Masquerading as human beings

November 4, 2016

Socialist Worker's Danny Katch, author of Socialism...Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation, catches you up on news you might have missed this week.

AMERICANS SPENT $8.4 billion on Halloween this year. That may sound like a lot of money for one night of dressing up like monsters and zombies, but there's a holiday coming up next Tuesday where almost that much is spent on trying to dress up just two people like human beings.

There are all sorts of fun facts in the National Retail Federation Halloween's recent press release. Did you know, for instance, that October 31 has now jumped ahead of July 4 in holiday spending? As a proud non-patriot I think that's awesome. Halloween is still well behind Father's Day, which as a proud papa, I'd also find awesome if my family had ever contributed one cent to the total.

More good news: Action heroes replaced princesses as the number one costume among kids. As usual, though, some of the grown-ups had to go and screw it all up. Among adults 35 and over, Clinton or Trump was the third most popular costume.

Groan. After listening to that guy named Greg rail for months against Hillary Clinton, I bet his friends were delighted to see him at the party with a blonde wig and prison bars, cornering some poor Harley Quinn to give a lecture about how "what's really scary is the Export-Import Bank."

This Week in Capitalism | By Danny Katch

DEMOCRATS ARE stressing out about polls showing Trump pulling close, but party insiders say their internal polling shows Clinton firmly in control. So relax, guys. Our democracy is actually so corroded that the polls we peons get to see are garbage, and the only people with access to real information are the candidates and their wealthy funders. Feel better?

Facebook sure does. Fueled by election obsession, its ad revenue has almost tripled from last year, leading Mark Zuckerberg to say that he's proud his company has become "the new town hall."

Aww, how sweet and old timey. And it turns out that just like in the good old days, Facebook's "ethnic affinities" exclusion features let you post a job or sell a house without have to worry about any Blacks or Mexicans showing up!

It's just one of many ways that Silicon Valley is "disrupting" racism--by making it more rational and efficient. After all, rather than going to an open house and getting turned out as soon as the landlord sees your skin color, wouldn't you rather have been excluded from ever finding out about it?

Uber knows what I'm talking about. Their cutting edge technology and business model are helping African American passengers avoid the public humiliation of being unable to hail a cab and instead experience that rejection from the comfort of their own home.

THE CHICAGO Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, overcoming a 3-1 series lead by the Cleveland Indians and the desperate attempts of their own manager to throw the last game.

You might know that 30 years ago, the movie Back to the Future Part II had the Cubs finally winning in all in 2015--only a year off! But did you know that the same movie also predicted a nightmarish America ruled by future Biff Tannen, a boorish autocrat who the movie's writer modeled after Donald Trump? Gulp.

If you're looking for better World Series omens, this is the second time this year that a major sports team with a racist name towards Native Americans choked on a 3-1 series lead and lost. Yeah, I'm looking at you Bay Area. Sure, your basketball team doesn't have Cleveland's horrifying minstrel But check the original logo of the "Warriors" when they played in Philadelphia.

ONE MORE random thing. On this day in 1908--a few weeks after the Cubs won their last World Series--New York City suffragettes opened up unofficial voting booths to give women a chance to vote for president, even if their ballots wouldn't be counted. Many of these women, and an overwhelming majority in Harlem, voted not for the Republican or the Democrat, but the Socialist Eugene Debs, who won just under 3 percent of the total vote that year.

If you're voting for Jill Stein this year, imagine what some of your Clinton-supporting Facebook friends might have said to these women: You don't understand how the two-party system works. Or you're too immature to understand that voting is about logic, not emotion.

Gosh, they would sound a lot like the people saying women shouldn't be allowed to vote, wouldn't they?

Or maybe they would have said that these Harlem suffragettes were over-privileged brats who didn't appreciate the people who had spent years fighting for the right to vote that...oh, wait, never mind.

A word of advice for these next few days: Don't engage with those folks--let them duke it out with that guy Greg.

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