We have fed you all for a thousand years

One two three four, I declare a class war
 
Here’s an old labor anthem, addressed to the idle rich who claim the fruit of other men’s labor. To whom belongs the wealth generated by work?

We have fed you all for a thousand years

We have fed you all for a thousand years
And you hail us still unfed,
Though there’s never a dollar of all your wealth
But marks the workers’ dead.
We have yielded our best to give you rest
And you lie on crimson wool.
Then if blood be the price of all your wealth,
Good God! We have paid it in full!

There is never a mine blown skyward now
But we’re buried alive for you.
There’s never a wreck drifts shoreward now
But we are its ghastly crew.
Go reckon our dead by the forges red
And the factories where we spin.
If blood be the price of your cursed wealth,
Good God! We have paid it in!

We have fed you all a thousand years-
For that was our doom, you know,
From the days when you chained us in your fields
To the strike a week ago.
You have taken our lives, and our babies and wives,
And we’re told it’s your legal share,
But if blood be the price of your lawful wealth,
Good God! We bought it fair!

And for good measure, from Finian’s Rainbow:
When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich

When the idle poor become the idle rich.
You’ll never know just who is who, or who is which.
Won’t it be rich?
When everyone’s poor relative becomes a ‘Rockefellative’,
And palms no longer itch. What a switch!

When we all wear ermine and plastic teeth
How will we determine who’s who underneath?
And when all your neighbors are upper class,
You won’t know your ‘Joneses’ from your ‘Ass-tors’

Let’s toast the day
The day we drink that drinky up, but with a little pinkie up.
The day on which the idle poor become the idle rich

When a rich man doesn’t want to work
He’s a bon vivant. Yes, he’s a bon vivant.
But when a poor man doesn’t want to work,
He’s a loafer, he’s a lounger,
He’s a lazy good for nothing, he’s a jerk!

When a rich man loses on a horse
Isn’t he a sport, oh isn’t he a sport?
When a poor man looses on a horse
He’s a gambler, he’s a spender,
He’s a low life, he’s a reason for divorce!

When a rich man chases after dames
He’s a man about town, a man about town.
But when a poor man chases after dames
He’s a bounder, he’s a rounder,
He’s a rotter, and a lot of dirty names!

When the idle poor become the idle rich
You’ll never know just who is who or who is which.
No one will see the Irish or the Slav in you
‘Cause when you’re on Park Avenue,
Cornelius and Mike, look alike

When poor Tweedle Dum is rich Tweedle Dee
This discrimination will no longer be.
When we’re in the dough and off of the nut
You won’t know your banker from your but…ler.

Let’s make the switch.
With just a few annuities, we’ll hide these incongruities
With clothes from Abercrombie-Fitch
When the idle poor become the idle rich!

NMT

About NMT

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