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Wall Purges Night

This song is by The Legendary Pink Dots and appears on the album Curse (1983).

Right hand raised. The left plants stickers - picking out the deviant. A
Choice of colours, inclinations, factions that see only red. He wants them
Dead. He kills them in his mirror when it's dark... And when he thinks that
No one is looking he spreads the spraypaint and leaves his mark. Swastikas
Shout out from walls, they're tattooed on a million fists. Clenched
Together, safe in numbers... waving from the precipice. Fodder! Plod on
Down your icy path... A cannon is waiting for the fodder. Enlightenment
Comes with a blast. A bang. A bangabangabang...

Another place. A different story. Fingers play with stale cigars. Business
Creeks, the warehouse leaks, the chairman sold his daughter's car. He's
Reading charts and sharpening knives for cutting when the time seems right -
For him alone. No pause for mercy if the victim's out of sight.

Equality is a word for cranks to shout out as the batons swing. It's
Beautiful in theory... he knows it's not for him. He's got his fodder!

In higher places, clocks chime for the meeting of the lords. They stay
Discreet as guilty secrets cause no shame behind closed doors. A portion for
The megabomb. A portion for the queen... can't forget the army or the law
'Cause they have to keep the cities clean. And sure they know they'll get
Their way as protests echo from the streets. (The blood is thicker from the
Streets) His hired guns and sheets of armor gives them shelter through the
Heat! The fodder...

But there are other bullets, other walls, where justice cries in shiny red.
Where reason dies and passion burns persuasion's just a hole in the head.
Purges after midnight... There's no discretion in the mass. A volley. A
Silence as they cover up the mess.

Don't kid yourself. You're civilized - it could happen anywhere.
In choking cities, steaming jungles... maybe even here.

The festival of Walpurgis Night is named after Saint Walpurga (known in Scandinavia as "Valborg"; alternative forms are "Walpurgis", "Wealdburg", or "Valderburger"), born in Wessex in 710. She was a niece of Saint Boniface and, according to legend, a daughter to the Saxon prince St. Richard. Together with her brothers she travelled to Franconia, Germany, where she became a nun and lived in the convent of "Heidenheim", which was founded by her brother Willibald. Walburga died on 25 February 779 and that day still carries her name in the Traditional Catholic Calendar.

Historically the Walpurgisnacht is derived from Pagan spring customs, where the arrival of spring was celebrated with bonfires at night. Viking fertility celebrations took place around February 25 and due to Walburga being declared a saint at that time of year, her name became associated with the celebrations. Walburga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration. The main mascot of Walpurgis Day is the witch.

In Germany, "Walpurgisnacht" (or Hexennacht, meaning Witches' Night), the night from April 30 to May 1, is the night (May Day's eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods waiting for spring..."

In rural parts of southern Germany it is part of popular youth culture play pranks on Walburgisnacht, e.g. tampering with neighbors' gardens, hiding possessions, or spraying graffiti on private property. These pranks occasionally result in serious damage to property or bodily injury. Curiously Adolf Hitler, with several members of his staff (including Joseph Goebbels), committed suicide on "Walpurgisnacht", April 30/May 1, 1945. In the History Channel's documentary, "Hitler and the Occult", author Dusty Sklar stated that "It's believed by some people that he chose April 30th deliberately because it coincided with Walpurgis Night, which is believed to be the most important date in Satanism. So according to one commentator he was giving himself up to the powers of darkness."

Cultural references include:

Anton Szandor LaVey chose Walpurgis Night in 1966 to found the Church of Satan.

"The Illuminatus! Trilogy" by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson makes repeated references to Walpurgisnacht.

The last major work of the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus was an anti-Nazi polemic titled Die dritte Walpurgisnacht ("The Third Walpurgis Night").

"Repent Walpurgis", by the English progressive rock band Procol Harum.

"War Pigs" by Black Sabbath was originally titled "Walpurgis" (and while the music was the same, the lyrics were entirely different).

Thomas Pynchon's novel, Gravity's Rainbow, has several scenes set during Walpurgis Night 1945, and also makes references to such matters as the Brocken Spectre.

"Wall Purges Night", is an obvious black pun on Walpurgisnacht. "Purges" in this case probably carries the meaning "to rid (a nation or political party, for example) of people considered undesirable." This is probably from the Stalinist Purges. The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin in 1936-1938. Also described as a "Soviet holocaust" by several authors, it involved the purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, repression of peasants, Red Army leadership, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterized by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and killings.

Hundreds of thousands of victims were falsely accused of various political crimes (espionage, wrecking, sabotage, anti-Soviet agitation, conspiracies to prepare uprisings and coups) and then executed by shooting, or sent to the Gulag labor camps. Many died at the penal labor camps due to starvation, disease, exposure and overwork. Other methods of dispatching victims were used on an experimental basis. For example, one secret policeman gassed people to death in batches in the back of a specially adapted airtight van. Estimates of the number of deaths associated with the Great Purge run from the official figure of 681,692 to nearly 2 million.

The "Wall" in the title could be referring to the politics surrounding the Berlin Wall which, at the time this song was recorded, still stood.

An article on the Berlin_Wall

Not everyone who lived in East Germany was trapped there. Many chose to live there voluntarily. Cities in the western part of Germany were strongly associated with some of the worst Nazi atrocities, so living in the East avoided the stigma of Nazism to some extent.

This song appears to warn that the spread of Facism can happen anyplace at anytime if we are not vigilant in watching what the powers of the world are doing, and maintain our rights to have an influence in those governments. The first verse seems to describe actual hate crimes and propaganda pushed by Neo-Nazi types on the street. The second portrays the business sector and it's role. The third bit seems to show how facist doctrines are supported by supposedly free governments behind closed doors. "Steaming jungles" in the last line probably refer to all the guerilla revolutionary activity in places like South America.

An article on Fascism

Information on how facism spreads in subtle ways, this time using the American George Bush administration as an example, while the Legendary Pink Dots were most likely thinking of the politics of Margaret Thatcher - a theme that would blossom into the full fledged scream against them on the album "The Tower".

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