Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This month at Canada's History

... they've put my story on Magna Carta and its 800th anniversary tour of Canada up at the website.
The protection of Magna Carta can be invoked in protest wherever justice is subverted, government becomes tyrannical, and liberties are trampled. “It became a pillar of Anglo-Saxon racism in the nineteenth century, yet it was also cited by national liberation movements — by Nelson Mandela at his trial,” said [British historian Peter] Linebaugh.
In his book The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All, Linebaugh aligns the Forest Charter with a deeper radicalism: that of indigenous peoples all over the world, striving to protect their livelihoods and their lifeways when the very lands on which they depend become state property and then private property from which they are fenced off. Magna Carta has indeed become iconic around the world — surprisingly often in ways that can still make crowned heads uneasy. For, as Linebaugh notes, the barons wrote a right of resistance into Magna Carta.
The trick with Magna Carta, it seemed to me, was to write about its pretty interesting evolution without slipping into sanctimonious platitudes about the sacred tradition of Anglo-Saxon liberties blah blah blah. Peter Linebaugh certainly helps with that.

The exhibition opens at the Canadian Museum of History in June, and tours to Winnipeg, Toronto, and Edmonton.

Follow @CmedMoore