Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Lewisham Diggers 1968

Browsing through the interesting Reveal Digital 'Independent Voices' archive I came across mention of the 1960s Lewisham Diggers, inspired by the counter cultural San Francisco Diggers who were in turn inspired by the Diggers of the 17th century English revolution.

A 1967 notice in the international Equality journal from Mike Malet of Lewisham Anarchist Group talks of plans 'to return the land and its wealth to humanity, to people. We will repeat the the process - modified for a modern, technical urban environment - by declaring a "Free Place" (a house and garden maybe), the produce and responsibility of which is free and communal'.

A later update from January 1968, 'News from Lewisham Diggers', suggests that about 50 people were interested in the plan for a community with hopes of purchasing a site. In the mean time 'There was a suggestion of a summer migration to our west coast for the summer where we hoped to dole out free soup and have a make shift campsite'.

I wonder if the plans for a Lewisham commune every went any further? Did the trip to the west country come off? Maybe the worldwide revolutionary events of '68 put such plans on the back burner. Malet seems to have continued as the Lewisham Anarchists contact from his address at 61B Granville Park SE13 before moving to Dundee in the 1970s and continuing his radical activities there.

Would love to hear from anybody involved.

Contacts in Freedom,  17 February 1968

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