Branding Levellers’ Day

Levellers-Day1
Reflecting on what historic days we celebrate in the UK and I came across ‘Levellers’ Day’ – it’s on May 17th

The fact that you were probably unaware of it, highlights the need to make it better known. (It must be said that some incredible work has been done by the Oxford Industrial Branch of the Workers Educational Association, and others who initiated in Levellers’ Day in 1975.)

The story of a group of political activists executed for their beliefs in the 17th century still has resonance today. Although as a political group they were crushed, their ideals in terms of universal suffrage, democracy, women’s rights, and a socially fair and just society lived on to feed and shape the world we take for granted.

And Levellers’ Day today offers potential as a vehicle for anyone concerned with promoting and advancing social justice in our society.

Levellers’ Day is not necessarily an anti-Jubilee Day or similar, but can either complement or provide an alternative to: like a Leveller would say: ‘It’s your choice’.

So, what needs to be done to make Levellers’ Day even more popular?

Here are 5 steps:

1. A brand theme of ‘the dream’
We need to create a brand story that connects a group of political agitators from the 17th century to make it alive and relevant today.

The common strand I would propose is ‘the dream’; the original Levellers fought for – and died in a number of cases – for their dream. A dream of, a free, tolerant, equal and democratic society, free from religious persecution.

Although we may in theory live in a society that takes the Levellers’ dream very much for granted, many progressives would challenge if our current society has actually fulfilled the dream, or indeed, where it exists, is in danger or being undermined, diluted or taken away.

Using the brand exposition of ‘the dream’ provides a powerful resource to make Levellers’ Day topical, current and indeed future-facing, rather than just an historical curiosity of limited relevance to today’s world.

2. A positioning of ‘celebration’ and a ‘health check’
Levellers’ Day could be positioned as celebrating the dream while also providing a health check on the ideals of justice, peace and democracy to create a better society.

It could be the only day uniting anyone celebrating the cause of a better society through peace, social justice and democracy, combined with a call for action to address any shortcomings of our world, according to the ideals of the Levellers.

Its uniqueness is defined by drawing inspiration from the sacrifice made by the Leveller martyrs to create a dream of a better society

3. Harness ‘brand heros’ – the ‘Leveller Martyrs’
The bravery and sacrifice of Levellers Robert Lockyear (or Lockier), hanged in Gloucester, Cornet Will Thompson and Corporals Church and Perkins who were shot in Burford, and Private Biggs and Piggen executed in Oxford humanise the price paid for ‘the dream’.

Although recent sterling efforts have been made to mark the graves of these brave heroes there is no national monument for the Leveller martyrs.

Perhaps, the existing sites could be used, or the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Islington (whose namme was inspired by the Levellers) could become a national icon for the Levellers.

3. A brand with icons and iconic acts
What badge or act can connect different people to commemorate Levellers’ Day?

Maybe, re-using some contemporary branding of the Levellers, such as wearing sea-green ribbons, or a sprig of Rosemary could be re-enthused in new 21st century ways.

Iconic acts, such as the dipping of rosemary into something red, could be used to symbolise the blood sacrifice made by the Leveller martyrs

The wearing of a rosemary sprig (which is also used to commemorate Anzac Day), or sea green ribbons could be the equivalent of the latter-day Poppy.

4. Create a charity link
Could Levellers Day be an opportunity for a charity such as Amnesty International to use as both a conscious raising and valuable fund-raising day?

5. The Levellers Dream – a new anthem for Levellers Day
What if there was a song, an anthem people could sing to mark their celebration of Levellers day?

The sing needs to be simple, easy-to-remember if it is to be meme-friendly and spread.

Here is one effort:

‘The Levellers’ dream’ – a song for Leveller’s Day

We need
Justice
Peace
And democracy

We need
Justice
Peace
And democracy
So we can make
the Levellers dream come true

Have we got
Justice
Peace
And democracy?

Have we got
Justice
Peace
And democracy?
So we can make
the Levellers dream come true

We’ve got to fight for
Justice
Peace
And democracy

We’ve got to fight for
Justice
Peace
And democracy
So we can make
the Levellers dream come true

We won’t sleep until
Justice
Peace
And democracy

We won’t sleep until
Justice
Peace
And democracy
Is the Leveller’s dream come true
for me and for you

Happy Levellers’ Day!

Maybe one day more people will come together to both celebrate the birthright earned from the sacrifice of the Levellers and use Levellers’ Day to become better ancestors for their children’s’ children.

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