Magna Carta Manifesto with Iain Boal and Peter Linebaugh, 2015 / by Owen Griffiths

iain boal owen griffiths

Friends I am creating a way of life in which your ingredients will be returned to you…

An event held within the work Becoming Garden at Dolerw Park, Newtown, June 2015. This project was commissioned by Oriel Davies for the touring exhibition Flora. Writers, academics, activist historians and documenters of the commons Iain Boal and Peter Linebaugh were in conversation with myself for this event.

Iain and Peter were on their ‘anti-austerity Celtic tour’ where they had been speaking about Magan Carta, the Commons, and the future of the UK post Scottish referendum and joined us in Newtown for this one off event. 2015 marked the 800thyear anniversary of the Magna Carta.

Peter Linebaugh, an historian currently residing in the region of the American Great Lakes (“the fresh, or third coast”), grew up amid the hopes and rubble of post-war London, was schooled by (among others) a wise woman of Appalachia, U.S. Marines in Bonn, Anglicans in Karachi, Quakers at Swarthmore, and Cold Warriors in New York. 

Later he worked with E.P. Thompson at the Centre for the Study of Social History at the University of Warwick to learn the art and craft of “people’s remembrancing” which has taken printed results in Albion’s Fatal Tree, The London Hanged, The Many-Headed Hydra, Magna Carta Manifesto, and Stop, Thief!  

Iain Boal is an Irish social historian of science and technics. He moved to the US in the early 80s and taught at Harvard, Stanford, the University of California, and the San Francisco Art Institute. He is affiliated with the Geography Department, UC Berkeley, and Birkbeck, University of London. He is associated with the Retort group, and is one of the co-authors of Retort’s Afflicted Power: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (Verso). He co-edited with James Brook Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information (City Lights) and – with Janferie Stone, Michael Watts and Cal Winslow – West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California (PM Press), an anthology on the flowering of communalism in the Bay Area and Mendocino during the 60s and 70s. In 2005/6 he held a Guggenheim Fellowship in science and technology; The Green Machine (forthcoming) is a report on his researches into ‘the bicycle in world culture’. He lives in Berkeley and London, where he is co-director of MayDay Rooms, a safe haven for ‘archives from below’ threatened with loss or erasure.

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