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Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

The best answer I have for this is one that seeks to reframe the question.

Answering the question straightforwardly requires anarchists (to some degree) to fit within the framework of property.

Anarchists seek a world without property and so without theft. At most, if anything, what 'theft' is would be something completely different in an anarchist world.

So it's a false question and I think it's important to note that so that we don't accidentally conserve the values we are trying to destroy just in the everyday ways that we engage with people.

Anarchists do not 'believe in' government or property so they don't believe in taxation.


ziq wrote (edited )

We reject private property, yes. But personal property is all good.


Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I don't think we necessarily have to accept this.

I don't mind much if anarchists like the idea of personal property. For example, I wouldn't feel the need to destroy a society that worked like bolo'bolo, where each person gets a box of a certain size (same for everybody, and small enough to carry when backpacking, I don't remember the exact dimensions) and whatever they keep in that is theirs.

But there are other ways of keeping things dear to you with you that need not invoke the relation of property. When you have a dog as a companion, to make an example, people are not going to take 'your' dog from you because it is not your property; they recognise a bond and respect it. Similarly, if you're busy cooking a meal for yourself, somebody isn't going to come take your food as you've made it just because you don't own it, it's just common consideration. With these two sorts of things, namely the respecting of a bond, or common consideration, you cover a lot of ground that personal property would with less baggage around ownership and enforcement. I think.

And either way, it would require a difference sense of the meaning of 'theft'.

Edit: missing word, deleted some repetition


ziq wrote (edited )

I don't think the idea of property on its own has a negative connotation. Property that generates profit is private property, anything that belongs to you and isn't used to control others is personal property.

The best example of personal property is your home. You shouldn't be forced to share your bed and bathroom with random people. But then if you have 2 dwellings and you rent one of them out - that's private property, and you're participating in exploitation for profit.

Privacy is very important to humans, if you insinuate they need to share everything with strangers, they're not going to be very open to your ideology. Some things need to be just for ourselves.


Tequila_Wolf wrote

I am interested in why you think people would be forced to share beds with other people without the property relation. I live in a house with a handful of people and we treat things communally but none of us expect that this means people will just get into bed with us. I'm not sure why anybody would. If somebody needed a bed, there would be talk about it, and an arrangement would be made that was considerate of everyone's needs.

I think homes are not even personal property, but private. And I think an anarchist would would look very very radically different from the kind of thing we have now.

Have you read The Dispossessed? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. Le Guin's characterisation of property in it is intriguing and I think shows one of many ways that desirable anarchist worlds might not have housing in the traditional sense you're speaking of.


ziq wrote

I was just explaining what personal property is, I didn't make up the definition.

Your argument is that we don't need the term 'personal property' because you don't like associating with the concept of property in any way, but I don't think having your own space and your own things is a bad thing.

The idea of personal property has always allowed anarchists to explain to liberals that we're not going to take away their toothbrushes. If anarchists start rejecting the concept of personal property it's not going to help with propaganda.

I built my home myself and it's an illegal structure that doesn't legally exist and is worth nothing to anyone other than me and my partner. I don't see how it's private property when I don't profit from it?

Yeah I've read The Dispossessed.


Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

Yes I agree completely about the point of appealing to liberals. But it's the same kind of approach I take to someone like Chomsky. He appeals to liberals, calls himself anarchist, and gets people in the door of anarchy. When you're through the door, you can look back and say that Chomsky wasn't that anarchist after all. (this is not to say I am better than him at anything)

I think it's awesome that you built your home. I wish I had those kinds of skills. What I do think though is that an anarchist world would have room for people to be attached to things that they care about without it being property in any way associated with capitalism.

I feel like new things we create in a revolution or 'after' one would exist in a different way to how they do now, but also that things like your home are treasures that would be considered as such by people.

I have always understood personal property as movable, and am not really one to argue semantics because I don't think anything has fixed meaning. Wikipedia seems to agree with both of us - you more than me.

Anyway, I suspect our positions are closer than they appear. My interest from the outset has mostly been one of framing.


ziq wrote

I lean more individualist than collectivist, but I'd much rather live adjacent to (anarcho) collectivism than adjacent to neoliberal capitalism.

The great thing about my home is it can be disassembled and moved : )


go1dfish wrote

Property at some level is unavoidable.

Certainly the clothes on me belong to me in a sense and it would be wrong for someone to take them forcefully from me.

Similarly the contents of my own thoughts are unavoidably my own in the absence of violent coercion.

Cryptocurrency has shown, that this form of secret, combined with voluntary social process and interaction is sufficient to bootstrap an economy and maintain (virtual) property.

Property and the concept of property will always exist so long as the things and labor we value are scarce and people believe them to be scarce.