Smorgasbord: Jesus Christ and Christmas commercialism (2/2)


Second of two parts (Click here for the first part)

The booty capitalists of our days are worse than the rich man Jesus encountered.  Not only do they refuse to share their wealth (unless sharing means tax deductions for them), they also exploit the  working class’ labor   to expand their capital. They have resorted to all schemes imaginable to steal the actual pecuniary  cost of the proletariat’s  sweat. Mining companies are raking in billions of pesos  from the muckers’ labor.

Everyday, the workers risk their lives as they descend into the bowels of the earth to look for gold. And the mining companies boast, “We pay the miners more than the minimum wage.” Hah!

The minimum wage  is not necessarily decent wage. What is legal is not necessarily moral. I bet my life that the Philippine minimum wage law would  not impress Jesus especially as it was crafted by an institution protective of  booty capitalism’s interest.

Jesus disdained profiteers.  When he went to a temple, there were so many merchants – money changers and people selling doves.  In those days, doves were sacrificed in the temple by the poor who could not afford sheep and goats. Enraged, Jesus  turned the tables upside down, cracked a whip he made and drove out the merchants while denouncing them for converting the temple into a den of thieves. The merchants must have been reaping more profit than what reason permitted. Why else did the reasonable Jesus call them thieves?

Profiteering in those days is nothing compared to today’s.  For instance, the oil companies keep raising prices to intolerable levels using the fluctuation in the world market as excuse. Then they reduce the price but not back to the previous price level. Consumers feel grateful for the reduction,  not realizing they had been had.

Philippine landlords  just sit around waiting for profit from the peasants’ harvests. The latter  have become prisoners of the land owned by the former. In spite of its deficiencies, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) could have helped  break, by a little stretch,  the chains of the peasants’ bondage were it not for  lackadaisical if not insincere implementation. Worse,  it  was to end last month. Farmers, with bishops and priests,  went  on hunger strike  to pressure Congress to extend the CARP and reform  the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. The “Honorables,” however, were  bent on ignoring the call, giving a token extension of only six months.  Many of them are landowners themselves who are too greedy to  even consider parting with a square meter of their hundreds of hectares of land.  They are more interested in concocting ways to extend the Arroyo Regime which fiercely protects their  interests.  This regime does not serve the masses made up of workers and peasants. It serves  the profiteering oligarchy and    their wealth.

Christmas is no longer an occasion to celebrate the life of a man who turned the tables of profiteers upside down. It is the Feast of  Capitalism as we are   pressured to do a lot of spending, even beyond our means. The real winners of the season are the booty capitalists who, through multi-million advertisements make us feel guilty when we do not hit their malls to shop until we drop.  Christmas today, insults Jesus’ teachings.

Che Guevara, a man born to  privilege, chose to spend his life promoting socialism and dismantling structures of capitalism. The profiteers hated him. After his death, they  raked-in enormous revenues  selling his image.

Like Che Guevara, Jesus Christ, the man who disdained flagrant commercialism, is its biggest victim on his birthday. #

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