The 360th Anniversary of the Diggers…

I have some genealogical history from this time—an Uncle named Elias Ashmole, Loyalist, Astrologer and Alchemist and a collector of antiquities (always a bit dodgy)—which made this historical piece from Marina Pepper in the Guardian Online, entitled G20: In memory of the Diggers, all the more interesting.

But either way, it is timely and instructive, and just goes to show you about how with Power, ‘La plus ça change…’:

After a moving account of home displacements in Britain and around the world, Marian writes:

“[In Britain last year] 40,000 homes were repossessed; this year it could be 75,000. I’m taking action for our ‘common treasury’…

And then retells a little history:

In 1649 England’s revolution was over, the King’s head was off [Charles I] and Cromwell was mad [in every sense of the term—just ask the Irish]. The common lands, instead of being opened up for the people, fell into the hands of profiteering prototype money men [wow, that’s so weird and primitive. Glad it’s not like that now].

Demanding only self-sufficiency [how dare they!], suggesting land be held as “a common treasury for all” [imagine!], the Diggers occupied St Georges Hill in Surrey—where the likes of Max Clifford now play golf and tennis after a hard day making squillions.

…the Diggers were beaten and in some cases hacked to death for their troubles. Nice.

In their memory and in solidarity with the world’s diaspora, I’m taking direct action with the Black Horse at the Bank of England on Wednesday. We’re carrying pillows – a symbol of our fundamental human right to shelter, and to be used in self-defence should the coppers try to “cut us down”.

What a world. Thank god for pillow carrying activists saying, “You know, this may not be right.”

And I love this line from wikipedia, about my ol’ Uncle Elias:

“In 1646–47, Ashmole made several simultaneous approaches to rich widows in the hope of securing a good marriage.”


Lots of love to you and yours, and may you have shelter and tenderness…



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