Crafty Corner: May Day!

It’s May 1st! You know what that means, don’t you? It’s International Workers’ Day! All over the world people are celebrating the working person and his/her many rights (or more often, lack thereof)! In fact, much of the world calls today “Labor Day”, except here in the US, where Labor Day was moved to September, so we weren’t reminded of certain… unpleasantnesses that occurred in the past. Thank you very much, Grover Cleveland.

May Day was also at one time a big day for communists. As an explanation for some of the younger readers of The Hairy Skeleton: long long ago (nearly three decades!), “communism” was a competing ideology with capitalism. It involved the redistribution of wealth by the state, and everyone reaping the benefits of their homeland’s economic output. Unfortunately, the ideology contained one fatal flaw: communism assumed that at some point, through means that were never clearly defined, people would stop being complete assholes toward each other. As history is basically an exhaustive record of people being complete assholes toward each other, and there is no indication that the asshole-ishness of humanity will subside, communism was destined to fail. And boy, did it ever fail. Communism failed hard. Capitalism, on the other hand, thrives in asshole-rich environments, and thus persists to this day.

But communism meant well, and was still pretty cool in its way, so why not celebrate this moribund belief system by making some kick-ass crafts? C’mon kids, let’s go!

1. Make yourself a bushy Karl Marx beard and wear it around the house or to school. Real dead-German philosopher hair works best, but if you don’t have any, try yarn. Gray and black are traditional favorites, but you can pick any color you want. Or for extra super-realism points, grow a real beard of your own! Ask an adult to help you.

2. Write out terms and phrases from Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto on pieces of paper, then pick random words and make your own posters celebrating the imminent dictatorship of the proletariat. Use crayons and markers, or if you have access to them, silkscreening tools or an offset press. Wheatpaste the posters all over the house. Demand higher wages and shorter hours from your parents. Yell loud! Bourgeois complacency tends to make people deaf.

3. If your demands are not met, build a crude effigy of your mom or dad (whichever is the easiest target from a public-relations standpoint) and burn it in the front yard, or if you don’t have a yard, in the street. (Note: if you don’t have a front yard, your parents are probably poor. This might dilute your message. Pick a richer neighbor to burn in effigy.) At the burning, have your most charismatic speaker rail against the abuses the proles have endured under your parents’ reign. This should help get any siblings who are “on the fence” sympathetic to your side.

4. Learn the ancient art of brick-throwing. The trick is to throw the bricks at things that will break.

5. Outsource the street-level violence to an impressionable younger brother or sister. Retire to the salon, or if you don’t have a salon, build one out of couch cushions. Over stolen cookies, debate the efficacy of various revolutionary tactics and the possibility of starting uprisings in other households.

6. Capitalize on your sugar high with an ill-planned squirt gun assassination of your father, who is trying to read the paper on his one day off and would like a moment’s peace. Draw out a detailed schematic of your plan, how to approach him, how many guns to use, the best escape routes, tape it up in your base of operations, then discard it and run screaming through the house, shooting everything. (Note: this strategy was very effective for Lenin and the Bolsheviks in October 1917.)

7. Once you have been sentenced to the gulag of your room, make a collage of your favorite historical communists, or even better, decoupage a lamp with their likenesses, assuming your parents will let you get anywhere near the glue. Tap morse code messages to your allies in other gulags. Plot the next coup…

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