[Homestead] OT Depression Hits Robinson Crusoe's Island

sasha mrkflux at sezampro.yu
Fri Sep 10 13:29:01 EDT 2004

Depression Hits Robinson Crusoe's Island
by Mrs. Mary Atterbury

"Friday," said Robinson Crusoe, "I'm sorry, I fear I must 
lay you off."

"What do you mean, Master?"

"Why, you know there's a big surplus of last year's crop. I 
don't need you to plant another this year. I've got enough 
goatskin coats to last me a lifetime. My house needs no 
repairs. I can gather turtle eggs myself. There's an 
overproduction. When I need you I will send for you. You 
needn't wait around here."

"That's all right, Master, I'll plant my own crop, build up 
my own hut and gather all the eggs and nuts I want myself. 
I'll get along fine."

"Where will you do this, Friday?"

"Here on this island."

"This island belongs to me, you know. I can't allow you to 
do that. When you can't pay me anything I need I might as 
well not own it."

"Then I'll build a canoe and fish in the ocean. You don't 
own that."

"That's all right, provided you don't use any of my trees 
for your canoe, or build it on my land, or use my beach for 
a landing place, and do your fishing far enough away so you 
don't interfere with my riparian rights."

"I never thought of that, Master. I can do without a boat, 
though. I can swim over to that rock and fish there and 
gather sea-gull eggs."

"No you won't, Friday. The rock is mine. I own riparian rights."

"What shall I do, Master?"

"That's your problem, Friday. You're a free man, and you 
know about rugged individualism being maintained here."

"I guess I'll starve, Master. May I stay here until I do? Or 
shall I swim beyond your riparian rights and drown or starve 

"I've thought of something, Friday. I don't like to carry my 
garbage down to the shore each day. You may stay and do 
that. Then whatever is left of it, after my dog and cat have 
fed, you may eat. You're in luck."

"Thank you, Master. That is true charity."

"One more thing, Friday. This island is overpopulated. Fifty 
percent of the people are unemployed. We are undergoing a 
severe depression, and there is no way that I can see to end 
it. No one but a charlatan would say that he could. And if 
any ship comes don't let them land any goods of any kind. 
You must be protected against foreign labor. Conditions are 
fundamentally sound, though. And prosperity is just around 
the corner."

[First appeared in the Industrial Worker, Feb. 9, 1932; text 
taken from Joyce L. Kornbluh, ed., _Rebel Voices: An IWW 

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