[Diggers350] The Robin Smith Institute: This Land Is Ours Autumn Gathering 2011

david bangs dave.bangs at virgin.net
Thu Oct 13 20:58:30 BST 2011

Robin, I enjoyed your contribution. More, please. 

Certainly many at the gathering were concerned about lack of access to small land parcels for food growing. That is as one would expect and as it should be. I would agree, though, that it did sometimes sound as though the big issues of inequity in land ownership and private landownership were skirted around.

Private and unequal landownership has so many huge consequences...

- tying us into the capitalist global food economy (with all the consequences in terms of bad/damaging food, elimination of land-based labour, horrible impoverishment in the neo-colonial world, and the destruction of nature), 

- driving many folk into housing need and bad housing and impoverishing them with grotesque mortgages and rents, 

- taking good food growing land out of production and devoting it to the leisure needs of the owning class or to non-agricultural production (like biofuels).

I'm sorry that you "could not find a single person opposed to private ownership of land". You missed me !!...a shame we didn't meet and talk...and there were others there, too, for sure.

What's my own initial penn'orth on the gathering ???

- I was exhilarated to meet so many folk who are passionate about the injustice of our land system and so committed to ending the madness of our capitalist food production system...so much so that I found myself welling up after I'd arrived and having to fight for a moment to stop myself showing it...

Please tell me, someone, that the gathering ended with a resolution to expand the TLIO core group and re-commit to long term work on land justice. (I left before the last plenary).

Big, big credit to Mark Brown (double credit) ...and to Simon Fairlie, and James A, and Jyoti (BRILLIANT farm visit), and Gill, and all the other organisers and speakers and core group folk  and Monkton Wyld Ct residents. You all did fantastically. Really nice to meet you in person, Simon, after so many emails and the odd tiff over the years.

- I was really pleased to hear about all the energy going into campaigning for local affordable housing and self-build, to see how the madness of the housing market was driving out local farming families and poorer folk from even the remoter countryside (the film by Russ, the Craswall farmer and his colleagues) and to hear about the campaigning against mega farms.

- I thought the workshops on the CAP and GM did approach the wider issues of land ownership, mostly tangentially but also directly...both were excellent.

- I enjoyed the contribution from the Labour Land campaign on Land Value Tax. We'll have to debate that much more.

- I thought that the lack of any strong attempt to locate issues of inequity in a class context showed how badly our politics have regressed in the past 30 years. That class politics is a rural culture that was strong in some parts of the UK and has not yet been driven out completely. 

It is that labour movement culture (nothing to do with the Labour Party) which will serve to reconnect all the issues that folk were most concerned about with the issues preoccupying the urban majority.

...For most of us, like myself, are townies and always will be...but I love nature and the countryside more than anything else in my life apart from my family and pals. I do not want to grow food, but I do want to feel that the land, the countryside and nature belongs - co-equally - to me and to all other folk, and that we belong to it...

Dave Bangs

Brighton Socialist Resistance

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robin Smith 
  To: undisclosed-recipients
  Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 11:48 AM
  Subject: [Diggers350] The Robin Smith Institute: This Land Is Ours Autumn Gathering 2011


  My report can be found here


  All comments welcome


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