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The Gateway Presents: A Marxist critique of New Year’s

We often look towards the New Year as an opportunity to start from a blank slate and better ourselves. We celebrate the year that’s passed, look forward to the new one, and set resolutions about what we want to accomplish.

There’s been a great deal of debate over the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions, with conversations usually centring around manifesting willpower in order to carry your resolutions out. But what about the background process that inform how we want to improve ourselves?

What role does capitalism play in New Year’s?

On this edition of the opinion segment of The Gateway Presents, I sat down with Feo PS, a fourth-year psychology and sociology student, to discuss a Marxist critique of New Year’s. Starting from an excerpt from Antonio Gramsci’s infamous piece “I Hate New Year’s Day,” Feo and I examine the commodification of holidays, the place of ritual in self-improvement, and what prevents us from meaningfully engaging with ourselves honestly while we make resolutions.

We touched on several big questions along the way. Should we forgo rigid rituals in favour of examining ourselves everyday? Is there a way we can reclaim rituals from capitalism? What would New Year’s look like if we were able to do so?

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney is a fifth-year English and political science combined honors student, as well as The Gateway's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. He was previously The Gateway's 2018-19 Opinion Editor. An aspiring journalist with too many opinions, he's a big fan of political theory, hip-hop, and being alive.

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