From the January 2010 issue of the Socialist Standard
Even the newspapers which consider themselves to be posh run horoscopes. They are always extremely vague – when did you see a horoscope that got down to details, and said that if you go to your local shopping centre, and go into the third shop past Tesco on the right, they’ll give you a big bag of gold? So here are some forecasts which are much more likely to be fulfilled – for non-Socialists.
If your birthday is in –
You will contribute to the profits of the company running the National Lottery, since you haven’t worked out that the odds against you getting a big prize are about 14,000,000 to one. In fact you’d have more chance of getting rich if you took a spade and started digging for buried treasure on the nearest field – if you can square the landowner.
You will believe that the present recession was caused simply by a few bankers thinking more of their own profits than what was good for the rest of us. You will forget (a) that all capitalists work on the slogan “Stuff you, Jack, I’m all right”, and (b) capitalism has always had booms and slumps, and will go on having them even if bankers give up their bonuses.
You will be appalled to read about “terrorists” who deliberately explode a bomb in a Western city and kill innocent people. You will not be appalled by Western governments exploding many bombs in Asian countries, killing vast numbers – equally innocent. You will think it’s worth slaughtering half a million foreigners to bring in a new group to exploit a whole country.
Having read about global warming, you will try to recycle most of your rubbish, and use fewer plastic bags, and even install solar panels on your roof – ignoring the fact that many capitalist companies make large profits running operations which help to ruin the environment, and will go on doing so until a socialist society puts the interests of all the people first.
You will turn out on a rainy night and vote for a party which claims it will run capitalism for your benefit, and when you find (unsurprisingly) it continues to run capitalism for the benefit of the capitalists you will vote for a different party which claims it will run capitalism for your benefit. Then you will go back to supporting the first party, and so on endlessly.
As you endure a dull, boring job, which still leaves you short of money, you will concentrate your dislike on your fellow-worker who’s just been made foreman, or has got some other minor promotion, while at the same time you will continue to ignore all the members of the owning class, who live well without any work at all on what you help to produce.
Some capitalists support the E.U. (bigger area of operations, bigger profits), some capitalists support withdrawing from the E.U. (smaller area, more chance of controlling events); you will get involved in heated arguments to prop up one group of capitalists or the other. Why not leave capitalists to support themselves (they always do), and instead support yourself and your own interests?
You will get annoyed about the foreign origins of some of the other workers brought in by the capitalists to work for them; despite the fact that workers divided among themselves – by things that don’t matter, like skin-colour – will not even be able to defend their wages and conditions within the present system, much less create a better society.
You will never see the significance of the fact that everywhere, whatever the form of government, new people always come to power offering to “change” things – Barack Obama is just the latest example; but if this is already such a marvellous system, as the press, T.V. and all the rest of the media are always saying, why should “change” be so attractive?
Having voted for the continuation of capitalism, a system in which strife and wars are inevitable, you will be astounded when British soldiers, going to war overseas, are killed and injured, and you will go on marches which demand: “bring our boys home”. Then you will continue voting for parties supporting capitalism – and therefore supporting violence.
You will contribute all your loose change to a charity which gives a hot dinner on Christmas day to a few homeless people. You won’t give any money, or effort, to your fellow-workers who struggle all their lives trying to bring about a society in which there won’t be any homeless people, or any need for degrading charity.
Next Christmas you will listen to arguments from religious people who say secularists have stolen their holy day, and from secularists who say religious people have stolen the age-old midwinter festival, without realizing that the owners of the big stores and shops, their cash registers merrily ringing, have stolen it from both of them.