by Aaron Armitage
In one sense, all our holidays are capitalist, of course. They’re celebrated by people who grew up under capitalism and who, therefore, have capitalist ideas hiding out in our brains even if we don’t want them there. Less psychologically, they’re capitalist in the sense of being marketing opportunities. There are holidays like Sweetest Day that were invented by capitalists just to sell more candy or cards or what have you. There’s even Black Friday, where they’ve managed to make shopping a beloved Thanksgiving tradition. (Hey, maybe you needed a break from your Trump supporting cousin. It’s okay.)
But there are no Capitalist holidays in the way that there are religious holidays, or national holidays, or for that matter at least one socialist and anarchist holiday, May Day. The propaganda value of a holiday can hardly escape notice; if you can get people celebrating your idea, you’re pretty much there. But I don’t think that’s most of it. People like to party, and they’ll make anything they like an excuse to party. Birthdays for the individual people in your life; anniversaries for romantic partnerships. Most of the reason why there are religious holidays is that people like their religions, and so religiously significant dates naturally suggest themselves as a good excuse to have fun. People like their countries, so we get fireworks and parades and cookouts. Enough people like the idea of socialism that May Day is still a thing.
On a related note, there are a whole lot of red, socialist, and labor songs, even more nationalistic songs, and uncountably vast numbers of religious songs, but I have never heard capitalism celebrated in song. Celebrations of getting rich, yes, but nothing about how great private capital accumulation and market distribution mechanisms are.
Why are there no traditional observances for Adam Smith’s birthday or the anniversary of when the first stock market opened? I’ve never heard of otherwise — strange behavior that suddenly becomes normal one day a year in honor of the free market. The macabre gets a day, but the job creators don’t?
It’s almost enough to make you think that, even after all the years of propaganda, the wars, the false equation of subjugation to the bosses with freedom, nobody actually loves capitalism.