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America and Its Wall of Violence

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I intended to write in a light manner about President Trump’s wall, the wall he wants to put across the length of the border with Mexico, on lands stolen when the United States invaded Mexico in 1846 and seized its vast territories, a wall supposedly intended to protect the United States from an imminent threat of invasion by the dispossessed. I was going to have some fun comparing it to other walls in history, not the fences being put up across Europe as people flee the imperial wars, climate change, drought, famine and poverty, but the great walls tourists still flock to see.

The Great Wall of China comes to mind, built to keep the Mongols, Turks and Uighurs out of China, or Hadrian’s Wall in Britain and that of Antoninus, built to protect the Roman province from blue painted Picts, or the walls built around Rome itself, around Constantinople, around medieval European towns, the palisades of the Iroquois in Canada.

But then I began to think of the Berlin Wall, built to protect socialist Germany from the fate that befell it when the wall came down, or the Israeli wall dominating the lands of Palestine and making the Palestinian prisoners in their own land. Naturally my thoughts went to John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges, walls dividing, bridges connecting, and to Pink Floyd’s famous metaphor for society, for the individual and social isolation that is one of the primary characteristics of capitalist society. So light became dark as I began to wonder.

The great walls of history were built to defend against military invasions, invasions of conquest or short term pillage. So long as they were maintained and manned they were more or less successful. The Berlin Wall was built to protect socialism in Germany. When socialism in Germany was betrayed, the capitalists tore it down, re-established wage slavery, claimed it freedom, and sold pieces of the wall for souvenirs. The Israeli wall has the opposite purpose. It wasn’t built to protect anything. It was built to divide the Palestinian people from their own lands, to make them permanent prisoners of an occupying army. It’s a prison wall, a ghetto wall. But what is Trump’s wall for?

Mexico is not about to invade the........

© New Eastern Outlook