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God Bless Karl Marx!
Peter Mullen uncovers the personal secrets of philosophers.
Today I wrote these words: “Capitalists are parasites on the working class. All property is theft.”
Ah, so very true! Yet 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 revolution! Unfortunately, the authorities unkindly disapproved of my political programme and so I was obliged to flee to London. And here I am even now penning – after the many beseechings of my admirers – these few short paragraphs outlining my thinking.
In London, I also found that a true prophet of communism such as I, requires not merely a sound financial foundation on which to build his thinking, but further provision to sustain and advance his aims to abolish all privilege and create the conditions for the flourishing of the working class and the 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 also know 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 by Fate, for I became engaged, then married, to the Baroness Jenny von Westphalen. We had children – two daughters – whom I nicknamed Qui, the Empress of China, and Kakadou the Hottentot. I instructed my children to address me as Old Nick. But 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 vast estate inherited from his factory-owing father! As I always said, you can’t beat class solidarity! Friedrich lived in Manchester and Liverpool for some years and there wrote his The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, often repeating my slogan PROPERTY IS THEFT.
Karl Marx by Athamos Stradis
As my bestowing of nicknames on my girls demonstrates, I am no humourless academic philosopher. Now that I am old I recall with affection my trip to Bonn with my friend Bauer, how we were drunk 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! All good revolutionary praxis.
I know that Russia’s rural communes will form the basis of my communist utopia, once all the pernicious influences have been eliminated. And, because I am a true visionary, I can even see that in the twentieth century a man will arise in Russia who will exceed anyone in history in the elimination of… well, of nearly everything, actually. Long live the Revolution! It remains only for me to ensure myself the biggest memorial in Highgate Cemetery.
© Rev’d Dr Peter Mullen 2023
Peter Mullen is a philosopher and Anglican priest. His last cure of souls before he retired was Rector of St Michael’s, Cornhill, in the City of London.