Rich People


Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor.
–John Ruskin


When one percent own over half the world’s wealth
There’s only one possible solution:
The antidote to such a poison that threatens the planet
Can only be global revolution.

While the gap between the poor and the prosperous
Widens and widens and leads to despair,
The rich hide from the consequence of their actions
In gated communities. Unwilling to care.


But when society’s arteries harden to such an extent
That the blood-flow in the body-politic
Is prone to a life-threatening problem of circulation
Then it faces the inevitable heart attack.


While the environmental footprint left by those with nothing
Leaves the earth largely in tact,
The rich persist in gouging it out with potholes and pollution
Though they’re not rich enough to buy its past back.

“In a rich man’s house there is no place to spit but his face,”
Said Diogenes the Cynic and Greek philosopher.
He told Alexander the Great that he, Diogenes, might be penniless
But he was someone Alexander would never conquer.


Diogenes compared the ignorant rich to fig trees
That grow over a precipice out of reach:
“Their fruit is devoured by crows and not by men.
“Sharing’s not what the rich like to teach.”


Thomas Malthus, the expert on the world’s increasing population
Considered what the richer sections were for:
He judged that through the unfair arrangements the rich come to
They “prolong a season of distress among the poor.”


Captain Beefheart, the musician, once said, “You can see
How screwed up the rich are, and how empty of love
By the kind of toilet paper they use. Go into any rich house:
It’s some embossed and weird colored and ugly stuff.”

Untitled-10.psd‘The 24K Gold-Embossed Toilet Paper Your Ass Deserves’

As so many of the possessions of the rich have been stolen
A twisted guilt and malaise is explicable:
They worry about losing stuff; they envy those with more;
They develop a deranged meanness that’s despicable.

Tupac Shakur once berated Michael Jackson,
“You don’t need to own forty mansions.
“You can’t live in more than one house at a time.
‘You’ve lost all sense of proportion.”


“I want only two houses, rather than seven,
Said the millionaire Barbara Streisand blithely.
“I feel like letting go of things,” she said grandly
And without the least trace of irony.

“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later
“It adds up to real money” said Senator Dirksen.
Known as ‘The Wizard of Ooze’ Dirksen urged President LBJ
There was profit in the Vietnam War’s escalation.

A psychologist at the University of Berkeley, Paul Piff,
Revealed the existence of a money-empathy gap:
In “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,”
He showed the more money, the more callous the crap.

“People who are sleeping on the grates…the homeless…”
Said US President Ronald Reagan,
“Are homeless by choice,” thus revealing the empathy by-pass
Of the leader of the free world, and cretin.

When the American billionaire Charles Simonyi spent $25 million
To go into space for thirteen days
He declared on his return, “it was worth it”, though it would have
Been worthier to leave the starving fed and amazed.

The rich give extravagant birthday parties for their pets
While much of the world goes hungry;
They prolong their lives with replacement organs from the poor
Then wonder why they make people angry.


When the average billionaire has more than 3 thousand wage-slaves
Working every day of their lives for his profit
It’s still the case, as Freud said, that personal wealth is an abuse of power
And thus liable to incur a healthy hatred.


To Freud the wealthy are sick individuals who are obsessed
With the immortality of their name and fortune
And it seems that the rich, out of concern for their reputation
Ego-surf more than others in case they’re mentioned.


Whenever members of the over-class go to prison
They’ll find the system still favours the rich:
If you can pay an extra hundred dollars a day in California
Then it’s, ‘Don’t like your cell, sir? Why not switch?”

In the Hamptons on Long Island and in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
Wall Street Titans live off the nine-figure pay-outs
They got from the taxpayer though they were no more than swindlers
And all the stocks they’d invested in had plummeted.

But with just eighty of the richest people in the world owning as much
As three and a half billion of the world’s poorest:
With each mouthful the rich take and with each purchase they make
They’re saying ‘Fuck Off and Die’ to the malnourished.

Anyone threatening the rich can find themselves
Accused of being envious or rabid,
And yet it’s crucial to deprive the rich of the means
To steal from the poor and destroy the planet.

One in four children from developing countries
Are too malnourished even to grow properly
Yet it’s the rich whose needs demand the most attention:
Inflated wallets give inflated egos a monopoly.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class,
“That’s making war, and we’re winning.”
So says billionaire Warren Buffet who knows that no one is rich
Without having hidden a crime or, at least, sinning.


Take the manufacturers of AIDS medicines who refuse
To lower their prices in poor countries for fear
Of eroding their profits in rich ones so that thousands die
Without these corporate chemists shedding a tear.

Nonetheless those with money feel a sense of entitlement.
And their imaginary wealth often allows them to be rude
Despite their having none of the real wealth that brings distinction
Such as grace, or humility, or a kind and loving attitude.


But seven out of ten rich men say that they often
Have violent and frightening daydreams
In which unruly crowds chase them through the streets –
Their loud resentment being a recurrent theme.


In a cold sweat the rich run for their helipads
They gather up their jewels and their shares.
They try to appease their pursuers by desperately calling out
“I feel your pain!” meeting with the response, “Who cares?”


It’s offensive that so often after becoming rich, the rich seek power
And that they seek to have politicians in their pay
In order to make sure that the world is run along lines the rich want
And that their wishes are met with without delay.


94% of the wealthy say they’ve bribed politicians
At some point in their manipulative life –
Either with gifts, or with money, or with vacations.
Prioritize us and let corruption be rife!

The result is reactionaries in government who kowtow to the rich:
‘We must indulge them or they lose the incentive to invest.
‘The poor? ignore them, they’re germs who will get dis-incentivized
‘If we throw them anything more than a few crusts.’

According to Gandhi, “wealthy people are traitors” –
They’re traitors to the whole community.
The reason being that they see altruism as the enemy
And promote exploitation with impunity.

It’s fondly thought that philanthropy is correcting
The imbalance caused by money’s dark arts
But, having stolen their money, rich philanthropists
Then set about stealing people’s hearts.

The poor are damaged in the same way as passive smokers
By rich people’s toxic exhaust fumes:
The plagues tormenting Africa continent have originated
In capitalism’s clubs and its boardrooms.


Junkies are demonized for their chaotic life-style but since the rich
Cause more damage through their being money addicted
They should likewise be regarded as pariahs, spurned and pilloried,
Rather than being favorably regarded or even worshipped.

Untitled-39Although, according to a Stanford University survey,
The richer you are, the uglier you feel.
The wealthy feel ugly about their social image…
Karmic blowback from their license to steal.


The rich routinely buy a private education for their children
So that they can purchase their offspring more attention
Thus enabling them to gain greater access to privileged elites –
The rich care nothing about their prolonging class tension.

There’s also a sinisterly racist sub-text to such unfair strategies:
Since ethnic minorities are less well off they’re excluded
So that buying a private education buys an unspoken apartheid
Due to which poor pupils of colour aren’t included.

With a third of MPs being privately educated
They’re reluctant to change a system
That favours a moneyed and privileged disparity
In a bogus democracy that doesn’t listen.

Being rich automatically impoverishes others –
Their fellow members of the human household –
Replacing a natural trust with the social atrocities
Of division and exploitation by those who hoard.


The criminally rich steal from the poor, through 20 percent
Of the population using 80 percent of its resources,
And through the starving populations of sub-Saharan Africa –
The globe’s poorest region, having to service

A massive debt through their having to spend $25,000
Every minute in order to reimburse
The far richer countries of the North, while on average
Their citizens live on $1 a day, or less.


Or, put differently, they spend $13 in debt repayment
For every $1 that they receive in grants –
While 16,000 children are dying daily from malnutrition –
Their fate selfishly being left to chance.


Those in the poorest 20 percent of Washington households
Pay nearly twenty percent of their income in taxes,
Whilst Washington’s 1-percenters pay just 2.4 percent – benefiting
From their corrupt plutocracy’s tax dodges.


When the richest 500 families in the world own more land
Than all global citizens combined.
And when such people learn from their fathers to treat servants
As inferior beings then they’re asking to be undermined.

Yet anyone who threatens the rich or defies their status quo
Is considered a threat to civilization and to be rabid
Yet there’s no harm in their calling the rich to account
For stealing from the poor and destroying the planet.


The bank Credit Suisse and their Global Wealth Report
Have calculated the world’s wealth as $263 trillion –
A meaningless figure which shows that to think of money
As a measure of value is the mindset of a villain.


A truer measure is that the richest country in the world
Now has forty million living in poverty –
If making economic war on your own people is no crime
Then their rule of law glorifies robbery.

In unspoiled societies the world’s a common treasure house.
In Papua New Guinea for the rich to steal from the poor –
Such behaviour is regarded as an unforgivable mental disease
And their society’s rich are very swiftly shown the door.


Heathcote Williams



By Heathcote Williams

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5 Responses to Rich People

    1. A devastating demolition of the status quo.

      Comment by cy lester on 9 February, 2015 at 8:21 am
    2. On the button! and with impeccable timing.
      This appears in Guardian today. 2/9/15.

      HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, according to a huge cache of leaked secret bank account files.

      The files – obtained through an international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, BBC Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – reveal that HSBC’s Swiss private bank:
      • Routinely allowed clients to withdraw bricks of cash, often in foreign currencies of little use in Switzerland.
      • Aggressively marketed schemes likely to enable wealthy clients to avoid European taxes.
      • Colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from their domestic tax authorities.
      • Provided accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen and other high-risk individuals.

      The HSBC files, which cover the period 2005-2007, amount to the biggest banking leak in history, shedding light on some 30,000 accounts holding almost $120bn (£78bn) of assets.


      Comment by Fred on 9 February, 2015 at 10:43 am
    3. I think Premier League footballers are included in reports of HSBC’s encouragement to access the conduit of a Swiss bank tax dodge. The Premier League has just received a 5.1 Billion quid windfall courtesy of Murdoch’s Sky and BT.

      Who originally made football what it is? The poor.
      They went to the matches over the past 120 years. They pay for the TV subscriptions.
      Who’s benefiting from this?

      Why is the benefits system a Totalitarian mindfuck? Why are there empty rooms with no facilities in NHS hospitals? Why are there food banks?

      Comment by Luke Temple Walsh on 10 February, 2015 at 11:37 pm
    4. needs to be said, and well said xx

      Comment by Sophia on 11 February, 2015 at 9:40 am
    5. -Is one expected to eat this swill?
      Prince Andrew was up to his old tricks, attempting to engage in sexual activity with a young waitress at a restaurant in Chelsea. A waiter gesticulating said
      -You don’t like?
      -No I bloody don’t but I’ll have some of this !
Andrew sank his fork into the waiter’s arm and began to slice the man’s fingers off with his steak knife, The digits dropped to his plate as the waiter squealed and was led away by the Maître De. Crunching on a thumb served in a Hollandaise sauce Andrew said,
-Can’t bear background noise when I’m eating! 

      Comment by nihal on 23 February, 2015 at 7:54 pm

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