How to Live with A Revolutionary Without Losing Your Head (Or Selling His)

Chapter 4: On Holidays

People, first and foremost, you need to know that the revolutionary never takes holidays, for how could he? Have you ever seen Che Guevara submitting his Request for Leave to Fidel? Has the world ever witnessed Trotsky wearing Hawaïan shirts and flip flops, lounging by a capitalist pool, sipping piña coladas?

My point exactly.

Nevertheless, the revolutionary does need to rest sometimes, if only to let the beautiful poetry of the Russian Revolution by Comrade Trostky sink in. He therefore goes on “Cultural/sociological” field trips (what you and I would call holidays, but let’s humour him for the sake of his own conscience).

You, of course, only too happy to extract the revolutionary from his natural habitat (aka scrubland), will make the foolish mistake of going with him. Big, big, mistake.

You’ll say: What a beautiful city! Look! Have you seen the seagulls? Such wonderful colors!, while shooting pictures right, left and centre with the dexterity of a Nikon employee.

He’ll say: Did you witness how integrated within the global neoliberal system this country is? This confirms EVERYTHING Comrade Trostky has ever said!

Er. No.

Appalled by your evil capitalistic tendencies to buy shoes (But I don’t understand, you bought a pair last week) (as if that were the point), he will take you to do long walks in remote areas where he’s more or less assured there are no shops, where you’ll happily stroll, talking about everything. Roaming streets and places, you’ll let yourself believe the revolutionary has forgotten the revolution for a teeny split second.

How naive. 

All of a sudden, the revolutionary will have his eyes all alert, you’ll feel his blood pulsing through his hands, his cheeks reddening, an air of excitment invading his whole person. Had he finally noticed the seagulls and beautiful colours?

Au contraire my good friends. The revolutionary. Has. Spotted. A. Comrade.

From afar, while walking, the revolutionary will spot a man manning a booth, with what looks like revolutionary papers spread across his table, all sickles and hammers and red tones and what looks like Lenin in the background.

This is where you will have to demonstrate strength, for the revolutionary will almost give in his impulse to make a run for it and go and buy the whole stand and talk to his Comrade. You will be strong and make him see sense. “This is not even in a language you understand! Do you mind for one small second not start a revolution seat everywhere you go? You are NOT Che Guevara! And his Focos theroy had like a gazillion flaws!”.

“But you don’t understand! The Revolution is Permanent! Comrade Trostky said so! It’s Universal! It’s everywhere! It0s the 4th International! And am I mistaking or did you just insult Comrade Guevara?!”

All I’m saying is, be prepare for a struggle. And not the proletarian kind.

You’ll soon resume your walk, with talks about how the revolutionary is looking forward to his next trip to some conflict ridden area, where he’ll get a chance to support his Comrade. The Revolutionary will of course not understand your misgivings about this “But I’ll pay attention” he says, as in, he’ll pay attention not to get beaten too much, or pepper sprayed too much, or arrested too much.

And you, whose parents overprotected (this is dangerous. don’t go there. you’ll get sick. you’ll catch cold), ah my friend, you’ll be prepared. A strategy to get him out of prison up your sleeve is always an advantage.

The Revolutionary will laugh, and eventually tell you: “You’re funny. You should write that in that little column of yours”.

So I did.

For my revolutionary, who, against my better judgment, I married last month.


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