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How can private property be abolished without any authority to abolish it with?

+2 votes
asked Dec 29, 2011 by waagwaan (140 points)

3 Answers

+5 votes
 
Best answer

One simple answer: private property cannot be maintained without authority to maintain it, because people would immediately appropriate what they need, and the force of law, police, etc would not be there to stop them. It is through these forms of state power that owners are currently able to combat activities such as theft, squatting/trespassing, etc, thereby keeping these activities relatively in check, ie. maintaining their property.

Of course there is the issue of privately-owned security forces, police, armies, prisons, etc. "Anarcho"-capitalists feel entitled to call themselves such because they don't consider these to be forms of government. (They also have a funny definition of capitalism.) To my mind these examples just demonstrate a different form of governmental power in which it is more transparent that the rich have hired mercenaries (a condition that the liberal form of government obscures to some extent).

There is another interesting way of approaching the question. Private property itself functions as a form of authority in that there is an authority held over individuals by the sanctity of property. In this approach, one might view the forms taken by society to enforce property as a social/material actuation of this ideological system. This helps explain the existence of the moral systems in which people believe it is wrong to infringe on property rights and so on--what we experience is not simply a world full of private property that we cannot access because it is protected by armed guards (as some anarchists portray it). This is true, but it is also a world in which most people truly believe in the existing system and in a whole lot of unquestioned abstractions which they hold to be irreproachable, and without these beliefs the armed guards would be nothing.

As for how private property can be abolished: The first paragraph might make it seems as if the abolition of the state would then necessarily lead to the abolition of private property through appropriation. However, just as anarchists reject the idea of using authoritarian measures to abolish private property, we also reject the idea that what we want is simply a matter of abolishing the government, that "everything else" will follow from there. Anarchists are, after all, opposed to all forms of authority, and generally do not believe in confronting them in separation from one another. Most anarchists would probably agree that private property can be abolished through the insurrection of self-actualized individuals and collectivities who self-organize without authority between each other nor between themselves and any higher powers (state, god, property, etc) to free their lives from the systems that have dominated them. This effort of making our lives our own (of appropriating them) is from a certain viewpoint the abolition of private property, although it may be much more as well. It may involve a lot of willpower, but by no means requires authority--in fact, I'd argue that authority as I define it can only be a fetter to this effort.

[edited for italics]

answered Dec 29, 2011 by anok (18,970 points)
edited May 11, 2015 by anok
+1 vote
By abolishing the state.
answered Dec 29, 2011 by skitter (3,950 points)
+1 vote
Is respect for privacy much different from private property.  Could we say the difference is in whether it is personal domain or public domain.  What about parks, there is good cause to preserve nature in its natural conditions.   

To abolish the existence of private property there would need to be a force to make others adhere to rules and values enforced by others.  Or there could be a different approach.

What needs to be abolished are the grounds by which ideas have been conceived.  Anarchy by its nature creates a condition where private property does not make sense and is not advantageous or needed.  The mind again is where the battle lies, not just in the minds of others but that our own minds still exist in a realm of capitalism.  

We do not need to rebell against the system, we only need the ability to see beyond it in a world where all the concepts and terms of capitalism no longer exist.
answered May 23, 2012 by afunctionalworld (2,030 points)

"there is good cause to preserve nature in its natural conditions."

(kinda circular, no?)

nature does not need to be "preserved", it needs to be left the fuck alone!

humans - most of whom have long since considered themselves completely separate from nature, which i think is a huge part of the problem - have proven quite definitively that they are clueless when it comes to "fixing" what they have fucked up. one need only look at so-called "forest management", though there are many examples.

aah F@, i think there's evidence that humans have not always everywhere fucked everything up. there's folks who lived a long time in apparent good relationship with their surroundings, before our current system.

aside from that caveat, yes.
for sure, dot.

i don't think i implied - and i surely didn't intend to - that humans always and everywhere fucked shit up. before the wholesale destruction started, "nature" didn't need to be "preserved". and since it started, there are no signs of it changing, and the attempts to "fix" what has been fucked are shallow, political and largely insignificant. that's how i see it.
this is definetly one of the things that bothers me about "environmentalism", it's a technological solution to problem, we just need to save the "environment" in the abstract and everything will be fine...

and about forest preservation/parks...theoretically it can be good because a good amount of forest land has been saved from development...however, this model ultimately just gives all the power back to the state. For example, my brother and his g/f recently took a trip to quebec, and told me the park they visited charged hotel prices for people to stay there. These kinds of practices will certainly gaurantee that people will continue to be detached from the natural world, and see it as some sort of beauty they are obligated to protect rather than it being what they actually are.
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