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Why do anarchists oppose private property?

+1 vote
Sorry if this has been asked already--couldn't find it.
asked Jan 14, 2011 by peau_de_chat (320 points)
edited Jan 15, 2011 by dot
i'm going to edit your tags, since "private property" makes more sense than "private" and "property"...

4 Answers

–3 votes
Because possessions possess people for one your best friend would probably kill you if you broke his xbox. Land shouldn't belong to anyone how does that make sense? If you own land even if your not using it no one else can which i think is the main issue with it hoarding.
answered Jan 15, 2011 by ReggaeRevolution (160 points)
Your barely literate answer is not helping.
0 votes
i wouldn't say that anarchists oppose private property, although of course definitions are important here.

the famous proudhonian quotation "property is theft" comes from the book he wrote analyzing the difference between property and possessions.

simply put, possessions are the things that people use frequently (for example clothing, books, bicycles, whatever) vs property, which is stuff that is seldom used and (therefore) requires institutions to protect it (perhaps money in the bank, houses that no one--or at least not the owner--is living in, etc).
in this sense, property is a reflection of hoarding and unfair distribution of wealth.
answered Jan 15, 2011 by dot (52,530 points)
Certainly there's something about exploitation, authoritarianism, and coercion that is more relevant to invoke than culturally specific (ie not neutral) constructs like fairness or justice.
–1 vote
Anarchism is opposed to private property because private control over the means of survival (land, production...) places the owner of these means, in a position of authority over those who do not own them.

For example, those who do not own a home are indebted to somebody who does (a landlord or bank) in order to have shelter.

This is a privilege-based system of exclusion which centralizes capital into the hands of an elite while creating an alienated class to serve them. This wildly unequal distribution of wealth is thus the basis of capitalism and requires force (the police) to sustain itself.

Anarchists usually distinguish the difference between "personal" and private property as "having what you need to survive" (personal) verses "denying others free access of what they need to survive, in order to profit" (private).
answered Jan 16, 2011 by john apolo (320 points)
edited Jan 16, 2011 by john apolo
This important difference between the answers is that im stating anarchism itself conflicts with private property, contrary to the statement "i wouldn't say that anarchists oppose private property".

I think in order to be an anarchist you MUST oppose private property.
People who oppose private property are communists, not anarchists. If you want to get rid of YOUR private property, then by all means, do so (I don't recommend it, personally, as you'll probably have a hard time doing anything).. but, if you lay claim to "abolish" other people's private property, not only land which was genuinely appropriated by force/fraud (usually by "government,"), but EVERYONE'S "private property," "private property" in general, then you are already laying claim to ALL property in the world, and laying claim to every single person's transactions and attempting to stifle their ability to exercise their rights.
No, it does not put them in a position of authority over anybody else, it puts them in a position over THEIR PROPERTY. if two people came upon a forest, and both of them created farms... went and cut down some pieces of wood, made shelters, made tools, began growing vegetables.. and one person's harvest was kind of bad.. and he went to the other person's farm and said "my harvest was bad, i want some vegetables, and i want to use a portion of your farm land, too," and the other person said "well, i can give you some of my vegetables, but i need the rest," and the first person said "you don't understand, you can't claim that stuff as only yours.. you don't own this land.. i'm going to use that land [which you plowed, etc] anyway, and im going to take your vegetables, AND my friends and family are going to come and use your tools,  because you can't have any private property in the means of production..."  who is the authoritarian? who is the one attempting to RULE ANOTHER PERSON AND THEIR PROPERTY? what claim does the first person have on the second person's vegetables, farm land, or tools? when did the first persons "labor" come into play while the second person was busy making his own tools, then maybe trading other people for other tools, etc, etc.. ?
redblood blackflag:

this site does not recognize @cap as anarchist.
Anarchists don't need a site's recognition anymore than Anarchy needs online systems of control. Thanks.
Anarcho-capitalist need not bother calling themselves anarchists at all, let alone try to score rhetorical points on anarchist web sites! Did you really just type in "systems of control"? Ya know, as in the situations that property itself creates aka capitalism. e.g. state protected rackets imposing hegemony via violence and coercion?

Property enhances and rewards the power of the state, which is precisely why it has, since the dawn of history, been charged with the task of protecting it. What better way is there to reinforce support for the state then to promise the spoils of conquest and plunder. Yet to some of us it 's obvious how unnecessary and undesirable these ideologies are, and how spectacularly unrealistic redblood's hypothetical fantasy is.

Apparently redblood blackflag  hasn't noticed that authoritarian Communism has a lot more in common with capitalism then it ever will with a simple critique of property. It matters but little to those that are exploited weather or not the wealth (kept just barely out of their grasp) is controlled by privet or public bureaucracies. Anarchists appose the power of all institutions- both state and capital.

No, anarchists may not "need" recognition. However coherent rebels will certainly recognize their own individual needs, and that property's existence needs a violent and cohesive STATE to protect it.
That material things can be used in bad ways is not proof they're not necessities. I mean explain to me a world without physical objects. Without capital. Without possessions. Tell me how that would work in a world where I'm supposed to be able to choose my own survival.
Property is an institution and a social relationship, not just "material things". Surely you're capable of imagining that informal and temporary relationships are possible, no? Or does that scare you?  

There would be but few capable of telling you how to choose your own survival amidst the absence of state and capitalist institutions. Nor would anyone be too successful in stopping you from making those choices. Without any sort of institutionalized racket (collective, interdependent, systems,) of protection an individuals power and influences are greatly reduced to that of one-vs-one rather than many-vs-one. Notice how the imposition of property laws runs contrary to the very principal of individual responsibility as such?
I never advocated property laws or any institution.

All I'm saying is that there are some things I need to have the right to possess in order to insure my own life.
There's a difference between private property and personal property.  Anarchists don't oppose personal property because it doesn't infringe on the rights of other people to live or to acquire their own personal property.  Private property on the other hand, such as land ownership impedes the ability of other people to use the land for food or shelter.  It restricts the freedom of others.
–3 votes
Are you serious? Anarchists are for privatization of land to defend against the tragedy of the commons. Are you sure you didn't mean "Why do anarchists oppose public property?"
answered Jun 15, 2012 by anonymous
Hahahaha, oh wow, another "anarcho"-capitalist! Hooray! Please take a free tote bag on the way out.
The logical conclusion of no private property needs to also include nature and clearing land (even by a collective of humans) to grow food it is theft from nature.  It is to displace and/or kill animals and ecosystems.  To be entirely without the theft of land by claiming it as property we would therefore need to return to hunter gathering.  Or gathering without hunting which may not be viable in northern climates.