Friday, June 08, 2007

you don't get any marx for this...

or 'stuff you'll never get to read in the magazine' (working title)

Communism. An idea that promised to change this dreary world we live in into Paradise. An idea offering equality to all. An idea which most of the world believes has failed miserably.
So what is the idea and why did it fail? We brought together some ‘eminent’ panelists to discuss the issue.

The Panel:
Karl Marx – German political philosopher, author of the Communist Manifesto and really cool dude with a bushy beard.
Iosef Vissarionovich Stalin – Baap of all Dictators who would cause you to pause and exclaim ‘Moochein ho to Stalin jaisi, warna na ho.’
Steve – American Hippie dude
Mukherjee – Bengali Babu (Not at all representative of the Bengalis in general, who are, as I’ve learnt from experience, really nice, intelligent people.)
Yours Truly – Mostly silent observer.

Yours Truly (YT): So…Mr. Marx, would you like to make the opening statement?
Karl Marx (KM): Ja. (Clears throat) The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Steve (S) (Lighting up a joint): Yeah dude! I struggled a lot in class too. The Man always makes it too tough for us simple folk.
KM: Nein. What I meant was that oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
Steve gets really confused, then shakes it off and puffs away to glory.
Mukherjee (M) (thoughtfully): Marx-da, I don’t really understand, but I totally agree with you. These oppressors, I tell you. We Bengalis fought so hard for independence and then all the PM’s come from that pathetic state U.P.
KM: This isn’t about your country! The communist agenda applies to the proletariat everywhere, regardless of nationality.
Iosef Vissarionovich Stalin (IVS) (with evil glint in eyes): The whole world? Interesting. Tell me more about this system of yours.
KM: The state which will come about as a result of the Workers’ revolution will own all the land, all industrial activities, all credit. In short, the state shall control the whole economy through central planning. Also, education, communications and transport will be exclusively the preserve of the state. Everyone will work equally and get paid equally.
S (coming back to reality): But I’m not good at anything dude. What work will I do?
KM: The state will ensure work for everyone.
S: You mean I can be incompetent and still earn money? Thank God!
KM: God is an illusion. Religion is the opiate of the masses.
S: Really? And to think I’ve been paying that damned dealer so much money when the church is giving it away for free. Dude! Radical!
KM: Dummkopf!
IVS: Forget about him Comrade Karl. So you are saying the state controls everything? That means the state is the Absolute Power. So whoever leads the state is the Most Powerful Person in the world! I love this ideology of yours.
M: Me too Marx-da. We can teach anything we like in the schools! We’ll make Bangla the national language.
KM: You are not really getting my point. The state is not one person or a small collective. It is run by all the workers in the world.
YT: How the heck can 6 billion people agree on anything? Even my own wife doesn’t agree with me 96.78% of the time.
KM: All men are brothers. They will find a way to run the state collectively to benefit everyone.
S (gets excited): Far out dude! We’ll all live together as brothers. It’ll be like Woodstock all over again. I could like this commie thing after all. (Takes a pull on his reefer) Radical!
IVS (with a conniving grin): Da! The people will elect their leader who will run everything. I’ll rule over the world in the interest of the workers because only a Man of Steel, like me, can be the true leader.
KM: You don’t understand. The Proletariat is an entity in itself. It does not need a leader.
M: How can there be no leader? How will the people know what to do if Jyoti-da doesn’t tell them?
IVS (moustache bristling with rage): Zhotida, or whatever his name is, is not telling anybody anything. I represent the will of the workers. I am The Boss. Do you get it?
M (filled with fear): Whatever you say Comrade Boss.
KM (vexed): There is no boss. The Proletariat is supreme.
IVS: Shut up Comrade! Or I will have you arrested, tortured and killed without trial for resisting the will of the workers. Lt. Rasputin of the KGB is really good at this sort of stuff. Comrade Mukherjee, let’s set the revolution into motion. It’s time to control the world.
M: Stalin-da jindabad! Communisht party jindabad! Marx-er tanashahi cholbe na! (Long live Stalin! Long live the Communist party! Marx’s tyranny will not be tolerated!)
Mukherjee stages a walkout.
S (to IVS): So dude, when does the concert begin?
IVS: What concert?
S: The greatest rock concert ever man. Let’s stick it to the Man!
IVS: Only I can decide who plays music and when. I am the man and nobody sticks it to me!
S: No fair dude! What about being brothers and shit? I think you suck man.
IVS: You will think what the State wants you to think. Comrade Rasputin, take this despicable free-thinker away. Dissent will not be tolerated.
All of a sudden a few men, wearing red army uniforms, appear out of nowhere and take a protesting Steve away.
IVS: Now, if you comrades will excuse me, I have to take care of all the dissenters and free-thinkers in the world.
KM: You are just replacing the whole bourgeoisie with yourself. This is not Communism!
IVS: It is now. And you better keep quiet or I’ll hang you in Dzerzhinsky Square.
Stalin leaves.
KM: What have I done? This wasn’t what I had thought. I believed I could lead people to Utopia.
YT: I thought you were an intelligent guy, but you are as stupid as the rest of us. No idea is better than those who profess it. And the fact is that most humans are selfish, ignorant idiots. Therefore, no idea in the world can bring about utopia. Communism, capitalism, anarchism, fundamentalism, all the isms just end up dividing men into artificial groups. So just relax. Your ideology may have failed, but none has succeeded.

Do you still think an idea can change the world?