Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Marxmas from Socialist Courier

Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern).

Merry Christmas
I hope you have a white one, but for me it’s blue

Blue Christmas, that’s the way you see it when you’re feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you’re blue at Christmastime
you see right through,
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
and plain old bad taste

Sidewalk Santy Clauses are much, much, much too thin
They’re wearing fancy rented costumes, false beards and big fat phony grins
And nearly everybody’s standing round holding out their empty hand or tin cup
Gimme gimme gimme gimme, gimme gimme gimme
Fill my stocking up.
All the way up.
It’s a time when the greedy

give a dime to the needy
Blue Christmas, all the paper, tinsel and the fal-de-ral
Blue Xmas, people trading gifts that matter not at all
What I call
Bitter gall…….Fal-de-ral

Lots of hungry, homeless children in your own backyards
While you’re very, very busy addressing
Twenty zillion Christmas cards
Now, Yuletide is the season to receive and oh, to give and ahh, to share
But all you December do-gooders rush around and rant and rave and loudly blare
Merry Christmas
I hope yours is a bright one, but for me it’s blue.

Bob Dorough

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Xmas eve at the grotto

From the December 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

"Hello little boy, climb onto my knee and tell me what you would like for Xmas. A BMX bike? A computer? Or perhaps you'd like something more traditional like a train set?"
"Well actually Santa, what I'd really like is a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth".
"Hee hee, well, er, how about a nice Action Man instead hmmm?"
"But I don't like playing with dolls".
"Dolls? Dolls! Action Man isn't a doll. He's a real live, or rather real imitation live, bucho macho man. Why he's got muscles on his nostrils; he comes complete with all action SAS uniform, guns, grenades, knives, the lot. And for a little extra you can have a complete change of outfit. There's the riot-cops' gear with a super long club for clobbering pickets. Nothing namby-pamby about Action Man".
"Well, I still think that it's a doll, and anyway I don't fancy all that simulated violence".
"Hmm, okay then, how about something more sedate like the game of Monopoly?"
"But I want to abolish money".
"Okay, okay, look here's a good one. Hangman".
"What's that about then?"
"Eh, let me see. Oh yes, it's rather like one of those interminable game shows that are never off the telly. What happens is this: your opponent makes up a word which you have got to find out by guessing the letters one by one. Every time you guess wrong, that's another step up to the gallows. If you guess wrong too many times then your man is hanged, hee, hee hee".
"It's a bit reactionary isn't it?"
"Well, it is only a symbolic hanging you know. I mean they don't actually hang anyone . . . Wait a minute, these television producers are always looking for new ideas for telly shows, this could be the break I've been waiting for. Hey kid, how would you like to hold the throne for five minutes until I call my agent? . . . "
"Hey Santa, I'm not finished yet".
"What? Oh okay, another half an hour and I'll be on my break anyway. Right, where were we?"

"You were asking me what I wanted for Xmas and I've been trying to tell you that what I'd really like is to have socialism".
"Listen you little Commie runt, how would you like me to jam this plastic pixie right down your . . . Ulp!... here comes my boss. Quick - give me a big smile. C'mon you can do better than that. Wider, that's it. Now wave to him and I'll let go of your nuts. Phew! There he goes into Santa's workshop. Boy are Santa's helpers in for a shock. Now look son, let's be reasonable, there's a big queue forming. After all, if they all thought like you, well, where would we be?"
"In a happy sane society".
"I knew you were a pervert. Look son give me a break. I'm not really Santa Claus you know. I'm actually an out of work actor between engagements and I can tell you it's not easy sitting here all day like a white haired ventriloquist".
"Couldn't you get some work in television then?"
"If only I could. I did once manage to get a walk-on part in a soap opera or to be more accurate it was a sit-down part".
"What part did you play?"
(Sigh) "Santa Claus".
"Listen, socialism won't have Santa Claus, nor for that matter will there be such a thing as Xmas".
"But that would mean that I'd be out of a job".
"Everyone would be out of a job, at least in the sense that there would no longer be employment which is what people really mean when they talk about work. Since there will no longer be employers and employed, people will be free to do the kind of work they really enjoy doing and that includes acting, because people will still want to be entertained".
"Good grief, it's as if a veil has been lifted from my eyes, everything is so clear now . . . "
"You're overacting".
"Sorry, was it so obvious? I studied the Method you know. Anyway, I'm going to do something positive for a change, and to begin with I'll remove this stupid wig. There, I've done it. What a great feeling. Now I think I'll burn the wig. Hee hee".
"You mean that you've grasped the concept that I've been explaining as easily as that?"
"Of course dear boy, it's so simple that even a seven year old could grasp it".
"Well I'm certainly relieved to hear you say that".
"Oh, why?"
"Because now you can explain it to that long line of howling kids. Merry Xmas".


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celebrating Christ Mass

According to the New American Stndard Bible Jesus says in Matthew 10 Verse 34

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."

Merry Marxmas

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the true xmas spirit

From the BBC
Excessive spending at Christmas can result in people experiencing a miserable time afterwards when debts have to be repaid .There is a feeling of uncomfortable tension derived from experiencing conflicting thoughts - "Can I really afford this?" - and the need to satisfy one's generosity - "It will really make someone happier at Christmas if I buy it".

This feeling of uncomfortable tension as a result of conflicting thoughts and actions has been explained as "cognitive dissonance" by psychologists.
This is particularly relevant in festive shopping when personal finances are being stretched.
At Christmas, people are challenged with what can be considered to be a moral form of cognitive dissonance, when people are torn between balancing their finances and the wish to make others and themselves happier - which is the societal expectation of what Christmas is really all about.
Knowing they may well not be able to afford what they are buying, people enter into transactions encouraged by heavy marketing influences. And they will try to reduce their internal psychological conflict in order to justify their actions.
They will explain that their happiness and that of others is more important than their debt, that others cannot do without when people around them are receiving and being happy and that, above all, Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and the spirit of Christmas should be encouraged in a time of nationwide gloom. Such actions are typical responses when people are experiencing dissonance. Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. If I believe I am good - managing my finances to reduce debt - but do something bad - spend freely at Christmas - then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance. The resultant effect can be extremely negative in the long term when the reality of the dissonance is exposed.

Those people who enter into a festive spending spree knowing they really are stretched financially display an inability to rationalise and explain away the conflict. In some ways they go into denial and may wish to ignore the issue until a later date, but pay heavy personal consequences.
It's a Christmas bubble - and bubbles burst.
If people do lose control of their spending and shop in denial there can be a massive loss of confidence and self-esteem. People can even slip into a mild or chronic depression due to the negative financial consequences and loss of self respect. Once people wake up from their denial, especially if they don't have a support network and feel isolated, they can become very low psychologically and emotionally. People can end up with problems in other areas of their lives, like relationships and work. And in January or February when the bills come in, those people who wanted to know them when they were being generous at Christmas won't be around any more, and they will be left to sort things out on their own

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Very Merry Christmas ?

Debt advisers are set to take a record number of calls as consumers are left to deal with a Christmas on credit. Leading debt charities said today that the credit crunch combined with five interest rate rises had made the problem this year even more serious. It was reported today that an estimated £34 billion has already been spent on credit cards this month – a £3 billion increase on last year.

A Consumer Credit Counselling Service spokesman said the organisation expected even more calls this year from people concerned they have over stretched financially this Christmas.He said: "We expect just under 34,000 calls to our helpline in January 2008, five per cent higher than in 2007."

And Credit Action spokesman Christ Tapp echoed the claims, saying the hangover debt from the festive reason reached way beyond the first few days of the New Year, and that homeowners may be particularly concerned. He said: "It could certainly be our busiest January and February ever. People are now more concerned about the economy than they have been for a long time.The nature of calls might be slightly different. It used to be about unsecured credit, but mortgages are becoming a much bigger problem than they were as rising living costs squeeze homeowners." (It is estimated this year that house repossessions will rise by 50 per cent to 45,000.)

Citizen's Advice added its weight to calls for belt-tightening around Christmas, pointing out that this time of year is traditionally gloomy for those with cash concerns. A spokeswoman said: "We know from experience that there is a seasonal surge of people who come to see us about their debt problems post-Christmas, and we know that the trend in debt inquiries is inexorably upwards. There is no reason to believe that there will be any let up in this trend."

Groups like the Samaritans say they also expect to be inundated with phone calls from people who feel they can't cope with their financial situation in light of lavish Christmas expenditure. A spokeswoman for the charity said: "January is a particularly bleak time with credit card bills arriving and the short, dark days."

Can we of Socialist Courier be blamed for saying " Christmas ? Bah - Humbug "

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Xmas Presents

Ethical gifts are billed as the perfect antidote to the conspicuous consumerism of the festive season. Whether buying a goat for a family in Africa, or the materials to build a toilet, we are told that these simple items can make a big difference to people in developing countries.
Such presents have been growing in popularity and last year Oxfam sold £3.9 million worth of ethical gifts . The charity has this year launched a celebrity-led campaign to encourage more of us to send useful gifts - which may include items such as dung, condoms or even a can of worms - to help communities in the developing world.

However UK-based education charity Worldwrite says that far from being welcome, these gifts are often seen as "demeaning and patronising". Worldwrite also argues that far from encouraging development, buying someone a goat or a hoe for Christmas only conspires to keep recipients at the same subsistence levels year after year. "People in the developing world are like us - they know the sorts of things we have and they want them too " . They felt some projects epitomised "low horizons" and irritated locals who say they are offered "peanuts" with endless "accountability" and "target" forms to fill out.

Worldwrite's views are echoed by Ghanaian De Roy Kwesi Andrew, a teacher and translator, who says: "Our people and government have become merely the passive, obedient pupils to be preached to."

As a local teacher in Ghana , Godbless Ashie , puts it : "Africans have big brains, big aspirations and want to live in liberty."

We at Socialist Courier say the best Xmas present for everybody would be for all of us to put an end to capitalism and for us all to achieve socialism and put an end to exploitation and pauperism .

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Alternative Queen's Speech

I'm speaking to you today from Sandringham - or is it Balmoral? No matter, it's one of the big houses or palaces I own and every Christmas Day I intrude on what enjoyment you might be having to foist a boring speech on you which is supposed to strike a thoughtful, humane note among the celebrations. I'm sitting in a sort of study and behind me is a window which opens onto the lush estate where my house stands.

I own these places because I’m a very rich woman – I’m worth about £250 million(1). Although I was born into this wealth and have never known what it is like to be poor, I shall be talking to you as if I’m the sort of ordinary, everyday grandmother you're likely to have a chat with in the bus queue or the doctor's waiting room or at the supermarket check-out. Except that I am the mother of the nation (for my recent ancestors it was of the Empire) unless Sharon Osborne manages to take that bit over as well. So for this broadcast I compose my face into this maternal expression -calm, caring, perceptive, wise.

A lot of people seem to believe that it's my speech, all thought up by me. Well I do have a say in it but it's really what the people I work for tell me to say. I’m what is called a constitutional monarch - I do what the government tell me -and if I kick over the traces I’ll end up like my Uncle Edward.

Whatever is in my speech the media people will report it as if its really profound, earth-shattering, historical. They'll dredge through the frigid platitudes in the hope of finding some small nugget of humour, or controversy or intelligence. Then they'll blow it up into a big headline -"Queen Says War's A Killer", that sort of thing. I don't blame them; media people are like everyone else - except those like me -they have to earn a living.

In case my speech comes over as too boring and trivial I try to touch on some real problems which you might be experiencing. Like being homeless or struggling with life in a slum or in a high rise or battling to keep up with the mortgage on a regimented semi somewhere. This is a bit of a cheek, coming from someone who owns these big houses but I can't let on about the real housing problem - like shopping at the supermarket or having to queue for the doctor its part of the wider poverty of all who work for their living.

This being Christmas I have to say something about children, to fit in with all that schmaltz about little faces aglow around the tree and so on. I drop hints that childhood is not all like that - about violent, broken families, drugs, crime, dead-end years in comprehensive schools. It wasn't like that for my children and grandchildren; they had the best of everything, their schools carefully chosen and their whole lives based on the confidence that they would never want for anything. Perhaps that's why I get so upset at all those news items about Britney Spears and so on . . .

I often refer to problems abroad which, I say sadly, are casting such a blight across the joys of this great Christian festival. Like war, famine, epidemics - always easy to talk about because they are going on somewhere all the time, wiping out millions every year. I pretend they're like social quirks which would go away if the Christmas spirit -peace on earth, goodwill to all and so on -were allowed to last all year. Some people might be awkward and ask about these problems being knit into the fabric of a social system which awards these great privileges to me and forces degradation onto you. But they're obviously suffering from a lack of that christmas spirit.

And that brings me to Christmas itself. All those singing cash registers. All that rubbish being sold. All that nonsense spouted from pulpits and in programmes like this one. I try to forget that Christmas is only a short break in the routine, year-in year-out, exploitation, poverty, conflict and insecurity which you endure and the wealth and capital accumulation which keeps me so cosy. That's what destroys people's hopes, distorts their lives, represses them, kills them. And I'm one of its most prominent figureheads.

But I mustn't go on like this. My job is to encourage the most massive diversion of your attention from reality into a circus world of noise and colour. Remember my wedding? My coronation? The jubilee? The weddings of my children? You loved them all, they made you forget where you really stand in the social order, what your lives are really like. And that is what I'm supposed to do, in this Christmas Day broadcast for example.

Well it's been nice getting this off my chest -a change from the usual twaddle. I’m off to watch Badder Santa Oh, there's something else . . . Merry Christmas. Suckers.

(Socialist Standard, December 1988)

(1) Latest estimate £271million .