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Taking Liberties


Volunteers gained an exclusive peek at the British Library’s Taking Liberties exhibition, including an interview with curator Matthew Shaw for this special report. The exhibition offers an inspiring array of original documents charting Britains 1,000-year struggle for freedom and rights. The Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Death Warrant of King Charles I, Republican Flags, suffragette Emily Davidsons purse, literature from the OZ trial and more, all feature in this evocative exhibition.  Volunteers also discuss the exhibition with writer Tim Black and consider whether rights handed down have the same value as rights fought for?

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Related topics: Civil Liberties, Democracy-Brexit

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jazzyjas said:

I agree, its quite disturbing to be sent a message that you have to feel gratefull to have had some elite deciding to grant you “rights”, and then watch them decide to take those away behind closed doors and no debate, under some very dubious pretenses of security. How free are we really?

snejanka said:

I find it disturbing that even today, when the grand narratives and ideologies of the legitimacy of rulership as such no longer seem tenable,that people still tend to look at the concept of “rights”, either fought for or handed down, as if its a great victory, without questioning the “right” of those who are supposedely doing the “handing down” to hold such a position at all. Hobbes and co.’s ideas about the social contract that legitimises government in the name of the common good seems naive, esp. when you think about how “democratic” our governments really are, and how much most people actually have a say on deciding about stuff important to their lives.

jonpaul21 said:

this is very coherant and complelling in both telling the tale of what is great about the exhibition and what its limits are in terms of rights we have gained by demanding and fighting for them versus rights that are granted to help the elite look good or to maintain control or coherance.