By Da Bush Docta
“The Earth is a common treasury for all to share.”
But t’ings in Scotland are far from this truth.
A guise has been created under the Land Access bills and the Right to Roam that Scotland’s lands are free for all. In many ways though the reality of landownership in Scotland is based on a feudal system of inequality and servitude which is hidden underneath a capitalist presumption that those who can afford the millions of pounds to purchase a large Highland estate are deserving and those who cannot afford to own land are undeserving of it.
This means that the farmers who care for the crops on the land are not deserving of that land. The crofters who tend to their flocks are not deserving of those grazing lands. And even more so those who are working to build examples of how we can live in a harmonious relationship with the natural world are deemed unworthy to practice such non-capitalistic beliefs.
No matter how far the Right to Roam pushes the idea that we are free to walk across any part of Scotland we desire (and this is not the real case, we can not move across huge tracks of land held by the Ministry of Defense; estates can close rights of ways for many reasons; and resource extraction, i.e. cropland, forestry and mining, are continuously prioritized over our freedom to roam) the reality is that Scotland is owned. Scotland is owned by a greedy few. These greedy few are seldom Scottish; they often have baronial titles to the English courts and monarchy; most importantly these greedy few are constantly stripping the abundant assets of Scotland’s natural environment to fund their own interests and swindling those who actually live upon these lands from access to these basic means of survival.
Once, the lands of Scotland were inhabited by people who held strongly to the beliefs captured in the idea, “the Earth is a common treasury for all to share.” The land was not owned and could not be owned, the land was free for all and shared by all. After centuries of attacks from the English monarchy, the clans were broken and their lands that had been carefully managed for the benefit of all became locked and unavailable to them.
And this whole process was repeated again when Dissent became interested in hosting the Hori-zone ecovillage near Gleneagles. First, let us recon the situation, people knew that Scotland would see a massive influx of people during July to practice their legitimate right to protest the injustice of the G8. Their main desire was to provide these protestors with their basic needs for survival, food, water, shelter and also to provide a place to meet and discuss ideas. Their was also a belief that this camp could become a model ecovillage of the world we want.
However, time and time again the process was well under way, we thought we had a place to hold the ecovillage, only to find at the last moment it had fallen through. All fingers point to police harassment of the landowners we were communicating with. But even more ridiculous than this is the fact that we were willing to pay the thousands of pounds that it costs to rent a field for two weeks. The police and council first took an approach as they would to a big festival like T in the Park, but we aren’t a festival, we are a protest. There seemed be this idea that if Dissent did not have their campsite than the protestors would not come.
Finally, hoop after hoop, Stirling council got the idea that it didn’t matter if we had a site or not people were coming, and through this they realised that they couldn’t provide for the basic needs of the tens of thousands of protestors making their way to Gleneagles. With this realisation, there was also an acknowledgement that our autonomous networks are actually sorted and can provide for ourselves if allowed to do it. And finally we did get a site for Hori-Zone, and finally it looks wonderful.
But a message must be made to all the countries and cities who want to host the G8. The protestors will come no matter how much you try to block them. As long as the G8 exists and meets, there will be thousands of people who are willing to speak out against their undemocratic practices. And these countries need to keep this in mind because the protestors will come and they have a legitimate right to speak out against the G8.
Da Bush Docta