Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Levellers’ Day 2017

Recreation Ground 
Tanners Lane
Saturday, 20 May 

During the Civil War, the Levellers fought on Parliament’s side, they had at first seen Cromwell as a liberator, but now saw him as a dictator. They were prepared to fight against him for their ideals and he was determined to crush them. Over 300 of them were captured by Cromwell’s troops and locked up in Burford church.  On 17 May 1649, three were led out into the churchyard to be shot as ringleaders.

The English Civil War was not fought to establish democracy, but the war and the ideas it unleashed gave rise to the Levellers. One of the many demands that the Levellers made was a demand for manhood suffrage. This alone made them revolutionary, regardless of any other ideas they held. The whole idea was outrageous to the 17th century. The Levellers saw the first English revolution as a springboard for the creation of political equality, a case they argued for unsuccessfully in the Putney Debates when a document called ‘An Agreement of the People’, prepared by those who wanted a democratic republic, was presented to the General Council of the Army.  General Ireton summed up the fears of the ruling classes when he claimed that political democracy would lead to economic democracy. 

West London branch of the Socialist Party will have a stall at this event. 

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