It's turkey and tinsel time again and we have so much to give thanks for this year don't we? We should thank President Obama, the Tea Party and the Tooth Fairy for working so hard to protect and preserve bourgeois democracy. Without it where would we be? In a communist paradise...? Don't make me laugh and just grow up will you! We live in the real world not in fantasy land. But Obama, the Tea Party and the rest are trying so hard to steer the dear old tumbril of bourgeois democracy to safer pastures, despite the fact it rumbles itself relentlessly on towards the knacker's yard and the gaping holes of history's garbage cans, that we should find it in ourselves to feel grateful for their efforts, and lies and self-seeking, just as if they all had our interests at heart rather than just plain old profit and their own.
And we should give thanks to for the workings of bourgeois democracy in Great Britain. In the weekly music hall called Prime Minister's Question Time, David Cameron did something unprecedented and mentioned the name of Marx; then later, that of Engels. The first he brandished as a threat in the direction of Red Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party, and a great socialist, like his father before him who was a patriotic communist and a professor too. But Red Ed didn't take the bait, presumably seeing it as an earned compliment. After all, he isn't called "RED" for nothing is he, and there's no smoke without fire is there? And Red Ed is even critical at times of the Trades Unions who some believe are more commie than Mao or even Stalin himself. So think about that! So then, after the name of Marx appeared to fall a little flat (strange though this may strike you, for this took place in the House of Commons: the very sacred and barely beating heart of bourgeois democracy ) Cameron, hot and almost belching with rage, suddenly produced the name of Engels. And Engels too, he shouted! Red Ed looked astounded: who or what is an Engels he wondered. But Cameron had delivered a master stroke. To mention Marx as being the driving force behind the economic strategies of the Labour Party, in so far as there are any, was a triumph; to throw in Engels for good measure showed at once the intellectual superiority of the Prime Minister, his understanding of the motivational forces operating beneath the machinations of the Labour Party and his own undoubted mastery over the cut and thrust of Question Time. Hallelujah! In fact, as it happened, and as it turned out among all the noise and vulgar shoutings of the chamber, and the Speaker trying to quiet the crowd like a Music Hall Master of Cermonies with an excited audience, Citizens Cameron and Milliband ended by looking like Laurel and Hardy. The one all loud blustering and pompous, the other weedy and nervous, and unable to make his point.
Also cashing in on this Season of Good Will and cranberry sauce, the Pope has attacked capitalism and the excesses of the rich in a new encyclical. Like Francis of Assisi the pope has come out on the side of the poor and destitute and wants capitalism to improve its ways. He sees the rich as too rich and the poor as too poor. It isn't clear that he wants to get rid of the distinction altogether. For that he'd have to be a communist himself, wouldn't he, and not just a Red Ed. He'd have to see the system for what it is and insist we work together to get rid of it. Not much chance of that I think. But is there enough money in the world to achieve the aims he wants? After all, he doesnt just wish to feed the five thousand as Jesus miraculously did, but to feed the starving and dying billions the product of dying capitalism. Can he do it? He could auction off the treasures of the Vatican, and sell the Sistine Chapel to a Chinese billionaire, but he still wouldn't have sufficient funds to solve even a portion of the world's problems would he? For that, to even start to do that, he, like us, would have first to get rid of capitalism itself. Only after that is it possible to begin building a world fit for humans to live in and prosper.
And so we should give thanks this Thanksgiving that at least we know what the solution is.
The pope has gone a bit overboard, however, in his recent attack on free-market capitalism. In a lengthy “apostolic exhortation,” Pope Francis rails against “an economy of exclusion” and a “ financial system which rules rather than serves.” The pope points out that, in a time of miraculous technological progress, alarming numbers of people still live in misery and desperation.
“The culture of prosperity deadens us,” the pope writes. “We are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”