[Diggers350] re: Robin and Dave TLIO Gathering 2011

Ben Mathers benjaminmathers at gmail.com
Fri Oct 14 13:00:48 BST 2011

[Hi Ben - hope you don't mind me commenting here because there is still Crofting - enshrined thank God in the Crofting Act(s?) - which is a vestige of the traditional naturally evolving land tenure system which guaranteed security of tenure but without ownership as such - the reason this is so important is because crofts can only be passed down through the family they are no good to banks as collateral... who can not sell them on - Crofting is an honourable tradition enshrined in law after the Battle Of The Braes at Portree in Skye where locals trounced an eviction party from Glasgow in the 1880s - Tony]

Really disappointed to have missed the gathering, but unfortunately
circumstances prevented us coming.

I'm interested in this land ownership debate. I think Gill lucidly points
out that no one can truly own the land (after all the land will always be
here, we are here a fleeting moment!), however sometimes land ownership may
be needed to bring about the change we desire.

I agree with this sentiment, however, surely it is the whole concept of land
ownership and private property that got us into this mess in the first
place? It is certainly right to argue for land to be broken up into small
lots for many to manage rather than the few, but if the premises of private
property still stand what stops the amalgamation of the lots again by those
that become stronger, richer and more powerful through their unscrupulous
actions? Nothing. If the concepts of private property are done away with,
and instead replaced with an understanding of mutual ownership of the land,
with small areas managed by individual families or groups, however people
wish to collectivise, then these benefits Gill mentions, of loving and
looking after the land would be no less tangible.

Access to land is the key, especially for those of us that have no money,
who don't particularly want money, and who don't particularly feel the need
of creating a legacy of wealth, whether that be through property or anything
else. Much better than private ownership, therefore, must be cooperative
ownership, those that work and rent or lease the land are owners as members
of the cooperative, and have security of tenure, but not privately, if self
serving motives begin to form they can be quickly stamped out, as can be
seen with whats been going on at the fox housing coop:


So maybe land ownership is fundamentally wrong, however, I would argue that
it is really private ownership that perpetuates the inequalities that are
fundamental to ecological destruction and social unrest etc. But some form
of collective ownership, or guardianship if we prefer (but still with some
legal form to maintain the land in that form, inhibiting the neighbor from
re-enclosing what has been made common), is surely the solution.


On 14 October 2011 07:31, "Gill Barron" <gill at ipaint.org.uk> wrote:

> **
> [Thanks Gill - two points - 1. land ownership is fundamentally wrong -
> rights for a family to reside forever are the tradition but as a Diggers
> list this idea should be fundamental to all we do. Nobody can 'own' the land
> - it is a free gift to mankind as a whole - and if we drop that as an ideal
> in compromises, we are lost - 2. then on council housing how do the ill,
> infirm, bonkers, disabled & old build their own? - They can't so social
> housing has to be one of our priorities - Tony]
> Hallo Dave,
> On behalf of the Monktonians and Simon and myself, many thanks for the
> thank-yous, it was terrific having everyone here and the old place got a
> blast of energy that'll linger on ... And a chance here to express my own
> frankly awestruck thanks to Mark, who dealt with the many-headed (though
> always charming) M Wyld admin with aplomb, and tenacity - and pulled off an
> extraordinary feat there. What fun was had. Cheers Mark. Wow!
> It was great to have some voices such as yours Dave from the traditional
> Left, what I think of as the "straight" ( in the old hippy sense) Left,
> making all those fundamental points loud and clear.
> However -
> For example, the call for TLIO to support the re-provision of Council
> housing, publicly provided housing -
> Well, for myself, I've never wanted to be provided for. I just want to be
> allowed to provide for myself. I hear your call for more Council Housing,
> but wonder how many of the folk on waiting lists (etc) wouldn't prefer to be
> allowed to build their own, low-impact low cost - dwelling? It is a fairly
> simple matter of judiciously re-writing the Planning Regs and that's what
> Chapter 7 has indefatigably campaigned for from the start. That, I think, is
> at the roots of TLIO. I want to stick with it.
> That is the - or at least, a - method for pursuing land justice. We do it.
> As for the ownership debate, I believe with several others - notably
> Brendan
> - that
> small-scale ownership is quite OK. It's human nature to look after - to
> love
> - what is yours. It really matters that what bits of this world we have, we
> should look after properly. I heartily agree that large-scale ownership (of
> anything) is destructive of the common good, but - a collective of
> well-tended individual small-holdings which enable the "owners" to express
> their ideas, their energy, to house and feed their families as they think
> best, is for me the ideal. That's what I strive for.
> Surely we are for the smallscale, the D I Y, low-impact, living a healthy
> productive life on the land ( it doesn't take much land) rather than the
> state-designed, state-provided, yer pays yer rent or else model ?
> There are also ways of living on land which isn't ours but we get to look
> after it, as here at Monkton. There are many approaches, depending on
> circumstances and opportunities, which are random. We should take (all) our
> chances. To me the whole idea of Land-ownership is a myth and a red herring
> anyway. Who can dare to claim to OWN land? We're just transient blips of
> life, just passing through - custodians, caretakers, never "owners". But
> those
> who do the looking-after - who sacrifice lives of urban fun to do the hard
> graft of growing the food that feeds the townsfolk (who may also be doing
> useful, reciprocal work) should get first dibs at the (temporary)
> "ownership" rights. (Stewardship is a useful concept here, somewhat
> recognised by the state land-management beaurocracy, taking a long-term
> view
> for the legacy that Land is)
> I don't think we're skirting round the issues of inequity in land ownership
> - we're addressing them from the ground up, literally, by getting as many
> of
> us lot as we possibly can back onto the land to dilute the Behemoth
> structures of mega-holdings currently smothering the country. It's a
> practical tactic. And it's working ... see for instance the new Welsh
> planning policy, OPD, One Planet Development ... hey! We will get there.
> Yup. The cows are mooooing, better go milk 'em. Lucky me.
> Good morning all, thanks for being here
> love from
> Gill
> http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk
> http://www.ipaint.org.uk
> on 13/10/11 9:00 PM, david bangs <dave.bangs at virgin.net> wrote:
> > Robin, I enjoyed your contribution.
> >
> > 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
> >
> >
> http://gco2e.blogspot.com/2011/10/this-land-is-ours-autumn-gathering.html
> >
> > All comments welcome
> >
> > Robin.
> >
> >
> >
> >

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