Monday, May 29, 2023

The Book of Eng

‘ And it came to pass in the land of Eng that the people were sore pressed and in great need. The harvest was abundant and the earth yielded much fruit yet the people cried out in their need.

For the people of the land of Eng were in bondage to those who owned the land and all that from it flowed. Though the people were given many shekels and had ice boxes and music boxes and picture boxes and oxless wagons, yet were they not content. They strove to bring forth more wealth and to get more shekels yet did their lot remain needy.

And there passed among the multitude certain soothsayers and false prophets that were called Ekonner Mists and Polly Tishuns. With them came the priests. With one voice but with many tongues they spake unto the people and said uhto them, "Verily, you are sad and have much anger but this is the order of things Yahweh has ordained. It is the will of Jehovah. Therefore, rest ye content.”

But the multitude cried out, “We need more homes. We desire good raiment. We hunger for more food. We would have more work that we may gather more shekels and pieces of silver wherewith to purchase these things.”

And the priests raised up their hands and gave unto the people the gospel according to Midas. The Polly Tishuns opened wide their mouths and gave unto the people many promises. The Ekonner Mists brought forward their longest words and their most profound theories and these they rammed into the gullets of the people. And together the Priests, the Polly Tishuns and the Ekonner Mists spake unto the people in unison saying, “Behold, ye are lazy swine. We give unto you the fruits of our learning yet ye heed us not. We offer ye a paradise when ye shall snuff it yet ye are not content. We promise ye all that ye desire yet ye cry out in your impatience. Why waste we our time upon you? Oh, ye of little faith, rest ye content in the station to which Yahweh has called you and get ye on with your work".

And it happened that a certain Samaritan was a builder of boats and he held in bondage many hewers of wood, drawers of water and welders of steel. And the day came that he walked about the place where his boats were built and he passed among his hewers of wood, his drawers of water and his welders of steel. These he gathered around him and he spake unto them saying, “I have heard your murmurs of discontent, I have seen your women in sorry raiment, I have felt the eyes of your offspring hungry upon me. These things have made my heart to bleed, my eye to water and my stomach to curdle. Therefore I say unto you that though my store of silver is small I will give unto you from my coffers, a bonus of shekels that your children may wax merry, your wives may grow fat and you may disport yourselves in ways that ye have long desired.”

And his hewers of wood, his drawers of water and his welders of steel looked into one another's faces with amazement. Then they fell on their knees and praised

him. They raised up their voices in a hymn and sang, “Glory be to our Boss for verily he is a jolly good fellow.”

And the Samaritan left them and went out into the market to sell his boats with a glad heart and a full one.

There came unto him in the market certain cunning men from far lands and they asked him, “What take ye for your boats for we would have of them?” And he answered them saying, “I am a Samaritan and I give my bondsmen that they may be happy. Therefore I must raise up the price of my boats to cover my costs and to reap my profit.”

The cunning men from distant lands turned their backs upon him. They smiled at one another and tapped their foreheads with their fingers, saying through their beards, “This man from Eng is daft as a brush” which translated into the language of Eng meant that he was a knut case.

And the cunning men from distant lands went unto the men of the land of Hol and the land of De Gall and the land of Usa for the men from these lands had many boats to sell in the market. And they bought from these men the boats that they needed for the boats were cheaper than those made in the land of Eng.

So, the Samaritan returned home with slow gait and sad mien. He called unto him his hewers of wood, his drawers of water and his welders of steel and he delivered of himself unto them, saying, “I have been a good master unto you. I have given unto you many shekels as a bonus. Now I cannot sell I cannot permit you to make for, if ye make boats that I cannot sell I shall be bent, broke and bust. My wife will turn on me and my concubines will turn from me.”

With a tear in his eye, like unto the tear of a crocodile, he exhorted them in these words. “I must take from you the bonus that I gave. I must call on you to surrender to me those things that ye call restrictive practices though verily I know they are protective practices. For some of you I have news that should tickle your ears and gladden your hearts for I shall free you from your bondage unto me. Ye shall be men that are called Re Dund Ants and you shall wander in the wilderness with no care and no work till some other shall bind you in bondage.”

And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the hewers of wood, the drawers of water and the welders of steel, for they knew not what to do but they ran hither and thither in their bewilderment.

And it came to pass that there rose up among the multitude certain new false prophets who spake to the people thus, “Hearken ye to us for we are as you are, using the same tongue, wearing the same raiment and eating the same viands. The prophets ye have listened to heretofor were fakirs and false prophets. It is laid down that ye must have faith, therefore have ye faith in us. Give unto us your shekels, your votes and your loyalty and will lead you to the promised land.”

And the people gave unto them their shekels and their votes and their loyalty. And they chose Will Sun and Kalla Ghan and Jaw G. Broun to lead them. For they would be led to the land that flows with milk and money.

And Will Sun called unto his disciples and these he led to West Minister. And to them he gave the fruit that is known as the Plum of Office.

From out of the City there came men that are called Bankers and Fynan Seers and they bowed down before Will Sun and they shook in their sandals.

Will Sun raised his hands over them and spake, saying, “Rise up, Rise up. I come not to harass you but to help you. 1 seek not to drive you from your temples but to build ye new and better ones. I will journey into distant lands, to the land of De Gall and to the lands that are of Benny Lux. I will open up a market for you and it shall be called a Common Market. In that market ye shall sell your wares and shall reap much profit that ye may grow even fatter than ye are now fat.

And the men from out the city stood before him, first on one foot and then on the other foot. And they replied to him, “How shall we reap much profit when we must disgorge many shekels to our bondsmen? For they band themselves together in their Unions and they demand of us ever more and more shekels. We shall be ruined.” And they wrung their hands in despair.

Will Sun took from out his mouth the pipe that was part of his image and he said unto them, “Ye of little faith. Ye shall not be ruined. For is it not laid down in the book that the people have chosen me to lead them? From me they will take those things that they would not take from you. I will gather them around me and I will tell them of your fears and your troubles and I will plead with them that they shall not seek to gain more shekels. And if they harken not to my prayers I will compel them. If they heed me not I will cast them into the dungeons that they may reflect on their lot. And Kalla Ghan and Jaw G. Broun shall cast a spell on the multitude with many words that have much sound but little sense and less meaning. And it shall be called The Freeze.” 

The men from the city smiled amongst themselves and were content. They returned to their counting houses and with the setting of the sun they repaired unto their temples to render homage to their gods, Rent, Interest and Profit.

Will Sun and his disciples spoke to the multitude of norms of trade balance and of vetting and of productivity and of restraint and of strength of the shekel and of the freeze. Many of the people nodded their heads and cried “Yea” for they were in fear that it would be thought that they did not understand these things and that they were ignorant.

Many of the people murmured amongst themselves that they liked not the freeze. And one who was called Kuz Inz exhorted them against the freeze, using many words but no deeds so that the people were bewildered, bewitched and bedevilled.

Those that would follow Kuzz Inz were led into a maze from which they could find no way out.

Among the bondsmen there were those who spoke with a new tongue.

They said that the freeze, that the Re Dund Ants and that all the people’s needs were the result of bond slavery. That the bond was a wage contract and that it was therefore a system of wage slavery, wherein men sold their power to labour for shekels to those who lived by profit. They said that faith in false prophets would avail the people nought. They must cast the dust of faith from their feet and give thought to their lot. Bondsmen had nothing to lose but their bondage. The wealth that they needed for themselves they could make for themselves instead of making it for the market. “Put ye not your faith in prophets,” they cried, “have courage in yourselves.”

But many years of bondage had dulled the minds of the people and they were slow to think on these things. The priests put into the fear of Yahweh and Jehovah and of the ghost that is called Holy. The Ekonner Mists put into them the fear of hunger and the loss of their ox-less carts and their ice boxes and their music boxes and their picture boxes and their little brick boxes that looked all alike. The Polly Tishuns put into them the wind up so that they belched exceeding much.

But it shall come to pass that the people shall shake off their torpor and they shall cast out the money lenders from their temples and shall bring down those that exploit them. And there shall be an end to the soothsayers and the priests and the sycophants and those that hand on and those that crawl up.

Then shall it be in the land of Eng and in all other lands that the people shall live a life that is worth living. Each shall give of his effort to the best he is able and shall receive those things that he needs them.

And so be it.’


Socialist Standard, June 1967

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