Winstanley – Andrew Mollo & Kevin Brownlow, UK / 1975 / 95 mins / cert 1

Join us and the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective for this screening of a restored version of this important film from 1975. In the run up to the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair on 12 September, this film evokes some of the earliest examples of anarchist thought and practice. Indeed the occupations by the Diggers have been described by some as the first anarcho-communist revolution in history. The context of the film will be introduced by Steve Mills, a local trade union activist and Bristol radical historian.On 1 April 1649, Winstanley and the Diggers set out to form a commune and work the land of St George’s Hill, in an action designed to reclaim land for the poor who had been dispossessed by Cromwell’s recent English Revolution. Unsurprisingly in a time of great upheaval they meet much opposition, surprisingly some of it from those peasants they seek to enthuse, and their action lasts only a year, although many similar settlements occur elsewhere. Their story delves into issues relevant then as now – land ownership, class, power and the law, religious puritanism, and hierarchies. Authentic, exciting and dramatic, with spellbinding black and white camera-work creating a powerfull visual experience. The film is rightly judged to be a classic, and is based on the book Comrade Jacob, by David Caute (1961), who was a former pupil of the great historian and one time communist, Christopher Hill. Watch out too for the appearance of some genuine 1970’s hippies as ranters! 5

This event was organised in conjuction with Bristol Indymedia & Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective.

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