Monday, 21 April 2008

How Monty Python Made Me A Socialist

I would have probably become a socialist of some sort anyhow. I was brought up in a working-class Labour-voting family (my dad did join the Labour Party for a while, but found out, like Oscar Wilde had claimed, the problem with socialism was "too many meetings"). I am also left-handed, so when I was a sprog and people said Labour was on the left, I sort of automatically identified with Labour!

Then came the Python connection. When I was about 9 my parents gave me "Monty Python Live At Drury Lane" on tape as a Xmas present. It had the Communist Quiz sketch in which Karl Marx, Lenin, Chairman Mao and Che Guevara are asked questions about English football and pop music that they had next to no clue about. However, in the second part of the sketch Karl was asked questions about "workers' control of factories" to win a beautiful lounge suite (though he flunks it when asked about who won the 1949 FA Cup Final). It was there I fell for the idea of direct workers' control of their work places! After that I got out the "Great Lives" volume of a massive set of encyclopedias my mum had and looked up Karl Marx and it spoke about his support for workers' control of the economy. Being a mid-1950s mainstream sort of publication, "Great Lives" slagged Marx off, but he seemed a decent sort to me. So I have always been quite pro-Marx from quite a young age.

To Be Continued...

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