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The Wallbreaker Charm

A spell for breaking barriers and enclosures by Christopher Scott Thompson


Wild powers of the earth and air,

High walls have risen everywhere

And where we once in common held

The woods and fields, now trees are felled

To fence us in on every side

And satisfy the greed and pride

Of those who buy and sell it all.

But something doesn’t love a wall…

Power of earth, cast down these stones

And shatter them like splintered bones.

Power of air, come blow them down

Until they’re broken on the ground.

Power of fire, burn out these walls

Until the structure sags and falls.

Power of water, rage and flood

And sweep away these walls with mud.

Power of ice, build up so thick

You bend and buckle every brick.

Power of lightning, fast and just,

Blast walls apart and leave them dust!

Not merely walls of wood and stone

That close us in. Not walls alone,

But all enclosures you can find

Of wood or plastic, word or mind

Intended to enclose or fence

Our open space. In recompense,

Oh earth and wind and fire and flood,

I offer you, not smoke and blood,

But something dear to gods and men –

The chance to be yourselves again.

 

Christopher Scott Thompson

Christopher Scott Thompson is a writer, historical fencing instructor and founding member of Clann Bhride, the Children of Brighid. He was active with Occupy Minneapolis and Occupy St. Paul. His political writing can be found at https://alienationorsolidarity.wordpress.com/.

8 Comments »

  1. I’m not generally one to be critical of the application of magical work, however which ‘enclosures’ or ‘walls’ is this aimed at? The reason I ask is because a significant proportion of the owners of the land that has been enclosed are small, private owners; my mum and dad for instance.

    Is this intended to break down the walls and barriers around all privately owned land?

    What would your intended outcome be to this?

    My reasoning here is that knocking down walls tends to make roofs collapse in the people below. Personally I would be more inclined to aim at changing the system gradually rather than bring about a sudden change – people tend to get caught up and harmed in collapses.

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    • This charm refers to enclosure, a historical process in which lands that were previously held in common were seized by large private landowners. Physically, this was done by walling off the land in question. Enclosure was a stage in the development of the capitalist economy, because it took away the self-sufficiency of the people who had previously used the land and forced them to move to the cities in search of work. Enclosure is usually seen as something that happened in the past, but it happens all the time in all kinds of different ways. Every time something that was once common space becomes “private property,” that’s enclosure. The charm mentions walls because that’s how land was historically enclosed, but in this case it’s a symbol of the process not a literal wall. This charm is for breaking the walls that are used to steal and privatize common space- it’s not for dropping walls on people’s heads!

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      • ok sure, but in the UK for example ‘encloure’ is mostly done (the last big attempt was shot down in spectacular style by protesting when the govt. tried to sell off publicly owned forestries), so the walls you speak of are up and constitute the ‘private property’ of small, private owners for instance. 15 million homes in the UK are owner-occupied, roughly half owned outright, the rest on mortgage. Is this charm aimed at that kind of private property and its return to common land?

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    • The spell is beautifully written but strikes me as too generalised. In the UK hedgerows, which form essential habitat and wildlife corridors, have been torn up to make giant fields to serve the ‘efficiencies’ of industrial farming. Equally in my town the main square whose various tiers once acted as discreet gathering points for various subcultures was levelled and is now routinely let-out to money making enterprises. Erasure of barriers (and barricades) and enclosures often serves the capitalist archons as much as the act of enclosure. It’s all about context.

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  2. Enclosure in the broad sense is not done, it’s still happening- for instance, attempts to get rid of net neutrality are a form of enclosure. In my home town, the city government tried to sell off a public park to private owners- that’s enclosure. I believe in Ireland they recently privatized the water- that’s enclosure. In the Scottish Highlands, the majority of the land is not held by small private landholders but by huge estates- the result of the Clearances, a form of enclosure. As I said, this charm is not aimed at homeowners. It’s aimed at a process that is very much ongoing.

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  3. In the western U.S., one could argue, that the U.S. government creating wilderness areas is a form of enclosure as it takes land out of common use?

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    • Considering that this was accomplished by evicting the indigenous people who lived there, definitely. But a forest everyone can visit is better than a field of mining pits owned by a private corporation, so there’s that…

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