The ‘swimming’ of Mary Sutton (1615)
The swimming of witches was practiced officially up to the end of the 18th century in England. A suspect would be stripped naked and thrown into a deep stream or pond three times. If she sank and drowned she was innocent – if she ‘fleeted’ (floated) she was ‘guilty’.
The invention and persecution of witches is an essential component of class warfare. Drowning Witches is a tribute to citizen journalists who make informed resistance possible.
McCarthyism” is a word thrown around a lot nowadays, and in the process its true meaning – and horror – has been increasingly obscured. McCarthyism is not just the hounding of someone because their views are unpopular. It is the creation by the powerful of a perfect, self-rationalising system of incrimination – denying the victim a voice, even in their own defence. It presents the accused as an enemy so dangerous, their ideas so corrupting, that they must be silenced from the outset. Their only chance of rehabilitation is prostration before their accusers and utter repentance. McCarthyism, in other words, is the modern political parallel of the witch hunt.