How to Live With a Revolutionary Without Losing Your Head (Or Cut Off His)

Right. So you’ve been introduced to the revolutionary. Well done! You apparently did not get scared or bored to a stupor, which is a miracle in itself. You’ve also passed the Danger Examination, and it seems you’ve understood that the revolutionary doesn’t see the world through the same lenses as you.

And yet you’re still here. I’m impressed.

Now let’s see what you make of waking up with the revolutionary.

Oooh you might think this is a pretty straightforward situation, after all, what is there to fear with waking up with somebody? Surely, the revolutionary is also a human being, who wakes up with bad hair and needs at least a gallon of coffee to kick off a revolution somewhere? I mean, I’m sure Vlado Illitch himself could not stomach the Materialist Dialectic way too early before cherry tea, couldn’t he?

How I envy your naivety. It really pains me to break it to you, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

The Revolutionary thinks and breathes and sleeps the Revolution. You think he’s deep into his slumbler, blissfully oblivious to the world, dreaming, as you do, of sandy beaches and peace of mind (but maybe that’s just me), while in fact he might have his eyes closed, but in truth, his brain is assessing the need to have the bourgeoisie on your side while you’re starting a revolution and then needing to get rid of all those nasty bourgeois interests when building the communist society, which I’m sure you’ll agree, is no easy task. The struggle must never stop my Comrade, don’t be lazy and sleep like a depraved member of the obsolete aristocracy: use your body needs to support society in its never ending painful conflict with the oppressor!

But let us not get carried away, for it’s not the Revolutionary’s sleep that is of interest to us, but rather, his waking hours.

The revolutionary will wake up, fresh from his 3 hours night sleep (what with all the thinking, the going to bed at 4 after having spoken with his Comrades and having drafted one or two manifestos, the revolutionary will not manage to get more than that, and that’s just when he’s not on a square somewhere asking for the demise of a dictator) and will pay his respects to the Revolution. That would usually be done by the singing of songs at the top of his lungs, most of aformentionned songs talking about struggle, solidarity, humanity, and the need to reverse this awful unjust order. Therefore, you should be well advised to be prepared to listen to L’internationale in various languages (c’est la luuuuutteuh finaleuuuh), to Ciao Bella, to Nahna Al Thawra wou el Ghadab, or any revolutionary song that will make the revolutionary sing and jump out of bed and re-energise him.

Needless to say, you’ll still be half asleep, dreaming of coffee and of rusty axes, wishing murder was not a criminal offence and debating in your head how lenient a jury would be. You’re thinking very.

 Now listen carefully. The revolutionary will try and make you join in his all singing all advocating performance.

Do not join in under any circumstances. I repeat. Do.Not.Join.Him.Under.Any.Circumstances. You don’t want to be seen encouraging a behaviour whose long terms effects might lead you to prison for killing said revolutionary with a smack of Das Kapital on the head.  Even if you feel like it. Even if you want to humour him because it’s his birthday. Be strong. There will be no 8 o’clock in the morning singing for you.

Just accept and get used to the fact that most people wake up thinking about work, life,their to do lists, put on some normal music, make loads and loads of coffee, go out to buy croissants, rush like hell to catch buses and trains, while the revolutionary will do what he does best: planning the revolution. In Music. Thinking he has a great voice, a leader’s voice, and perhaps he should throw in a pretend speech to his “people”, made in front of his mirror?

You’ll be witness to more speeches than you care to mention, but if that saves you from singing l’Internationale, your hand on your heart and tears brimming your eyes, I think you’ll be fine.

To all the revolutionaries who went to sleep during the demonstrations in the Middle East and never woke up: your voice will always be missed. Rest in Peace.

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