Masterless Men

After the Battle of Waterloo, the British ruling class got in a bit of a panic about unemployed ex-servicemen roaming the country, worried that these ‘masterless men’ would cause trouble. A similar fear haunted Lloyd George’s Liberal-Tory coalition government after the end of the war a century ago.

The masterless men
strike cold fear in the soul
of the masters resolved
that they stay in control

Called up then cast out
when the fighting was done
With hunger and mastery
of fist and of gun

So come ministers and majors
to the coin-counters’ den
to take orders to take on
the masterless men

Now Waterloo’s over
they’re no longer required
But the owners move slowly
and few men are hired

Their labour power wasted
their families in need
They’ll take up rebellion
if anyone leads

There’s a council of war
with the sword and the pen
Use the law and use force
against masterless men

If the masterless man
plays the master at home
then the workers still serve
at the queen’s honeycomb

And James Connolly’s words
will call out form the grave
that the working man’s wife
is the slave of the slave

So come stand up together
and fight them again
to be masterless women
and masterless men

For men need no masters
and women no chains
So cast off subservience
and all take the reins

And fight for the day
when the future belongs
to the unbridled people
the masterless throngs

Yes, bring on the future
society when
the power’s with the masterless
women and men

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