by Bronson Rozier
’Tis the season to be jolly, or so we are told over, and over, and over again. It’s also the season to go out and buy! buy! buy! At one time the drumbeat to buy started the day after Thanksgiving. That time is long gone. Now with the rush of the capitalists and retailers to get ever more money, Christmas decorations pop up along with the Hallowe’en costumes.
Sitting down here in the working class, it’s not so easy to be jolly with the constant blaring—whether carols, flashing lights, or commercials—that to buy is to be happy. Buy for your children (at the best quality and highest prices) or they will be scarred for life! You are bad parents if you didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on toys, electronics, or latest video games and system.
A new angle they play in these economic hard times is “we’ve had a rough year, we deserve a little happiness” in our miserable lives. Again, happiness is defined as buying something—which isn’t always possible for the unemployed or those with part-time jobs that pay less than half their former income.
On the other hand, folks lucky enough to have jobs are working 60-80 hours a week, and will probably be happy if they can sleep through the holidays.
This holiday that used to be a quiet day of celebration for those of faith—and for us others a nice quiet time with our families—has become a guilt-tripping horror so the rich can get richer.
And in much of the world it is far, far worse. The bankers in the imperial countries demand that the developing countries pay heavy interest on their loans in order to survive. And while they rake in trillions, whole countries don’t have money for elementary sanitation or development of agriculture to feed the local population. The UN says 240,000 children (the death toll in the atom-bomb destruction of Nagasaki) die of preventable diseases each year—often due to the water they drink, which contains harmful bacteria and protozoa that carry diseases.
While the rich celebrate Christmas in their mansions, feasting on food and drink from around the world, most of the world’s population suffers from a lack of housing, schooling, and food.
But despite all this gloom and doom, dear readers, I do hope hearing the truth might relieve some weight from your shoulders. You are not responsible, you are not a bad parent or and uncaring spouse. You are the victim of a system—the capitalist system—that steals from the poor to give to the richest.
There is joy and hope in this Scrooge-like tale. It comes from the promise that we can band together the poor, the working people, many from the middle class, and those abused and tortured by this system worldwide. It is the joy that this barbaric system can be taken down.
We can build a system run democratically by the working class that will meet everyone’s basic needs. It will free the scientists and technicians to work for science and technology—and not profit. Instead of being hated by the world for all the wars and horrors we bring them, people in the United States and other technologically advanced countries will be loved for our doctors, teachers, and builders. Then all the holidays will be our holidays to celebrate as we please in a world of peace and abundance.
> This article was originally published in the December 2010 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.