1940s >> 1943 >> no-471-november-1943

Now That We Are All Capitalists: A Satirical Survey

According to the current propaganda nonsense, all who have a few pounds in a bank account or savings certificates are capitalists—”The population almost to a man . . . have acquired a capitalist interest in Great Britain” (Sir Alexander Roger, Daily Telegraph, April 14, 1943). Adjusting. ourselves to this cock-eyed view of the situation, we have decided to recast our own propaganda. It behoves us all to show a friendly interest in the doings of our fellow-capitalists.

We were glad to hear that our comrade, Lord Fitzwilliam, who died recently, was “one of the richest peers and owner of the biggest house in England, Wentworth Woodhouse” (Daily Telegraph, February 16, 1943). In our late fellow-capitalist’s house there are. 1,000 windows, and “it was the custom to hand to each new guest a small packet of wafers to drop as a trail on his way to his room so that he could find his way back.” For the benefit of any foreign readers who may think that this kind of thing is universal in England, we may explain that the wafer system of finding your way about is not necessary in most of our houses. You just open the front door and there you are. When William’s father died—now that we all belong to the same family, it would be unfriendly not to call him by his Christian name— he left £2,949,830, and William in 1933 “capitalised himself at £3,750,000 in four unlimited companies.” He was a man of great physical and mental powers. Although burdened with the cares that fall on all of us capitalists of looking after our investments, and though he was “much interested in engineering, especially mining engineering ” (Who’s Who), he was able to find time to travel much in India and Europe, and when he was young “he hunted three packs of hounds, one in Ireland and two in England. He would hunt all day in England, cross to Ireland at night, and hunt there all next day, and then return at night to hunt with his third pack on the following day” (Daily Telegraph). How he fitted this in with his work at the mine we do not know, but perhaps he was not so much interested in mining engineering as all that. Here, again, particularly for the benefit of American capitalist tricksters, who tell their local dupes that England (even more than Virginia) is given over to hunting, it should be explained that most of us have not even one pack of hounds.

Reverting to the question of the houses we capitalists live in, we recall that another of us, the Duke of Bedford, who died in 1940, was “one of the richest dukes and owner of several parts of London” (Daily Express, August 28, 1940). In 1913 he sold for £2,750,000 “part of his London estates, including Covent Garden Market, Drury Lane Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Waldorf Hotel, the Strand and Aldwych Theatres, Bow Street Police Court, and property in 26 streets.”

By dint of painstaking research and inquiry, we have been able to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that it was not one of the wage-earning section of Sir Alexander Roger’s “Capitalists ” who put up the £2,750,000. Nor were we able to trace any who as a regular thing are guests at the Waldorf.

Naturally, our interest in our fellow property owners does not stop at frontiers, so we may take a glance at U.S.A., where Comrade Marshall Field has just inherited £14,000,000 from his grandfather (Evening Standard, September 28th, 1943). Some accounts say £15,000,000, but what is a million between friends and fellow-capitalists? “This is in addition to the £9,000,000 accumulated interest he received five years ago under the will and other bequests totalling £9,500,000.” Marshall got the latest instalment on his 50th birthday, “ but there will be no special celebrations.” He said that he “does not contemplate any radical change in his life,” and that the sudden increase in his wealth ” does not make me feel the slightest bit different.” It is this last touch that endears him to us. We know how he feels, like we do when we win 2s. on a horse. Like us, he is just going on with the daily routine. It all goes to prove those old sayings, ” One touch of a savings bank deposit makes the whole world kin,” and “The capitalist propagandists can fool most of the workers for a very long time.”