The Goose and the Common

The Goose and the Common

Authors unknown – a number of versions©1700s

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back
[Seventeenth century protest against English enclosures]

Variations

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
Yet let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose

The law doth punish man or woman
That steals the goose from off the common
But lets the greater felon loose
That steals the common from the goose

The law locks up the hapless felon
who steals the goose from off the common
but lets the greater felon loose
who steals the common from the goose

The fault is great in man or woman
Who steals a goose from off a common
But what can plead that man’s excuse
Who steals a common from a goose
[In The Tickler Magazine 1 February 1821]

http://unionsong.com/u765.html

On Guerrilla Warfare — Ch 6

In a revolutionary army, all individuals enjoy political liberty and the question, for example, of the emancipation of the people must not only be tolerated but discussed, and propaganda must encouraged. Further, in such an army, the mode of living of the officers and the soldiers must not differ too much, and this is particularly true in the case of guerilla troops. Officers should live under the same conditions as their men, for that is the only way in which they can gain from their men the admiration and confidence so vital in war. It is incorrect to hold to a theory of equality in all things. But there must be equality of existence in accepting the hardships and dangers of war, thus we may attain to the unification of the officer and soldier groups a unity both horizontal within the group itself, and vertical, that is, from lower to higher echelons. It is only when such unity is present that units can be said to be powerful combat factors.

There is also a unity of spirit that should exist between troops and local inhabitants. The Eighth Route Army put into practice a code known as ‘Three Rules and the Eight Remarks’, which we list here:

Rules:

All actions are subject to command.

Do not steal from the people.

Be neither selfish nor unjust.

Remarks:

Replace the door when you leave the house.

Roll up the bedding on which you have slept.

Be courteous.

Be honest in your transactions.

Return what you borrow.

Replace what you break.

Do not bathe in the presence of women.

Do not without authority search those you arrest.

The Red Army adhered to this code for ten years and the Eighth Route Army and other units have since adopted it.

Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy’s rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together? It is only undisciplined troops who make the people their enemies and who, like the fish out of its native element cannot live.

via On Guerrilla Warfare — Ch 6.