Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stand up all, diggers all...

Chumbuwumba brings it all back for us...

"The lawyers they conjoin..." indeed, both for bad and good.

And note the outstanding last verse of this song from the 17th Century about the law of the "club" which is what the elite ultimately know. Jack London's "The Iron Heel" (1907) may be one of the best novels making the same point. See, for example, Chapter 5: "The Philomaths" where London's female diarist recites the following exchange between her soon to be lover and her father's corporate capitalist friends:

And so it went. Sometimes he exchanged the rapier for the club and went smashing amongst their thoughts right and left. And always he demanded facts and refused to discuss theories. And his facts made for them a Waterloo. When they attacked the working class, he always retorted, `The pot calling the kettle black; that is no answer to the charge that your own face is dirty.' And to one and all he said: `Why have you not answered the charge that your class has mismanaged? You have talked about other things and things concerning other things, but you have not answered. Is it because you have no answer?'

It was at the end of the discussion that Mr. Wickson spoke. He was the only one that was cool, and Ernest treated him with a respect he had not accorded the others.

`No answer is necessary,' Mr. Wickson said with slow deliberation. `I have followed the whole discussion with amazement and disgust. I am disgusted with you gentlemen, members of my class. You have behaved like foolish little schoolboys, what with intruding ethics and the thunder of the common politician into such a discussion. You have been outgeneralled and outclassed. You have been very wordy, and all you have done is buzz. You have buzzed like gnats about a bear. Gentlemen, there stands the bear' (he pointed at Ernest), `and your buzzing has only tickled his ears.

...

He turned suddenly upon Ernest. The moment was dramatic.

`This, then, is our answer. We have no words to waste on you. When you reach out your vaunted strong hands for our palaces and purpled ease, we will show you what strength is. In roar of shell and shrapnel and in whine of machine-guns will our answer be couched. We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. As for the host of labor, it has been in the dirt since history began, and I read history aright. And in the dirt it shall remain so long as I and mine and those that come after us have the power. There is the word. It is the king of words--Power. Not God, not Mammon, but Power. Pour it over your tongue till it tingles with it. Power.'

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