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 livelihoods 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 secede 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. Read the rest of this entry »
At first glance, the proposed Missouri Right to Farm constitutional amendment appears to be a good thing. However, a closer inspection and a little bit of reading between the lines tells a different story.
The Missouri Right-to-Farm, Amendment 1 is on the August 5, 2014 primary election ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. If approved by voters, the measure would explicitly guarantee farmers and ranchers the right to engage in their livelihoods and produce food for others. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160) in the Missouri House of Representatives, where it was known as House Joint Resolution 11.
Here is the text:
If approved, the measure will add a section 35 to Article I of the Missouri Constitution. The new section would read as:
Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.
Barbara H. Peterson
You! That’s right, you! Put your hands up and back away from the seed bag…
Taking off the gloves. Throwing down the gauntlet. Making an example. Use any cliche you like. Monsanto’s campaign to stamp out seed piracy could land you in hot water.
Just saving seed? No, you are committing an act of seed piracy, and that my friend, is illegal. Read the rest of this entry »
This is not a story that will make you feel good. It will not tickle your funny bone, or make you smile. It is a story that is being played out all across the nation as our economy dives headfirst into the trash bin, and it’s ugly.
Once upon a time there were 23 horses. These horses did not choose to be where they are. They merely exist at the whim of incompetence, greed and failed dreams.
They do not understand why they have been uprooted from their former prison of abuse and hauled across country only to be let loose in yet another cage without food, water, or security. They do not understand why the horses next door get hay to eat every day, twice a day. They only know hunger, thirst and want. This is their lot. A cruel fate created by the very humans that are supposed to be taking care of them. And it’s not an isolated case. It’s happening all across the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Cutie Pie hops on the window sill and stares out at the world with a look in her eyes that sees far beyond the glass.
A look that reveals an inner yearning to fly beyond the horizon, as far as her wings can take her.
She is yearning to be free…
Cutie Pie is a tiny bird that arrived at my home with a hurt wing. Not even a fledgling. She had evidently fallen out of the nest and there was no getting her back in. So, in the house she came for rehabilitation.
I have never nurtured such a tiny, young creature before, and it was touch and go for a while. Up every 1 – 2 hours for feedings from a small syringe filled with a homemade concoction that I put together using nothing but a wing and a prayer; Turning the bathroom into an aviary so that she could exercise her wings and get strong enough to fly; Giving her the run of the bedroom. Cages? We don’t need no stinkin’ cages! Checking on her and bringing food out to her on her first day in the tree. Watching as she grows more and more confident in her ability to fly from tree to post to fence to bush, graceful and acrobatic, not hesitating for an instant.
Scares the dickens out of me thinking of such a tiny creature on her own outside in the big unknown. I check on her constantly, and when I do, she buzzes me and talks like crazy, then buzzes off. It’s like she’s telling me about all of her adventures in the wild and wooly outdoors.
It occurs to me that I have learned something extremely valuable in this experience. And that is… Read the rest of this entry »