Just occasionally I like to read the pages of the Weekly Worker, that irritable organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain. For sure, it has none of the bounce of Woman’s Weekly, but what it lacks in knitting-patterns and jolly gossip, it makes up for in theoretical blueprints for proletarian dictatorship and bile-spitting excoriations of other socialists, which, whilst devoid of charm and cheer, have nonetheless the power to entertain.
It is a long-standing observation that socialism is by and large a puritanical affair, and no one ought therefore to underestimate the sheer life-numbing cheerlessness of it. Those comrades who still hold out the hope that, come the revolution, there will be a joyful popping of corks in celebration of a new and joyful age, had better reckon with that observation, and still too with the sentiments of their more zealous comrades, who will eye any outbreak of cheer with sober and sinister disapproval.
Consider, for example, the opinions of this joyless blighter from the letters-page of the Weekly Worker:
This man is clearly out of touch with the current political régime, wherein such chilling revolutionary puritanism finds little favour. Fabians, after all, prefer a gradual approach.It is true that people still smoke despite the health warnings on cigarette packets. But fewer people smoke now than did in my youth in the 1960s, and many who still do would like to give it up. It is now generally accepted that tobacco is unhealthy. Government information campaigns have played a part in this. The same could be done for alcohol.A socialist society would still bear the birthmarks of the bourgeois society from which it emerged. Even a workers’ state, until the process of its self-abolition is complete, would be an authoritarian body. In the final analysis it would be bodies of armed workers imposing their will. The will of the proletariat should be imposed on the bourgeoisie, including those who have profited from the manufacture and sale of drink.They should not be killed, except where there is no other choice, or fined, but set to hard labour repairing some of the damage they have done. In so doing they may become human; just as a society freed from the poisonous swill sold by profit-hungry capitalists will become both human and humanistic.Terry Liddle, Letter to the Weekly Worker, 620, 13th April 2006.