by Heather Martin
Kevin Annett can probably not be held responsible for the radical beliefs he holds against the Church and State. In an article posted at Salem News (.com), the language spoken by Annett’s ancestor Peter is very consistent with the language Annett speaks today. The theme that repeats in every one of Annett’s articles is “prosecution”; the central message that Peter whispers into Kevin’s ear.
It is a sad currency that he’s trading to gain support for his cause… the message being… “I’m a victim of the system since way back when” – a sentiment that is distasteful as it is lacking in true vision and hope. How on earth does it help a survivor of the residential school when the person who ‘represent’s’ you is waving bones in the air screaming “look at me! look at me!”
I repost the article from Salem News (I wish to add that the signature at the bottom – the quotes in particular- is the same as that used by Jeremiah Jourdain who I believe to be an alias of Annett’s)
From 1761 to 2012: What has Changed in England?
Kevin D. Annett, M.A., M.Div. Salem-News.com
Lessons from My Ancestor Peter, a Stansted Prison, and a Digger named Winstanley.
John Waller in Pillory
My Commentary is in RED
(NANAIMO, Vancouver Island) – On December 19, 1761, author and publicist Peter Annett (Actually, the last name was spelled Annet if you look into it on the Web) was arrested on a charge of blasphemy and sedition for questioning scripture and the authority of the Church through nine editions of his news sheet The Free Enquirer (Oct. 17 – Dec. 12, 1761). He was prosecuted in London by the Attorney General and sentenced by the Court of King’s Bench to imprisonment at hard labor in Newgate prison, and ordered to stand twice in the pillory at the Royal Exchange and Charing Cross, despite his advanced age. (He was 68 when he died, which I guess for the times would be considered advanced).
On May 26, 2011, his descendent, author and publicist Kevin Annett, was arrested without charge and detained for a day in an immigration prison at Stansted airport in London. Kevin was expelled from England after being searched, photographed and fingerprinted, despite having breached no law and committed no offense except to publicly criticize the Church and Crown of England.
Kevin Annett will be returning to England this September.
The old walls that hosted his broadsheets are all gone now, as is the shit-covered pillory that held the old man in a vise for anyone to pummel with garbage. But I felt Peter’s grim defiance the day I stood near to the spot at Charing Cross where the state and the church tried to break him; and I sensed, too, the fire in him that flamed his disobedience, and still reaches out to me.
Peter Annett was unlike any of the humanist philosophers of his time, for not only did he challenge fat Anglican bishops with reason and common sense, but he did so loudly and insolently, in the streets, by directly appealing to the hungry masses so feared by the British aristocracy. Peter called on the poor people of England to break their mental subservience to Crown and Pulpit, and figure everything out for themselves – a call that won him the eternal hatred of both Whitehall and Westminster. All doctrines founded on fear and fraud shall be confounded by the authority of truth. We will bring to light the hidden works of darkness and drive falsity to the bottomless pit. (Annet set out to disprove the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his appearance to his apostles – he called the Holy Bible a “mere cheat”)
Thus did my ancestor proclaim his devotion in print, just weeks before he was thrown into Newgate prison where more than half of the inmates died in their chains.
The hidden works of darkness …
One year ago, I was scheduled to speak publicly about that same darkness not a mile from where Peter Annett lay in prison when I too was locked away by the fiction called the Crown of England and its very real police state. I thought a lot about Peter as I sat through a long night in a small immigration prison cell at Stansted airport, and the cries and wailing (seriously? cries and wailing? a little over the top don’t you think?) of the other detainees echoed all around me.
The uniformed drones of the private company that had arrested me in the name of the British Border Agency, Reliance Security, had stripped me of my belongings, so I lacked pen or paper that night; but in my mind I composed a dialogue with Peter to stave off my panic. I asked him to tell me how he had survived.(Great! Communing with the dead… how gauche!) And from somewhere, I heard a voice tell me,
I cannot explain how I endured, except to say that this will of mine that some call courage comes from knowing what it is, this truth that I love and these lies that I hate; and thus knowing, I am resolved that I will never silence my mind or my tongue, or allow them ever to be stilled. In the face of this government’s resolve to torture and suppress us, my own unswerving determination is called greatness by some. But in the face of such monstrous tyranny, I call it simple necessity.
In 1761, Peter Annett was denounced by the shadowy spies known as Watchmen, a private army paid by the Bishop of London: thugs and murderers who lurked in the taverns and halls where free thinkers like Peter denounced religious fraud and oppression. In 2012, London boasts a much greater throng of Watchmen in the more than four million police television cameras that record every movement of once-free citizens who are now under permanent siege by “their” government.
Months before my own arrest at Stansted airport, I stood outside Lambeth Palace in a peaceful demonstration against the criminal called Pope Benedict, and a policeman approached me and said,
“Mr. Annett, we have seen you at these protests before and so we’re presenting you with this notice. It informs you that you may be detained for Fixated Threat Assessment if you attend any future events like this one.”
He meant, if you come to another protest we’ll stick you in a mental hospital and charge you with a form of mental illness called “Fixation”. And so, dissent has become not only an official crime but an act of insanity. That is a law now in England.
And yet in fact, this is not a new law, but a resurrection of a very old medieval edict that declared that any protest against the King or the Church was innately seditious and punishable without appeal. Those presumed guilty were whisked away to secret tribunals called Star Chamber courts, identical to the five Fixated Threat Assessment Centers in London where dissidents are imprisoned simply for dissenting.
The land of my ancestors has reverted to a place of fear and tyranny.(I can agree with this part). And that is exactly why I am returning there this September, to speak freely and publicly as is my birthright, and to organize the victims of church and state terror.
I have been warned not to do so. But remember: the fear that the Crown and Church try to generate in us is but an enormous smokescreen to hide their own guilt and culpability in the longest reign of murder in human history. If we lose sight of this simple fact, we diminish our own capacity to overcome that legacy and stop the terror.
I love my English homeland: a place to where my French Huguenot ancestors fled from church terror in 1572 in order to establish a liberty of conscience and faith unknowable under Catholicism. The England of common law, of revolutionary ferment down the ages, is one of the rivers in my soul that cannot be dammed or diverted by the travesty called Empire and Christendom. For those evils were the acts of greedy men bent on rape and conquest, who had to crush the English commons and its people long before they inflicted the same war of terror on the indigenous nations or Negro humanity.
It is to that other England of the Commons that I turn when I get up to speak about genocide of aboriginals, and the trafficking in children by British elites and Catholic Bishops. Like Peter Annett, I look to the sleeping mass of people for our ultimate answer to these crimes. For as another persecuted rebel, Percy Shelley, cried out after the Peterloo Massacre of working people in Manchester in1817,
Rise like lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number; Shake your chains to earth like dew, which in sleep had fallen on you: Ye are many – they are few.
Peter Annett knew all about the “99 percent” long before the modern movement by that name, for it was to them, the dormant giant called the people, to whom he appealed to his last breath. And he knew that the spark that might awaken them can only be lit by a personal example, by continual public action in the face of one’s enemy, in which personal courage and integrity finds a broader stream in which to swim, and where we encounter other solitary, struggling souls.
I have learned the same hard-won lesson over the years, and if anything the recent persecution has sharpened and quickened the learning for me and growing numbers of others. So I don’t fear the path ahead. Instead, as we descend ever more quickly into a new social and political ice age, what is vital is that we search again for the vision of the world as it is, under the Natural Law where all things are in common, and no-one is above another – and restore that world while we still can.
Nothing has really changed since 1761, or 1649, in the land called England. Freedom is still subversion, and free souls must learn to be forever bold as well as wise. But everything can and will change, in the twinkle of an eye, for that’s the way revolutions manifest in history – like a stealthy mole that pokes up unexpectedly, to quote good old Karl Marx (emphasis mine).
Just shortly before Peter Annett died alone and in poverty in 1769, one of his neighbors wrote about him,
He emerged from prison broken in body and in health, but still sharp and alive in his spirit, his mind as lucid as ever. He seemed to me like a man fulfilled.
I understand why.
UPDATE – 08/05/12
by Heather Martin
In examining the above discourse, I can’t help but reflect in dismay that Annet (Peter, not Kevin) was not just trying to get people to think outside the box. He was actively promoting the Bible as a ‘mere cheat’ and the resurrection of Jesus as a hoax and not a miracle. Given the strength of the Church of England and the religious and political climate of the time, I am not surprised he ended up in the stockade.
What is pertinent here is just how far reaching Annet’s writings were into the present day, as the rise in radical atheist writings demonstrate (Ex. The God Delusion, God is not Great, and The End of Faith, which were influenced by Paine’s The Age of Reason) What is most disturbing is that Kevin Annett likes to “quote good old Karl Marx” and wax nostalgic for the dawning of The Age of Reason. It is apparent in his article that Kevin feels he is part of a new ‘Enlightenment’; and I fear that his true aim is to somehow elevate man to his rightful divine place, effectively kicking God out of the picture.