A friend recently recommended Winstanley the 1975 film by Kevin Brownlow with Andrew Mollo. The film offers a glimpse into the life and times of Gerrard Winstanley, 17th century English Protestant religious reformer and political activist.
In his time Winstanley was famous for his pamphlet ‘The New Law of Righteousness’. For those disenfranchised after the English civil war and the enclosure of common lands Winstanley’s writing were a source of inspiration.
“1649. With poverty and unrest sweeping England, a commune is formed to assert the right to cultivate and share the wealth of the common land. Led by Winstanley, the ‘Diggers’ are met with crushing hostility from local landowners and government troops.” – http://filmstore.bfi.org.uk/acatalog/info_22552.html
The struggle of Winstanley and the Diggers is echoed today, when people world over respond to the ongoing crisis of neo-liberal enclosures of our natural and cultural heritage. Like the Diggers we seek solutions, building through solidarity a shared vision of life lived in common.