A spectre is haunting New Mexico—the spectre of Prommunism.
Like “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” a dance party relying on the killing of 100 million people as a theme works better in theory than in practice. Okay. So, maybe it didn’t sound so good in theory, either.
More than a quarter century after the collapse of Communism in Europe, Prommunism fell this week in Albuquerque.
“The reactions we got were certainly not those that we had considered,” Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School senior Jody Baylet told KRQE TV. “For example, we did get a lot of violent speech.”
So did Prommunism’s forebears: “Better dead than red,” “The only good Communist is a dead Communist,” “We begin bombing in five minutes,” etc.
The best intentions, the students insist, motivated the planned motif for the April 25 dance. Alas, Communism is all about unintended consequences: one minute shouting “workers of the world unite” at the top of your lungs, the next shooting the air out of the lungs of the Kronstadt workers. But as good Marxists teach, you can’t blame Communism for lowly men failing to live up to its lofty ideal.
Prommunism never failed. True Prommunism has never been tried.
The initial hopes of the Prommunists—they now petition one another to attend, in the words of one student, a mere “prom-themed prom”—surely stemmed from the soft-style cinematography through which Communist prophets see their vision.
Englishman Robert Owen promised socialism would usher in a “New Jerusalem,” “an earthly paradise,” and “salvation from ignorance, poverty, sin, and misery.” Frenchman Charles Fourier, somewhat more ambitious in his aims, believed his cooperative communities would bring about lemonade oceans, friendly lions and sharks, and several new moons for the planet. German Karl Marx, denouncing his predecessors as utopian builders of “castles in the air,” nevertheless imagined a stateless society that expropriated existing riches realizing a brotherhood of man and prosperity for all rather than unprecedented division and shiftlessness.
These beautiful notions likely motivated the child architects of the uncustomary take on the spring custom. But with the school’s prom headed in a less political direction, the world is now left to fantasize what Prommunism, a nobler, more altruistic, less exploitative high school passage rite, would look like.
Prommunism, taking its cue from Fourier’s belief that the fat, ugly, and awkward should receive equal partnering outcomes with the fit, comely, and social through a “Court of Love,” compels the head cheerleader to slow dance with the captain of the chess club.
Should the homecoming king feel pangs of jealousy at a rival because of his superior intelligence or friendship with the previous homecoming king, Prommunism allows him to send a henchman to bash in his head with an icepick.
Sure, the high schoolers endure long lines and cold, sparse, Spartan food, but at least a barbed-wire and concrete enclosure protects the Prommunists from fascist contamination. Prommissars monitoring facial gestures on the dancefloor for signs of insufficient joy keep up morale. And though not every kid returns home from Prommunism, the ones who do steadfastly maintain, albeit in an expressionless, almost forced manner, its superiority to all other forms of prom.
The dress? Burlap. The music? Socialist realism. The transportation? Trabant.
“If I can’t dance,” radical heroine Emma Goldman says on t-shirts and bumperstickers. “I don’t want to be in your revolution.” Only she never said that. The depiction of the humorless, angry ideologue as a party animal rests on a fiction.
Anti-Prommunists wonder what fictions the Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School imparted in their pupils to unleash the spectre of gowns and tuxedos mixing with sickles and hammers.