6 Sep 2010

‘The merriest of all devils’


This from an article on a new blog in the name of one Jacob Bauthumley

‘The merriest of all devils’

The sexual radicalism of the Ranters certainly made an impressive contrast with the repressive society that created them. They saw Original Sin as being lifted, meaning that none of the repressive commandments laid down by the Church through the ages still applied. John Holland’s anti-Ranter pamphlet The Smoke of the Bottomless Pit claims that “they say for one man to be tied to one woman, or one woman to be tied to one man, is a fruit of the curse; but they say, we are freed from the curse; therefore, it is our liberty to make use of whom we please.” Another called them “the merriest of all devils, for… lascivious songs… downright bawdry and dancing”, and claimed that the last two were commonly accompanied by orgies. Of course, it is important not to take this too uncritically: unless accompanied by a commitment to women’s liberation, sexual liberation has frequently just been a way to extend male power. But the Ranters’ relaxed and positive attitude to sexual pleasure still seems vastly preferable to the fear of our own bodies many Christians still promote today.

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3 comments:

Paul said...

Thanks for republishing...Libcom will be pleased I imagine.

Re Green Party UK, is there an articulate, aware Left within it Derek?

http://jacobbauthumley.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/how-i-joined-the-greens-via-ellies-blog/

I like Ellie’s writing a lot, and this article in particular. She does not post often, but when she does the content is thought provoking. I think she is currently in the People’s Republic of China. Over the last week I’ve been out campaigning with the Greens in the upcoming Norwich City Council elections, and I’ve enjoyed it a very much. Thinking about Going Green myself, as in joining the Green Party.

Old Commie habits die hard, though. Suspicion of any deviation from the royal road of democratic communism. Suspicion of anything that does not apply a marxist diagnostic to our politico-economic ills.

The Green Party is reformist and parliamentarist in its orientation and aspiration, but it has recognised the person/planet connection (personal evolution in awareness and the biosphere connection, for example ridding your life of non-recyclable plastics, many of which end up in a vast “plastics lake”, miles wide, in the Pacific Ocean, killing fish and poisoning sea mammals), and the importance of prefigurative politics, the future in the present.

The explicit reformism of the UK Green Party bothers me. It is for me an obstacle to joining the organization, rather than merely offering support in local campaigns. If a political project does not acknowledge that capitalism is the biggest obstacle to and enemy of environmental politics, and does not have a strategic perspective on its overthrow, then is it worth supporting at all?

Plus, and it is a real plus: the Green Party do not seem to suffer from the dogmatism, lack of self-awareness, incestuous behaviour, self-destructive posturing (the WRP are positively the worst for this, but I shall not tar most of the other groups with this brush), authoritarianism, fissiparity, and millenarian aspirations (SPGB!) of the numerous and vocal grouplets on the UK Far Left: Socialist Workers’ Party, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, CPGB (ML), CPGB (one of the best grouplets), CPB, NCP, Socialist Party, Socialist Labour Party, Socialist Party of Great Britain (very endearing, but completely on another planet!), Revolutionary Communist Group, International Marxist Tendency, Workers’ Revolutionary Party and the beguiling A World to Win (http://www.aworldtowin.net).

You really wouldn’t know where to start, would you?

Unlike all the groups above, the Green Party have city councillors all over the country, an MP, and more than 10,000 members. The impossibilist and opportunist SWP are the next largest group, with about 4,000 members, and a high turnover.

Which speaks volumes about the political (in)capacity of the British Far Left, does it not?

So I haven’t joined…yet. Must talk to Derek Wall…he’s the nearest thing to a Green Commie I’ve come across. The Green Party has its own internal Left, but I haven’t met them.

Derek Wall said...

Green Left are the ecosocialist group in the Green Party.

Socialist Resistance are the ecosocialist group in the Respect Party, the two groups cooperate fraternally.

There is also the Alliance for Green Socialism....and though labeled more 'anarchist' if you don't want to join a formal group, Climate Camp really do the job.

All 4 bodies believe that capitalism is a threat to life on Earth.

Try and catch up with Hugo Blanco while he is over for a serious eco revolutionery!

Carl R said...

Good article, and very true. I would rate Christopher Hill's 'The World Turned Upside Down' one of the most essential historical reads, and really critical to a deep understanding of English history.

Paul, the debate about the Green Party and socialism is one that is becoming increasingly important, in my opinion. The Labour Party, of which I am a member, has little convincing to offer people who want to change system, away from the 'plastic lakes' to which you refer.

The problem is that even though the Greens have grown, you still can't vote for them in many places, and some Greens are not actually anti-capitalist in the way that Derek is. So it's a tricky one, not helped by negativity surrounding the battle between a slightly 'left' Labour candidate in Brighton, and Caroline Lucas. Personally I think Labour should try to do a pact with the Greens, around 20 seats in the South and South West. But, then again, who am I?