Monday, 6 June 2011

We'll keep the blue flag flying here

"Are there any more questions?" the leader asked the assembled crowd.

There was an embarrassed silence, punctuated only by the twitterings of birds in the forest canopy overhead. Then a nervous cough.

"Um. Excuse me?"

A hand rose into the air. A bright blue hand. Its owner stood up, extending himself to his full, three crab-apples, height.

The leader pushed the red cap back on his head and regarded the young Smurf warmly.  Stroking his bushy white beard, he motioned to him to speak.

"Papa Smurf," said the newcomer. "I have been reading the human press...."

This brought a shocked response from the other Smurfs gathered around. "What the smurf!" "I can't smurfing believe it!"

"Let him speak," said Papa Smurf, raising his hand calmly. "Handy Smurf, isn't it? I recognise you from the overalls."

"Thank you Papa. The human press says that we Smurfs are communists. Apparently, because we have no personal possessions and work in a co-operative manner, Smurf society is essentially Stalinist."

There was a deathly silence. Brainy Smurf, sitting next to Papa Smurf on the raised platform, removed his spectacles and polished them thoughtfully. He replaced them once more; hooking them over his button nose and regarding the young Smurf coldly..

"Papa, they say your red clothes and beard are a dead giveaway," said Handy Smurf. "Are we Stalinist?"

This time Brainy Smurf spoke: "If we're going to use labels, we prefer 'Marxist'. Each Smurf provides according to their skills. Each Smurf receives according to their needs."


"Yes. Essentially we have the basis of an agrarian commune. The key decisions are made by Papa Smurf, as the leader. I act as executive officer but ratify decisions with the Smurf congress on a weekly basis."

"But surely we're just fantasy characters for young humans," said Handy Smurf. "We don't have to be political, do we?"

"It's really nothing new," said Papa Smurf. "Most childrens' characters have a political background."


"Oh yes. Camberwick Green? Rampant fascists." He spat. "Everyone in their place, all that 'Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew' nonsense."

"I never knew," said Handy Smurf, crestfallen.

"Moomins? Bourgeois colonialists. Even Thomas the Tank Engine is at it!"


"Oh yes. Think about it. All the means of production are controlled by one man with a top hat. He gets fat off the profits while all the engines - the workers - toil endlessly. It's capitalism red in tooth and claw."

"How about the Clangers?"

"No. Don't be silly. They're just knitted woollen moon-creatures."

"So how did the humans get to know about this?".

There was another pause before Brainy Smurf spoke.

"It was that traitor Father Abraham."

"What happened to him? You didn't....hurt him, did you?"

"He has been re-educated," said Papa Smurf flatly. "It was for the best."

Handy Smurf thought for a moment. Then one more thought occurred to him.

"So, as communists, do we share everything?"

"Well, almost everything," said Papa Smurf.

There was a collective coughing from the crowd as Smurfette regarded her feet thoughtfully and blushed a deep magenta.

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