575: CHOMSKY AND CHRIST – BY ROLAND THE UNIQUE STREET PREACHER

“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, the semi-religious blog that brings you unique and extraordinary people and viewpoints. Roland is a case in point: until I interviewed him I had no idea how unique and extraordinary he was. I’d known him and his wife slightly for a number of years and yet I hadn’t really known them at all, as I soon found out.

I hope you find this interesting

Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.”

 

Roland’s message is that we are all basically slaves of the commercial (capitalist) system under which we all live in the West. By defying the rules of this system we become genuinely free: free to follow our consciences, free to protest against war and corruption, free to serve others, free to think what we want. We don’t even need money…..but before you reject that idea as barmy note that Roland and his wife have found a way to do just that. One of my first questions was “Do you have a job?” “No.” Then “Are you on benefits?” “No” again. I didn’t think to ask if they had a rich benefactor somewhere, but I suspect the answer to that would be “No” too!

Like other Australians before them, this couple have made an impact on the radical fringes of the British political/cultural scene. One thinks of Richard Neville who edited the hippie magazine “OZ” in the 1960s. (It took me a couple of years of avid reading before it even occurred to me that OZ was an abbreviation for Australia.) Then there’s the admirable Peter Tatchell; just read his foundation’s online website to see how impressively he campaigns for gay rights. Lastly I must mention my friend whom I interviewed for Zingcreed a couple of years back: the Christian anarchist and member of the Catholic Workers Movement: Ciaron O’Reilly. (Hi Ciaron!) Oh, and let’s not forget Julian Assange, for whom Ciaron campaigned long and hard. And radical journalist John Pilger, and feminist Germaine Greer and comedian Barry Humphries too.

Roland’s anti-materialist message is inspired by Jesus, but on the pavements of Clapham or Wood Green, Stepney or Westminster, standing next to his bicycle, he is quite happy to ‘preach’ without referring to the bible. He will quote Chomsky on the manipulation of consent or the real aims of American foreign policy. He also likes to quote Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi, Finkelstein, Howard Zinn and Muriel Lester. When I met him he had a book about Wikileaks in his hand.

Here are some lines of his message reconstructed from my semi-legible notes:
“Jesus was an anarchist, he was against tyranny and injustice and class inequality. He wanted people to take responsibility for their own lives.”
“Jesus took non-violent direct action; he was on a collision course with the power structures of his time.”
“Anarchism is a rise of conscience like we saw in the Occupy movement. They want us to be powerless, to believe their illusions instead. That’s why they bombard us with trivia every day.”
“We prefer to share our wealth, like the Catholic Workers do. Working peoples’ taxes pay for wars. You don’t have to do this to survive.”

So how does Roland survive?
He and his wife have been living in a motor home for the last 14 years, as Roland says “doesn’t the word ‘mortgage’ mean ‘death grip’?”
They eat chucked out food that has passed its sell-by date.
They travel round London by bicycle.
They produce an excellent little glossy magazine and when people take it in the street they ask for a donation.
They live simply and share their talents. Roland told me that if someone were to give them a house they would give it away.

It’s refreshing to meet people who don’t merely preach the word but live by it too.
Too risky as a stratagem for life? This couple have tried it and it works!

To see their magazine on line go to makingitreal.wix.com/home

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