In 1381, at a time of great repression for the British agricultural work force, an extraordinary people’s revolutionary named Wat Tyler sprang to his feet and announced, “England should be a nation of self governing communities,” to which he added, “ No lord shall exercise lordship over the people, and, as we are oppressed by so vast a hoard of bishops and clerks, the property of the holy church should be taken and divided.”
His colleague, the priest John Ball, spoke out with equal fervour, “The lords’ claims to be more lords than we are rests solely on their power to force us to labour that they may spend.”
A great surge of support for these proclamations swept through the farming communities of South East England, quickly spreading further North. The farmers took up arms – whatever appropriate implements they could find in the farmyard – and set out on their mission to free themselves from the wicked landlords and clerks, who between them were taxing the life out of the farming communities throughout the land, destroying the livelyhoods of thousands of countryside families.
Many a pernicious bureaucrat was confronted by this motley army, with the brave farmer, Wat Tyler, proudly riding at its head – and many a selfish landlord was forced to concede his greedy rental regime and bow to the demands of the British peasants.
And yes, blood was shed in the struggle to gain respect for basic human rights.
A great quest for liberation, justice and equality blazed amongst the downtrodden land-workers and villagers of fourteenth century England during those famous months of The Peasant’s Revolt. Only an act of royal treachery finally stopped this revolution from fully undermining the corrupted power of the State and the intransigence of King Richard II.
Why do I tell this story?
Because more than six hundred years after this peasant uprising shook the nation, we have come full circle. Once again the call is going out for peoples and regions under the hand of oppressive, dictatorial regimes, to cecede from the nation state and become ‘self governing communities’. Wat Tyler’s heroic stand echoes down the ages and nourishes the cause of non-compliance and community actions that stand up against the ever more insidious tentacles of centralised power.
Right now there are one hundred and fifty communities in the United States redefining their right to self govern and pushing forward their programmes for localised renewable energy and ecological food security. Not only this, they are also rewriting the laws that govern their communities and declaring citizens’ charters – banning GMOs and initiating local seed saving actions. They are also declaring the right to clean water and are making ‘fracking’ a criminal offence.
In the process, through collective acts of civil disobedience, they are stripping the corporate world of its powers. These communities are able to show how the notion that corporations have some form of sovereign power – is a facade – how it is people who hold sovereign power, as Wat Tyler made plain all those years ago. And it is people who must again exercise that power.
All over the World such stirrings are gaining momentum. Actions to reclaim powers usurped by that toxic cocktail of government and corporate collusion, are breaking out. If such stands are being taken in the US heartlands of corporate and government connivance – then it proves that the will of the people is more powerful than the will of the heirarchical cabal whose ambition it is to control all aspects of our lives. We should draw strong inspiration from these game changing actions – and increase our own determination to go in the same direction.
The time has come for all awakening individuals to hone a definite life strategy. A strategy that puts us in the driver’s seat and empowers us to set a new course – one imbued with creative inventiveness, courage and mutual support.
We have arrived here because of the accumulated evidence which overwhelmingly proves that the status quo is a fraud – designed to strip us of our powers of judgement and the determination to act on that judgement. There is no time for further deliberation of the pros and cons of this or that political polemic. It’s all a miasma. A massive sham. A sham which we continue to uphold as long as we go on playing along with its sense of self importance; giving it a status it does not actually possess, and then sheltering under its poisoned wing.