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New Putney Debates: Full Programme

Levellers revisit Putney, in the spirit of H N Brailsford and Christopher Hill.

The New Putney Debates
28th October - 11th November

A series of free public debates organised by Occupy London. For full programme of debates see: and also see below.

365 years ago the original Putney debates discussed the need for greater democracy and a new constitution for England. Today these issues are even more relevant, with decisions that affect us all being taken by a few, decisions on economic policy, energy, climate change, welfare and education for example.

All political power is inherent in the people – so how should we address the democratic deficit?

Law & democracy day:
How does the law relate to democracy? Whose interests does the legal system serve – the public or private interest? Do we need a new civil rights movement to elevate people and nature’s rights above corporate rights?

Come along and have your say! Contributors include Prof Conor Gearty, Michael Mansfield QC, Halina Ward, and Dr Shahrar Ali, as well as performance artists.

Location: St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street (nr Putney Bridge tube)
Date & time: Saturday 3rd November 1 -5pm

Donations on the day welcomed to cover the cost of venue hire.

Prior registration not necessary but it would be helpful to confirm attendance by emailing:

Also posted at

Please share this info widely with your networks.

Occupy London debates are free but donations on the day towards the cost of venue hire will be greatly received. Events organised by partner organisations may charge.

Friday 26 October
Last event in the October 2012 series of Quilligan Seminars by the School of Commoning, running from 22 – 26 October.
Venue: The Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Westminster SW1A 2LW London
2-4 pm

Creating a Movement on Understanding the Common Good.

James Quilligan will set the Global Scene.Paul Moore will outline the proposal for the New Wilberforce Alliance and its early momentum. Charles Secrett will speak of his experience in challenging and effecting the need for deep changes in the structures of our society; and Frank Taylor will relate the Purton Declaration and the Runnymede Project to the task before us. Participants will have opportunity to steer the process towards the next steps in building a movement capable of public clamour.

There is a charge for this event and other seminars.

For details of the whole programme and booking details please go to:

Saturday 27 October
Venue: Oasis Centre, 75 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HS

1-5.15pm Economics and democracy.  Rising inequality – what is the solution?

1.20 Inequality: the enemy between us? – The Spirit Level: Why Inequality Matters. With Professor Richard Wilkinson.

2.30 The Finance Curse: Tax Haven Britain, Predator and Victim. How Britain has become captive to its offshore empire and what we can do . With John Christensen

3.55 Income Equality – a co-operative approach. with Dr John Courtneidge

4.40 Occupy economic roadmap -a lightning introduction tour, and an introduction to the ‘Little Book of Ideas’, followed by a plenary discussion.

Sunday 28 October
Venue: Putney Station pub, 94-98 Upper Richmond Road, SW15 2SP

Real Democracy

2 pm – The English Revolution, the Putney Debates and the making of the British Constitution with the Occupy Real Democracy working group

4 pm – What would real democracy look like? with John McDonnell MP

Sunday 28 October
Venue: St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street, Putney
8pm “A light shining in Buckinghamshire”

A rehearsed reading and discussion of Caryl Churchill’s 1976 play, which looked at the events of the English Revolution. The second half of the play focuses on the conflict within the New Model Army between the senior officers (the Grandees) and the Agitators, who stood for the interests of the ordinary men and women. The Putney Debates reached their peak when a document called ‘An Agreement of the People’, prepared by those who wanted a democratic republic, was presented to the General Council of the Army

Monday 29 October
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 173 – 177 Euston Rd, NW1 2BJ
6 pm Socially useful banking?

Public discussion led by Andy Haldane, Bank of England Executive Director, Financial Stability. Responding: Duncan Weldon, TUC senior economist, and Dominic Lindley, Which? Head of Financial Services Policy. Chaired by Lisa Pollack, Financial Times & Alphaville blog.

Arrive early.

For further info, and to register to attend, visit

Thursday 1 November
Venue: St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street, Putney
7 pm – Land and democracy

Nearly 400 years ago the Diggers described the Earth as a ‘common storehouse for all’ and objected to land being kept in the hands of a few. Are landowners still oppressing the people today, and how should we respond? With George Monbiot; Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party; Kate Geary, land grab expert at Oxfam, and the Runnymede Diggers

Performance poet Pete the Temp.

Event page:

Saturday 3 November
Venue: St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street, Putney

1-2.30 pm – Who does the legal system benefit? With Professor of Human Rights, Conor Gearty and Michael Mansfield QC, and Halina Ward from the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development

3-5 pm – Do we need a new civil rights movement today? With Melanie Strickland – in the US communities are asserting their rights above corporate rights by putting in place local laws called Community Bills of Rights – can we do something similar? And Dr Shahrar Ali, London Green Party and Michael Mansfield QC on the National Civil Rights Movement

Event page:

Sunday 4 November
Venue: Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London. E1 6LS
11am-5pm Capitalism is Crisis (Another World is Possible…)

The sessions on capital, power and the State will tell a story of capitalism. They will explore the character of the capitalist process that is continuing to tear up the planet and to exterminate its inhabitants. The purpose of the sessions is to investigate why we are doomed, and also how we might escape the doom. Speakers. Discussion. Workshop.

Event page:

Monday 5 November
Venue: Friends Meeting House, Euston, small lecture theatre.
6.30 pm Putney Housing Debate

Contributors will include Toby Lloyd; Charles Seaford, New Economics Foundation; Steve Barwick, Housing Voice-UNISON and a representative of the Institute of Public Policy Research, all of whom have produced guidance documents on Housing in the past year. This will set the context for a discussion of the ideas contained in the Occupy Petition on Housing that went to No 10 in July. This should be of interest to all those with very real concerns not only about the housing crisis, but also in respect of the economy.

Thursday 8 November
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 52 St Martin’s Lane, Westminster
Time: Evening (exact time TBC)

Solutions to tax injustice – taming finance with Network Banking

Friday 9 November
Venue: St Mary’s Church/Hall, Putney High Street, Putney
6-8pm A New Economy with Clive Menzies and Janos Abel.

This two hour workshop examines flaws in the economic system, why it cannot be sustained and what an alternative system could look like. The foundations of the New Economy are: the means to life (water, food and housing) for all as a right; land and resources held in common and the benefits shared; alternative currencies to foster greater equality and societal cohesion.

Saturday 10 November
Venue: Oasis Centre, 75 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HS

11-12.30pm – Food and democracy how do we ensure people have access to nutritious, sustainable and good food? With Helena Paul, Econexus; Dominika Jarosz, Head of Campaigns for Pig Business, and Biofuelwatch

1.30-3pm – Energy and democracy with Jeremy Leggett, Solarcentury; Fuel Poverty Action Group, and Danny Chivers.

3.15–4.45pm – Law, environment and democracy with Polly Higgins, Eradicating Ecocide, and Melanie Strickland, speaking on the Community Bill of Rights, from the Occupy Law working group, and Halina Ward; Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development.

Event Page:
Sunday 11 November
Venue: tbc
Time: afternoon (exact time TBC)

A new Agreement of the People for 2012

Summary/action workshops/building a movement for real democracy. Content TBC.

Saturday 24 November
Venue: Runnymede Diggers, Runnymede, Egham.
Daytime. Land and Freedom

The day will look at who owns the land and the history of common people living communally in the Forests and Chases of Britain There will be a discussion on the Charter of the Forest, which was developed as part of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. This was first issued on 6 November 1217 as a separate charter, giving commoning rights to common people. The day will consider the the viability of living in the forest today; is the tragedy of the commons inevitable or can we govern the commons collectively and live in harmony with nature?


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