A Common Treasury

Some of the earliest examples of communist thought, introduced by Tony Benn.
At the end of the English Civil War, Gerrard Winstanley and his comrades, known as Diggers, went to St. George’s Hill, to farm the common land and to distribute the food for free amongst themselves. Winstanley’s extraordinary writings from this period have remained a huge influence for many on the Left and are cited as some of the earliest examples of communist thought. Legendary voice of the Left Tony Benn examines Winstanley’s work and argues that, as we face an ever greater enclosure of the commons, he can still inspire us to turn our world upside down.


  • Remembering Tony Benn

    On March 27th, mourners from across the political spectrum gathered to bid farewell to Tony Benn. In order not to dilute his memory and political audacity into bland commemorative rhetoric, we publish an extract from Leo Panitch and Colin Leys’s
    The End of Parliamentary Socialism that highlights Tony Benn’s importance for the British Left.

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  • Tony Benn's Introduction to Gerrard Winstanley's A Common Treasury


    Not everyone realizes that we had a revolution in England long before the French Revolution, the American Revolution or the Russian Revolution. The legacy it has left for us is of supreme relevance today.

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  • Tony Benn 1925 – 2014

    "Our society, as it is now structured, consists still of a few individual successes built upon a pedestal of statutory failure – economic failure, educational failure, or failure of some other sort. The whole competitive idea that a nation must have so many failures in order to produce one success is ludicrous yet it is the foundation of capitalist ideology. Why do we describe so many people as having failed? Why are we not able to recognize that in any society the richest resource is people? Why is it that people when they do have the free time now available to them do not have the facilities for discovering the potential that lies within them? Asking questions like this, you come to realize that at the deepest level socialism must mean liberation."

    – Tony Benn, Parliament, People and Power: Agenda for a Free Society

    Read Leo Panitch's tribute to the Benn in the Guardian.

    Read Tony Benn's introduction to Gerrard Winstanley's A Common Treasury on our blog here.