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41 Simon Anstey Introduction ‘We are resolved to be cheated no longer, nor be held under the slavish fear of you no longer, seeing the Earth was made for us as well as for you: And if the Common Land belongs to us who are the poor oppressed, surely the woods that grow upon the Commons belong to us likewise. If we lie still, and let you steale away our birthrights, we perish … though we have paid taxes, given free quarter and ventured our lives to preserve the Nations freedom as much as you, and therefore by the law of contract with you, freedom in the land is our portion as well as yours, equal with you. Therefore we require, and we resolve to take both Common Land and Common woods to be a livelihood for us, and look upon you as equal with us.’ (An extract from ‘A Declaration from the Poor and Oppressed People of England’, Gerard Winstanley et al. (1649)) This declaration comes from around 360 years ago in the period of the English Revolution, when supporters of Parliament had just ‘liberated’ England from the efforts of Charles I to institute an unpopular (religious) ideology and an absolute form of monarchy against the broad will of the people. However, the leaders of the Parliamentary faction had then gone on to utilise their new elite status to attempt a land and resource grab of state and common land – the above declaration being a reaction to this and addressed to the new elite. It was a reaffirmation from those who had fought in this ‘liberation war’ of their rights to land, but not only to the land itself. It explicitly linked their land proprietor rights to the management and benefits of resources on those lands (communal land). The Declaration was not however a call for devolution or decentralisation; it had in its basis no sense of local democracy or natural resource management and rights as being a function of a downward extending state or public hierarchy. It ‘required’ and ‘resolved’ the restitution of land and resources on the basis of a belief in equality and a mutually binding contract of rights. It did so with reference in its text to the extensive history of local self-government embodied in the Common Law and framed by custom and precedent. What does Winstanley’s demand for rights and benefits from communal 4 Beacon & Barometer: CBNRM & Evolutions in Local Democracy in Southern Africa Simon Anstey & Liz Rihoy 42 BEACON AND BAROMETER … land and resources have to do with CBNRM or evolutions in local democracy in southern Africa in 2007, or in a celebration of Marshall Murphree’s scholarship? On the latter aspect, this chapter will draw out constant themes that relate to local or rural democracy and natural resource governance, justice, and the use of political philosophies and governance frameworks that have historical weight as well as operational purpose. Over ten years ago Murphree (1995) noted the close inter-relationship of local democracy, tenure rights, and local political activism: ‘In the context of CBNRM, tenurial rights will make the difference between rural democratic representation and the persistence of perpetual adolescence for rural peoples in national structures of governance … optimal conditions for CBNRM require strong tenurial rights, this requires fundamental devolution of power, one which politicians are unlikely to make unless there is a strong political reason to do so. This reason can only lie in a strong, politically potent constituency demand that this takes place … this is the rural resource-managing communities themselves’. (emphasis added). HisscholarshipsubsequentlydrewonthegovernancedeclarationsofAbraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address in his analysis of ‘conservation for the people, with the people and by the people’ (Murphree 1998). In his 2000 paper on scale and boundaries, one that shifted CBNRM debates beyond the stalemate of focus on the pervasive experience in southern Africa of ‘aborted devolution’, he drew on the ideas and practical governance experiences of the eighteenth-century political philosophers of America in their evolutions of federal government in tackling interactions between jurisdictional scales and institutions in governance . In this paper (Murphree 2000a) the emphasis was that devolution in natural resource governance is not an exercise in isolationism, but a process of finding local regime inter-dependence within the larger setting of interdependence at many scales. The key elements were: ● Principle of Delegated Aggregation – local jurisdictions delegate upwards aspects of their responsibility and authority to collective governance of larger scope in which they continue to play a role. ● Principle...


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