Communism did kill, Courtois and his fellow historians demonstrate, with ruthless efficiency: 25 million in Russia during the Bolshevik and Stalinist eras, perhaps 65 million in China under the eyes of Mao Zedong, 2 million in Cambodia, millions more Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America--an astonishingly high toll of victims. This freely expressed penchant for homicide, Courtois maintains, was no accident, but an integral trait of a philosophy, and a practical politics, that promised to erase class distinctions by erasing classes and the living humans that populated them. Courtois and his contributors document Communism's crimes in numbing detail, moving from country to country, revolution to revolution.

Che Guevara, who did so much (or was it so little?) to destroy capitalism, is now a quintessential capitalist brand. His likeness adorns mugs, hoodies, lighters, key chains, wallets, baseball caps, toques, bandannas, tank tops, club shirts, couture bags, denim jeans, herbal tea, and of course those omnipresent T-shirts with the photograph, taken by Alberto Korda, of the socialist heartthrob in his beret during the early years of the revolution, as Che happened to walk into the photographer’s viewfinder—and into the image that, thirty-eight years after his death, is still the logo of revolutionary (or is it capitalist?) chic. Sean O’Hagan claimed in The Observer that there is even a soap powder with the slogan “Che washes whiter.”

Che products are marketed by big corporations and small businesses, such as the Burlington Coat Factory, which put out a television commercial depicting a youth in fatigue pants wearing a Che T-shirt, or Flamingo’s Boutique in Union City, New Jersey, whose owner responded to the fury of local Cuban exiles with this devastating argument: “I sell whatever people want to buy.” Revolutionaries join the merchandising frenzy, too—from “The Che Store,” catering to “all your revolutionary needs” on the Internet, to the Italian writer Gianni Minà, who sold Robert Redford the movie rights to Che’s diary of his juvenile trip around South America in 1952 in exchange for access to the shooting of the film The Motorcycle Diaries so that Minà could produce his own documentary. Not to mention Alberto Granado, who accompanied Che on his youthful trip and advises documentarists, and now complains in Madrid, according to El País, over Rioja wine and duck magret, that the American embargo against Cuba makes it hard for him to collect royalties. To take the irony further: the building where Guevara was born in Rosario, Argentina, a splendid early twentieth-century edifice at the corner of Urquiza and Entre Ríos Streets, was until recently occupied by the private pension fund AFJP Máxima, a child of Argentina’s privatization of social security in the 1990s.

Che Guevara: the media mourn a sadistic killer

October 9, 2007, marked the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara’s death. The predictable outlets are gushing forth with the predictable tributes. From Reuters to the AP and from theLos Angeles Times to MSNBC, you will search these “news stories” in vain for any mention of the fully documented details of Che’s capture and death. The sources for these “gallant crusaders for the truth” (as Columbia School of Journalism heralds its graduates) were — as usual — the propaganda ministers of a Stalinist regime.

After the July 1959 overthrow of Batista’s regime, Che presided over the first firing squads and established “Labor Camps” across the country modeled after the Soviet Gulags. He acted as judge, jury, and executioner, of which he personally took pride. He wrote in his essay:

“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. … These are the procedures of the bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the teaching of the Wall!”

To invoke the “Berlin Wall” built by his comrades from Russia, was a testament to the process of dealing with dissidents and the elimination of opposition to the newly formed communist Cuban dictatorship; and eliminate they did.

Through these newly formed Labor Camps, Che ordered the death of hundreds of thousands of helpless Cubans, including women and children as young as 14 years old. He personally executed over 180 individual people, though some say many more fell at his own hands. Special detail at the camps was appointed to deal with the “Gay Problem” as they were imprisoned as well, and journalists were given no free voice as promised.

Following the takeover of the government, this newly formed Soviet-backed regime created a police state that incarcerated a higher percentage of people than Joseph Stalin’s communist regime and executed more people in the first three years than Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime did in its first six years.

Glenn Beck discusses "Che" and his legacy.