The Digger and Christian Anarchist #35

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Transcript of The Digger and Christian Anarchist #35


    @smry@rysffi@ffi&ehFor nearly five year$ now thispaper haq- borne on its raaethead

    -.the sLoean I'For A ChristianCorunonwEalthil. Supposing for nowthat we know what a Christian is.,just what does the tenn common-' !wealth mean? Once upon a timethere waq I huge powerful octoPusca1led tlie Bri[ish Enpire. Whenit, died it l-eft behtnd s. sLightl-yanemlc stiuid ca1l.eC the BritishCommonweAfth or Commonwealth of$;tions!. It is comPosed (or de-conposed) of some thirtY count-ries sne of which is Canada.This is not the sense in whichDigger uses ihe ?errn. Some ofthe-'Anerican states, notablYI'{assachusetts, Pennsylva.nia,Yirginia,and KentugkY c9l1 them-selves commonwealths. This is

    '-'rot the sense in which Diggeruses therterm. In Cadrada--vre havee milk and water Partycalled the New Democrati.c PartYt

    ' (NDP). ?hls party had its rootsj.n the preieetli4g Co-oPerative


    A 0 t I ttt.i-Il vllE y4 svsEv.lsrS v\J-vllv& "'' \Cormronwialth Fed6ration whr ch was i oa real sociali,st PPrtYn )ffiIn seventeenth centurY Englandthe term meant literall"Y common-wealth and it was used ln a soc-iaL sense by such PoliQicaL llb-eral-s as ,Locke and Hopbes * Inthe wakp of the English eivi] warin which the king eomPl-etely losthis head. Ensland wa.s known asThe Com6r6nrveilth. BadicaL Chris*tians l-ike the founder of theDigger movement, Gerrand Winstan-le!*and the fouirder of FennsYl-vairia, HlLliam Penn used the term

    !.rri: .;19-l;.' ,--^Itil,l

    o AlI, aborrt the Ar{t'rin both a poLitlcal and sPlritualwalo Thts- ls the sense in r'rhlchDilger uses the word. ',In the nineteenth and earlY twe-ntieth century. Iabour used theterm commonwealth to mean alabour tmion Llnes. The commonxrea- twealth of Labour and the conunonwea- ilth of toil appear in manY old ;,

    ron .A


  • uniol: asngs. This is the sense inrrhieli EiCiEer uses the term. In the183Ote an anarchist named Burnett*o lleskell edited en anarchist mag-azin"+ ca11ed Truth in San Franciscoanel heLped found a communlty in thel'*othills of the Sierras calLed theI{ar"rerrl; Kooperative Korumonveattb.fhere ln the giant redwood forest'b}:e;r named the largest tree the KarIHarx ttree" Today that tree is knownas thc GeneraL Sher^man tree. ft isin tirat spirlt (but without K's)that the Digger uses the term, andisnet, 'nice to know that the KKK wasei lo'ioing, humane, constr:uctiveccmmunlty before it was a right wingabomination??he Digger is t'For a ChristianCommcni.,'calthr' because we look for-r.rard tc a society based on commonweal-th, a soeiety with no PoverlYra *ocieiy with no oppressors oroppressed, a soeiety based on thelove fcr oae another that Jesustaug?:e. *s about and on absol-utefreedca for absolutely everyone.'!lie lask ferward to a ChristianAnarc!:isi society".{H@p*&

    In the beginnlng all humanbeings $ere created free andequa1. EvlI men bY unjustofpression first introducedsiifdom against the wilL ofGod. Now-is the tirae givenby God when the common PeoPlec6u1d, if they would, cast offthe yoke theY have born solong. Thereiore tley sh-ould beof Eood cheer and like the goodhusEandman of the bible uProotand burn the tares vrhi-ch have.qhoked the good grain" ?hethe tares aFe the lords, judgesand lawyersrJohn Ball"1381

    i};Sli TilS SHIP OF VILLAINY WINT DC'rilNl'tri:e;r t:,:e ship of villany went downThe last officer, clinging to a mastheadSereairicd tlThere is no God!r'I figured it...Honest men were fools!T coil1d live by vi1"3"ainy all my life!And n"ou, t,his h6rrible situation proves it!Ti:er+ is no God! There is no God!Upon ',*itich (he dreamt or maybe- saw)The el:y unzipped like a tent {1"PA'nrl, e-. lusky iirap - prhaps a NewfoundlanderL*ol;*C thru to sayn' i trB r yellcw trr,ts lt yerre comPlainlng?Har.en?t ye lived by vil"lainYAll ;,r*r life?!rt

    l.r:i14on Aeorn

    I ilags3$E3si3E$TEEHls







    nt t*7*t*t*{ li







  • ffiBeB6meq fficornMilton Acorn r,r'as born in t9Z3in Char,..lottetown prince EdwardIsland. His famil_y had 1ived herefor several generations (',One of

    rny great-great-grandfathers was acarpenter. He r+as also a noble-xnan. A great-grandfather on adifferent line went to sea at aIoung age as a ships carpenter.I was born poor. I also-became aca.rpenter. f am from what voumlght call a Bed Tory breed-.,,)

    gbfore he r.ras twenty, Acornenlisted in the &ffiyr and-suffer-ryay_ ovgrseas. He iipent a year inEngland and Scotland, and ihenreturned to Prince Edvrard Island.I{e worked at various jobs andtraineci as a journeyman carpenter,hls principal trade during iheseyears. In 1956 he moved to liton-trea1. He privately publishedhis first colleetion of verse,In Lave and Anger, with drarrringsby Bobert Bousil, Jrt this timehe met-frving LayLon, AI Purdyand cther poets * lle sold hiscerpenters tools to devote him-self full tirne to r.{riting poetryand jolned the Communist"pirty.-itlith A1 Purdy he started a smaLtpoetry.magazine called Moment.

    fn 196O, The Bnains The Tar-getr a'colleition of verse writt-en betr^reen 1956 and L950 was pub-l1sheo. In L962 Acorn rnoved ioToronto and married Gwendolyn :IlacEwar!, this mamiage ended afterabout qne year. In 1953 Jar,.rbreak-ers was published and he moved tofancouver. Here he rnet Bill Bissettand Red Lane and joined a group ofTrotskyites and protested the warin Viet Nam in the late feII out with the, {rot,skyitesand helped found the' .under-ground magazine Ceorgi.a Strait.Euring the t50ts Acorn was deeplyinvolved in political activity-anain public readings of poetry. Atthe end of the sixties he movedback t,o ?oronto.

    rn_1969, r've Tasted tdy Bloodwas published. Itrhen this book waspassed over for the Governor Gen-erals award for poetry, a group ofpoets caIled a meeting at Crosi-mans tavern i_n Toronto. whereAcorn was awarded the is yet uniqueCanadien Poet Award, on the reyerseside were inscribed-the v,rordsTHE PEOPLES POST, r.rhich remainedhis nom-de-guerce.

    I* 7972 More poems For peoplewas published and'"Acorn appearedin the 7972 r'Spirit of 3?- Festivalas an actor and r'eader, He did aradio program t,tr{ilton Aconrs fsland',for the CBC. In 7975 ,'The fslandI{eans Minago won for him the Gov-ernor Generals Award for poetry.7n

    -4977_ Jackpine Sonnets appeaiedand a play The Road To Chaiiotte-town was produced by Acorn andCedric Smith, In 198f Milton Acornreturned to Frince Edrard fsland. 'He died there in 1"986.

    Although he ealled himself aIUarxist Lenninist and worked with?rotskyites, it seems to me that,Ac-orns personal polltical phil_os-ophy could not be hernmed iir byparty semantics. He u,as a pragma-tist tlho could worl," with anyoneqn any project as long as need be.HIQ Foems are strong and evocativeand many are politiial and lr'e woulddo very well to pay more attentionto them today.


  • IIIDTNG UITH JOE HENSBTH,ieling with Joe Hensby in a ten speed traiDown 401 the cab so high werre on a flyingNo need to worry of traffic, it wories of?he fungle trails clear when the elep[iant

    1erthrone;]OUr r r

    col[s r


    Thirty tons of steel behind, fifty miles an hour:No needlto worry

    - if we got stopped sudden

    And all that metal" came crashLng throughYou could spread us on a sandwieh and wetd never kpow.He p1-ays the gears Like a man ,at a pianoCursing every time

    - two or three seconds apart;At no one in particularlie lives the road."ohe Lives the abstract world of his curses.

    Somel;imgs I cone into his consciousness, but no one cleaBut w}.en t,hat stream of vehicles clogs, r'e slow:

    sitting up there Like conioint kiTg:One of usis got to Point a moral; ano rThe official Poet-

    , "Jesus Christ JoeThere's,ten *iiiion dollars of equi.prrent in sight-hew is it werre Poor?tt

    call it a, ca3.1 lt a beast, call it a kind of a handFor it beconnes an extension of the rlarlel{hen it roars itrs we together are the lion:And treli're like lions


    yearsi'riilton Acorn

    moving, often *'ai"tingto pounce.

    THE BTC SAWl.{anyr s the time when I was on the iobThe sahrrnan came to me:ttYourre abLe

    - And you can work fast.

    Why dontt you handtr-e the big saw?r'Upon which I'd holC uP mY hands?humbs and fingers sPreed out:t'Look. Count. tem. Ten isntt there?Thatf s how m'any there's going to be!t'Milt,on Acorn

  • SAVHNG Sq-HNffiAVAs if the stranglehold of con-

    sumerism was not tight enoughr wnow face the prospeet of Sundayshopping. Cloaked in the tfreeenterprlset J.ingo, store ownersargue for the right, to deter.ninetheir own store hours which wouldinclude the unrestricted right toopen for businees on Sundays. Asyou probably have already guessed,I am opposed to lossening the Sun-day shopping.laws.-

    Firstly, I think of the plieghrof the small independent store own-ers who have t,o corrrpete trith largeretail chains. Their havi-ng thevirtual monopoly on Sundays has act-ed as a kind of affirmative actionthat has a l"imited survival*f :,5ggs smal-l entreperiuers. Ciran-1ng ine restrictions on Sunday storeopenings would spell the end of stqres and woul-d take us everdeeper in"r,o this oligarchleal eeo-nomic quaguire.

    Seeondly, there i* the labourissue to consider. Sararnon sense re-=.rsls that the stated assurances-*irac working on Sundays would be op-tional for retail employees is lu-tiicrouso Even if they legislatedilhat working Sundays in a store mustbe voluniary, such a law would haveno teeth. People rvould be fined forrefusing. to work Sundays and any ex-cuse coul-d be glven fbr t,he reasonof ter"mination. Appl5.cants wouldalso be judged on their rriLlingn