The Commons or the True Commons

As part of his whistlestop tour of England, we are very pleased to have Peter Linebaugh visiting Bristol. His co-authored book (with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic both inspired BRHG and provided Hydra Bookshop with its name. His recently published Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (PM Press, 2014) provides the basis of this talk. Setting out to George's Hill in April 1649 Winstanley and a dozen others announced in […]

HOOF New Year’s Message

New Year 2014 message from Rich Daniels, Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) chairman. THREE years ago, on January 3, 2011, more than 3,000 of us gathered during a blizzard the field at Speech House to send a message to the Government: the Forest of Dean belongs to us, all of us, and we will not allow it to be sold off, disposed or transferred to private hands. Never! Six weeks later, we were told they’d got the message and the Government performed a ‘mea culpa’. “We’re sorry. We got it wrong.” But we […]

The Crimes of Walter Virgo and the “Blakeney Gang”

In the Forest of Dean towards the end of the nineteenth century the ‘Blakeney Outrages’ of the 1890s led to Walter Virgo and the “Blakeney Gang” being accused of acts of poisoning, maiming, stealing, poaching, midnight raids, dynamiting, arson and murder. However, their story cannot be understood without placing their actions in the historical context of the struggle for the customary right to common which in the past involved the use of direct action and political violence. A consideration of […]

Alsatia

The idea is simple enough: to investigate the area of London known as Alsatia, and other similar ‘outlaw’ areas, their history, context and meanings. There are many tantalising references, but nothing substantial on the subject, so it offers challenges and rewards. Of course, I could just do some searching, some reading, and perhaps write an article or suchlike. But keeping track of all the fragments, questions and resonances requires some organization, and that in turn requires some tools. ... […]

Walter Virgo and the Blakeney Gang

The struggle against enclosure in the Forest of Dean in the latter part of the nineteenth century

Walter Virgo and the Blakeney Gang Front
These are some of the headlines which started appearing in the Gloucester Citizen and Western Daily Press in the 1890s. This pamphlet will try and get behind the headlines and reveal what was really going on in the Blakeney area of the Forest of Dean at the time. THE BLAKENEY OUTRAGES “WORSE THAN IRELAND” - THE VICAR ASKS FOR EXCEPTIONAL LAW A REIGN OF TERROR - SPEECH BY MINERS AGENT ASSAULT ON THE POLICE IN BLAKENEY - THE RECENT OUTRAGES MORE LAWLESSNESS AT BLAKENEY - RESIDENTS ARMED ALLEGED […]

Poor Man’s Heaven: The Land of Cokaygne and Other Utopian Visions

“We’ll eat all we please from ham and egg trees that grow by a lake full of beer? The landlord well take and tie to a stake and we won?t have to work like a slave..." In the face of a life defined by exploitation and suffering, the poor of the Middle Ages dreamed up a fantastical land where their sufferings were reversed; where people lived in idleness and plenty and the rich were barred. "Those who sleep the longest earn the most here." This myth of a free earthly paradise emerged in a popular […]

ACTION NOW! The Forest of Dean

ACTION NOW!The Forest of Dean is being Enclosed and Sold off! Join us for a 'walk' on Sunday the 3rd of February! Take Notice, Foresters All, that Free Peoples of the Forest, intend to Meet at 12o'clock near the Free Miner Monument in Cinderford Triangle on Sunday next, the 3rd of February instant for the purpose of Opening the Forest, which hath in part of late been enclosed and threatened with Privatisation, Sale, "Land Exchanges" and other forms of political thievery and corruption. We […]

HOOF Say’s: Let’s Have A Party

HANDS Off Our Forest is organising a celebratory party at Speech House, and everyone is invited to let their hair down and cheer the campaign’s victory. Musicians and entertainers, who rallied to the cause of keeping our Forest in public ownership, will be singing songs – many inspired by the great HOOF battle - with a little poetry and comedy also included. It’s hoped that everything from brass to lively acoustic music will help create a party atmosphere. Entry to the HOOF Celebration, on […]

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