the socialist form of government he established resulted in an impoverished nation, with one of the lowest standards of living. “Not content with cruelly oppressing Cubans and driving into exile a tenth of the country’s population, Castro is responsible for having exported violent revolution around the world, and for having aided and abetted terror and genocide in Africa” (Ballantyne). Castro was reported by his peers to “carry with him a well-thumbed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and was fascinated by Nazi pageantry and paraphernalia” (Ballantyne). Adolf Hitler...
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