Wednesday, 15 February 2012

But why Diggers?I

History is a mirror for the present. In it's silent reflection we can learn lessons and see parallels in the world we live in today.

In England in the middle of the 17th century parliament had just fought a bloody war freeing the people from monarchy and rule by divine right. But as in a prequel to Orwell's Animal Farm. for the common man it was soon clear that nothing much had changed. The rich and noble still held sway, and enclosure of common land into private ownership was rife, a triumph of vested interest over common good.

It's against this background that Gerard Winstanley and the Diggers took over an area of common land to farm collectively. Winstanley wrote pamphlets arguing on moral and religious grounds against the exploitation of the poor and preached a new Commonwealth where the commons would 'be a treasury for all'

They're sometimes described as the first communists but today you can see them in a different light. Then as now

they are the 99%. Then as now they stood up against greed and the exploitation and monopolization of the commons.

Over the centuries people have always struggled against the inequality of power and money - the Diggers are just one chapter in that story. But as relevant today as it was in 1649.

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