Who Are the Guildford IWW, Who are The Diggers!?

The Diggers are often overlooked, and one of the first working-class, proto-socialist/ anarchist groups in our area or locality – Guildford and the surrounding region, Surrey and the Home Counties.

They were the first workers, tillers, bakers, builders… Diggers.

In many ways our team, have been working together, like the Diggers.

Digging things up, getting dug-in. We share the load, like workers around the region, in their places of work, and in their households.

Who really are the ‘Guildford IWW’?
We are workers, and oppressed people, from a variety of backgrounds. Who stick together, and fight back.

And what are we struggling toward?
We in the Guildford IWW, think that the Diggers had the right idea, that is, to till the land collectively.

We think we should work together, so that everyone, is fed, and housed.

We are members of the working-class, people who care about one and other. We are members of the Industrial Workers of the World, our One Big Union.

We care about our friends, our families, and our loved ones. Right now, it is clear that things, conditions at work and in daily-life; are not working for working-class people. They are working, for some though.

(The people who own big-boats! More than one nice gaff!? Maybe even a few holiday homes!?)

But who really are The Diggers? (links provided, for further investigation…):

“1 April 1649, a farmer and writer called Gerrard Winstanley along with a small group of 30 to 40 men and women occupied St. George’s Hill, Watton, Surrey, England and began tilling the land collectively. Over the coming months, numerous local people would join them and for the movement which became known as the Diggers.’“[1][2]


So from then, till now, what have we, Guildford IWW, dug up?

With the collective experience of multiple years organising and agitating, having lived in the area for years.

Guildford and the surrounding area is our home. It could be the readers home.

What have we learnt, talking to our mates, workers, our friends in the area?

We listened to their problems and concerns, heard them, we share many of their problems and concerns. And we will share them with you below in this article.


What is Guildford, and what is the terrain?

First things, first!

This bits a little technical, but, according to the last census in 2011 (which is out of date, but the closest we can find to any, solid evidence on class demographics), in Guildford. ‘The top occupations are professional 24.5%, associate professional and technological 16%, managers, directors, senior officers; 16%.’ [3]

We are a commuter town/city that links transport into the Big Smoke, into London (a hub of international finance capital). Guildford is a playground, and a resting place, for the rich!

Whilst we work, or starve on the dole, with bad pay, extortionate rents, and no play. We built this city, and they’re dancing in it!

We are a city for the particularly wealthy; emergent and present; managerial classes of capitalism, and the state.

We’re essential for logistics, in regards to commuting along the rail-lines, for example. In linking London with both the South East and West, and lets not forget ‘due to recent development running north from Guildford, and linking to the Woking area, Guildford now officially forms the southwestern tip of the Greater London Built-up Area, as defined by the Office for National Statistics.’

We are essential to social reproduction; someone has to look after the kids, whilst rich, mum and dad are in Barbados. Or enjoying daiquiri’s during their conference calls? Or being the boss in the Big Smoke!

It isn’t manager-mum or ceo-dad who looks after the kids, it’s a worker, a nanny, an au pair. These care workers, deal with all kinds of horrible shit.

Shit pay, shit conditions, and shit nappies. Keep this in mind!

We are a vital hub, for the continuation (Brighton, Bristol and so on) of ‘business as usual’, of not just capitalism, but a major concentration of global international capital.

We at Guildford IWW utterly reject ‘business as usual’, no matter the red-rosettes and Corbyn-fever; there can be no return to ‘business as usual’, from our outset we’ve followed closely our fellow workers, in the Angry Workers of the World. (The Wild West of London- link provided to their literature: https://angryworkersworld.wordpress.com/ ).

When we work together, on the ground, in our communities, on the shop-floor, we win.


So Where Do the Bosses Live?

These managerial types, bosses, ceo’s, etc. Poshos, snobs and yuppies. Also own a lot of real estate, property, especially in the centre of town. This is either, through direct ownership of household/s or through mortgages. This is disproportionate to the rest of the UK, Guildford, and it’s periphery regions (were we live). It is also disproportionate to the rest of the county (according to census data). They’re loud, rude, they treat us like shit and they don’t seem to do much at all, just hoard stuff.

This won’t last much longer. The housing bubble just popped, the hubris, the arrogance, of the Tories’ main base and support, could leave many buildings empty, after the combined viruses of capitalism and COVID-19… which could open up opportunities to gain social centers and organising hubs. In the end though, we are here to win workers hearts and minds, as workers. We are here to help our friends, our fellow workers, and our comrades; through our actions. Our favourite new friends are often working-class, and after years of heartbreak and desperation, used to vote for the tories.

*To be absolutely clear, our friends and loved ones, our class has no age. During the covid-19 outbreak, all ‘boomer’ jokes reinforce, eugenicist and murderous ideas, we at Guildford IWW, have distributed basic health and safety equipment to all workers many of which, our elders, and more vulnerable to the virus*
(this can be seen on our facebook page).


A Tale Of Two Cities!

In stark contrast, our class, our friends, we. Are pushed to the peripheries of the city, into underfunded areas, like Burpham, Stoughton, and further afield.

Where the people are different. The class make-up, or composition is in stark contrast to the above.

Many of us live in over-crowded, over-priced and poorly kept buildings (often occupied by ‘migrant’ workers). Many are forced to spend well over half their wages on their rent and utilities: wages earned on their 40-60 hr (at times plainly illegal) shifts, without breaks, or basic health and safety. With very little social, emotional support and solidarity.

Guildford has one of the highest ‘migrant’ work forces in the UK. When we keep up to date, we can gather from the 2011 census (which should be treated with a critical lens, not accounting, for instance, particularly exploitable or vulnerable ‘illegal’ labour). This has become clearer on shop floors. Migrant workers in particular, are targeted for exploitation, with nearly no ‘rights’.

All the demographics shift away the centre and hub of Guildford – just an example religious affiliations. There are more atheists and non-Christians than the 60% average in Guildford city centre, of people who would call themselves Christians in 2011.

This is where we live our lives, without functioning services provided by the capitalist-state, and with no areas to meet and discuss topics that affect us as workers. There is one place in the centre of town that’s sociable. Unfortunately, it’s a honey trap of no real note, more a distraction, quite a sad place; where pints are 5 quid.

There is a large student population of not much note for now, though some have organised small liberal events/ various activism’s. Most interesting around rent strikes, those engaged are a small portion of the local student population, and there are no signs, they want to broaden that struggle.

What is of more note is probably what comes with them – right by the train lines. From Guildford to London. There is a clear divide.

On one side, low paid migrant workers and local workers, living hand-to-mouth along, and in a range of attached and often dilapidated tenements.

The other side of this road, as is what often happens with student populations, (considering their class composition, investments, oftentimes their roles as future managers, professionals, owners of capital). A range of soulless, new un-affordable apartments, intended solely for the children of the rich. Refurbishment’ projects. Gentrification and a continual process of displacement. We build it, they buy it.


A Tale of Two Homes!

Another interesting factor in tandem with the above, is social reproduction of labour and family units. (Shit pay. Shit conditions. Shit nappies!)

50% of the populace according to the census in Guildford are married, and around 7% are carers (nursery workers, nannies, etc). These people are often treated with disrespect, and given no protection *whilst* they look after the children of the capitalist-class, the rich.

Not only dealing with the stress of unsafe work conditions, but having to play nice, whilst their bosses risk *their own children’s lives*.

Many of these workers have been laid off, no furlough or furloughed 80% pay, depending on contracts and bosses. Lots of these workers have been expected to come back without any pay, during their ‘holiday time’ in some cases.

It’s important to remind ourselves, the data from the census is old. The present conditions are dynamic, fluid; with the pandemic, global crises in capitalism, ecological collapse, ’emergency laws’.

These events, coupled with, a health service that has been decimated by both the labour party and the tories for decades. Have led to the images we can see on our screens each day, of nurses (usually a role associated with feminine labour and care), without the basic requirements, health and safety equipment to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Let alone their patients.

                ‘No more mothers, women and girls, let’s destroy the families!’ was an invitation to

                     the gesture of breaking the expected chains of events,

               to release the compressed potentialities.

          It was a blow to the fucked up love affairs, to

         ordinary prostitution.

        It was a call at overcoming the couple as elementary unit in the management of


                                                    –  Tiqqun, ‘How to?’


Anonymous Accounts we Dug up, from Guildford and Surrounding Areas: FWs, Friends, Supporters

Here are some anonymous accounts, quotes and recent updates, of our members and friends in various industries. The post-depot, carers, well known retailers and other essential workplaces where our fellow workers, friends, members of our class. Many of these workers, are still not being given basic health and safety precautions:

Worker/s in the local post office:

Post office workers, have voted a 2nd time for industrial action, and appreciated our solidarity, distributing basic health and safety supplies. Which are easy to distribute along their delivery routes.

Workers have been held at work to rule, by the state and union bureaucrats without basic safety precautions, with over 94% or so support for industrial action at the local depot.

One of their CEO’s took ‘a very big pay rise recently’, many of our friends agree, why work to rule, when you could rule the workplace?

We have given many of these workers basic health and safety equipment – on their delivery routes.


Angry Nannies Of the World:

‘’At least protect me so I can look after your fucking child!… No one is wearing any protections it is pretty much murderous’’

”We want full pay whilst out of work!”

Migrant hospitality worker:

“They treat you like you’re stupid because of the language barrier, as though you don’t know what workers’ rights are, you have to play nice, because you are an immigrant woman in UK.

They think you don’t understand what “worker rights” mean but that’s not true, there is just one problem, they treat you like you are stupid, but you are not stupid.

When you arrive in the UK you came like a “good worker” because isn’t your country, isn’t your people, u should to work harder than english people just because u can’t express yourself properly.

You should to say YES to everything because there are another immigrant that can replace u.

It’s hard, because it’s not your language and you are alone in this city or country, your workplace is your only place to socialise with people (another immigrant people, in the English Kitchens).

Your bosses, white men, trying to be your friends while they are shout at you because you didn’t had time to do the work of two people.”

Worker/s in retail and in hospitality:

‘The bosses know they can get away with it, and they do, the only answer is to push back on the shop-floor.’

‘Guildford’s relative economic advantage compared to the rest of the UK (due to investment + large financial sector) has left a decent amount of people disconnected from the struggles of in the rest of the UK. This disconnect leads to a general un-empathetic and inconsiderate attitude toward poverty, race, sexism, etc. Though that’s also due to the concentration of property in Guildford and general social reproduction being enforced at home and in educational systems

Vulnerable member of community:

‘sometimes I just want it all to end’

Disabled UC Claimaint:

Points out a period in history pivotal to the development of capital – the privatisation of the womb (Sylvia Federici)[5], the control of life and death, witch-burnings and pogroms, of any who were outside the normative family unit, any ‘other’ concocted by The Church.

The traditional family unit; was carved into the fabric of history. This coincided with the proliferation of the protestant work ethic. These two developments combined, were arguably, invaluable, to industrial capitals development. This all happened during the same period as a global pandemic. The Plague.

Basically, they say shit’s hit the fan.

‘Eugenicist themes are plain, and accelerating, to anyone who has seen a ‘nurse’ carry out a fit for work test, act as judge, jury and executioner, or has paid attention to the countless claimants, people, friends, who have died over the past decade or so.’

‘Claimants aren’t ‘productive’ and, disposable to the economy or mobilised as a reserve force of labour (which is at present happening).’

As Engels said:

“When one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another such that death results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance that the injury would be fatal, we call his deed murder. But when society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live — forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence — knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission. But murder it remains.’ [4]



Hope in the Home-Counties! An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!

The terrain and dynamics of power have clearly shifted, not just in Guildford but around the globe.

Workers are moving, we are moving, the bosses have overstepped.

We are atomised in many ways, but communications globally, nationally and internationally; have improved, as have our own. The dust won’t settle. The IWW won’t let it.

If you want to chip in, fight back, get up-to-date, on the ground information from workers, regarding your rights, how to get organised, how to win what your owed? Then why not join us?

Solidarity Forever, Abolition of the Wage System,




‘Education is ammunition.

Organization the weapon.`

Aim true and keep your powder dry’

~ old wobbly poem





[1] ‘Winstanley was a Protestant who began to write pamphlets criticising the church, which held that “god is in the heavens above the skies”. Instead he argued that god was “the spirit within you”. In a pamphlet published in January 1649 he wrote: “In the beginning of time God made the earth. Not one word was spoken at the beginning that one branch of mankind should rule over another, but selfish imaginations did set up one man to teach and rule over another.”

We have loads of great anniversaries today. For all of them follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wrkclasshistory (well known working-class history project)

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWzzvnPOyTM&fbclid=IwAR1Q7r0uMqrK7mLQLgCYuX9BimwL2hh5_aawdT4lea_4yHWTXs77oeT7lLsDick Gaughan’s ‘World Turned Upside Down’, a well-known folk singers tune about The Diggers

[3] https://www.ilivehere.co.uk/statistics-guildford-surrey-15972.html

[4]  Engels, Friedrich (2009) [1845]. ‘The Condition of the Working-Class in England’

[5] Sylvia Federici – Caliban and the Witch