Sunday, July 5, 2015

From Cradle to Grave: Capitalism. A vicious predator.

Sean O'Torain.

I was not born in the USA. I was lucky to live in Ireland and travel as a merchant sailor internationally through the 1960's. Back in Ireland again I was lucky to be part of the uprising of the  working class in the Bogside in Derry. And I was lucky through this to come into contact with the ideas of revolutionary socialism. As a result I became class conscious.

These experiences and this class consciousness gives my life meaning and  allows me to understand where I am in society. But they also leave me at times with extreme frustration and anger. One example of this is where I recently had to attend the wedding of a family member. I was glad for him and his companion. They get on well and seem to be set for a good companionship. So what is my gripe? So why did I, as on just about every occasion of celebration or social gathering in US society, feel the tension rise in me the closer I came to the event. Whether it is a funeral, whether it is a wedding it is the same. My anger, my rage rises. And it is made even worse because I cannot share this to any extent with the rest of the people in attendance at these events. Not having had the good luck of going through my experiences and having had the misfortune of living in the US, the country where the corporations and their propaganda are more dominate than any other, and where because the capitalist leaders of the trade union movement refuse to fight capitalism or build a mass workers party, class and political consciousness is low.

I was recently at a funeral. First there are the funeral homes. These are huge usually grotesquely ugly buildings with artificial flowers and hangings and symbols. They are run for profit. Even in death capitalism puts its hands in your pocket. These profit motivated homes are increasingly being bought up by large capitalist corporations. They are a good investment. I mean everybody has to die sometime. These funeral homes - Funeral Homes? - think of how they are described. "Funeral Homes" Sometimes "Funeral Parlors." All very welcoming and kind.

The reality of death cannot be acknowledged. The idea is to help you avoid genuine mourning. This is extremely destructive to the human psyche. The funeral industry goes through this to make money. The more "services" it and it alone can provide the more money it makes. This burial/cremation profit industry also has its floral wing and its professional mourning wing where people are employed to wear black and stand around pretending to be in sorrow in the funeral homes/parlors for somebody they never knew. Capitalism, the profit system, dirties everything it puts its hand to.

Growing up in Ireland there were many things that were wrong. But there were also thing that were right. One was there were no funeral homes. The dead person was laid out and buried in and from their own home. My father was laid out and waked for three days and three nights in our home. Everybody who came was given tea and food. Everybody who came brought sandwiches, cakes, cigarettes, now this was a social event. It bonded the community of our family and friends and neighbors. There were no professional mourners. If you were sad you were sad. There were no chains of florists living off death, flowers were not a big part of the occasion.                                                
We haven't read it but looks interetsing

And unlike the US today where the graves are dug by a machine, the coffin covered in dirt and covered with phony turf, and the mourners go home and leave the dead to lie in a cold grave which is then filled again by the machine, operated again by a stranger, in the old days in Ireland the grave was dug by relatives and friends of the dead with shovels and nobody left until this was all finished. It was a sign of respect and closure. It was considered an honor to be allowed to dig and fill in the grave. It was a humane way to go.

Now unfortunately the profit mad inhumane alienating economics of capitalism are destroying this in Ireland too. When my elderly relatives died I refused to let them go to funeral homes, I refused to let their graves be dug by strangers with machines, I refused to leave the graveyard and let the dead lie in a hole in the ground alone covered with artificial turf, I took the shovel and was joined by old friends I had never seen for many years and I buried my dead. I detest capitalism. It destroys all that is best in us as human beings.

Back to the recent wedding at which I was a guest. This was of a young couple. They were and are happy together. And they very understandably wanted to do the best they could for this big day of their lives and for their respective families. But then, and this is the but, the profit motivated predatory wedding industry of capitalism swooped. There is a whole industry of so called wedding planners and wedding planning. They are to tell you how to get married!!!!! Unbelievable. What a rotten system. Capitalism takes all that is most precious and milks it for every cent it can get. For many their marriage is the most important day of their lives and this profit driven industry is going to tell them how to do it. There were organizers, strangers, there with clip boards to tell you where to walk. There were organizers, again strangers, there to see that the dollars and cents were collected. There were organizers there to see that the workers were kept on their toes and worked to the limit of their capacity to produce the greatest profit. And this was not even the worst of weddings I could have been at. The groom and bride were both atheists so there was no preacher or church to pay.

I could feel my blood boiling as I was ordered where to stand and where to sit and where to walk. I could feel it boiling even further as I could see that many people at this wedding of working class people had been conned by the capitalist clothing industry into believing that they had to buy a new outfit for every event. I felt a deep sympathy and solidarity for my fellow guests. But I could not share this with them as given their class consciousness they would see this as me criticizing the wedding the young couple getting married, the families of both the bride and groom. I was trapped too by the capitalist propaganda and its predatory ways. I could not speak out. Only steam with rage. Only let my blood pressure and health get worse. And as I have hypothyroidism and Addisons disease,  take an extra hydrocortisone.

So there it is. How capitalism penetrates everything in our lives. All that is most precious. Weddings, burials, cremations, and I have not even mentioned births. There again hotels, restaurants, caterers are hired for showers, presents by the truck load. And if the parents cannot afford these they feel wracked by guilt. Capitalism will have to be crushed and swept away. The positive human collective aspects of us all will have to be allowed to express themselves. I hope I live long enough to see this. Then I would be able to go to a wedding, a funeral, a celebration of a birth and not be the victim of predatory capitalism and not able to speak out about this so I do not hurt my friends and fellow guests.

1 comment:

alan haber said...

capital is dead labor that lives vampire-like by sucking living labor, and lives the more the more it sucks.
capitalism sucks