Thursday, October 23, 2003

For those of you who have picked up on my anarchist anger (with a green tinge) I will offer another object of hate.

The Enclosure Acts.

I am not romancing the life of Celts or Saxons, but nevertheless it was only really after the Norman Conquest that so much land was taken from the common people and given to individuals. And there was a fresh wave of Enclosures in the 17th 18th and 19th Centuries in the UK.

What's worse is that (by colonisation) we passed this concept of 'land ownership' around the world - imposing it on people to whom it made little sense to 'own' land....

"A third problem was the U.S. Government's inability to understand the native way of life and religious practices. The standard EuroAmerican way of life revolved around the private ownership of land and property. These ideals were not embraced by Indian Nations. Theirs was a communal life style with no concept of private land ownership. Some nations were nomadic but maintained a specific territory they considered their own. Others were sedentary farmers but maintained communal fields and shared their harvest. All of this flew in the face of the EuroAmerican "religion" of privatization and had to cease."

We use bits of paper with magic runes on them to 'prove' ownership. Accurate maps are to do with property boundaries. Native 'maps' were different.

"The obvious difference between European and native maps was the result in their differing views of land usage. For Europeans, land ownership was determined by "right of discovery." The native concept of land stewardship contrasted with the European view. While the colonists engaged in a land grab which required deeds, maps and written records, Natives relied on their oral tradition to describe social relations with nature. All land was viewed as commonly owned, while fishing and hunting grounds and crop fields were assigned to clans or bands. Land use reflected mobile, migratory patterns that changed with the seasons, and sometimes through tribal warfare.

That a society would require paper to demarcate land was a totally alien concept to Native Americans. "

And then in recent decades, as people got bored with the 'landlord' role, with its responsibilities for maintaining the property, collect rent, etc, the rich elite came up with another grand scheme - keep the reins on the land, but get people to borrow huge sums to hand over in a lump (rather than a trickle of rent) - tell them they now 'own' it, and leave them with the problem of paying it all within their they got people to sign a 'death pledge or wager' (mortgage) is another matter.

A serious consequence of this pattern was that (if you don't have to pay cash, but just promise your life away) the bidding for this dubious pleasure of 'ownership' can go through the roof ("I'll promise 20 year's earnings!" I'll promise 25!" "OK I'll promise all the money I'll ever earn, and I'll throw in my children's earnings as well") and this ever-receding debt is the 'value' of the property goes people have to promise more. And the rich, the banks, the original landowners get all that money 'up front'...and when people find they can't pay it, guess what happens, it turns out they never 'owned' it at all, as it reverts to the bank...

And I am studying the 'short cons' like The Three Card Trick, but those street hustlers can't hold a candle to the big money and the old money people....

[rant over] [he sings...] "Don't Fence Me In....."

"Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in."


"I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in."

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