Sunday, August 31, 2008

A New England

Why is radicalism in Britain so conservative? I only ask because I was reading a Guardian piece about the Kingsnorth Climate Camp when I came across this indigestible paragraph:
The continuum of this culture of resistance, of a struggle for a commons, for control over one's own and one's family's life, for non-alienated labour and social interaction, stretches back to the Diggers, Levellers and the Luddites – English radicals struggling against the monarchy, taxes, land enclosure and austerity measures designed to empower a new industrial class, funded by a feudal and colonial land-grab and slavery.
It is always the Diggers and the Levellers and the Luddites, horny-handed sons of toil who achieved precisely bugger-all sometime in the dim and distant past. It is always like this. It was thus at all the meetings I attended in Red Lion Square, the Methodist Central Hall and various other locations: the English radical tradition, the making of the English Working Class, blah, blah, blah. The lefties in England care more about the past than the Tories. The English Radical Tradition is as quaint as Morris Dancing and cream teas. It is continued by earnest men in moleskin jackets and with beards, who write interminable pamphlets and sing insufferable folk songs. Things wouldn't be so bad if the English Radical Tradition were merely quaint, but it is also defeatist: we shall be overcome, like we were last summer and three hundred summers before that.

It is also batshit insane, as the article by Ms Jasiewicz attests: she describes a "controversial presentation by George Monbiot, in which he endorsed the use of the state as a partner in resolving the climate crisis." Yes, this is a place where the notion that the state might attain the modest status of a "partner" in "resolving" the climate crisis is regarded as controversial. That's right, the world is going to be saved by a bunch of crusties who reject the commodification of living space, and embrace collective enjoyment, dance and music.

Monbiot's response can be found here

1 comment:

Peter in Dundee said...

It is strange that they never mention the peak of English radicalism. They chopped a King's head off! Then of course all recanted when they didn't like their tyrant...

Where have all the really radical ones gone? The crusties must be a royalist front organisation set up to distract the proles from thoughts of ever doing it again.

That is why partnership with the state is so anathema, there would be a chance they would be seen to be too friendly with their handlers.