From birth I was immersed in The Struggle, breast-fed Bolshevism, and suckled on the synthesis resulting from the battle between thesis and antithesis in a steady diet of dialectical materialism.

Early, at a rally of The Party, I was exposed to the brutal realities of The Revolution, when I was aroused from a peaceful sleep by the cry of Trotsky as an ice pick was plunged into his head, in a consciousness raising re-enactment. The Party boasted some of the country's finest thespians amongst its members, and if I had been perhaps a little older I might have appreciated more this coup de theatre. Sadly I wasn't and scared out of my childish wits I bawled uncontrollably.

It was here that I encountered The Leader for the first time. He was a powerfully built, balding man, every inch the intellectual-hailing-from-an-indeterminate-east-european-country. When he addressed the shock troops of the revolution (as we considered ourselves) he gave a demagoguic peformance, his voice rising in pitch, his hand thumping the podium, as he came to his climactic conclusion, generating a fulminating ovation.

I have to admit that I found him somewhat sinister. Perhaps this was because of his gelid eyes, but more likely it was because of his startling similarity to the eponymous antihero of the Stranger Danger video I had recently seen at school. An impression that was only compounded when he offered me a lollipop when we visited him at his London home.

Those of us in The Party -- actually I never was a member, as my early exposure implied equally early disillusionment, but in my mind I cannot help but think of myself as a left wing radical, even if in reality this radicalism amounts to little more than a general feeling of "Boo oppressors, yay oppressed peoples" -- constantly expected an armed uprising of the proletariat. It could come at any moment, and we had to be ready. But the revolution repeatedly took a raincheck, numberless putsches were postponed, the proletariat were steadfastly lumpen; we lived with the constant disappointment of eschatologists waiting eagerly for the end of the world. To our endless dismay, the steel hammer of Historical Inevitability consistently left Capitalism dentless, and The World Banking System uncollapsed, despite all their internal contradictions.

At this time, our most fearful enemies were not, as you might imagine, The Ruling Classes, or Imperialism, or even the lackeys of the aformentioned. No, our greatest venom was reserved especially for the various other left wing groupings and factions of which there were many, and this number grew constantly as one party would split, in the way rock bands used to, citing political differences. It was important to be able to correctly dismiss this sibilance of opponents according to their particular thoughtcrimes: revisionists, reformists, Stalinists, state capitalists... and some other ists which presently elude me.

In the end it all fell apart amazingly quickly when it was discovered that The Leader had been abusing his position in order to gain access to the knickers of the young female cadres.

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