Jeremy Corbyn has a certain way with words. he says, “I haven’t read as much Marx as we ought to have done.”
Reminds me of the time back in the 1960s when Harold Wilson was asked by a heckler, “Have you actually read Das Kapital?” And the slippery old boy replied, “only as far as that footnote on page 2. A lot fall there, you know.”
Happily I can offer Jeremy an introduction to Karl Marx, for I have have just stumbled across an extract from his diary:
Today I wrote these words: “Capitalists are parasites on the working class. All property is theft.”
Ah, so very true! But I have discovered that, in order to be a seriously successful communist, one needs a good start in life, and in this I was most fortunate. My father owned many fine vineyards in the Moselle and my mother came from a wealthy family of factory-owners who would eventually found the Philips Electronics Company. So I was able to attend Bonn and Berlin universities and turn my mind to planning the communist revolution. It was unkind of the authorities to disapprove of my political programme and I was obliged to flee to London, where I am even now penning, after many beseechings from my admirers, these few short paragraphs outlining the course of my life.
Here too I found that a true prophet of communism such as I am, requires not merely a sound financial foundation on which to build his programme, but further considerable provision to sustain his aims to abolish all privilege and create the conditions for the flourishing of the working class and the eventual dictatorship of the proletariat. So once again I would thank God – except there is no God – for my uncle Ben Philips, the wealthy banker, who bankrolled me while I was dedicating myself to revolutionary socialism in Soho.
I knew too that it was important for me, as the aspiring leader of the workers of the world, to marry into the aristocracy. Again, I was well looked after, for I became engaged to Baroness Jenny von Westphalen who subsequently became my wife. We had children, two daughters I nicknamed Qui, Qui, Emperor of China and Kakadou the Hottentot. And I instructed all my children to address me as Old Nick. But then, you see, one begins to worry about what will become of one’s children when one is gone. How reassuring then when Friedrich Engels, my lifelong friend and co-author with me of The Communist Manifesto, promised to leave them a substantial portion of his $4.8million estate. As I always said, you can’t beat class solidarity! Friedrich lived in Manchester and Liverpool for some years and wrote his Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844. He repeated my slogan PROPERTY IS THEFT. And how prophetic that was – for among the Scousers, all property is theft!
I know that Russia’s rural commune – once all the pernicious influences have been eliminated – will form the basis of my communist utopia. And, because I am a true visionary, I can even see that in the next century a man will arise in Russia who will exceed anyone in history in the elimination of…well, of nearly everybody actually.
As my bestowing those nicknames on my girls demonstrates, I am no humourless academic philosopher. And now that I am old I recall with affection my trip to Bonn with my friend Bauer and how we were pissed for days on end, got thrown out of church for laughing at the Lutheran Pastor and ended up charging through the narrow streets on donkeys!
And don’t forget, you’ll get more bang for your bucks from Marx and Spencer than you’ll ever get from those bourgeois Jews Marks & Spencer.
It remains only for me to ensure myself the biggest memorial in Highgate cemetery.