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Ancient Habits

Andrew Worthington

We would decapitate landlords every day in the town square, a small drive-in movie theatre on the outskirts of town. Marian was particularly ruthless. I would ask her why she liked to continue chopping even after blood was spurting and eyes were demonic. She remarked that she liked it, nothing more. When I asked her again years later, in front of other people at a party for our daughter’s fifth birthday, she told everyone it was because she wanted to chop the whole way through. She didn’t want to just puncture the throat or the spine, depending on which way the landlord was placed. She wanted complete decapitation. I remember finding this answer more pleasing. I grew uncomfortable during the era of reforms, when landholding was allowed again. We wanted to provide a yard for our daughter. Chances seemed likely the reforms would be reversed within years, if not months, or days. We didn’t agree – politically – with the reforms but if we were going to live in a world where property was allowed, we figured we should obtain property. The reforms dictated that three different bank corporations would distribute and mortgage the property but then one of the bank corporations bought the other ones, hiked the prices, and we were left feeling lucky we had a house but sad that others didn’t. It was hard to be in solidarity from our four bedroom, two-and-half story house. We ate well and things in general were good –


That story was told in first-person just so we could express the types of propaganda that were used in the era. Obviously you shouldn’t feel bad if you owned a house when others didn’t. It wasn’t your fault that the reforms didn’t work and the corporations didn’t share. The vitriol that the make-believe wife Marian had wasn’t a characteristic that any revolutionary permits in themselves. The lack of solidarity the couple felt with the working class while living in their suburban home wasn’t a feeling that any revolutionary would permit in themselves. This is pure corporate propaganda to promote the appearance of hypocrisy among the ranks of anti-corporate revolutionaries. We know who we are. We know myths. We know that you cut off the landlord’s head because greater equality and a leveling of socio-economic material means – on any substantial level – only is achieved through violence. It is logical, not emotional. We saw this throughout our history of plagues, wars, revolutions. And we know that living in a home among the blind bourgeois is just a fleeting embedding. When the moment comes, we will rise up and kill our neighbor just as our neighbor would kill us if they knew who we were. It may seem scary but we have all of history before us.

Andrew Worthington wrote A VERY SMALL FOREST FIRE (Bottlecap Press, 2018) 

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