By Cai Dodds

This is a story set in recent history UK.

For most my life i  have experienced ways to live and use land outside of what is commonly recognised as normal. When i was growing up i use to explore the urban decay of the city, visiting places few people went, lots of the time nervous of being arrested or shouted at, but it was worth it every time. In my teens i used to find hidden or derelict pieces of land to build jumps to ride my bike over, most of the time putting months of work into sculpting these mounds of earth and clay with friends on rainy days, only to be disappointed by owners destroying our work and telling us we had to leave. By the time i left home i was beginning to make friends with people who squatted in the city and were in a kind of sub culture. The last few years i've lived in many different ways: renting in shared houses, squatting in residential and non residential buildings, living in a caravan on the side of the road, and on a occupied farm. If i was to look at why i have chosen to live in these places, its because I believed in access to land. I have found a sense of liberation, community and autonomy from living in these places, not without confrontation unfortunately. This confrontation is usually to do with owner of land and me, what i have been using the land for and what the owner looses out on from my presence. More often than not, never meeting the owner but police, bailiffs, lawyers and judges.

 In an imaginary world where everybody lived in abundance i believe we would find that land would be shared, because there would be no need to hold wealth over others. Back to reality and its clear, abundance for all is not part of everyone's lives, but why? In a world so civilised and advanced, surely people in a developed country like ours would have there needs met, especially in a democratic society! But no this does not seem to be the case, so how do we reach something closer to the imaginary world of abundance? In previous and sparse places on our earth, people have and do live egalitarian lives, but they still have had conflict over land access. Indiginous people are living on the front line of defending their homes, livelihood and the eco systems they rely on to survive. For me it is no longer a question of why they should defend their ways of life, but why are we not defending the same things they are?


 Earlier this year i took part in an occupation to protect a piece of the eco system i live in. Even though it may not look like i depend on the land like the indiginous of other land, i was born hear, i breath the air and drink the water from this place, i also wish to bring offspring into a healthy land i can bring them up in. This occupation was in defence of a wildlife corridor, an outdoor community education space, forest garden and small holdings. The integrity of this land, the community and its wildlife have been compromized since the eviction and developments on our defence camp. 

Bristol Green Capital 2015.

Bristol Green Capital 2015.

 

Why is our economic system so fragile? from where im looking its because it always has been, since we depended on oil and our population grew exponentially. All advanced civiliations have collapsed, why would ours not? its based on the same principles. What if some of us dont believe this? In my opinion that has always been the case, some will follow the death march, while some perish from those who persist in advancing, but some will be survivors. These survivors have learnt to addapt to these harsh landscapes of destruction, practicing in the nodes that lerk in the shadows, the forgotten places, creating future lifeways, reminats of the past ways and unlearning some of the present ways. I'm hoping to be a survivor, i never chose to live this way and will try my best to get out of this crazy culture. I have much to learn and the path is not quick nor easy, but for those who have and do live in symbiosis with thier haitat, i owe my life to them, to follow in their footsteps.

Salsbury hill, Bath, eviction 1994.

Salsbury hill, Bath, eviction 1994.

The Donga tribe at Twyford down. 1992

The Donga tribe at Twyford down. 1992

 

The main driving force of the Dongas revolves around the ownership of land, an obsessive transport policy and the general public’s naivety towards the energy it consumes. The Dongas believe this western attitude to be overtly patriarchal. The roads issue is viewed as the carving up of the “Great Mother"

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