I can remember the day I did not become a communist. Periodically it runs through my head, usually when I am reading some news story about the ongoing push and pull between right and left, the public theatre of virtue.
With the best of intentions, I used to admire the Communists. They seemed to stick up for the underdogs of the world. I can recall when I was a student living by Kensington Market, every week when I got my groceries, they would be there advertising their weekly meeting. Accordingly, I showed up one Friday evening and went over the list of scheduled talks on the wall. It was a blow-by-blow of world grievances, some I was aware of and some that seemed to have been cobbled together. Still, who could be against the idea of compassion? And revolution is always a sexy solution, especially for the young.
The meeting began. The moderator bumbled through a badly written blind statement of ideology. Spoiler alert... the Capitalists were to blame. I could have saved my bus fare. I looked around the room and started recognizing faces. They were the ones I had seen downtown on the street corners with their hands out, demanding someone else’s hard earned money. That would be the funds dearly won in my case, from working two part-time jobs. Despite that they were young and as able bodied as myself, they thought themselves casually entitled to what I had to struggle for.
The austere picture of Che Guevara stared us down from the wall on the side. A bit of digging reveals that Che originally trained to be a doctor... to save and to heal, but instead ended up as a revolutionary with a gun. Rather than brand him a hero, we might wonder if he just abandoned the high road because it was hard, and killing someone else became a cheap path to virtue instead.
The Communists are still going strong, unfortunately. They have traded up failed economics for identity politics. Now we are told that the inequalities of the world exist because of your colour, gender, or sexual preference, and a raiding of the public coffers is necessary in order to restore integrity. The workers of the world are getting shaken down yet again, but it is the Communists who are doing it this time. Marx and Engels I think, would be turning over in their graves.
The conversation is only getting more shrill because it seems the cultural Marxists have now forded the walls, and are ensconced within universities and government, still playing an odd shell game where they get to win the prize but are required to do nothing difficult to get there. Oddly, this sounds like one of the inequities that the Communists were supposed to be fighting against in the first place.
If you have ever read the story of the Little Red Hen, even small children can sniff out the non-contributors of any group. They are usually bullies and the grifters, and their search for a free ride hurts us all.
Eventually, everything in life shows its true colours. As for me, I am seeing red, though no longer through rose-coloured classes.