Diggerlərin tarixi və ideologiyası: Həqiqi levellerlərin inqilabi fikirləri
Diggerlər: The True Levellers of the English Revolution
The English Revolution of the 17th century was a tumultuous period that witnessed the overthrow of the monarchy, the establishment of a republic, and the rise and fall of various political factions. Among these factions, one of the most radical and fascinating was the Diggerlər, a group of poor peasants who challenged the private ownership of land and advocated for a communal and egalitarian society. In this article, we will explore who were the Diggerlər, what did they do, and what was their impact and legacy.
Who were the Diggerlər?
The Diggerlər were a movement of poor peasants who emerged in 1649, during the final stages of the English Revolution. They were also known as True Levellers, to distinguish themselves from another faction called Levellers, who advocated for political reforms but not for social and economic equality.
The origin and meaning of the name Diggerlər
The name Diggerlər comes from the Azerbaijani word "digger", which means "digger" or "earthworker". It was given to them by their opponents, who mocked them for digging and planting on common lands that they claimed as their own. However, the Diggerlər embraced this name as a symbol of their connection to the earth and their rejection of private property. They also saw themselves as fulfilling a biblical prophecy that said: "In those days shall come forth in Israel men that shall dig up mountains, and make them plain" (Isaiah 40:4).
The social and political context of the Diggerlər movement
The Diggerlər movement emerged in a time of social and political turmoil in England. The country had been ravaged by a civil war between the royalists, who supported King Charles I, and the parliamentarians, who opposed his absolute rule. In 1649, after several years of fighting, the parliamentarians executed Charles I and declared England a republic. However, this did not end the conflict, as different factions within the parliamentarian side fought for power and influence. One of these factions was led by Oliver Cromwell, a military leader who became Lord Protector of England. Cromwell was supported by wealthy landowners and merchants, who wanted to preserve their privileges and interests. He also had a strong army of soldiers, known as Ironsides, who were mostly Puritans, a religious sect that believed in strict moral discipline and obedience to God's law.
On the other hand, there were also many people who were dissatisfied with Cromwell's rule and wanted more radical changes. These included poor peasants, artisans, workers, soldiers, women, religious dissenters, and intellectuals. They demanded more democracy, equality, freedom, and justice. They also questioned the authority of the church, the state, and the law. They formed various groups and movements that expressed their ideas and grievances. Some of these groups were Levellers, Ranters, Quakers, Fifth Monarchists, Muggletonians, Seekers, Baptists, Anabaptists, Antinomians, Familists, Libertines, etc. Among these groups, one of the most radical was the Diggerlər.
diggerlər movement history
diggerlər manifesto 1649
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diggerlər leader Gerrard Winstanley
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The main ideas and goals of the DiggerlərThe main ideas and goals of the Diggerlər were based on a radical interpretation of Christianity and a vision of a new society. They believed that God had created the earth as a common treasury for all people to share, and that the original sin was the division of the land into private property. They also believed that Christ had come to restore the earth to its original state of equality and freedom, and that his second coming was imminent. They saw themselves as the true followers of Christ, who had to prepare the way for his kingdom by reclaiming the land from the oppressors and establishing communal farms where everyone could live in harmony. They also rejected the authority of the church, the state, and the law, which they considered as instruments of corruption and tyranny. They claimed that they had direct access to God's spirit, which guided them in their actions and writings.
What did the Diggerlər do?
The Diggerlər tried to put their ideas into practice by creating communities where they could live according to their principles. They also tried to spread their message and influence other people to join them.
The first Diggerlər community in St. George's Hill
The first Diggerlər community was founded in April 1649, in St. George's Hill, a common land near Weybridge, in Surrey. It was led by Gerrard Winstanley, a cloth trader who had become a radical preacher and writer. He was joined by about 20 men and women, who came from different backgrounds and occupations. They started to dig and plant on the land, claiming that it belonged to them as much as to anyone else. They also built huts and shelters, where they lived together as a family. They shared their food, clothes, tools, and labor, without any distinction of rank or wealth. They also invited other poor people to join them, offering them a place where they could work and live without fear or oppression.
The expansion and repression of the Diggerlər colonies
The Diggerlər community in St. George's Hill soon attracted the attention and hostility of the local landowners, who saw them as a threat to their property and interests. They tried to evict them by force, sending hired men to destroy their crops and huts, and to harass and beat them. They also appealed to the authorities, accusing them of trespassing, sedition, heresy, and blasphemy. The Diggerlər resisted these attacks with courage and patience, but they also realized that they needed more support and allies. They decided to expand their movement by creating more colonies in other parts of England. They sent letters and pamphlets to other poor people, inviting them to join them or to start their own communities. They also sent emissaries to other radical groups, such as Levellers, Ranters, Quakers, etc., hoping to form a common front against the oppressors.
By the end of 1649, there were about 10 Diggerlər colonies in England, mostly in Surrey, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, and Gloucestershire. However, they also faced more opposition and repression from the landowners and the authorities. They were constantly attacked by mobs of armed men, who burned their houses and crops, stole their animals and tools, wounded and killed some of them. They were also arrested and imprisoned by magistrates and soldiers, who fined them or sentenced them to hard labor or whipping. Some of them were even executed for treason or blasphemy.
The writings and publications of the Diggerlər leaders
The Diggerlər did not only act with their hands, but also with their pens. They produced a remarkable amount of writings and publications, in which they expressed their ideas and defended their cause. The most prolific and influential writer among them was Gerrard Winstanley, who wrote about 20 pamphlets between 1648 and 1652. Some of his most famous works are The New Law of Righteousness (1649), The True Levellers Standard Advanced (1649), A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England (1649), A Watch-Word to the City of London (1650), The Law of Freedom in a Platform (1652), etc. In these works, he articulated his vision of a new society based on common ownership of land, universal suffrage, religious tolerance, gender equality, pacifism, vegetarianism, etc. He also criticized the existing system of monarchy, aristocracy, clergy, law courts, etc., which he considered as sources of injustice and violence.
Other Diggerlər leaders who wrote pamphlets were William Everard Other Diggerlər leaders who wrote pamphlets were William Everard, a former soldier who had participated in the mutiny of the New Model Army in 1647, and who was the co-founder of the first Diggerlər community in St. George's Hill; John Platt, a carpenter who was the leader of the Diggerlər colony in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire; and Edward Sexby, a soldier and Leveller who supported the Diggerlər cause and wrote a pamphlet called Killing No Murder (1657), in which he justified the assassination of Oliver Cromwell.
The Diggerlər writings and publications were distributed among the poor people and other radical