A snapshot from history showing that the spirit of direct action and mass civil disobedience is very much part of the fabric of English history.
We are told that in England there are no traditions of rebellion and that revolutionary ideas are an infection from the continent that is resisted by the more conservative traditions of the British people. This has never been the case and indeed our forbears of the 17th century were to demonstrate courage and ingenuity in fighting on a whole range of issues.
The myth of 1648: class, geopolitics, and the making of modern international relations - Benno Teschke
This work presents a myth-busting account of how class conflict and economic development, and not only interstate rivalry, led to the emergence of the modern state system.
Inspired by the groundbreaking historical work of Robert Brenner, Teschke argues that property relations provide the key to unlocking the changing meaning of 'international' across the medieval, early modern and modern periods.
Robert Brenner's influential essay on the origins of capitalism, arguing that the balance of class forces in the countryside was crucial to the rise and dominance of capitalist wage labour relations.
General interpretations of the processes of long-term economic change in late medieval and early modern Europe have continued to be constructed almost exclusively in terms of what might loosely be called "objective" economic forces, in particular demographic fluctuations and the growth of trade and markets. A variety of models have been constructed centring on these forces.
I remember when I first Silvia Federici's Caliban and the Witch I liked its synthesis of autonomist Marxist emphasis on class struggle and Foucauldian 'politics of the body', situating the womens struggles as a site of class conflict. But I also had some nagging doubts about elements of the historical narrative.
Since the book makes the explicit claim that patriarchal histories have written out women, I put this down to a dissonance between received patriarchal 'common sense' and the book, and gave the book the benefit of the doubt. Anyhow, I just got into a conversation about the scale of the witch hunts, and looked up Federici. Here's what she has to say:
An interesting look at the life and times of pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries. This article explores the somewhat libertarian and communalist values which guided the life of a pirate during those years.
"In an honest Service, there is thin Commons, low Wages, and hard Labour; in this, Plenty and Satiety, Pleasure and Ease, Liberty and Power; and who would not ballance Creditor on this Side, when all the Hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sower Look or two at choaking. No, a merry Life and a short one shall be my Motto" - Pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts.(1)
A short history of the Golden Age of Piracy and the origins and role of the pirates in the class struggle on the high seas at the time.
On the afternoon of the 26 July 1726, William Fly walked the steps of the Boston gallows. Unlike his fellow condemned, Fly had shown no fear at his fate. The great and the good who had gathered to see the pirate die were uncomfortable: he was not playing his agreed part in the moral drama. But, as Fly neared the rope, their fears it seemed were unfounded.
A history of the radical movements the Diggers and the Levellers which sprung up around the English Civil War.
A short history of puppets, puppeteers and working class politics from the English Civil War to the streets of Seattle in 1999.
The ‘carnivalesgue’ has often been a feature of popular rebellion. Recently we saw its self-conscious re-emergence in the US and the UK (notably on Reclaim the Streets actions). Masks, fancy dress and puppets perform a dual role, providing both a pleasurable escape from the routines of everyday life and means of disguise.
A declaration from the poor oppressed people of England, directed to all those that call themselves, or are called Lords of Manors, through this nation; That have begun to cut, or that through fear and covetousness, do intend to cut down the Woods and Trees that grow upon the Commons and Waste Land.
Printed in the Yeer, 1649.