[diggers350] Re: Resurrection and the land/direct democracy

Mark Barrett marknbarrett at googlemail.com
Tue Aug 19 15:16:30 BST 2008

Hi Everyone

Hopefully we'll all congregate in London on Saturday November 1st for the Peasant's revolt action to get to know each other better and debate these important matters and the way forward.

As I've said elsewhere, I think we need to make the issue relevant to
people's everyday lives in terms of decision making structures before we can take them forward into the implications for housing and indeed
kibbutz/ecovillages along the more radical Digger lines we all dream of.

More on Nov 1st at: http://www.peasantsrevolt.org and

Mark Barrett

PS See also, as referred to at Tony's interesting Indymedia post:

*Towards a New Social Covenant:*

(1) The reordering of society from the ground up so that executive power vests with the people on the street and in each locality, in accordance with the UN right to self-determination, EU subsidiarity and democracy as 'government by the people', and by way of the concept of Free Assembly.

(2) People's (Community Land Trust, CLT) buildings, with garden on every street: each to be run by the people who live around it as they see fit (and each Locality to be recognised in *meta-law* as a new social covenant Free Assembly).

(3) New communities enclosures: the ring fencing of parcels of land for the facilitation of low-impact, intentional, human-scale communities (kibbutz/commune style CLTs), each standing independently as a Free Assembly, with security of tenure and the same constitutional status as enjoyed by each locality outlined in (2) and (4).

(4) Free Assemblies to enjoy full executive and judicial powers of first instance, to be constitutionally recognised and include, alongside electoral processes delegate-system voting rights in Parliament, local taxation powers, the right to petition for and challenge new legislation, and constitutionality on all matters.

(5) Widespread expansion of affordable, low impact self-governing CLT,
self-build, 4th Option and SPAN style housing projects...

etc, at www.peopleincommon.org

And Tony's post at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/08/407051.html

2008/8/19 Michael Macpherson <mm at iniref.org>

>    Friends,
> May I suggest a way to add interest and people-power to proposals which
> involve fundamental change in public law and/or constitution.
> 1) Append to your reform proposal a demand for binding plebiscite on the
> proposal, to be held in UK or the political entity in question.
> 2) Consider a formal affiliation of the proposing group (the association or
> "citizens' initiative" etc.) and the "umbrella" group such as TLIO  to the
> Campaign for Direct Democracy, I&R – GB or a campaign with similar aims.
> Both James Armstrong and Simon Fairlie have expressed interest in the I&R –
> GB campaign www.iniref.org so I hope that co-operation can develop.
> Best regards,
> Michael
> p.s I&R ~ GB is independent of political parties. We have no "own" policy
> such as being against European Union or pro-fox hunting. However we can
> assist people and groups wishing to obtain a referendum (plebiscite) in a
> worthy cause.
> Dr. Michael Macpherson
> I&R ~ GB Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
> Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
> http://www.iniref.org/
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Malcolm Ramsay wrote:
> I'll wish you luck with this James, because I fully agree with you on the
> ill effects of corporate personhood and the iniquity of current land law -
> but do you really think we can arrive at a rational system by piling another
> absurdity on top of what we already have? 'Extending rights to dead
> peasants' seems an odd way to try and win recognition of the rights of the
> living (and I doubt you'll find much sympathy, either politically or from
> the courts).
> Personally I think we need to find some way of getting recognition of a
> birthright to land - I posted a piece on this forum a few years ago
> suggesting an approach that the courts might find difficult to reject, which
> might (just) conceivably lead to a change in the law without having to sway
> people politically. But I didn't get much feedback on it and I'm not in a
> position to take it anywhere myself - it needs someone who is landless (and
> willing to go out on a limb legally).
> I don't know whether you get many private responses to your posts, but I
> hope you don't get too disheartened at not getting more feedback through the
> group. I'd hoped, when I joined the diggers list, that there might be more
> of a dialogue going on about how we might effect a fundamental change, but
> mostly it doesn't seem to be that kind of forum and it's good to see you
> attempting to invigorate it in that direction; I only wish I could believe
> the proposals you put forward have any prospect of success, but they
> generally seem to need some groundswell of opinion - my feeling is we need
> to find some small action that will be like the dropped pebble that sets off
> an avalanche.
> To my mind you are focusing more on the fundamental problem in this post
> than you often have in the past, which I'm sure is what we have to do. But
> there is much in the current system which has real value and I don't think
> it's enough just to propose sweeping changes - we have to be able to show
> how they can be integrated with the rest of the law.
> Malcolm Ramsay
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: james armstrong <james36army at yahoo.com>
> To: diggers350 at yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Friday, 15 August, 2008 7:16:13 AM
> Subject: [diggers350] incorporating dead peasants
> Think the land law needs changing? Would you like to redistribute the
> 129,500 acres of the Duchy of Cornwall? Or the 60,000 of the Duke of
> Buccleuch? Was your local commons unfairly enclosed two hundred years ago
> and do you think this needs reversing? Don't want to pay £65,000 (and repay
> £214,000 on a mortgage on it) for the land underneath that new house you
> want? Don't have any land of your own to construct your brand new architect
> designed house at a cost of £55,000 because two thirds of the land of the UK
> is controlled by 190,000 families who privately tax you for the privilege of
> building the house you need?
> The doctrine of corporate personhood.
> Supreme court justice Morrison Renwick Waite in Santa Clara County v
> Southern Pacific Railroad. in 1886 said,
> 'The court does not want to hear argument whether the provision under the
> fourteenth amendment to the constitution which forbids a state to deny any
> person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to
> these corporations. We are alike of opinion that it does.'
> ….quoted in 'the Post Corporate World' by David Korton.
> We suggest that another apparent legal absurdity, incorporating dead
> peasants, can upset the single greatest means, minority control of the land,
> by which English people are exploited'
> Companies have fictional identity as 'corporations' that is they have been
> given fictional bodies to which are attached very real legal rights,
> including personal or human rights. Laws of long ago are very relevant
> to-day. Fundamental to our constitutional law and particularly to our land
> law are the statutes of William of Normandy. This is acknowledged by our
> foremost legal commentators, e.g. Prof FW Maitland who lectured in Cambridge
> University in 1899.
> Ranulf Glanvill's commentary, written 1187 to 1189, is still referred to by
> lawyers.
> It is a surprising oversight by which antiquity, human rights and
> incorporation are conjoined to extend to business enterprises a privileged
> status which has not been extended to meet the needs of present human
> society especially those particularly oppressed in the realm of housing.
> Extending rights to dead peasants will set in train the recognition that
> the ancient basis of our land ownership is now invalid and needs updating
> and carry the prospect of ending privilege.
> The Statute of Mortmain (i.e. 'dead hand') of 1289 recognised the danger of
> land being alienated in perpetuity.It limited grants of land to the
> church,arguing that the church never dies and that such land was lost to the
> state for ever.
> We should remember that with control of the land went control of the
> bodies, of the labour and of the lives of the peasants who dwelled on it.
> Still to-day, controlling land gives control over lives.
> It can be argued that because it is the lot of people to die, but not
> necessarily of corporations , then people are disadvantaged re 'fictional'
> corporations and trusts. This cannot be rational nor compatible with current
> equal opportunities legislation. Incorporating dead peasants is logical and
> less potentially harmful, in fact beneficial to present day society.
> Once their rights are posthumously recognised the injustice of the laws
> which oppressed them is apparent and with it the need to remedy the defect..
> Title to land based on such laws is invalidated by the recognition that such
> land law (and title) is inappropriate for current social needs. Laws needs
> to be scrapped or changed to bring them up to date with modern
> interpretations of equity. This is relevant to our land law which to an
> extraordinary degree, in UK, conserves a system of monopoly bulk
> landownership which acts against the interests of the majority- who are not
> bulk land owners yet for whom every activity requires access to land and
> land monopoly runs counter to anti-monopoly legislation such as the 1998
> Competition Act. (At present this act applies only to goods and services.)
> The Competition Law needs amending to extend to transactions in land.
> Incorporating dead peasants and recognising that their rights were abrogated
> by
> inequitable land law is the first step in ending exploitation of living
> people by means of current law which supports minority control of bulk land
> but is based on such shaky foundations. Alternatively we could wait for the
> other resurrection. JA

to join people in common, please go to

'A people's art is the genesis of their freedom'.
Claudia Jones
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