A bit of English Social History

inti ananda intiananda at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Nov 6 20:45:22 GMT 2006

Hello. Just thought I´d send this article I wrote about the Diggers.. I appreciate that I am no doubt preaching to the converted here but I would appreiciate any comments and additional info if anyone feels inclined...
  Regards to all and thanks for the efforts to inform people of these issues.
  The Diggers.
  "Was the earth made to preserve a few covetous, proud men to live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasures of the Earth from others, that these may beg or starve in a fruitful land; or was it made to preserve all her children?" Gerrard Winstanley The New Law of Righteousness, 1649 
  An interesting, if little known, incident in British history took place in 1649, when, in a climate of dis-illusion with the bourgeois revolution (more like a structural readjustment program) a small group of people went to dig up St Georges Hill in Surrey.
  Nothing remarkable in that, you may think, well, at first sight, no but in reality the digging up of St Georges Hill in April 1649 and the planting of beans, carrots and parsnips by a small band of poor farmers that came to be known as “The Diggers” was the very ‘subversive’ act of claiming what was then common land for the common people, since, at that time, groups of armed men, led by Oliver Cromwell were in the business of dividing the spoils of the seven year civil war for themselves which they did by enclosing common land and converting it into private property.
  The view of the Diggers was this;
  "Propriety and single interest divides the people of a land and the whole world into parties and is the cause of all wars and bloodshed and contention everywhere" Gerrard Winstanley & 14 others TheTrue Levellers Standard Advanced - April, 1649
  The digging up of St Georges Hill and, later at other sites in Kent (Cobham), Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire by small groups of landless peasants was inspired by the vision of Gerrard Winstanley and others who wrote pamphlets that expounded a view of the treason being carried out by the leaders of the English revolution against the common people that they had promised to liberate.
  As Winstanley writes:
  "Oh thou Powers of England , though thou hast promised to make this People a Free People, yet thou hast so handled the matter, through thy self-seeking humour, That thou hast wrapped us up more in bondage, and oppression lies heavier upon us;.......confounding all sorts of people by they Government of doing and undoing." 
  The English revolution, although calling for freedom for the people, a new constitution and an end to poverty, was orchestrated by people that had their own personal interests higher on the agenda than those of the people as a whole.
  In 1649 the war had just ended, the King was dead and already there was discontent in Cromwell’s revolutionary army. A man called John Lilburne, head of the Levellers, a group that had formed within the army ranks in order to stand together and demand the rights of the people to an equal treatment and to assure that the revolution did what its leaders were promising, was imprisoned along with others for daring to criticise Cromwell and his collaborators.
  Lilburne drew up The Agreement of The People that set out what came to be a blueprint for other revolutionary movements. 
  Included in the Agreement of the People (1649): 
   right to for all people to vote for their representatives   
   right against self-incrimination   
   freedom of religion and press   
   equality of all persons before the law   
   no judgment touching life, liberty or property but by jury trial   
   abolition of capital punishment except for murder   
   no military conscription of conscientious objectors   
   no monopolies, tithes, or excise taxes   
   taxation proportionate to real or personal property   
   grading of punishments to fit the crime   
   abolition of imprisonment for debt 
  The Levellers demanded no more than equal rights, fair distribution of wealth for all the people and a democratic voice. Lilburne and others were banged up in the Tower of London for their audacity. Lilburne, a lieutenant colonel in the parlimentary army  also known as ‘Freeborn John’ was an intelligent man, he could have received a lucrative post in Cromwell´s new parliament but chose instead to stand up for the rights of the people.
  He was a radical in just about everything and devoted his life to speaking up for the rights of his fellow man, losing his individual freedom in the process but he never lost his voice or his will to defend the just cause, continuing the fight by writing pamphlets in prison and smuggling them out to be circulated among the people.  He ended his days still imprisoned and became a symbol of the imprisonment of all freeborn Englishmen.
  He strongly defended the cause of thousands of soldiers that fought in the war but were disbanded without pay.  The answer given by Cromwell, who had previously signed treaties and made contracts and promises to the Levellers, was to round up and shoot protesters thus showing his true face. 
  The post revolution years sparked a rush for land and resources whose result was the dividing of the common land, that at that time was still ample, and the concentration of power and capital in the hands of the emerging capitalist class.
  The British Revolution, in conclusion, amounted to a rebellion of certain of the already monied or titled men of the country, who under the guise of having a social agenda tricked the people into fighting a war that had the real aim of consolidating their interests.
  This ‘original treason’ marked the beginning of parliamentary power  that replaced the kingly power. Clearly, lies are the hallmark of the British Government and from that day until now we can see that things haven’t changed much.
  After this, the Monarch was no longer ‘God’, no longer absolute in his power.
  Logically the Kings and Queens that followed under the revised constitution (constitutional monarchy) were still among the richest in the land but now a more dynamic economic structure developed that enabled the initiation of the industrial age. It is not dis-similar to the situation today when governments have become servants of the corporations. In that time the growing business interests of the gentry demanded that the Monarchy have its powers reduced that they could be free to persue their interests.
  The development of technology in that time was going in the direction of industrialisation. Foreign markets and sources of raw materials were opening due to the European exploration and conquest throughout the world.
  America had been discovered and it was important to certain people that the control of the resources and goods should be in their hands, thus, post revolution, England was in a social upheaval and the large scale enclosure of the land led to hunger, poverty and homelessness for many. 
  The masses, dispossessed of the few rights they had enjoyed such as access to common land (and access to land is the basic right of all peoples), later became the workforce that was to man the mills and factories of the industrial revolution.
  It has been said that capitalism began in England and it is true to say that in order to build the system that dominates all the lands of the Earth today, first it was necessary for those first capitalists to subjugate their own land.
  Gerrard Winstanley, John Lilburne and many others were not happy to conform to the situation. They saw the erosion of the basic and only rights that the country people of that time had, the right to take advantage of that common resource that was the common land.
  The common land was where the people could graze their livestock, it was also a source of wild food (fruits and nuts among others), game, medicines, firewood and much more. Such a resource was invaluable to a people that lived in a feudal system. Replacing that feudal system should have brought them benefits but instead it took everything away from them.
  It went against the ancient spirit of the people that said “The land and the people are one.”
  So the land was divided among those men that by force and cunning had designed things such that they could profit from that which, in reality, as the Diggers proclaimed, is a common treasury for all., or, as Winstanley puts it;
   And hereupon, The Earth (which was made to be a Common Treasury of relief for all, both Beasts and Men) was hedged in to In-closures by the teachers and rulers, and the others were made Servants and Slaves: And that Earth that is within this Creation made a Common Store-house for all, is bought and sold, and kept in the hands of a few, whereby the great Creator is mightily dishonoured, as if he were a respector of persons, delighting in the comfortable Livelihoods of some, and rejoycing in the miserable poverty and straits of others. From the beginning it was not so.
  It has long been the way that the rulers have gained their power and advantage by means of aggression, that spirit of competition and ambition that takes hold of the minds of some, leading them to tread on the meek as if they were the runt of the litter.
  This is the animal instinct and here we can say that history demonstrates that it is the animal instinct, rather than intelligence, that rules us humans. Our intelligence has been used in order to satisfy the animal instinct rather than to create a situation that goes beyond this mechanical state.  
  As South American wiseman, Samael Aun Weor, says, “Man is an intellectual animal” i.e. an animal that thinks. Until we have dominion over ourselves we will ever remain so.
  That is the blind instinct that drives man and history and until we become conscious and put intelligence in charge of the animal instinct we shall be condemned to repeat history until, that is, our collective animal instinct uses the intelligence to create a techno-war that destroys us all. In truth, we are, in this respect, worse than animals because at least the animals don’t destroy their race.
  For this reason the use of our intelligence is a big responsibility.
  Remarkably, this in the dialect of today is not far off from the way that those peasants that went to dig up St Georges Hill were thinking.
  They saw mans loss of ownership of himself, his betrayal of his divine nature and his commitment to competition against his fellows as the root of the problem facing them in those days..
  They saw the devil in the actions of the rich and they considered that the truly spiritual response to that was to restore the Earth to the status of being a common treasury for all.
    "True religion and undefiled is this, To make restitution of the earth which hath been taken and held from the common people by the power of Conquests formerly and so set the oppressed free." 
  "Money must not any longer....be the great god that hedges in some and hedges out others, for money is but part of the Earth; and after our work of the Earthly Community is advanced, we must make use of gold or silver as we do of other metals but not to buy or sell." 
  And so as the powers of England lifted their Imperilistic heads upon the back of lies and false promises we see that reflected today in the lies told by Blair and Bush in order to justify the continued domination of the Earths resources in benefit of the few and at the expense of the many.
  For England to dominate the world first those powers had to dominate their own peoples. This was essential in the development of the project of The Great Beast, sinister psychic force dwelling in the mind of man and impulsing toward all manner of abominations
  Check this following excerpt from the True Levellers standard advanced
 pamphlet produced in April 1649.
  And the Reason is this, Every single man, Male and Female, is a perfect Creature of himself; and the same Spirit that made the Globe, dwels in man to govern the Globe; so that the flesh of man being subject to Reason, his Maker, hath him to be his Teacher and Ruler within himself, therefore needs not run abroad after any Teacher and Ruler without him, for he needs not that any man should teach him, for the same Anoynting that ruled in the Son of man, teacheth him all things. 
  But since humane flesh (that king of Beasts) began to delight himself in the objects of the Creation, more then in the Spirit Reason and Righteousness, who manifests himself to be the indweller in the Five Sences, of Hearing, Seeing, Tasting, Smelling, Feeling; then he fell into blindness of mind and weakness of heart, and runs abroad for a Teacher and Ruler: And so selfish imaginations taking possession of the Five Sences, and ruling as King in the room of Reason therein, and working with Covetousnesse, did set up one man to teach and rule over another; and thereby the Spirit was killed, and man was brought into bondage, and became a greater Slave to such of his own kind, then the Beasts of the field were to him. 
  To be born in England and grow up hearing of our glorious conquests, our great empire, our ‘saving the world’ from Hitler and so much more it is always sobering to hear the story from the side of the people that were subdued and made to pay their dues to the badly named “commonwealth”. What commonwealth when the common wealth was taken from the people without so much as a ‘by your leave?’
  We only need to start looking close to home at the Highland clearances in Scotland and the treatment given to our Irish brothers as we exported wheat grown on Irish soil whilst famine raged in that ancient land decimating its once abundant population.
  Clearly the ‘selfish imagination’ that Winstanley speaks of had entered into the minds and hearts of Cromwell and his companions making them instruments of the diabolical plan that has been engineered through the ages with the aim of enslaving both mankind and creation.
  Today we see the process reaching its culmination. The stakes are higher than ever and in light of all this Gerrard Winstanley looks like a prophet that was making a last stand for the true spirit of the real people of the ancient land of Albion.
  What would Gerrard Winstanley and The Diggers have said if they had been alive to see the extent to which all the things that they saw happening in their time have developed. Since then it is not only the English peasant farmers that have been chained to the yoke of the crazy capitalism that dominates mankind. Now it is all the world and the Great Beast has grown since those days to the point where it seems bent of destroying all in order to satisfy the lust for power that it has.
  In truth things have not changed much. The final result of The Diggers stance against the emissaries of that selfish imagination was that Cromwell and his companions sent hired thugs in order to destroy the Diggers corn and cottages and disperse those peaceful people that had no weapons, their only weapon being the word that the were inspired to commit to paper dictated to them by what they called the spirit of true reason, the indweller that is in the heart of every man. 
  The Diggers were hounded out wherever they tried to settle. Women and children were beaten black and blue and in the end they disappeared into an unknown destiny because after that time no more is known of what became of them but their vision has not been forgotten by all.
  Surely a group of peasants with no money, no weapons and a disposition to work the earth were of no threat to the government of the day, or where they.
  What seems to be true is that they were precisely the biggest threat of all to the system that was developing its power and surely Cromwell sensed the danger of these peoples message because the only way that a system of injustice such as the one we have today on planet Earth can survive is if people go along with and support it. 
  If we simply retract our implicit submission to this dark force and decide simply to live as brothers and sisters with the Earth as a common treasury then the tyrants would have no-one left to bully and would necessarily have to disappear. This is the biggest danger for them and they know it.
  For that reason today nothing has changed and no doubt for even thinking these thoughts I am already a terrorist and a danger to civilization.
  So be it, the important thing is that the spirit of The Diggers never dies and that the vision lingers on, so please forward this message to everyone you can and let them know that the spirit of freedom is alive an well and doesn’t intend to die.
  On that note we will leave you with a final quote from Gerrard Winstanley and The Diggers with a few additions in order to update it:
Poor oppressed People of England, Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Iraq, Afganistan, Lebanon, Kosovo and all the world. 
  We whose narnes are subscribed, do in the name of all the poor oppressed people in England (and all the world), declare unto you, that call your selves lords of Manors, and Lords of the Land Presidents of the USA, exectjives of Haliburton Inc etc, That in regard the King of Righteousness, our Maker, hath inlightened our hearts so far, as to see, That the earth was not made purposely for you, to be Lords of it, and we to be your Slaves, Servants, and Beggers; but it was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of persons: And that your buying and selling of Land, and the Fruits of it, one to another, is The cursed thing, and was brought in by War; which hath, and still does establish murder, and theft, In the hands of some branches of Mankinde over others, which is the greatest outward burden, and unrighteous power, that the Creation groans under: For the power of inclosing Land, and owning Propriety, was brought into the Creation by your Ancestors by the
 Sword; which first did murther their fellow Creatures, Men, and after plunder or steal away their Land, and left this Land successively to you, their Children. And therefore, though you did not kill or theeve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand, by the power of the Sword; and so you justifie the wicked deeds of your Fathers; and that sin of your Fathers, shall be visited upon the Head of you, and your Children, to the third and fourth Generation, and longer too, till your bloody and theeving power be rooted out of the Land. 
  And further, in regard the King of Righteousness hath made us sensible of our burthens, and the cryes and groanings of our hearts are come before him: We take it as a testimony of love from him, That our hearts begin to be freed from slavish fear of men, such as you are; and that we find Resolutions in us, grounded upon the inward law of Love, one towards another, To Dig and Plough up the Commons, and waste Lands through England and all the world; and that our conversation shall be so unblameable, That your Laws shall not reach to oppress us any longer, unless you by your Laws will shed the innocent blood that runs in our veins. 
  For though you and your Ancestors got your Propriety by murther and theft, and you keep it by the same power from us, that have an equal right to the Land with you, by the righteous Law of Creation, yet we shall have no occasion of quarrelling (as you do) about that disturbing devil, called Particular propriety: For the Earth, with all her Fruits of Corn, Cattle, and such like, was made to be a common Store-house of Livelihood to all Mankinde, friend, and foe, without exception. 
  And to prevent your scrupulous Objections, know this, That we Must neither buy nor sell; Money must not any longer (after our work of the Earths community is advanced) be the great god, that hedges in some, and hedges out others; for Money is but part of the Earth: And surely, the Righteous Creator, who is King, did never ordain, That unless some of Mankinde, do bring that Mineral (Silver and Gold) in their hands, to others of their own kinde, that they should neither be fed, nor be clothed; no surely, For this was the project of Tyrant-flesh (which Land-lords are branches of) to set his Image upon Money. And they make this unrighteous Law, That none should buy or sell, eat, or be clothed, or have any comfortable Livelihood among men, unless they did bring his Image stamped upon Gold or Silver in their hands. 
  And whereas the Scriptures speak, That the mark of the Beast is 666, the number of a man; and that those that do not bring that mark in their hands, or in their foreheads, they should neither buy nor sell, Revel. 13.16. And seeing the numbering Letters round about the English money make 666, which is the number of that Kingly Power and Glory, (called a Man) And seeing the age of the Creation is now come to the Image of the Beast, or Half day. And seeing 666 is his mark, we expect this to be the last Tyrannical power that shall raign; and that people shall live freely in the enioyment of the Earth, without bringing the mark of the Beast in their hands, or in their promise; and that they shall buy Wine and Milk, without Money, or without price, as Isiah speaks. 
   Shamanic and Ecological Association.

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