Date: Fri, Nov 18
Time: 6pm EST we’ll start gathering, give a little historical background on the film around 6:15, then roll film no later than 6:30, if that works for everyone
Topic: Winstanley Movie Night!
Who should come? Fellow travelers
Where: Jitsi for pre-/post-film hang, Metastream for the show; also free to watch anytime on archive.org
Time expectations: 96 min runtime, with some optional discussion before and afterwards, so like 2 hrs +/- 30 min in total
Would anyone else be interested in a virtual movie night featuring everyone’s favorite 17th Century proto-socialists, the Diggers???
Here’s the BFI’s description of Winstanley, from 1975:
1649. With poverty and unrest sweeping England, a group of impoverished men and women, known as the diggers, form a settlement on St George’s Hill, Surrey. Inspired by the visionary leadership of Gerrard Winstanley, the commune’s tireless, yet peaceful attempts to assert their right to cultivate and share the wealth of the common land, are met with crushing hostility from local landowners and government troops. With Winstanley, filmmakers Brownlow and Mollo (the creators of It happened Here) have produced an astonishingly authentic historical film, and a powerful, moving story of one extraordinary man’s vision.
I’ve wanted to do this with my fellow GOATs, like, foreverrrrr, and now seems like a great time as we’re approaching the one month mark since we all parted ways in Rhinebeck. During the conference, so many sessions made me think again of this concept of “enclosure”, both in terms of intellectual property as well as real property. I feel like this can be such a fruitful history to explore, especially for free software advocates, but also anyone involved with agriculture. It informs so much of what we refer to as the “commons” today.
Based on the poll, we’ll get together for a discussion starting at 6pm EST on Jitsi, and will start the screening at 6:30. The film is free on archive.org, but I figured we could try out this open source watch party alternative called Metastream, which seems pretty nice. If folks would find it helpful before we start the show, I can give some background on the tangled mess o’ history that is the English Civil War, b/c it might make it easier to keep track of who’s who. Then afterwards we can stick around for a bit to chit-chat, raise a virtual pint or two, and listen to a lil Chumbawumba.
- “Enclosure”, a really excellent Wikipedia article that gives full background of the process of enclosure that occurred over several centuries, from about the Late Middle Ages to as recently as the First World War, but really reaching a climax around the time of the English Civil War, which is the immediate context of the film.
- “The Secret History of the Magna Carta” by Peter Linebaugh, a Marxist historian and the preeminent scholar on the history of Magna Carta and the lesser known Charter of the Forest, which legally established certain universal rights to common land in England, the very rights that the subsequent Inclosure Acts dismantled.
“Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons, Global Challenges” by Elinor Ostrom, et al. This sums up her work debunking this
scientific theoryurban myth known as the Tragedy of the Commons. The notion was first popularized in 1968 by Garrett Hardin, who also happened to be a vocal eugenicist and xenophobe wouldn’t ya know. The SPLC described his writings as “frank in their racism and quasi-fascist ethnonationalism”, and yet they still carry undue influence today. A lot of people were bringing up Elinor Ostrom at the conference, though, so this is someone I’d like to be more familiar with too.