Re: Capitalism, Private Property, etc (was Re: Sweatshops)

From: Travas Gunnell (
Date: Wed Apr 18 2001 - 16:51:15 MDT

--- Michael Lorrey <> wrote:
> Mark Walker wrote:
> > >
> > > Show me one good reason why the community should
> own my computers.
> > >
> > You're switching gears on me Michael. Your
> original position was that there
> > was an inherent contradiction in socialism, but
> now it seems that you are
> > saying (merely) that there is no good reason for
> socialism.
> The contradiction is that socialism decries the fact
> that the
> corporation siphons a part of the laborers
> productive output to pay
> management and capital, as if this confiscation is
> some sort of
> injustice. It then goes on to presume that it is
> perfectly alright for
> society to confiscate the productive output of the
> laborer. The best
> arguments it can make for such confiscation hinge on
> 'repaying the past
> generations' for the labor they invested in the
> current infrastructure,
> while they ignore that this is the ENTIRE purpose
> for which the cost of
> capital serves. Is this clear enough?

It is clear that you not only don't "understand them
[the ideas of anarchism] far better than the poor
individuals who wrote that page", you don't even
understand the most basic precepts of anarchism. From
the introduction of the FAQ:

However, the meanings of words change over time. Today
"socialism" almost always refers to state socialism, a
system that all anarchists have opposed as a denial of
freedom and genuine socialist ideals. All anarchists
would agree with Noam Chomsky's statement on this

"If the left is understood to include 'Bolshevism,' then I would flatly dissociate myself from the left. Lenin was one of the greatest enemies of socialism." ["Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future", Red and Black Revolution, no. 2] Anarchism developed in constant opposition to the ideas of Marxism, social democracy and Leninism. Long before Lenin rose to power, Mikhail Bakunin warned the followers of Marx against the "Red bureaucracy" that would institute "the worst of all despotic governments" if Marx's state-socialist ideas were ever implemented. Indeed, the works of Stirner, Proudhon and especially Bakunin all predict the horror of state Socialism with great accuracy. In addition, the anarchists were among the first and most vocal critics and opposition to the Bolshevik regime in Russia. ----- Requoting from my original post (which you obviously didn't read): ---

B.3.1 What is the difference between private property and possession? Anarchists define "private property" (or just "property," for short) as state-protected monopolies of certain objects or privileges which are used to exploit others. "Possession," on the other hand, is ownership of things that are not used to exploit others (e.g. a car, a refrigerator, a toothbrush, etc.). Thus many things can be considered as either property or possessions depending on how they are used. For example, a house that one lives in is a possession, whereas if one rents it to someone else at a profit it becomes property. Similarly, if one uses a saw to make a living as a self-employed carpenter, the saw is a possession; whereas if one employs others at wages to use the saw for one's own profit, it is property.

While it may initially be confusing to make this distinction, it is very useful to understand the nature of capitalist society. Capitalists tend to use the word "property" to mean anything from a toothbrush to a transnational corporation -- two very different things, with very different impacts upon society. ---- In other words, the "community" won't "own" your computers unless you give your computers away.


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