A Christmas Visit From Karl Marx


Part One: A Christmas Miracle 


Look at what you’ve accomplished: you’ve killed your God. You’re supposed to be celebrating the birth of the son of the eternal, omnipotent author of the universe, a son coequal and consubstantial with his father, the one who beat out all the others to become the sole deity of the West. He’s immaterial, and you’re supposed to organize your whole life around him, to not love anything more than him. Especially not an idol. Especially not the work of human hands.  

But you give each other things and forget about God. They’re golden calves, your handiwork, and you adore them like the Eucharist. I see your decorations and spit. I hear your music, and I’m filled with indignation.  

Then I look at myself. And I look beside me, in my bed, at the love that supplanted God. She was married. We met at that bar and she moved in the next day. Brought two little boxes. Mailed her husband divorce papers as soon as she could and didn’t ask for a dime. She said I was all she needed.  

“You’re the most beautiful thing to watch,” she said. 

“How so?”  

“You’re like a tornado. You’ll dissipate soon enough, but not before you destroy everything you touch. You’re spinning your way to hell. I wanna come.”  

She came, and she hasn’t left. We drink. We don’t work. I’m almost out of money. They’ll shut off the power any day now.  

I feel God nudging me. It’s peculiar. I should be afraid.  

I drink. I don’t need money. I’m with her, and she’s all the memento mori anyone could ask for. Every kiss is stolen. She is warm and lovely. When you lust, you sin against your own body. I drink. I can feel my body beginning to fail. I know I’ll face judgment.  

I feel God nudging me, buy she’s asleep and I’ll join her. Soon. Or soon-ish, I can’t get to sleep before five most days. I sleep past noon.  

I need money. I’d say to hell with capitalism, but Marx is dead.  

“I’m not dead,” said Marx. “I’m right behind you. Or, rather – I am dead, but I’m not in the casket where they laid me in 1883. I’m dead because I’m unrealized, because all hitherto attempts at my material realization have been at the same time and necessarily attempts to murder my spirit. I remain what I was when I was alive, what I was before my birth: nothing. I am nothing, but I must be everything. The wage-laborer still enchained, the developments of the twentieth century (political, economic, scientific) only served to grow new imaginary flowers on his chains.  

“In the twenty-first century, the wage-laborer is beginning to recognize that his chains are imaginary as the flowers that grow on them, as the Christ who hangs like an orchid on the wall of his church.  

Allow me to offer a temptation,” he gestured, and a tear in the veil appeared, and a sleigh came gliding out. Allow me to pluck the flowers from your chains. It is not, dear friend, so that you will be forced to bear your bonds without fantasy or consolation, but that you, now conscious of your enslavement, might throw off the chains and pluck the living flower. Hop in, friend. Join me for a revolutionary Christmas. 

It wasn’t the first time I’d been tempted.