0 votes

Anarchism: Property VS Possession VS Anti-property. What type of Anarchist are you?

Hello All,

Many of you have probably already read this one, but found an interesting article regarding the different Anarchist views on property, possession and ownership (or lack there of).

There is a proposed solution to unite the AnCaps, Anarcho-pluralists (pan anarchists) and the more left leaning social anarchists of the world.

Full article here:


"PROPERTY IS A TROUBLESOME issue. It is not only a matter of definition, but a matter of values. Some anarchists value property as a guarantee for freedom and prosperity, whereas other anarchists see property as a means of oppression and therefore wish to see it abolished completely. And there are other anarchists taking a “middle stance”--both pro and con--through advocating only possession. There seems to be no way around this issue, but this essay introduces a new theory combining the arguments put forward by anarchists in all three camps. Can this theory unite the anarchist movement?"

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


There are certain difficulties with the proposal.

It would have been good to start with a solid definition of property. This is difficult, but to make progress, that will have to be addressed.

The biggest problem, however, is the failure to distinguish between kinds of uses, namely destructive uses and passive or constructive uses. The example of mining is a good one. The claim is made that the miner has a right of use because of "first use" (similar to first posession) and others may use the location (for hiking for example) as long as they don't interfere with the mining.

I would think, however, that it depends on the nature of the mining. Large scale strip mining can be very destructive, and no one has a right to do it. Period. It doesn't matter who is there first. Others would be justified in stopping those who are destructively strip mining.

Why? Have the strip miners committed aggression? Answer: Yes. There is no property right of destruction. The strip miners have contributed no labor toward producing those "resources." They have no right to destroy them or the fertility of the location. They have aggressed against present and future generations. And a person who intended to enhance the fertility of that location (constructive use) or even preserve it as it is (passive use) has a superior claim to that "property" if they are willing to live on and from it. And they would be justified in defending their *property*. Property ownership comes with responsibilities.

This touches on the other important aspect: Connection to property. If property ownership has an element of responsibility attached to it, then it is natural that a fundamental connection to the property in question be maintained. Again, this is something which seems to be entirely overlooked in the essay.

Put these two things together with a solid definition of what justifies property ownership, and there might be an easier path to progress in the direction suggested by the author.

Question: Would people who have a problem with private property ownership be satisfied if there were a concrete notion of responsibility connected with it?