“There are no strangers” — Toni Morrison

“…There are no strangers. There are only versions of ourselves, many of which we have not embraced, most of which we wish to protect ourselves from. For the stranger is not foreign, she is random, not alien but remembered; and is the randomness of he encounter with our already known – although unacknowledged – selves that summons a ripple of alarm. That makes us reject the figure and the emotions it provokes – especially when these emotions are profound. It is also what makes us want to own, govern, administrate the Other. To romance her, if we can, back into our own mirrors. In either instance (of alarm or false reverence), we deny her personhood, the specific individuality we insist upon for ourselves (Toni Morrison, “The Fisherwoman,” introduction to Robert Bergman’s book of photograhs, A Kind of Rapture, New York: Pantheon/Random House, 1998).”

Who is a wire cutter?

A wire cutter is a tool, but a wire cutter is also a person who resisted the fencing of the range — the claiming, by financial investors from Chicago and London — that land used by the Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa peoples, and by pastores living in what we now call New Mexico, as the land became those investors’ private property by act of the Texas Legislature.

You could say that a wirecutter is a person who resists turning common resources — such as land, water, air, and information — into private property.

You could say that a wirecutter is a person who resists the forceful and unwanted separation of people from each other, and from resources.

You could say that a wirecutter is a person who has a very, very bad reaction to barbed wire.


James Boyle, “The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain,” 66 Law & Contemp. Problems 33 (Winter/Spring 2003)

Mollie E. Moore Davis, The Wire Cutters, New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1899

Wayne Gard, “Fence Cutting,” Handbook of Texas Online

Las Gorras Blancas, Proclamation, cited in Francisco Arturo Rosales, Testimonio: a documentary history of the Mexican American struggle for civil rights, Houston: Arte Público Press, 2000, at 29, and at the website of the New Mexico Office of the State Historian