Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Leninu Akbar!

The Jordanian Communist headquarters lies, perhaps surprisingly, on Rainbow Street. Since the hyper-capitalism seems to be crumbling down upon us (even here in Jordan) I decided to sneak in for an informal chat with some people who I thought would be rubbing their hands in delight with I-told-you-so smiles on their faces. A literally open door meets me, and an empty room with 1970’s style conference furniture. Posters of Ché Guevarra and what I presume are pictures of local comrades adorn the walls. I even spot a plastic bust of Lenin in larger-than-life-size on a coffee table next to a leather chair that probably has warmed thousands of asses (or maybe not since that would exceed the total number of comrades in Jordan at least threefold).
From within an inner room I hear faint laughter and subdued chuckles. I shout hallo a couple of times before they surprised come out of their slumber. They seem genuinely taken aback by seeing a new face in the locale.
They offer me tea and the pepper me with information brochures, in English as well as in Arabic. We talk about Rainbow Street, about the neoliberal turn Jordan took some years back; how the poorer get poorer and the richer richer. Nothing spectacular. One of them says, however, that to be atheist here is to be a Marxist and vice versa. They really seem to treat it like a religion here, in the dogmatic sense, and are also treated that way. The kingdom has not been kind to the Communists; not now under Abdullah II, not under his daddy’s reign either.
Our discussion covers everything from Jordan’s recent economical history (seen through red eyes) to the damned cobbled stones on Rainbow Street, which seem to upset everybody. After an hour, I bid adieu and leave them promising to come back to see them on first of May when they are organizing a big (sic) demonstration.

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