Saturday, July 17, 2010

The works of Gerard Winstanley

Michael Braddick reviews the new two volume publication of the works of the Gerard Winstanley edited by Thomas Corns, Ann Hughes and David Lowenstein. Published by Oxford University Press, this two volume work brings together the writings of Winstanley, who during the English Civil War provided a detailed theory of a kind of Christian anarchism, and combined theory with action as one of the key players in the Digger movement, which advocated direct action by the landless poor to takeover and cultivate the wastes and commons.

"We justifie our act of digging upon that hill, to make the earth a common treasurie. First, because the earth was made by Almighty God, to be a common treasury of livelihood for whole mankind in all his branches, without respect of persons; and that not any one according to the Word of God (which is love) the pure Law of rightousnesse, ought to be Lord or landlord over another, but whole mankind was made equall and knit into one body by one spirit of love, which is Christ in you the hope of glory, even all the members of mans body, called the little world, are united into equality of love, to preserve the whole body."

Michael Braddick's articulate review is available free online on the Times Literary Supplement website.