World’s largest bee, Falher, Alberta
The ‘right to well-being’ means the possibility of living like human beings, and of bringing up children to be members of a society better than ours, whilst the ‘right to work’ only means the right to always be a wage-slave, a drudge, ruled by the middle class of the future. The right to well-being is the social revolution, the right to work means nothing but the treadmill of commercialism. It is high time for the worker to assert his right to the common inheritance, and to enter into possession of it.
Gostbustere: Speech by John Berger on accepting the Booker Prize for Fiction at the Café Royal in London on 23 November 1972
When John Berger won the Booker prize in 1972, he shared the prize with the Black Panthers, and gave this speech
…one does not have to be a novelist seeking very subtle connections to trace the five thousand pounds of this prize back to the economic activities from which they came. Booker McConnell have had extensive trading interests in the Caribbean for over 130 years. The modern poverty of the Caribbean is the direct result of this and similar exploitation. One of the consequences of this Caribbean poverty is that hundreds of thousands of West Indians have been forced to come to Britain as migrant workers. Thus my book about migrant workers would be financed from the profits made directly out of them or their relatives and ancestors.
Pow! take that Booker prize
You know as well as I do that the amount of money involved - as soon as one stops thinking of it as a literary prize - is extremely small. I badly need more money for my project about the migrant workers of Europe. The Black Panther movement badly needs money for their newspaper and for other activities. But the sharing of the prize signifies that our aims are the same. And by that recognition a great deal is clarified. And in the end - as well as in the beginning - clarity is more important than money.
What a bloke