The fireworks display I’ve watched for many years are made by guys from the neighborhood. The soundtrack to my holiday is blasted from family sound systems. The landscape is families taking over sidewalks and streets to host events for communal celebration. Cars are used to block of intersections so that streets can be filled with bouncy houses, grills, and speakers. Children play and ride their bikes with no concerns. Bouncy houses are inflated by generators and no one stresses about the electricity bill. Fathers are stationed at their grills while plates and plates of food are handed out. Who bought this food, who cooks the food, and who eats it is never tallied, no timesheets or ration cards are used to decide who gets to eat and who does not. Older people sit in chairs going over the latest gossip, while kids ask them to hold their toys or balloons. Mothers dance with their infants, teenagers inch closer while sitting on the stoops, and young boys throw a football. No one here has a yard, no fence dictates who comes in and who stays out, no invitations were sent out – people simply come together.
To me these are what could be, these are tiny windows into days without capitalism.
On such holidays, when most people don’t have to go to work, we can see what our communities might be without the tedium of labor, wages, and debt. A general notion is that without work people become complacent, lazy, and unproductive. The sense is that without a dollar value people don’t know how to measure an hour. But this notion is based on what evidence? I propose the scene from a city neighborhood as a evidence that people would create so much more without the oppression of a capitalist system. They would share their talents, offer to the greater good what they can, train the new generations in the ways of feeding a crowd. Preparations have been made, the playlist has to be hours long, the burgers can’t end, the beers must stay chilled, but there are no dress codes, no entrance fee, and no profits to be made. Why can’t this be more days, why do we fear what lies within us all, why expect the worst? When given the chance people don’t abuse their freedom, they don’t try to race ahead of their compatriots, and they don’t wait for the state to dictate what can and cannot be done.
So many say that I am naive, or better yet delusional. Where do I get this unrealistic faith? Has not humanity proven itself ruthless and unkind? Staring out my window I have concrete evidence and certainty that no, days without capitalism would birth days with so much more.