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Wed Apr 30, 2014, 02:30 PM

Looking to history for inspiration -

This is currently my favorite publication on the web - Jacobian. Today's featured story:

The Early Modern 99%
by Harry C. Merritt
Battles against today’s ruling class might look back to the movements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for inspiration

When Occupy Wall Street suddenly appeared in Lower Manhattan in September 2011, many commentators began searching for a genealogy of the movement: Seattle in 1999, European anti-austerity protests, the Arab Spring. But perhaps we should reach farther back — to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the social movements that rose up to challenge the emerging capitalist world order.

In this context, Ben Wheatley’s latest film, A Field in England, is an intriguing cinematic experience. Set in 1648, it follows a cowardly alchemist’s assistant named Whitehead who flees an English Civil War skirmish along with some other deserters. They encounter the cruel O’Neill in the middle of a nondescript field, who through threat of force and the administration of hallucinogenic mushrooms conscripts them into finding the treasure he believes to be buried there. Long shots in black-and-white linger on the field and the motley group within it, illustrating this ordinary field’s transformation into an arena for elaborate mind games.

But cannon and musket fire periodically intrude. Reverberations of battle are the soundtrack to developments in England at the time, where King Charles I would be executed the following year and his kingdom transformed into a commonwealth. During the course of the film, the educated and principled Whitehead is forced into labor together with the alcoholic Jacob and the simpleton Friend by O’Neill, a rogue Irishman seeking self-enrichment.

The abuses suffered by these Englishmen under O’Neill seem to allude to the actions of Sir Felim O’Neill, an Irish noblemen responsible for massacres of English and Scottish colonists during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Occult references abound, from a fairy circle within the field to O’Neill’s scrying mirror he uses to divine the truth; this period coincides with the peak of witch hunting in England. And from their independent streak and the disdain they hold toward noblemen and the rich, one could easily imagine that Jacob and Friend would make fine Levellers or Diggers. Not just England was in turmoil at this time — much of Europe and the growing number of territories it ruled across the globe experienced extraordinary upheaval during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Though the “General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century” thesis originally developed by Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm has since been challenged and amended, a number of broad themes can still be distilled. Religious dissent and political radicalism challenged the authority of both the Catholic Church and monarchs who ruled by the grace of God ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/04/the-early-modern-99/

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Reply Looking to history for inspiration - (Original post)
TBF Apr 2014 OP
Joe Shlabotnik Apr 2014 #1

Response to TBF (Original post)

Wed Apr 30, 2014, 05:36 PM

1. Thanks for posting.

I visit Jacobin mag about once a week. They write some great thought provoking articles, its just too bad that they don't produce more quantity.

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