11:46 AMCommunists and sexual revolutionaries
a. "True levelers" in the time of the English revolution
1. Revolutionaries are characterized by transition to another system, whose essence is not yet clear to them. They deny the old world, but cannot name the new. Here's a story from David Hume about one of the soldiers of Cromwell: “[he] went into the church-yard, and there told them, that he had a vision wherein he received a command from God, to deliver his will unto them": 1) the Sabbath is abolished as ceremonial; 2) the tythes are abolished; 3) “That ministers are abolished as antichristian, and of no longer use, now Christ himself descends into the hearts of his saints, and his spirit enlightened them with revelations and inspirations”; 4) “Magistrates are abolished as useless, now that Christ himself is in purity amongst us, and hath erected the kingdom of the saints upon earth. Besides they are tyrants, and oppressors of the liberty of the saints, and tie them to laws and ordinances, mere human inventions”; 5) “Then putting his hand into his pocket, and pulling out a little bible, he shewed it open to the people, saying, Here is a book you have in great veneration, consisting of two parts, the old and new testament: I must tell you it is abolished; it containeth beggarly rudiments, milk for babes. But now Christ is in glory amongst us, imparts a farther measure of his spirit to his saints than this can afford. I am commanded to burn it before your face.”
Another of Cromwell's soldiers says: "If I am to worship the sun and the moon, as the Persians, or this tin cup, whose business is this?" In the language of today, we would call such soldiers "anarchists". In the language of XVII century, they were called "levelers".
2. An intuitive search for the truth starts. The most radical theories find their way to the hearts of men. One such current in XVII century was pantheism. Pantheism means deification of Nature, and finds its greatest representative in Spinoza (1632-1667). From Pantheism follows that to worship God means to know Nature. Pantheism forms a transitional stage in progressive world view from Protestantism of Martin Luther (1483-1546) to Materialism of the Age of Enlightenment (XVIII century, etc.) One of the people who preached pantheistic point of view was Gerrard Winstanley (1609-1676), a leader of the "true levelers”. He said that to talk about God outside his creations is like talking about the world lying on the other side of the Moon and the Sun. If a person is to search for God outside himself, and to praise God which is at some distance, he praises nobody. To know God is to know his creations, as God dwells in every visible body. Main social teaching of Winstanley was "work together, eat your bread together". In order to do this, land should not belong to anybody. He says that until there are people who call this land "theirs", the common people will never be free. Yet, Winstanley doesn't extend his common ownership teaching to the family. He says that for each person his house is his property, as well as all the interiors and products in it. And if someone dares to take away the house, the wife and the children of a person, such one must be seen as a criminal and be punished.
3. Another leader of diggers was Walwyn. He led people towards atheism. For example, he would collect them in his house, and ask questions: "How can you prove that the Bible is the word of God?" Also, he takes young people to different churches, points to how preachers at one church curse the preachers at another one, explains contradictions in Church teachings, and thus turns the people against religion. Walwyn affirms that hell is the consciousness of evil people in the present life, and that it is stupid to spend hours in prayer when real religiousness consists in helping the poor ones.
The general social order which the diggers preached we can characterize as "anarchist", as they saw no need for special state machine. Walwyn says that if there is an argument, a shoe master or some other laborer should be invited to resolve the problem, main qualification being that he should be honest and just; after resolving the difficulty, he can go back to his work.
4. The way towards their goal the diggers see through experience of primitive Christians: “The Community amongst the primitive Christians, was Voluntary, not Coactive; they brought their goods and laid them at the Apostles feet, they were not enjoyned to bring them, it was the effect of their Charity and heavenly mindednesse, which the blessed Apostles begot in them … it was not esteemed duty, but reckoned a voluntary act occassioned by the abundant measure of faith that was in those Christians and Apostles” (“A Manifestation from Lilburn, Walwyn, … styled Levellers …” 1649).
5. Wikipedia writes on the Diggers: “The Council of State received a letter in April 1649 reporting that several individuals had begun to plant vegetables in common land on St George's Hill, Weybridge near Cobham, Surrey at a time when food prices reached an all-time high. Sanders reported that they had invited "all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink, and clothes." They intended to pull down all enclosures and cause the local populace to come and work with them. They claimed that their number would be several thousand within ten days. "It is feared they have some design in hand… At the behest of the local landowners, the commander of the New Model Army, Sir Thomas Fairfax, duly arrived with his troops and interviewed Winstanley and another prominent member of the Diggers, William Everard. Everard suspected that the Diggers were in serious trouble and soon left the group. Fairfax, meanwhile, having concluded that Diggers were doing no harm, advised the local landowners to use the courts… The harassment from the Lord of the Manor, Francis Drake (not the famous Francis Drake, who had died more than 50 years before), was both deliberate and systematic: he organised gangs in an attack on the Diggers, including numerous beatings and an arson attack on one of the communal houses. Following a court case, in which the Diggers were forbidden to speak in their own defence, they were found guilty of being Ranters, a radical sect associated with liberal sexuality (though in fact Winstanley had reprimanded Ranter Laurence Clarkson for his sexual practices). Having lost the court case, if they had not left the land, then the army could have been used to enforce the law and evict them; so they abandoned Saint George's Hill in August 1649, much to the relief of the localfreeholders… Some of the evicted Diggers moved a short distance to Little Heath in Surrey. 11 acres (4.5 ha) were cultivated, six houses built, winter crops harvested, and several pamphlets published. After initially expressing some sympathy for them, the local lord of the manor of Cobham, Parson John Platt, became their chief enemy. He used his power to stop local people helping them and he organised attacks on the Diggers and their property. By April 1650, Platt and other local landowners succeeded in driving the Diggers from Little Heath.”
Few interesting details: when the leaders of the diggers appeared before Fairfax with hats on their heads, they were asked why they didn't take them off. They replied that he was a man like them. Can you imagine today's Englishman, or Englishwoman, daring to hold their dignity in the same way, when speaking to their magistrates?
Also, let's notice the sexual revolutionaries in the times of the English revolution: the "Ranters". Their leader, Laurence Clarkson, believed "that a believer is free from all traditional restraints, that sin is a product only of the imagination, and that private ownership of property is wrong." Wikipedia writes that they used nudity as a form of social protest.
b. Diggers in our days
1. Just like we can observe primitive stages in development of man by looking at societies of aborigines for example in Australia, or some tribes in Africa, or Latin America, so we can observe revolutionary movements that took place some centuries ago by looking at revolutionary movements in some backward countries today. In these countries, the peasants loose their land due to the latifundinst character of land ownership. The peasants do not want to go to large cities, such as Sao Paulo, as they know about the terrible conditions in which people live there in favelas. So, they unite and attempt to take the land forcefully from large landowners (latifundists).
The photographs below are taken from magazine "Paris Match", with comments of Brazilian journalist Sebastiao Salgado.
This is a photo of an ordinary peasant family without land. You can read a lot on their faces.
This is a photo of the Brazilian peasant's leader, Joao Stedile, 42 at the time.
Here we see landless peasants of Brazil marching to obtain land.
The same peasants, up close. The action is at a farm called Xingo, on North-East of Brazil.
Here we see a column of 12000 men storming into a farm on the south of Brazil.
Here, the peasants are moving to their new territory.
Here, we see the peasants working the land they seized.
The peasants are resting after work. In the distance you see carcasses of the future houses.
This is a school for children of the peasants. Seizure of land on this farm in Santa Clara the government declared "illegal".
Let's notice that in parallel with this struggle for land we see in Brazil carnivals which are distinguished by extreme eroticism and open sexuality.
Carnival in Brazil, 2015, read here (in Russian)
If we didn't see the connection in the English revolution before, we would have thought that these are two separate events. But the connection between the diggers and the ranters makes us think that there must be a connection between the "illegal" struggle of the peasants to obtain land, in Brazil, and open sexuality of the Rio carnivals.
It is probably correct to assert that every social revolution is associated with sexual revolution, which is a progressive liberation of humanity from restraints of class society. As society is freed from restraints of private property and class divisions, it progressively frees itself from restraints on sexual, that is innermost, expression of our humanity.
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