Semi-Capitalist: A Marxist, eh?
Marxist: Certainly no running dog paper tiger!
SC: Have you ever held down a blue collar job in your life?
M: I read the works of Marx...and Lenin. I speak on behalf of the working class that is being exploited by capitalist oppressors like you.
SC: Ah, I see. Your hands do look a bit soft. Academic worker? You seem a bit pale and thin.
M: It is the idea I uphold, the great Marxist revolution.
SC: How much Marx have you read?
M: I've read the entirety of the Communist Manifesto.
SC: I see. Have you read all of Das Kapital? His philosophical writings from 1844?
M: I've also read Lenin, Bakunin, Kropotsky...
SC: That doesn't really answer my question.
M: I can quote from the manifesto.
SC: Like others quote the bible, I'm sure.
M: Religion is the poppy of the masses!
SC: I think you mean "opiate".
M: It's all about smashing the system and dialectically inverting the superstructure!
SC: And, apparently, not bothering to match your socks. Say, where did you get that "Workers Unite!" t-shirt?
M: I bought it online. Cost me 50 bucks.
SC: For a t-shirt?
M: It is made without exploiting workers in some sweatshop.
SC: It seems to be expensive to have principles.
M: We are the ideological vanguard and the means of production will one day be ours as we fight for a classless society!
SC: Have you ever visited a communist country?
M: Yes, during reading week.
SC: Did you spout - I mean, did you share ideological conviviality with your comrades?
M: I was in Cuba!
SC: How many marxists did you get to share ideas with?
M: I, uh, didn't have much of a chance to leave the resort. I was busy trying to convince the servers to throw off their shackles of white-man subservience and oppression.
SC: While they fetched your white ass another drink, yes?
M: I take umbrage at your claim! I tipped much better than the others!
SC: So, what are some of the other qualities in being marxist?
M: We fight the oppression of the workers and unite them under the true ideology.
SC: I noticed there is a lot of "we" in what you are saying.
M: The goal of communism is to throw away the bourgeois ego. We work collectively since ego is at the very heart of the bourgeoisie desire for profit.
SC: So you all shop together for expensive activist t-shirts? Hm. So who are these mysterious bourgeoisie I hear you guys talking about?
M: People just like you.
SC: How so?
M: You are a blind consumer and profiteer. You profit off the labour of others.
SC: Interesting. I suppose your shoes are the product of non-labour, then?
M: My boots? These are for storming bourgeois events in protest.
SC: So do marxists promote a frugal and non-egoist lifestyle?
SC: And those tattoos are a sign of collective solidarity, I presume? And the piercings are another sign of rejecting individualism?
M: These are symbols of our enduring struggle.
SC: So I suppose making oneself look in such a way as to be terminally unemployable somehow satisfies the requirement of being working class?
M: Ties are nooses, and suits are bodybags!
SC: I don't recall reading fashion tips like that in Marx. I could be wrong. So when is this revolution going to happen?
M: Once we overthrow the capitalist bourgeoisie.
SC: How's that going for you?
M: Our comrades have been graffiti tagging the local bank.
SC: Sounds a little like hooliganism. How does making extra work for the janitor help that same janitor overcome his exploitation?
M: Man, again, it's all about the idea!
SC: I keep forgetting that ideas seem to bear no relation to the reality on the ground.
M: Not true! We are dialectical materialists. All history is dialectical.
SC: I've never seen a dialectic in my garden before. What do they look like?
M: The dialectic states that all history is a long series of class struggle.
SC: Sounds very exhausting. So I guess all discoveries in science and all the great masterpieces in art have something to do with throwing off the yoke of oppression?
M: Not bourgeois art and science.
SC: What would classify as bourgeois art and science according to you?
M: Anything that profits from the misery of the working class.
SC: So, if a factory worker buys a painting and the artist makes a profit?
M: Yes! That plunders the worker's wages and makes culture financially prohibitive.
SC: So all art should be free? I suppose the working artist should not be paid for his or her work. If all art should be free for the working class, I suppose that means they should be free to download music and videos.
M: Yes. We have to smash the profit machine of those industries!
SC: What would be Marxist art?
M: Art that represents class struggle without bourgeois ornamentalism or sentimentality. Simplicity! Social realism!
SC: So, factory scenes of stick men going to work? I suppose we couldn't have colour since that could be accused of being bourgeois. Rainbows are so individualist and most likely capitalist distractions. What science is bourgeois?
M: Physics does not recognize dialectical materialism as a process of the universe.
SC: There's class struggle among atoms?
M: Class struggle is the only real science. Even atoms want to be free! They want to overthrow their oppressors!
SC: The oppressors being...molecular bonds?
M: No, those can stay, but only if those bonds are of equality and working class type. All atoms must be equal!
SC: I see...and obviously no atoms can make profit by accumulating too many electrons. Equal distribution of the electron wealth for all atoms. We wouldn't want carbon to hog all the electrons and leave all the other atoms to starve.
M: Precisely! You see, class struggle is everywhere, and we must rout imperialism even at the atomic level! Only in that way can all matter be free and set the example for human beings! Next, we will reform mathematics!
SC: Are numbers unequal and capitalist, too?
M: Numbers not used for quota assignments and five-year plans are merely for the increase of capitalist profiteering. Look at numbers...they are not equal! Number 3 has more than number 2! How is that fair? Inequality, I say! And prime numbers - what makes them prime? Arch-individualism, the enemy of communism! All numbers must reject being only divisible by themselves - they must be divisible by all! Geometry is also suspect, for look at the formula for the hypotenuse: the sum of the square of two sides...That's to invite the merger of ideologies that cannot be reconciled, a revisionism!
SC: I hazard to think what consequences a Marxist mathematics may have on our future existence.
M: Equality of numbers in the math classes! Everything according to an algebra of fair redistribution.
SC: Yeah. I suppose that would make high school math much easier if we dispense with all the differences, the bourgeois rules, and so forth. What about language?
M: We all must speak the same language, that of ideology.
SC: Ideologese? Where is that spoken?
SC: So we should all speak Cantonese? How is that working for you?
M: Slow, but I blame the capitalist oppressors for indoctrinating me since childhood with this bourgeois language. We must cast off our tongues!
SC: That sounds like a great idea. Go for silence.
Kane X. Faucher is the author of several books, assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario, and recent winner of the Camera Obscura Outstanding Short Fiction Award. His most recent novel is The Vicious Circulation of Dr Catastrope. He lives in London with his wife and their three gifted cats.