Abolish Private Property!!!!

There is no doubt private property is fundamentally retrogressive. It is retrogressive in the sense that it rips the social fabric apart, fraying the social bonds beyond repair. Private property is all about the radical atomization of socio-economic existence. Ultimately, there is no legitimate reason, or rational argument, which can legitimate and justify the notion of private property since private property kills intellectual and material development, including all human advancement. Private property does this by blocking accessibility for the vast majority to the means of life. Consequently, private property denies life, itself, human and nature. Private property negates all capacities to live, survive, and evolve, stifling existence in its tracks. To quote, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon private “property is robbery”.1 It is a means to deprive others of access, use and benefit to a thing, either tangible or intangible, through the use of violence or threat of violence, which, in actuality, belongs to all and no-one. The foundation of private property is force, thus, as Proudhon states, “without force, property is null and void”2, it returns from which it came, namely, it returns to being collective property or communal property, belonging to all and no-one.

Ultimately, private property impedes progress. It impedes progress by producing ever-increasing economic-financial inequality, which obstructs “the development of humanity”3. Therefore, there can never be true equality in the world, adhering to the logic of capitalism and the concept of private property, as true equality and progress require, first and foremost, economic-financial equality and free accessibility to resources for all. That is, free accessibility for all to things like: free education, free health care, free basic income, free transport, free accessibility etc., without the harmful roadblocks of private property.

The defining characteristic of the concept of private property, which as a concept can be defined as tangible or intangible things that an entity has legal and exclusive ownership to, is that private property is fundamentally barbaric. Private property is barbaric because it is a throwback to a bygone era, where might equalled right all of the time. In fact, it is because private property is barbaric and fundamentally irrational and illegitimate at its core that private property needs to be constantly defended by force. In effect, private property is the reason for ever-increasing surveillance, discipline, and policing, in and across post-industrial, post-modern society, due to the fact ever-increasing privatization means that an increased police presence and judicial presence is required so as to enforce increasing private property.  As Proudhon states, the concept of “property…is…outside of society”4, meaning, it is a concept and a social relation outside normal and natural relations, hence, the reason private property is founded on and safeguarded by violence and force.

Private property is imposed on communal relations, it does not grow out of communal relations organically. Therefore, according to Proudhon, “the rich man’s right of property….has to be continually defended against the poor man’s desire for property”5, due to the fact, private property is a concept and a social relation, which is artificially imposed on others, rather than a relation which develops organically for communal benefits. For Proudhon,  private “property [rests] on war and conquest”.6 It rests on war and conquest because the concept of private property is unnatural, artificial and an arbitrary social relation. It is a concept and a social relation that needs to be imposed on people and the community by force and/or coercion, if private property is to exist. Consequently, private property is an uncivilized concept, reflecting those less evolved on the evolutionary ladder. That is, those who refuse to share, even at the cost of total communal annihilation. It is in this regard that private property is retrogressive and anti-social.

Notwithstanding, if, as Proudhon states, “private property originates in violence”7, then, only those prone to violence and anti-social practices are most compelled, through their depravity, to exercise endless forms of privatization and endless expansionary forms of private property.  Those entities, or individuals, who hold on to such an anti-social concept, without empathy, can only be trapped in arrested development. This condition is one of the origins of private property in the sense that private property is an expression of deficiency; i.e., a lack of an ability to share and a lack of communal empathy. Private property develops from intellectual degeneracy, an inherent inability to empathize with others and/or to share with others. Also, this is the root of capitalism, since, according to Proudhon, private “property is the grand cause of privilege and despotism”8; i.e., capitalism.  In contrast, Proudhon states, “when property is widely distributed, society thrives”9, because the citizenry is no longer hostage to the ghouls of private property and privilege. For Proudhon, when, there is extensive private “property….society devours itself”10. It turns neighbour against neighbour, community against community, due to the unnatural awakening of an appetite for more and more private property. The result is a slow degeneration of any community, based on private property, towards social barbarism.

Indeed, private property promotes and celebrates barbarians, the intellectually castrated, stunted in endless cycles of arrested development, without empathy, care, or concern for the community and/or the well-being of their neighbours or the natural environment. The concept of private property manufactures all sorts of insidious forms of barbarism. It is of no concern whether, this private property is conceptual, intellectual and/or material. There is no rational argument which can justify private property’s existence and its centrality at the centre of socio-economic relations and society, in general; thus, the necessity for violence and an increasing police and judicial presence, because the foundation of private property is thievery, thievery from the free community.  As Proudhon states, “private property is anti-social”4, it unravels the social fabric, regresses the population, and unfastens the social bonds, leaving the majority of the population open to manipulation, demagogy, and, as Marx states, “naked self-interest and callous cash payment”.11

At its core, private property is a disease of the soul, which transforms anyone it infects into a soulless ghoul, preying on the poor and ignorant, seeking only to augment the domain of private property at the expense of the free community. Once gripped in its mania, the person, or entity, can do nothing else than drown the community, equality, social bonds, in “the icy waters of egotistical calculation”12, calling it progress, a testament to superior genes and an entrepreneurial spirit, when, in fact, it is the opposite.

The road to capitalist serfdom is paved with capitalist intentions; i.e., the demon of privatization.  Because, privatization is nothing but the demonic logic of rampant socio-economic inequality, foaming at the mouth, rabid and ravenous to expropriate ever-more property, the life-blood of capitalist wealth and the capitalist mode of production. Indeed, Marx argues, the process of privatization “creates the capital-relation. [It] divorces the [workers] from [all] ownership…whereby the social means of subsistence and production are turned into [private property] and the [workers] are [themselves] turned into wage-laborers”13, forced to sell their bodies, at a reduced cost, into the juggernaut of industrial capitalism so as to stave-off starvation.

For Marx, private property is the foundation of capitalist production and increasing economic inequality. And the same goes for Proudhon, who argues that “without the appropriation of the instruments of production[, land, machines, tools, animals etc.,] property is nothing”.14  Since private property is the appropriation of land, machines, tools, animals, etc., from communal usages in order to impose wage-labor and the wage-system upon society, in general, through the artificial creation and implementation of scarcity in and across global community, by violence and/or the threat of violence.

All told, private property is, in essence, anti-community, wherefore the property system dehumanizes the general-population, dragging it increasingly into capitalist bondage in order to refashion communal relations upon a new foundation, the cold calculations of the oppressive capital/labor-relation. Wherefore, according to Marx, the “accumulation of wealth at one pole is… at the same time accumulation of misery, torment…, slavery, ignorance, brutalization…at the opposite pole”.15

Notwithstanding, this is not a violence predominantly perpetrated physically upon the human body by capitalists. It is a violence predominantly perpetrated upon the soul of the worker where, according to Michel Foucault, “the mind [is the] surface of inscription for power; [It is] the submission of bodies through the control of ideas.”16 For Foucault, foremost, property immiseration strikes “the soul rather than the body”17, it is fundamentally a mental torture with the added appendage of physical torture brought about by bodily deprivations.  In effect, for Foucault, the immiseration caused by private property is, most importantly, an immiseration of the soul, because, it is upon “the soft fibres of the brain, [or the soul, which] is founded the unshakable base of the soundest empires”18, namely, the capitalist empire.

The main objective of private property; i.e., capital, is the soul of its victim. It wants to possess and overpower the soul of the workforce/population so that members of the workforce/population will turn against their communities, break their social bonds, and ravage their localities of resources in order to sacrifice the earth on the alter of barbaric self-interest and bourgeois-money. As Marx states, capital; i.e., property, “lives the more, the more [souls] it sucks”19 Its satanic machinery, “in a word, …creates a world after its own image”20 on the blood and sweat of its victims, the workforce/population.

Likewise, for Proudhon, private “property [turns people] against the communion of man by man”21, where zombie-like, and in an enterprising trance, they wander the four corners of the globe, eradicating all forms of collective communal-property, hoarding it, making it forcefully their own by any means necessary, at the cost of human development and socio-economic advancement. Having risen from the nether regions of the mind and spirit, in a feeble attempt to usurp the limits of mutual-aid cooperative-communities, the ghoul of private property lurches evermore into the microscopic recesses of the intellect and daily life, possessing more souls, and condemning them to endless acquisition. Whether by force or trickery, in the end nothing must be left unclaimed, un-owned and unoccupied.

Nevertheless, in reality, according to Max Stirner, “private property…is…[but] a fiction, a thought”22. It is a spook, a phantasm that “lives by grace of the law”23. That is, by arbitrarily-manufactured bourgeois-laws which are designed to give illusory substance to the concept of private property, where, in fact, there is none. For instance, Stirner states, “for him who looks to the bottom [of private property discovers]….emptiness”6, a vacuum, held in check by arbitrary forces and bourgeois-law, as private property “is found nowhere except in the head”24. Planted there like a thorn burrowing through the cranium, the concept of private property plagues the mind of workforce/population and society, at large, like a phantom-presence always lurking in the dark shadows.

Manifested therein by force and persuasion, the spectre of private property, materialized, is now ripe for exorcism and expropriation, expulsion from the social body. And, the exorcist is the anarchist and the antidote is anti-property, that is, communism. Since communism “is the expression of annulled private property”25, free accessibility; “communism is the riddle of history solved”.26 Indeed, anarchist communism lifts, from the possessed host, the insatiable compulsion for endless acquisition and the soiled vestiges of the demon’s name; i.e., private property. And, it hurls it back from which it came into the abyss of ephemeral nothingness; this ghoulish dybbuk, lamenting deep within, which has gained dominant personality within capitalist-society by spinning heads and talking numbers, commanding, endless privatization. It is “an animated monster…consumed by love”27, the love of acquisition and property. And, the demon, private property, will accept nothing else for its expulsion, than total anarchist revolution since real exorcism is solely the fiery benediction of anarchist insurrection; i.e., purifying fire of total revolution. And, solely this can rip the ghoul, private property, from the soul of global economic society so as to let the sunbeams of radical anarchy and radical equality shine in, unobstructed and unopposed.

  1. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, (Lexington, Kentucky: Loki’s Publishing, 2017) p. 9. []
  2. Ibid, p. 128. []
  3. Ibid, p. 222. []
  4. Ibid, p. 31. [] []
  5. Ibid, p. 29. []
  6. Ibid, p. 33. [] []
  7. Ibid, p. 98. []
  8. Ibid, p. 121. []
  9. Ibid, p. 197. []
  10. Ibid, p. 107. []
  11. Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker, (New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978)  p. 475. []
  12. Ibid, p. 475. []
  13. Karl Marx, Capital (Volume One), Trans. Ben Fowkes (London Eng.: Penguin, 1990) p. 874. []
  14. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, (Lexington, Kentucky: Loki’s Publishing, 2017) p. 227. []
  15. Karl Marx, Capital (Volume One), Trans. Ben Fowkes (London Eng.: Penguin, 1990) p.799. []
  16. Michel Foucault, Discipline And Punish, Trans. Alan Sheridan, (New York: Vintage Books, 1977) p.102. []
  17. Ibid, p. 16. []
  18. Ibid, p. 103. []
  19. Karl Marx, Capital (Volume One), Trans. Ben Fowkes (London Eng.: Penguin, 1990) p. 342. []
  20. Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker, (New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978) p. 477. []
  21. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, (Lexington, Kentucky: Loki’s Publishing, 2017) p. 228. []
  22. Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own, Trans. Steven T. Byington, (New York: Verso, 2014) p. 234. []
  23. Ibid, p. 234. []
  24. Ibid, p. 135. []
  25. Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Trans. Martin Milligan, (New York: Dover Publications, 2007) p. 99. []
  26. Ibid, p. 102. []
  27. Karl Marx, Capital (Volume One), Trans. Ben Fowkes (London Eng.: Penguin, 1990) p. 1007. []
Michel Luc Bellemare is the author of The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism) Read other articles by Michel Luc.