Sunday, 11 December 2011

Lenin's Schooldays

Recently I have found myself pondering the bigger questions in life: "Which of my hands do I prefer?" (The left, I find the vein pattern more aesthetically pleasing), "Name all post-war prime ministers who have 4 syllable names?" (Answer: Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill and Harold Wilson (Will also accept Anthony Eden, provided you call him "Tony", similarly Tony Blair provided you call him "Anthony")) and, most importantly "What would Lenin's schooldays have been like?".

Initially, I imagine he'd have come into school full of hope and idealism. He would arrive, and find that the class began with 2 pupils owning 85% of the pencils, and the other 24 having make do with 6 pencils between them. Immediately struck by the unfairness of this system, he would organise the 24 pupils into a workers' collective, and overthrow the traditional hierarchy of the classroom, demanding pencils for all. He would then get the most violent children in the classroom and form them into a small group designed to suppress the students, and demand that the teacher become little more than a propaganda wing, spouting his rhetoric directly into the proletariat whilst pretending to be an unbiased figure of authority.

Ultimately several of the other students would try to have Lenin wedgied, but those who opposed him would face a fierce and unknowable group that would silently stalk them and ultimately, wedgie them in retaliation. These would be some of the darkest days for freedom in Lenin's classroom until classmate Stalin took over, when they would seem like positively ebullient days of happiness and joy by contrast.

He would collapse the workers' essay-producing capabilities by paying them a pittance for their harvest of essays (which would obviously force them to give less to the collective and sell their essays on the black market in order to make ends meet), leading to a communal essay-famine that would leave people having to drop out of the class for not getting enough essays. This would be whilst he was fighting an interclass war with 2C, trying to get them to adopt his policy on pencil-sharing despite their own ambitions for the spread of pencils throughout their class, but this was ultimately part of his ideal; to have the whole school share pencils evenly. He would rebuild essay-writing capabilities with the New Essay Policy (NEP), but little Joseph would scuttle that when he came to power.

Ultimately, he would find it hard to deal with the political and economic realities of communal pencil ownership (and, indeed, the bureaucratic overhead demanded to ensure that pencils were truly shared amongst the students) and, compared to the old system, his idealistic yet almost hopelessly naive system would seem both cumbersome and complex. He would eventually leave the school, passing the baton of a system that could have worked to Stalin in 3P, but Stalin would ultimately damage this pencil-sharing collective irreparably, leading to it falling apart under Mikhail Gorbachev, the last student to lead the collective, and the only leader not in school when the collective was first formed, who would then smash the system, and allow the school to use whatever pencil-dispensation method it wanted. (There you are: Fun fact about communism in Russia, it really was a single-generational thing. Gorbachev was the only leader who was born into Communism, all the others were born pre-1917).

Ultimately this is analogy that breaks down in multiple areas, such as portraying assassination attempts through the medium of wedgies, portraying a devastating famine as some sort of dearth of essays, and is let down my general lack of knowledge about the communist era in Russia. However, like many of the world's best politicians, I do not let trifling facts stifle what I find a fundamentally agreeable idea, and so I present this to you. If you wish, you may put it on the BBC as "Little Lenin", and try to use it to teach kids 20th century history (Arguably, you should get an ACTUAL historian in to fact-check, rather than rely on quickly read Wikipedia articles and my loose understanding of Animal Farm). At worst, it is equal with Byker Grove, and significantly more enriching. Consider it!

No comments:

Post a Comment