|latest… Diggers leave St Georges Hill The struggle for land continues across the UK|
The Diggers Community is a land occupation in the spirit of Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers. It is an ecovillage in the woods surrounding some of the UKs most private residences.
On 3rd April 1999, a ‘ragged band’ of landrights activists, history experts, local people, singers, stonemasons, and many more marched from Walton-on Thames to St George’s Hill in Surrey. With them they carried a stone commemorating the Diggers, a radical group who at the end of the English Civil War, set about trying to reclaim the land of Britain for those who were being dispossessed by enclosures and greed. Today, St Georges Hill is the Beverley Hills of London, an enclave for the ultra-rich. Not surprising, perhaps, that they could not find a place for our stone
When the march was over and the singing had been done, a number of people strolled across the estate and took occcupation of a small piece of land on the junction of Camp End Road ands Old Avenue, within the private St Georges Estate.
Within hours, a camp had sprung up, with tents, yurt, cooking facilities, compost toilets and a garden. As the first local visitors were welcomed at dusk, candle lanterns in the shape of giant vegetables lit up the trees. In a clearing stands the stone we brought from Walton on Thames churchyard.
The Diggers community has vowed to stay put until a permanent home is found for the Diggers Stone, with a public right of way leading to it.
Yet the village is more than just a protest. It is also a celebration of what people can do when they come together to make something beautiful happen. It is a place of welcome to all in a largely hostile environment.
Together, we can make ecologically sound and socially just communities. The model of existence represented by the mansions of St George’s Hill is essentially exploitative and unsustainable. It is a mode of existence so blatantly wasteful that we were able to feed a hundred people with the shops closed on Easter Sunday just from food we found thrown out in skips. It is a mode of existencve which is founded on the historical injustices of enclosure in this country and on the continuing injustices of landlordism and lifelordism in the worlds poorest countries.
The diggers community is a showpiece for the movement that rejects these things and puts forward a more sane way of being. The camp is buzzing with people who are involved in other projects to work on the land or in inner city allotments, people working to reform the law or to oppose genetic modification, people campaigning for greater access to the land and people working for change in the planning laws which make low impact living so hard.
Please do come and visit, join us for a cup of tea or an evening or a week, idealism hasn’t been so practical since the Diggers of 1649 :
Worke together, Eate bread together, Tell this all abroad