A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 15, 2011
“Eat the rich”

"Eat the rich” was a slogan of the counterculture Zippies that became popular at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida. The slogan promotes a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. “Eat the rich” possibly originated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), who is often credited with saying, “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.”

The similar expression of “soak the rich” dates to the 1920s and 1930s.


Wikiquote: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher of Enlightenment whose political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism.

Unsourced
When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.
. Attributed to Rousseau as being from a “Speech at the commune on the 14th of October” in The history of the French revolution. By M. A. Thiers. Translated, with notes and illustrations from the most authentic sources, by Frederick Shoberl., Thiers, Adolphe, 1797-1877., page 359.

Google Books
The History of the French Revolution
By Adolphe Thiers
London: Richard Bentley
1838
Pg. 210:
Rousseau, who was also one of the people, said, When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.*
*Speech at the commune on the 14th of October.

Google Books
The Realist
Issues 71-98
1968 (Google Books date might not be accurate—ed.)
Pg. 63:
An attempt to burn a Cadillac limousine as part of their “Eat the Rich” march is thwarted when police confiscate the limousine.

Google Books
St. George and the Godfather
By Norman Mailer
New York, NY: New American Library
1972
Pg. 224:
“Eat the rich,” they cry, and the cops lift squirt cans and give them Mace.

10 July 1972, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Flamingo Park: Miami Beach’s ‘freak city’” by Tony Fuller (Chicago Daily News), pg. 1, col. 4:
The Zippies, whose motto is “Eat the rich,” charged that Hoffman and Rubin are on a “nonstop all-expense-paid ego trip” and are only interested in the convention in terms of what it can do for them financially through the publishing of books.

28 October 1973, Boston (MA) Globe, “1000 Hub marchers demand impeachment,” pg. 23:
One carried a sign which read, “Food Prices Up, Eat the Rich.”

Google Books
Food Co-ops;
An alternative to shopping in supermarkets

By William C. Ronco
Boston, MA: Beacon Press
1974
Pg. 27:
The spice room houses large shelves filled with jars of bulk spices and the small office houses harried workers. A sign on the office door reads: “Food prices high? Eat the rich.”

18 April 1974, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Searching for ‘Tania’ in Patty’s Past” by Charles T. Powers, pt. 4, pg. D1:
The graffito says a resident observer has been there since the earliest days of the meat shortage. It says: “Eat the rich.”

2 November 1974, Boston (MA) Globe, “Ford says he won’t ‘pump-prime’ economy” by Carroll Kilpatrick, pg. 1:
Other placards said, “We Can’t Afford Ford,” “Eat the Rich,” “Recall this Ford,” “Ford, a Lemon,” and “Cut the War Budget.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Eat the rich Just cos you’ve got the power ; Cradle to the grave
Author: Motörhead.; GWR records.; Musidisc.
Publisher: London W1 : GWR Records ; Levallois : distrib. Musidisc, 1987 (P)
Edition/Format:  Music : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Eat the rich
Author: P J O’Rourke
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 1998.
Edition/Format:  Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary: The nation’s leading political satirist traverses the world, exploring the power of money, ruminating on the world’s varieties of capitalism and socialism, and offering his own hilarious primer on economics. The book explains the fundamentals of economics. The author traveled the world from Wall Street to Main Street, from Shanghai to Albania, in search of the ultimate answer to the question, “Why do some economies thrive, while others just suck?” America’s favorite political humorist leads readers on a hysterical whirlwind tour, from the “good capitalism” of Wall Street to the “bad socialism” of Cuba, in search of an answer to the age-old question: “Why do some places prosper and thrive, while others just suck?”

The Faster Times
Obama’s Budget Policy Speech at GWU: Eat the Rich
April 13, 2011
Lawrence Dabney
President Obama delivered a wide-ranging but largely unsurprising speech at George Washington University this afternoon, responding to the Republican House budget proposal and delivering his own vision of how to cure America’s fiscal woes. While Obama delivered his vision with his usual reserved grandeur, the content followed now-familiar outlines from the Democratic side of the aisle, and yielded ample kindling for Republicans and right-wing ideologues to attack him (yet again) as a socialist baby-killing nazi zombie.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Friday, April 15, 2011 • Permalink