Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov collapses into a deck chair with his bottle of vodka, and some dirty postcards bought for comrades in the motherland. He takes another snort, and coughing, peers down at a postcard.
The old Socialists, wrapped in red mufflers, extinct, rolled copies of Pravda poking out their pockets, shuffle along the tide-line, their eyes almost blinded by tears and the cause roaring in their ears. They have no place in the conference hall. They will never vote Labour again, or vote again: disenfranchised by New Labour. And in the hall the two Bs, beside the sea, are embarrassed by the hollow from whence the core has gone, like WMD in cratered Iraq. In place of the core are scattered, edgy careerists, fretting their political commodity is passed its sale-by date. Both Christians, B and B, their relentless pursuit of targets having tunnelled them far from the light, long for the comfort of the congregation, the messianic voice of Welsh miners rising from the chapel, red flags for red roses, and getting out of bingo halls and casinos, free from deals and spins. In the furore of the big soliloquy, Tony, aghast, and distracted, Bthinks he hears, above the winds of change (he has in his resigning depressions pondered the consolations of High-Anglicanism’s richer hues) mermen and maids singing of walking on the beach, “do they say with rolled up trousers?” Then, clearer, of politicians who never walk upon the beach, never take off their trousers to paddle in the sea, despite how the mass, who they represent, and whose trust they crave, only come to the seaside to be saucy in the buff. So, Tony pauses the monitor, “hang on a minute”, “look here”, his focus on a baptismal idea spins his brain, and, deprived of Alistair, he is without brakes for his irreversible motor skills. What a brilliant idea! To bare all, on Bournemouth beach! The ultimate disavowal of a presentational decade! How better to win trust! Ripping off his clothes he flees the rostrum and conference hall, passed all those women delegates orgasmic in their knickerless admiration, out to sand and sea, his balls skittling the old Socialists as he goes. Out into the brine, knees under, belly under, breast under, balding head under, swept along by a modest surf, green seaweed clinging to his torso. He emerges, with delusions of grandeur, only a contrite and skinny Neptune, without trident, facing the auditorium’s content, spilled, hysterical upon the sand, but with the sanguine Socialists lined up paradoxically at the front. A little fearful, but Canute-like, he orders the tide of humanity to retreat. “ Stand back!” “Hang on a minute!” “ You want no bull, you want the truth, well then….” And so he begins.
First of all to placate the scientists, to atone, and to admonish religious zeal, he alludes to the debate between the Neptunists and the Vulcanists. He stands before them an apologetic Neptunist: god-like in his humanism The Neptunists were wrong, evidence prevailed: evidence is all. There is to date no discovered evidence of WMD; if you do not see his clothes that is because he is wearing none, he does not have to be treated as an emperor. The Christian zealot makes out every Sunday the world is a garden tended by a loving gardener, well, at least, Alan Titchmarsh….. no reason not to preserve a sense of humour. But the evidence is hard to find, he never sees this gardener and the scientifically proven history of the earth makes it hard to maintain that the world is any kind of garden. He knows he must listen to science and the scientists and not bleat about the Bush. It may turn out there were no WMD. There he has said it! And he is not going to plead a different case about ridding Iraq of Fascism, not today. He was duped by an Intelligence of his own making. They told him what he wanted to hear and kept from him those other sad voices. And perhaps in his own hasty heart he was not convinced of WMD, because if he had been how could he have ordered bombing the people of Iraq. If Saddam had the means of mass murder would he not have willed the end? If there were grotesque stocks of anthrax and nerve gas what clouds of mass contamination would bombing have dispersed? Could he? A Christian if not a socialist? He thinks not. Duped by his own Intelligence? Then Intelligence will be reviewed, changed, modernised, made productive, the same law for public school spies as for working class firemen. Body parts have been scattered. He will see to it. And there will be no cop-outs. No weasel words, “we said programmes, not weapons”, no they said weapons and they meant weapons. And the whole United Nations thing needs straightening out. He’ll stop Jack saying Saddam defied the UN for twelve years, and saying we did what we did to preserve the UN. There was no UN mandate for war. He twisted arms but couldn’t get it, and Saddam, if he didn’t have WMD couldn’t have complied and so couldn’t have defied. It’s as simple as that! Jack comes out of Oxbridge debating where they’re trained to propose or oppose any motion regardless of its smell. But it’s gotta stop. He will put an end to musical butt passing. He knows they’re about to put out now that it’s all Saddam’s fault because he was bluffing. There’s spin and there’s the still center of truth. Most likely, the truth is that WMD were all destroyed in the first wave of inspections, and this is what the Iraqis put out, but Saddam fearing the worst, that he would be attacked anyway, fed Western Intelligence some notion of an imaginary, apocalyptic deterrent, and because they all thought Saddam the personification of evil they believed him. They could and should have subjected this Intelligence to utmost critical scrutiny. Instead they just said if Intelligence tells us what we told them we wanted to be told, it must be so, after all, facts are facts, no matter what Robin, the most intelligent member of the cabinet, says. But really Tony went along with it because of his Christian loathing of Saddam. Intelligence was the crutch which supported this crippling lust… to get Saddam … and George wanted him got too, because Saddam had made a fool of George’s dad: an honour killing. Only so far they haven’t even managed that, and now Saddam is making a fool of all of them.
Tony drips across the sand into their midst, he’s cold, the wind distorting his smile to the shape of a grimace. He stands naked before the country, and Christ-like opens his palms before them, surprisingly stigmata-less. He says, “Forgive us, me and George, we do pray together, but I don’t think we know what we we’re doing. Trust me, I’m a liar”.
Someone restrains Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov from falling out his deck chair. In his sleep he calls out “you might as well have said trust me I’m a Tory, Trust me I’m Ian Duncan Smith!” Vladimir sometimes says he is an asylum seeker from Simbirsk. He fumbles in his overcoat and offers his helper some dirty postcards and then a little vodka. Later that day after a pretty successful speech, instead of taking a dip, Tony makes a visit to an NHS physiotherapy unit, which is showing off its newly acquired, exercise bikes. In the interests of virtual biking and to demonstrate his Thatcherite credentials he sits on and pedals away. He breaks out into a little sweat.
DARK MATTER & NOAH’S ARK
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov was still worse for Blair on, now Brighton not Bournemouth, beach, when, staring into the dregs of his absinthe bottle, the green fairy crept up on him and whispered into his ear. She announced he had won first prize in Drink Me’s loyalty competition. As a result he could swap the winter rigour of an English Channel beach for sultry Sumatran beaches around unspoilt Banda Acech. “Fucking paradise!” was the expletive which came to mind.
In fucking paradise looking out West to watch the tide come in, to his surprise, his tiny Salvation Army radio still picked up “fucking crass” stations. When he spotted the rapidly advancing wave, thinking to himself “Big Sunday!” the voices on the radio were intoning much festive feeling, repeating over and over again “Let them know it’s Xmas time!”
However, his mood to reciprocate this good feeling fast disappeared as Big Sunday picked him up out of alcoholic oblivion and transported him rapidly to a philosophical level. He reasoned that though capitalism could be blamed for almost everything, the most extreme of natural disasters, which this he was experiencing probably was given the speed at which he was travelling inland, required something more transcendental than economic determinism. Bobbing up and down in the flow those heads travelling with him tried, despite their imminent reunion with Me Posop (Mother Rice), to expand his grasp of the language. “Tsunami!” they shouted. There was a unique word for his predicament. He called out “More poetic than 9/11”.
Though swigging and tossing more than he had ever imposed on himself he drifted off over the philosophical plane quite easily.
“Well it’s always been impossible to square the hypothesis of a god who’s absolute perfection with cock ups in basic design. At least with Noah’s flood absolute perfection had the argumentative option of having given a redemptive warning. And there are so many more of us now to drown (active verb). Materialism makes much more sense, but should this be the apocalyptical moment,” he was now clinging to a wooden sign showing A taste of Paradise “someone ought to record how materialism has slipped from the grasp of the dialecticians and fallen into reactionary hands, imperialistic mathematicians, who like all ideologues and metaphysicians have turned common sense on its head, allowing nothing less than the word of god to slip from its anus like some crafty fart.
The hypothesis of dark matter is the smelly subterfuge along with mathematical models of infinite risk taking without risk! It is argued the definitive theory of matter is nonetheless inconsistent with the observed process of matter. The theory is inconsistent with the rate at which the universe is expanding. If however dark matter exists, which is a something we know not what and which emits no light and cannot be observed, then, the imperialists argue, the definitive theory remains definitive. Therefore they conclude dark matter exists!”
Vladimir Ilich was now roaring above the flood.
“This cannot even be considered without first constructing some fundamental challenge to the verificationist principle that logical entailment cannot verify existential propositions. Dark matter is the denial of empiricism, and empiricism, paradoxically is the bedrock of the theory that generates the theory of dark matter. Moreover, to infer the ontological from the logical is to challenge the deductive principles employed in the argument as a whole, therefore making a nonsense of the entire enterprise. It is factually meaningless, just like the concept of god itself. And this nonsense, after claiming to have a theory that posits and explains the universe as it is, then has the audacity to raise a question about what, after all, is real. Our universe might not exist as we conceive it we are told and this despite all this theorising extolling its own credentials to pin it, the universe, down as the exact thing that it is. The universe might be part of a computer programme controlled by super intelligence in other universes! Please note comrades how the concept of the universe has been dramatically reduced by this unthinking acceptance of plurality! The absurdities multiply each other. It is argued that the complexity of reality can only be confirmed by enlisting the resources of a computer model and that therefore the model might itself be no more than the subject of a computer model. So, therefore, what it reveals would be doubly not real! But this isn’t the science of now or the future, red hot with new ideas. This is no advance on Russell raising, in the interests of positing philosophical scepticism, the logical possibility of the universe having been created 5 minutes ago but with all its records, history and memory in tact. The same mistake: failing to distinguish between logical possibility and possibility. Metaphysics re-enters through the back door of science and before we know it “tsunami” is a creation of dark matter and super intelligence and has been sent to pull the world together, only this time not by means of an ark but the universal exchange equivalent, credit cards. The dark ages!”
Later Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov found himself perched up a tree. His philosophical mood had left him, although he pondered it a moot point whether his precarious existence was lucky or unlucky, anyway he upturned his cap, which miraculously had stuck to his head and sought means to write a note saying, “Spare a rupiah!” He was dying for a drink.
VLADIMIR ILICH ULYANOV’S ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLIA.
Ragged, drunken buffoons have that within which passes show. Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov sometimes longed to have a second chance at Materialism and Empiriocriticism.
It may be wondered how his Bic scrawl on the back of the shit-house door (narrated in V.I.U Terrorised by the Free Society) could be so accurate in its reference. An excellent, classical education forming a precision of memory and thinking, and still miraculously intact despite the nightly intake, would be one explanation, but more importantly the PFI (the mark of a better building) Jubilee Library in Brighton, newly standing for the achievements of today, a R&D resource, was what explained the trick.
Materialism and Empiriocriticism had been the consequence of a hurried but sober sojourn at desk L13 (unlucky Lenin? … certainly, not on the money as was G7 for Marx) in the Reading Room of the British Museum. Then, political expediency took precedence over careful research. Now, Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov had a ghostly eternity to fill. Although it was not for this reason that he sought redemption: his resurrection was wholly material, rank rather than eerie, quantum mechanics rather than the doctrine of the Trinity. Given he had so much time he was glad that, as the Secretary of State had said, CABE’s buildings (the advanced buildings of now) were “designed to be used by people”! In fact it was while lingering over the politically correct warmth of the Jubilee Library, and feeling materially so much happier than when a struggling terrorist in the British Museum, that he had clicked on Tessa Jowell’s speech, which announced that the Jubilee was the winner of the 2005 Prime Minister’s Better Building Award, no less! And looking this up in a free country was even more comforting! Had he tried the same when he was in Beijing, which still is another story, sometime to be told, he may well have been arrested and charged with something fantastical like being a member of the Falung Gong Cult, or worse still a supporter of the Mills/McCartney clan and its calumny against public health measures requiring the killing of dogs in Guangzhou. Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov had nothing against the killing of dogs even if it was to promote the Initial Socialist Market: “vagrant persons before vagrant dogs” was one of his mottos. So comfortable did he feel in Blair’s better building that he even allowed himself some venting of spleen as he luxuriated nonchalantly over some of New Labour’s speak. “In Victorian times, you could see that age’s ambition, it’s vaulting achievements and its emphasis on improving society etched clearly in the blue prints of their public buildings. Their vision and commitment to quality means we are still using – and admiring – many of their town halls, schools and railway stations.” “FUCKING, PETIT-BOURGEOIS TORY. GO ON SHE LIVES IN A VICTORIAN TERRACE AND’S BOXING HER PROPERTY VALUE WITH MINISTERIAL HEDGE. AND WHAT’S THIS FUCKING CONTRADICTION..” “ post-war Britain… The emphasis was placed too much on functionality over form… poor architectural design: it forgets that buildings are designed to be used by people.” “AND LOOK AT THIS! THEY MUST HAVE RAKED UP OLD BETJEMAN TO GET THAT EUPHEMISM ‘FRIENDLY FIRE’.” “when John Betjeman wrote those immortal lines beckoning friendly bombs to ‘fall on Slough, because its not for humans now’, he struck a chord with many of us.” “I BET HE DID! AND HOW’S THIS FOR WRITING OFF THE ONLY RADICAL LABOUR GOVERNMENT…” “post-war Britain was in such a rush to rebuild that in some ways, it cut corners… ugly council estates…sprang up all over the place”. “AND WHAT DID VICTORIANA DO WITH CORNERS? GOT THEM PLASTERED LIKE A DRUNKEN TART. COUNCIL HOUSES WERE NOT HALF-CUT, THEY CALLED A CORNER A CORNER, BARE AND UNADORNED FOR UNAFFECTED COMMONERS, SALT OF THE EARTH, NOT A TASTELESS MIDDLE CLASS!”
For Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov it was not the vulgarity of Materialism and Empiriocriticism he minded. Instead it was the one-dimensional nature of its vulgarity. There had been insufficient time to balance feeling and logic. Now he was transfixed by what caught his attention, whereas his attitude had been singularly instrumental. In the Jubilee the objects of his research would hold him captive all day, just as cheap booze captured his nights. Many books he returned to over and over again attempting to memorize content that he could carry with him into an incoherent dark.
Service’s book on Lenin was one of the books he tried to monopolize. Between pages 116 and 117 he would locate the photo of Nadezhda Krupskaya and stare at it for hours on end. Secretly he could have removed her from the book but he was not possessive about her beauty because her beauty was truly social. Eventually he would break his concentration and move on with irritation to Service’s haute-bourgeois distaste for Nadezhda Krupskaya. Sexually, Service obviously preferred the promiscuous, redhead, horse-rider and pianist, Inessa Armand to Nadezhda Krupskaya with her single-minded, unremitting zeal for the revolution. But that was no reason to invent an affair between Lenin and Armand on the basis of some pluralist probability. Certainly to Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov’s way of thinking such a sexual preference was no excuse for failing to write anything adequate about the pure beauty of Lenin’s wife. And Service no doubt had even baser bourgeois motives for proceeding in the opposite direction, describing Nadezhda Krupskaya as ponderous, ailing and dowdy, and as having a swollen neck, bulging eyes and looking like a herring. “IMPOTENT, BOURGEOIS HACKS DESTROY SIMPLE BEAUTY OF THE UNAFFECTED AND THE UNADORNED. THEY NEED PAINTINGS TO JERK OFF”. Nadezhda Krupskaya’s photo was the blindingly beautiful refutation of Service’s duplicitous perception. The 1895 photo showed her with her hair strained back, wearing a high-necked, sombre dress, and no trace of Tsarinist stucco disguising her face. This was the face of a person of high-seriousness, of few leisure pursuits, her life dedicated from the age of eighteen to Marxism and the revolution, a person of great patience, as befits the true revolutionary, her life lived at one with ordinary, labouring people. Her unremitting gaze staring back at him filled Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov with an overwhelming sense of a fugitive passion regained. Nadezhda Krupskaya was revolutionary now and one hundred years ago. Any feminism, which did not claim her, was pathologically bourgeois. Her support for Lenin was unflinching. Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov had somehow sensed her sitting alone, for a whole day, beside his coffin when it lay in state. If she had her way and ordinariness had prevailed, there would have been no mausoleum, no material embalming, no undisclosed resurrection and hurried production of a waxwork replica, and so no endless life of vagrancy. Instead, as she said, “what they should have done was bury him with his comrades so that they could lie beneath the Red Wall together”. And in character with everything about her, her own grave, resting place was beneath that Red Kremlin Wall.
How could he be worthy of this devotion? There was a poem he had uncovered in the Jubilee, which seemed, in part, to express how he wished to reciprocate. It spoke of passion, which was the essence of the revolution, though, something missing from his books. The poem by Carol Ann Duffy, of whom he knew nothing, having been attracted to her collection by the red of its cover, was Elegy. It needed rewriting to fit, but he did not really try that, apart from a word here and there. Instead he saturated certain lines with his tears. No one had the temerity to admit to noticing or to remonstrate with him. “Who’ll know then, when they walk by the WALL/where your bones will be brittle things/…-that love, which wanders history,/ singled you out in your time?/ Love loved you best; lit you/ with a flame, like talent, under your skin;…Who’ll guess …that were I DEAD, I would lie on the STONES/ above your bones till I mirrored your pose, your infinite grace?” And the revolutionary love he revisited was love of the revolution, not personal, bourgeois muck, which heaped itself over fugitive alternatives.
And where else did his slow research take him as he sheltered in the Jubilee from far blown Siberian winds? One book was called Culture & Value to which they had put the name of Wittgenstein, not that Wittgenstein would have thanked them for it. There was much in it, which Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov read and re-read. For instance, there was:
“There is no religious denomination in which so much sin has been committed through the misuse of metaphorical expressions as in mathematics.”
“Each sentence that I write is trying to say the whole thing, that is, the same thing over and over again and it is as though they were views of one object seen from different angles.”
“If you do not want certain people to get into a room, put a lock on it for which they do not have the key.”
“As we may say that such and such an animal has escaped extinction only because it has the possibility of concealing itself.”
“It is hard to say anything, that is as good as saying nothing.”
“Philosophers are often like little children who first scribble some marks on a piece of paper at random and now ask the grown-up ‘what’s that?’- It happened like this: the grown-up had often drawn something for the child and said: ‘this a man’, ‘this is a house’ etc. And now the child makes some marks too and asks: ‘and what’s this then?’ ”
“In philosophy the winner of the race is the one who can run most slowly. Or: the one who gets to the winning post last.”
“How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life.”
“Nothing is more important though than the construction of fictional concepts, which will teach us at last to understand our own.”
“Always come down from the barren heights of cleverness into the green valleys of folly.”
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov thought that if ever there would be a new book it would have to be constructed out of materials like these. Another book with aggregate, picked over like a vagrant hunting for insulation, was Girlfriend in a Coma by a Douglas Coupland, the slacker-scribe. If Wittgenstein pointed up basic, ordinary blocks and slabs of intelligence in order to deflect the eye from the illusions of mercurial and neon brilliance, Coupland’s people pointed to the pollution of light and its lighting of ordinary space.
“ ‘And now there’s only the system. All other options have evaporated. For most people it’s the system or what … death. There’s nothing. There’s no way out.’ ”
“ ‘Did we all go into a Coma in 1979… work, work, work, get, get, get…?’ ”
“ ’Didn’t you feel as if all of the symbols and ideas fed to you since birth had become worn out like old shoes? Didn’t you ache for change but you didn’t know how to do it, would you have had the guts to go forth?’
‘Yeah. Sure. But didn’t everybody?’
‘No. Not always. This feeling is specific to the times we live in.’ “
“ ‘Every day for the rest of your lives, all of your living moments are to be spent making others aware of this need – the need to probe and drill and examine and locate the words that take us beyond ourselves.
Grind questions onto the glass on photocopiers. Scrape challenges onto old auto parts and throw them off bridges so that future people digging in the mud will question the world too… Make bar codes point out fables, not prices. You can’t ever throw away a piece of litter unless it has a question stamped on it – a demand for people to reach a finer
“ ‘Ask whatever challenges dead and thoughtless beliefs. Ask: when did we become human beings and stop being whatever it was we were before this?’ “
“ ‘I know you have the necessary skills – explosives, medicine, engineering, media knowledge and the ability to camouflage yourselves… if you’re not plotting every moment, boiling the carcass of the old order – then you’re wasting your day.’ “
“ ‘Think about all those crazy people you can see on the streets. Maybe they aren’t crazy at all. Maybe they’ve seen what we’ve seen – maybe those people are us.’ “
“ ‘We’ll be adults who smash the tired, exhausted system. We’ll crawl and dig our way into a radical new world.’ “
Not only did Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov find in the Jubilee books traces of ordinary intelligence moving in a polluted space, but he also found examples of it remonstrating against transcendental deceptions; those deceptions designed to induce feelings of inferiority, and induce scepticism about the ordinary being the measure of objective reality: deceptions terrified to allow objectivity at all, less everyone might see how IT was and is. Sadegh Hedayet was a book writer to whom in this respect Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov turned.
“I found it pleasanter to talk to a friend or acquaintance than to God, the high and mighty One. God was too important a personage for me.”
“… It did not matter to me whether God really existed or whether He was nothing but a personification of the mighty ones of this world, invented for the greater glory of spiritual values and the easier spoilation of the lower orders, the pattern of earthly things being transferred to the sky.”
“As my eyes closed a dim, indistinct world began to take shape around me. It was a world of which I was the sole creator and which was in perfect harmony with my vision of reality. At all events it was far more real and natural to me than my waking world and presented no obstacle, no barrier, to my ideas. In it time and place lost their validity. My repressed lusts, my secret needs, which had begotten this dream, gave rise to shapes and happenings which were beyond belief but which seemed natural to me. For a few moments after waking up I had no sense of time or place and doubted whether I really existed. It would seem that I myself created all my dreams and had long known the correct interpretations of them.”
“I felt that this world had not been made for me but for a tribe of brazen, money-grubbing, blustering louts, sellers of conscience, hungry of eye and heart – for people, in fact, who had been created in its own likeness and who fawned and grovelled before the mighty of earth and heaven, as the hungry dog outside the butcher’s shop wagged his tail in the hope of receiving a fragment of offal.”
The Jubilee could not be faulted as a winter-resting place, and although vagrant hibernation could be persecuted, an erudite answer or two sufficed to pacify those few zealous officials who sought to preserve the purity of commercial life. In fact for Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov his only complaint against the Jubilee was its egalitarian repression of culture and its capitulation to non-élitist commercialism, but he regretted this tendency in himself, recognizing its bourgeois origins. The trouble was he could not find much in the way of high-seriousness, and so not much that N.K. would have approved of him spending his time with. Don Delillo’s Underworld, though another novel, sometimes addressed the ordinary in ways that Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov found correct for his emotive foundations. Sometimes he wondered if he was not hankering for a materialist arcade, something that he would not have to bring to an objective proof. There was one particularly frozen day when he spent all day on one sentence from Delillo, that was until he found two others that matched.
“The shock, the power of an ordinary life. It is a thing you could not invent with banks of computers in a dust-free room.”
“Sex is what you can get. For some people, most people, it’s the most important thing they can get without being rich or smart or stealing. This is what life can give you that’s equal to others or better, even, that you don’t have to go to college six years to get. And it’s not religion and it’s not science but you can explore it and learn things about yourself.”
As springtime beckoned but was slow to reveal itself Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov found a book of some seriousness to arrest his escape from the Jubilee. Escape he sought because although his hibernation had gathered basic building materials for new work, he could no longer write: for too long now his mind had run without the restraint of a defragmentation programme, so that whatever coherence he could muster was confined to bursts of graffiti. The book that detained him was The Economic Horror by Viviane Forrester. He would spend a few more days contemplating the books parity with the other contents of his mind, before setting out to find the sun and curse the seagulls.
“At a time when the shortage of jobs is proving to be a constant factor, ineradicable and ever increasing, one can hardly decide whether it is more ludicrous or sinister to compel everyone of the millions of the unemployed to engage in ‘an active and incessant search’ for work that does not exist and to do so every working day of every week, every month and every year.”
“Aren’t such repeated refusals and chains of rejections just a set staged to persuade the job-seekers of their nothingness?”
“It is no trifling matter, either, for the holders of economic power, i.e. true power, to have subdued the trouble-makers who only yesterday were protesting, demonstrating, demanding and fighting. How sweet to see them beg for what they used to vilify and now regard as a Holy Grail! Nor is it a trifling matter for the economically powerful to have certain other people at their mercy: those who do have jobs and salaries and will baulk at nothing for fear of losing such rare, valuable and fragile privileges and being obliged to join the porous ranks of the destitute.”
“They all seem to share the same logic, taking it for granted that the present state of things is the natural condition, the exact point where history has been waiting for us.”
“No support is left for those who have nothing but loss. The only discourse heard is the deafening one of the other side.”
“When life is calling out to them, when nothing has even been hinted to them about the richness that their one luxury might hold for them: their so-called ‘free time’.”
“And who would support them? What group? What texts, what ideas would?”
“Engaging in thought demands some practice such as forgetting its reputation for being austere, arduous, unpleasant, inert, élitist, paralyzing and endlessly boring.”
“There is no more subversive activity than thinking… Thinking is political… The mere fact of thinking is political.”
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov was still able to do that. He might not be able to write a book anymore but he was a thinking thing and in so far as he was, just as was everyone, he could not be accounted for. He thought therefore he was political. We all are. He then broke down into a bout of incontrollable crying, sobbing aloud for all to hear. Security asked him what was the matter. He told them he was crying for Krupskaya. Eventually and sympathetically they escorted him from the building, asking him at parting if he would like them to call the police. He trudged off across Jubilee Square knowing he would not be welcome in any of the restaurants that flanked the space, nor would he be offered residence in the new, overlooking apartments, but, his equanimity quickly repaired, he began a reflection on what the word ‘jubilee’ added to the concept of ‘better public building’.
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