Ken Loach on Gerrard Winstanley
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Description
Veteran British film director Ken Loach nominates the 17th century radical pamphleteer and and leader of the Diggers, Gerrard Winstanley. Born in Wigan in 1609, Winstanley began writing religious pamphlets after his cloth selling business in London went bankrupt and he was forced to move to the country. There his 'heart was filled with sweet thoughts ... that the earth shall be made a common treasury of livelihood to all mankind', for 'the great Creator Reason, made the Earth to be a Common Treasury... for Man had Domination given to him, over the Beasts, Birds and Fishes; but not one word was spoken in the beginning, that one branch of mankind should rule over another." Winstanley began to dig a nearby wasteland, calling on others - rich and poor -to join him in the digging, which he believed would start a revolution and feed the poor. His ideas were radical, communal, spiritual and deeply challenging. Within a year the Diggers had been aggressively expelled from their site of occupation. The late Tony Benn called the Diggers, 'the first true socialists', but Winstanley has also been claimed by anarchists and environmentalists. With Emeritus Professor of Early Modern history, Ann Hughes. Presented by Matthew Parris and produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Ellie Richold
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