LAWRENCE, KS–Chad Briggs, a radical Marxist and University of Kansas junior, has capitalist parents, campus sources reported Monday.
"The proletariat will rise up, and the state will wither away, " said Briggs, 20, who grew up in the bourgeois suburban enclave of Deerfield, IL, before renouncing his exploitative capitalist ties during the first semester of his sophomore year. "Only when the workers control the means of production will a truly classless society emerge."
Briggs said he spent the first 18 years of his life under the oppressive thumb of his father, investment banker Richard Briggs, and his mother, elementary-school teacher Judith Briggs, members of the reigning bourgeois elite.
"For years, much like the oppressed St. Petersburg factory worker of 1918, I was controlled by the ruling class," Briggs said. "The people who owned the house I lived in told me when to come to the table for supper, when to do my chores, and when to be home on Saturday nights. They even controlled the means of transportation, giving me the keys to their Ford Taurus when and only when they saw fit."
Briggs said his parents still control him, as all capitalist running-dogs do the masses, using their payment of his rent and tuition as a means of influencing which courses he takes.
"I was talking to my father on the phone the other night, and he questioned my enrollment in a film class on the works of Woody Allen," Briggs said. "He said, 'This is what I'm spending $21,000 a year on? For you to watch Woody Allen movies?' Even here in college, hundreds of miles from my capitalist oppressors, they still hold sway over me. Until the day I am loosed from their chains, I shall not truly be free."
Committed to fomenting glorious proletarian revolution, Briggs recently quit his 10-hour-a-week coffee-shop job to become co-chair of the radical campus socialist group UPRISE (University Program for Revolutionary Integration of a Socialist Economy). Like many other steps Briggs has taken toward establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat, his joining UPRISE was strongly opposed by his parents.
"My parents don't understand that social order based on class division sows the seeds of its own destruction," said Briggs, who witnessed class division and worker exploitation first-hand during a Spring Break trip to Cancun, Mexico. "They just want me to go to business school and make lots of money like my sister Debbie."
"Then again,"Briggs said, "why should I care what they think? I don't want to end up like them. All they care about is buying this boat or starting that retirement fund, or trying to convince me to get a Lumina instead of the Jeep I want. It's like Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto, 'The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.'"
Briggs' girlfriend, Jenny Elsinger, is one of the original founders of UPRISE and the person responsible for introducing him to the group. Before meeting Elsinger in September 1997, Briggs said he knew almost nothing of the woes of workers and their lack of control over the means of production and distribution.
"Before the Revolutionary Year 1997, I was pretty much like the rest of the campus bourgeoisie," said Briggs, stapling copies of the latest issue of the UPRISE newsletter, From Below! "I was preoccupied with fraternity rush, football games and getting into B-school. I've grown up fast, though, now that I've had a taste of the real world through my involvement with UPRISE."
Next Friday, Briggs said, the bourgeois and proletarian classes will clash violently, when his parents come to campus for Parents' Weekend.
"There's always fighting when my parents come to visit, and this time will be no different," Briggs said. "They'll tell me to clean up my hair. They'll tell me to move out of the co-op. They'll tell me to stop fooling around with 'this Communist nonsense.' It is as inevitable as the victory of the workers' revolution."
"My parents think this is just a 'phase' I'm going through," Briggs said. "Well, I'll tell you what's a phase–the ownership's control of the proletariat. Now, there's a temporary phase."