As we’ve written before here and on our sister blog, The Stirrer – We need to take back our land! – until we resolve the question who who owns the land, we’ll never be able to properly fulfil our dreams and ideals. Throughout history, there have been valiant attempts to resolve that question and return vast tracts of land back to the commons where they rightly belong. It’s in the spirit of inspiring people to keep on trying until we win that we present this:
Working Class History
On this day, 1 April 1649, a farmer and writer called Gerrard Winstanley along with a small group of 30 to 40 men and women occupied St. George’s Hill, Walton, Surrey, England and began tilling the land collectively. Over the coming months, numerous local people would join them and for the movement which became known as the Diggers.
Winstanley was a Protestant who began to write pamphlets criticising the church which held that “god is in the heavens above the skies”. Instead he argued that god was “the spirit within you”. In a pamphlet published in January 1649 he wrote: “In the beginning of time God made the earth. Not one word was spoken at the beginning that one branch of mankind should rule over another, but selfish imaginations did set up one man to teach and rule over another.”
The politics of the Diggers were a form of proto-communist anarchism, advocating direct action, common ownership and the dissolution of hierarchy.
For this and hundreds of other stories, get a copy of this book: Working Class History: Everyday Acts of Resistance & Rebellion.