A Short Story from the October 2014 issue of the Socialist Standard
An ancient papyrus scroll, recently found lying unnoticed on our General Secretary’s desk for nearly 2,000 years, has been examined and identified as a previously unknown ‘Gospel of Karl’.
And it came to pass that there was great discontent in the land. For they who were the capitalist class and owneth the factories, the farms and the means of production, and their fathers before them, and their father’s fathers before them, were a host of robbing parasites.
And lo, the people cried out to the Lord that they had no rest from their labours, that they were fed upon offal burgers and fries, draped in shoddy garments from the land of Primark, and up to their ruddy necks in debt. And he heard them not.
And they sayeth one unto the other ‘Verily, what hath come to pass? Why are we, who floggeth our guts out to produce all the wealth up the bloody creek without a paddle, while they who owneth the wealth do sod all and liveth the life of Riley? It is surely a sign from the Lord that we toil not hard enough’.
And Moses heard their cries and came down the mountain saying unto them ‘Verily, I have tabloids of stone from the High Priest Murdoch, and upon them is scribed the commandments which thou shall keep for all thy days, and if thou question them thou shalt surely be cast out of the paradise in which thy live’. And they were sorely afraid and knew not what to do.
Then cometh amongst them a wise man whose name was called Karl, and he sayeth unto them ‘Workers of the world unite, ye have nothing to lose but thy chains’. And they trembled with fear.
‘Who art thou who cometh to cause discontent amongst us?’ they asked, ‘Some kind of bloody commie?’
And again he spake unto them saying, ‘Fear not, for I bring ye glad tidings of great joy. If ye just bloody listen for five minutes I will explain. He that employeth thee and payeth thee thy wages is surely ripping thee off. Ye needeth him like ye needeth a bloody hole in the head’.
And lo, they were confused and sore afraid and trembled in their socks. ‘How shalt we live if they giveth us not our wages?’ they sayeth.
‘Jesus Christ!’ he exclaimed, ‘thou art bloody slow on the uptake’. ‘Verily, I say unto thee, ye toil unto them simply because ye owneth not. Thy wages are just enough to keepeth thee alive and maketh sure ye come back to bloody work next week’.
‘But’ they cryeth, ‘It is surely the way of the Lord. And anyway, it was written long ago that the meek shall inherit the earth’.
‘In thy bloody dreams cock’ sayeth he whose name was called Karl. ‘Thou shalt inherit bugger all until thou stoppeth being so bloody meek’.
‘Take no notice of him’ sayeth the High Priest. ‘Verily it shall come to pass, but not until thy next life, for thou art sinful and must first be punished. Yet for a fee we can prayeth for thee unto the invisible God and guarantee thee a place in paradise, but it will cost thee many pieces of silver’.
‘But how canst we knoweth that the invisible god doth exist’ they asketh.
‘We have proof’ sayeth the priest. ‘Doth not the fact that nobody hath ever seen him not prooveth that he is invisible?
‘Bloody hell’ sayeth the people, ‘we never thought of that. Thou art either a genius or a total bloody dickhead, but we knoweth not which’.
And the priest replied unto them saying ‘Praise be to the Lord’.
And the people wept saying ‘Yea, we are of a sinful nature and must not interfere with what the Lord hath ordained’. And they turneth one unto another saying ‘Verily, if the Lord hath not intended us to be poor he would hath provided us with slaves’.
‘Yea’, sayeth their companions, ‘Just like he did for the capitalist class’.
Then again spake he whose name was called Karl. ‘Christ alive! this is going to taketh longer than I thought: From whence does thou think thy employer getteth the loot from which he payeth thy wages?’
‘It is a mystery’ they replied unto him’.
‘A mystery, my arse’, He replied. ‘He owneth everything that thou hath laboured to produce and he selleth it: And from whence doth he getteth the loot from which he payeth his bills and maketh all his profits?’
And they looketh one to another in awe. ‘Bloody hell.’ they sayeth. ‘We who toil all of our days do provide the bloody lot’.
‘I thinketh that at last the penny hath dropped’ sayeth he whose name was called Karl, and he went on his way rejoicing.