Fighting for the right to protest

Watch Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson explain why Priti Patel's proposed policing bills threaten our right to protest and remove freedoms we used to take for granted.

We must fight for our right to protest, argues Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson in his new video. Under the proposed new Policing Bill , we’ll lose the freedom of expression and assembly that our parents and grandparents fought hard for. How can you help? Write to your MP and/or sign Liberty’s petition before 17 January.

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  1. Thank you for your powerful video setting out what we are in danger of losing; our freedom, our liberty. our voices…… is there anything else apart from signing a petition and writing to our MPs that we can do to stop this terrifying law being passed…. I am so on board with getting this stopped and want to help as much as possible to protect our freedoms and preserve whatever democracy??? we have left. Thank you.

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  2. I am with Guy all the way on this and as a co owner driver who has fought fascism and the populist radicals for decades want To build on this . My hope and solidarity and support

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  3. I am afraid that this bill will take away our right to be heard. Everyone living in the UK should have the freedom to speak up. It’s supposed to be a democracy that we live in, not a dictatorship. We have lived with the dictatorial manor of Brussels for far too long and we are now able to decide for ourselves, if we push hard enough. We certainly do not want our freedoms to be clipped because the Government want to control us. I’ve never been on a rally in my life, but I have an opinion.

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  4. I am interested in this as I am currently reading ‘The Book of Trespass: crossing the lines that divide us’ in which Nick Hayes not only writes about the history of trespass but also expands his thoughts on issues of protest using examples of Greenham Common, grouse shooting, GM crops, Enclosures and the removal of ‘the Commons’ by privileged classes and landowners by the building of walls, both physical and metaphorical. He also writes about the way words influence ( in modern parlance perhaps ‘nudge’ is as better word) us, when people with power and the need to retain that power over us repeatedly use nouns to label and eventually wear us down to accept those nouns that dehumanise.. It is a book worth reading – in fact one of the most powerful books I have read for a while.

    So, Guy, ..as a co-owner of Riverford what would you do if you found me walking on your land? I would be trespassing and thereby , one way or another, breaking several laws set up by the ruling ( land owning) classes to prevent , as they were labelled, ‘the vagabonds’ . Nick Hayes very clearly shows how those rules came into being. I would clearly not want to damage crops ( why would I?) but I would want the right to roam and I could be there ( as Nick Hayes has been on others’ land) as a protest. I am not knocking Riverford because you ( as a collective) do a good job and I benefit from that , but the collective is a landowner and there are fences and boundaries that I would be crossing.

    I leave that with you, but one thing that I have faith in is the power of ’12 men (sic) just and true’ as exemplified by the 1670 trial of William Penn and William Meade and further reinforced by the recent dismissals of charges against XR protestors. So whatever the ‘law’ I have to hope that justice will triumph and E.F Schumacher’s view ‘…as if people mattered..’ will prevail not only to the law but also in regard to the way our home is treated by those of us who could know better.

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    1. Hi Astralstroll,

      This book has been sitting on my shelf for a few months now, and this has motivated me to finally start! It sounds fascinating. I have always been intrigued by the enclosures movement, and it’s always amazes me that few people knows about this injustice. It’s particularly poignant for me as my family are farmers and has always been framed as an important step in the increase in productivity of farming.

      If you’ve ever come across these undulating patterns in fields, like little rippling waves, it means that the field has never been ploughed since the enclosures. It’s quite cool that there are still hints and signs of what farming might have looked like before then. (I explored this idea in more detail here : https://wickedleeks.riverford.co.uk/features/inequality-farming/reconnecting-my-land)

      Have you ever come across the degrowth author Jason Hickel? He looks back to the enclosures as the starting point of colonisation, and how we colonised our own population before seeking out lands further afield. Would highly recommend a read if you’re interested in the wider impact of the enclosures.

      All the best, Jack

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  5. Protest comes in many forms and as governments, not just here but around the world tighten their grip with restrictions on public protest and shows of disapproval of govenment policies; there is one form of NVDA that our parents and grandparents never had recourse to use and one that is beyond the potential of the modern corporate/national security, surveillance state to corrupt, co-op, commodify,
    dilute, stop nor interfere with. Even if they dare try. https://www.dunwanderinpress.org

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