Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Theft and property rights?

–2 votes
It is a question I have often tried to grapple with, and one I've been asked and debated with people about. How would an anarcho-communist society, where objects and resources are collectively owned by communes, deal with someone outside of said commune taking an object(s) and/or resources that were essential to the survival or well being of the commune.  For example a commune has been established, all food and water is shared equally amongst the members and things such as cars perhaps TV's or computers are collectively owned by that one group. What could they do if an individual came along and took their food? or took their car? my gut reaction is that the group could defend their resources(potentially with violence) from attacks by external individuals, but how without the concept of individual property rights could said group protect those objects and resources that it valued?
asked Jul 5, 2013 by Anarcho-Goth (740 points)
a) not sure why you're assuming that people here will speak to a scenario where things are shared as you postulate.
b) there are many many answers here that address the "after the rev" possibilities, and many of them (at least the ones i wrote) involve many different kinds of organization.


How would such necessary resources be obtained and retained in your ideal society, then? if we are not to share such things how exactly is it going to be an egalitarian and free society?
what do egalitarian and free mean?
when societies try to enforce egalitarianism and freedom (which current western nation-states *all* promote in speech, by the way), we end up with ... all the terrible utopias in fiction and reality.
i have answered this question before - i am not looking for more or different enforcement. i am looking for a size that is reasonable; one that i can have an influence on and one that i can get away from, if i want.
one that is that size allows for flexibility about how we make or find food and shelter and associate with each other, based on our lives and desires.
other people/groups can make their own decisions.
In fairness I never mentioned the actual size of the "ideal society"  I spoke of, it could be a small commune of a dozen people or so, in such a scenario would property and resources be shared? If you were a member of such a commune would you be comfortable with sharing resources and property in such a manner as I had tried to describe earlier. I'm just trying to learn, I'm sorry if I come at things with preexisting ideas and presuppositions.
oh lord. no need to apologize. that's what this site is supposed to be for. sometimes i forget!
so yea...
i don't know what i would be up for in a post-capitalist/patriarchal/etc society. it would depend on what happened. i can imagine a scenario in which i share with people most everything except a few things that have special value. i can imagine a scenario where i share with a smaller group inside a larger group that is organized on different lines.
but because the point of my answer is that there is no Right Anarchist Answer, what i would be up for isn't all that relevant.
as for individual rights,
you've commented on this thread already:
does that inform this question more?

2 Answers

–4 votes
No property, no theft. Property is more of an idea than it is a concrete thing. Lawlessness is propertyless and propertyless is crime-free. If you see two fighting, they are fighting FOR SOMETHING. I used to fight for nothing. A man would disrespect me, so I hit him. A woman would laugh at me, so I hit her. Pride, respect, honor are all nothing compared to cars, clothes, and money. So I used to fight for nothing. These are connected anyway-nothing and something-because they're could actually be less nothing to fight for if we as human beings see that propertyness is wrong morals, ethics and philosophy. In the words of Russell Brand "where there is profit, there is also deficit." Make no profit, take no life.
answered Oct 28, 2013 by Anarchy1001 (-150 points)
+2 votes
Hold on. Since when do rights keep things from being stolen? Rights are nothing but the law's bizarre form of self-justification through an appeal to God. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I've never been stopped from stealing something by a "right." There are lots of ways I've been stopped from stealing which could (and I imagine would) be used by a commune to keep things from walking away: fences, boxes, hiding places, locks, weapons, keeping guard, fear, respect, burial... Anyway, it seems better to have preventive measures than to try to run across the world (which way? on what information? at what risk?) trying to get some food or a car back from somebody who might be long gone. Although, come to think of it, tracking would be a badass skill to have ATR.
answered Dec 10, 2013 by anok (18,930 points)