Feudalism came into its heyday with the Normans, the 14th October 1066 was a sad day for Britain.
” Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.”
I’m reading MacFarlane’s book The Old Ways and his words about access to land and pathways – as now in Scotland and on Dartmoor – brought the whole concept of access and ownership, of the landed and the landless into focus for me again. In Scandinavia apparently they never suffered feudalism as we did – are still – so their access rights are like Scotland and Dartmoor.
Feudalism concepts still abound here in Britain. Our current govt (with some 18 millionaires in the cabinet) keeps up the tradition with weasel words that sound oh so convincing if you don’t stop to think. For instance, we are told we must be safe for the Olympics, so G4 makes how many millions (and Cocos it up) from us taxpayers in a time when the majority are being told to tighten their belts to pay for the bankers who created the financial crash in the first place.
And again, the government tells us the financial crisis we are in is the fault of the previous Labour government … What utter crud! Do you really think Gordon Brown was clever enough to create the global financial crash? If he’s that clever we’d better get him back to fix it !!! No, no, it was the same set of US banks who created the 1927 crash, doing the same things, that created (and perpetuate) the current financial crisis.
What has this to do with feudalism? It’s the “them and us” concept.
Take it just in little … some parents call their daughters princess, they play this game, the princess clothes, castles, style, everything, is from the Norman times. No older. It was then that our current concept of princess came about. Princesses have servants, they are wooed by princes, their parents are king and queen – all the attributes of the ruling class. With a childhood like this the child grows up to want it for real, every day, and so lives a life of wanting more and more. My castle, my land, you may not tresspass on my land, only my special friends may walk on this path, in this wood, by this lake, etc.
But the land is not just for the privileged, it actually doesn’t belong to any of us, we are stewards of the land, not owners. Before the Normans this concept still held some sway although it had got badly knocked by the Roman conquest. The concept of feudalism is wrong and bad; we need to notice it whenever it raises its ugly head and knock that head apart. The current government, being largely made up of wannabe feudal lords will do everything to stop us. Feudalism infects every part of our life beginning with that apparently good idea of “bettering yourself”. That concept comes out of the idea that to be rich and powerful is a good thing. Think about that!
Feudalism makes you behave in certain ways that exclude groups of people for reasons that are selfish, mean and full of fear that you may lose your possessions and your kudos … your Princess status.
We really need to recognise feudalism in our everyday lives, and uproot it.
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