Scientists at the University of Sheffield have taught Deryck, a 14-year-old West African Common Chimpanzee, to recognise that the history of all hitherto existing societies is in fact nothing more than the history of class struggle.
‘For months now, Deryck has displayed characteristics which suggest he is fully conscious of the continuing oppression of the proletariat,’ said Dr John Portland, a senior lecturer in Socio-biology. ‘He waxes lyrical against every action of police officers, he blames Margaret Thatcher for almost everything and insists that the labour movement remains the means by which the working class will throw off their shackles. He also only eats fairtrade bananas.’
At first scientists were concerned that the phenomenon was just a case of Deryck repeating, rather than understanding, phrases such as ‘dialectical materialism’ and ‘false consciousness’. ‘It soon became clear, though, that we’d managed to radicalise Deryck by revealing to him the suffering his ancestors experienced in the 1980s,’ explained Dr Portland. ‘After seeing how they were forced to dress in demeaning proletariat garb and move pianos up and down stairs for no greater reward than regular cups of PG Tips, he was a changed chimp.’
‘But we finally knew Deryck had really developed strong socialist convictions when we returned from lunch one day to find he had ‘seized control of the modes of production’ – or the student union bar. The statement he’d pinned to the faculty noticeboard denounced our ‘commodity fetishism as nothing more than the opium of the people’ and heralded ‘the end of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’. We only managed to talk him out on the promise of improving his pay and conditions, and so a tyre on a rope was fitted in his enclosure the very next day.’
Scientists are now celebrating after persuading Deryck to shun his revolutionary tendencies and accept that there is a third way to achieve social and economic equality between peoples. ‘I’ve joined the Labour Party,’ enthused Deryck. ‘That way I can feel loyal to my fictional roots without actually lowering my standard of living like real socialism would.’