The marking of a day named after a particular section of the population or a particular political cause or even a slogan could be seen as a secular festival and was used to remember and rally supporters, amplify and spread the central message of the movement.
What is interesting is that most of these post-1945 days originated from within state institutions or global institutions, whose massive bureaucracies were deployed to popularise them.
However, over the past few decades these days have been captured, almost wholesale, by corporate interests which shamelessly use them to market their goods and launch public relations exercises. This takeover by the private sector has paralleled the retreat of the State and the spread of neo-liberalism as the hegemonic ruling ideology of our times.
Thus, the various days to mark different diseases provide excellent opportunities for corporate hospitals and health insurers to frighten people and access their services. Women’s Day is similarly used to make women “feel good” by making them purchase cosmetics.
The recent World Environment Day (5 June) is a case in point. If it were not for the advertisements which were splashed all over the newspapers or the various “events” organised by different companies and showrooms, one would never have remembered that 5 June was World Environment Day.
The political power of the private sector is the foundation on which the negotiations over climate change have become so intractable.
Events like World Environment Day (and the earlier Earth Day and Earth Hour) have now become opportunities for these pursuers of private profit to greenwash themselves and hide their politics.
We perhaps need to abandon all these special “Days” and find newer, better tools for building solidarities, raising public awareness and celebrating our politics.
via Greenwash Day.