Democracy : The World Turned Upside Down

The old Socialist Caucus, both within CYWU and NALGO, adopted the Leon Rosselson song, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ as a sort of signature tune, although our renditions were not always perfectly in unison.  So it’s good to find others taking up the vital tradition of the Diggers, the Ranters and the Levellers , notably the Sea-Green Society.

world-turned-upside-down2

As an indication of the ways in which our sense of democracy has regressed, it’s illuminating to note some of the demands contained in the Levellers’ manifesto, ‘An Agreement of the People’.

· Power to be vested in the people
· One year Parliaments, elected by equal numbers of voters per seat. The right to vote for all men
· Recall of any or all of their MPs by their electors at any time
· Abolition of the House of Lords
· Democratic election of army officers
· Complete religious toleration and the abolition of tithes and tolls
· Justices to be elected; law courts to be local and proceedings to be in plain English
· Redistribution of seized land to the common people

The Sea-Green contemporary Levellers quote Brailsford’s comment in his ‘The Levellers and the English Revolution‘…

“ There had never been anything like such a spontaneous outbreak of democracy in any English or Continental Army before this year of 1647, nor was there anything like it thereafter till Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils met in 1917 in Russia.”

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Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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