Charlie Brooker talking out of his arse, init?!? More Magna Carta ignorance displayed..

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Yesterday it was some bloke called OwenJones84 – kids have strange names these days – and today some bloke called Charlie Brooker displaying deeply problematic historical ignorance. This comment to his article in The Guardian  says it all, really:

“Another ignorant Magna Carta based anti-Cameron rant. It’s good, put him down, but don’t let him drag you down with him. Get informed:

At the time of the Magna Carta – as enshrined in the Charter of the Forest – plebs, as it were, had close to something you could call full autonomy: that is, they had rights of access to and use of building materials, food surces and fuel – all of which they could clean from / collect or grow in the forest. They sustained themselves.

No dole office, just life.

That’s far more rights than plebs hold today, where most have primarily the rights to be surveilled by a totalitarian state apparatus, the right to eat shitty frozen, processed “fish” fingers, and to hand over the ownership of all their digital creations to, say, Facefuck or Twatter.

Brooker, you are talking out of your behind and that’s a shame. Sit on it and learn a bit. You are perpetuating the progressivist myth – central to the elite’s power game and the social-democractic programme of collaboration with the elite – that we are moving towards a better world, with more rights and a more rightful and comfortable existence. Nothing could be further from the truth!”

Sorry, Owen Jones, but your British history is not mine (or anyone else’s)

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Owen Jones is a political activist, an atheist and a secularist. That’s a kind of people who traditionally receive a lot of training – should we say programming? – in set thought from an early age from various institutional power settings, such as school, college, university, party, NGO and other parts of the establishment.

It’s a very frustrating environment – the activist scene – and a field of ossification. New ideas, approaches and, democracy forbid, free thought is not allowed.

Owen Jones writes in The Guardian that “Sorry, David Cameron, but your British history is not mine“, but Owen Jones has got the wrong end of (at least) one stick: the Magna Carta. Now, the Magna Carta is commonly thought of across the intellectual and leftist spectra of thought as a declaration of rights of barons et al. to do whatever they please and with time it came to be seen as nothing other than the beginning of what is nowadays called industrial capitalism. And only that.

Cameron probably sees it like that, since he wants it pushed into the minds of children in “his” realm. And Owen Jones sees it like that, he rhetorically provokes his readers, repeating a dogma he once heard in a meeting or read in an liberal, academic book, perhaps: the Magna Carta is the beginning of evil, the work of exploitative nobles. What a shame and what admission of ignorance: Owen Jones and David Cameron do indeed share views on British history: they both have false assumptions of the Magna Carta and mislead people with their rhetoric.

Why are they wrong? Simple: Charter of the Forest (Thanks Peter Linebaugh!). Further information available? Yes, of course….

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Colonos are hibernating, but shall one day return – perhaps – meanwhile we have come across a new blog just the other day, which is worth a look if you are interested in “Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software” and “philosophical and political inquiries into the material nature of the immaterial“. The essay featured in the blog has an interesting critique of the work of Yochai Benkler and Lawrence Lessig, as well as the politics of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, turning on the concept of property relations.


“… I thought we were an autonomous collective…”