FAQ: The Homesteading Principle

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1) How much is the minimal amount of labour that needs to be “mixed with the land” in order for it to qualify as “homesteaded”? If I cut down a tree can I claim the entire forest for my logging company?

2) How much land is it permissible to take at any one time?

3) How high-up does this “homesteading” apply? Could you charge airlines for flying over your property? And do you own everything down to the core of the planet?

4) How long must land be apparently unused before somebody else is allowed to “homestead” it? Or is it that person’s for all eternity, even if that means it is completely wasted land that others need in order to survive?

5) If roads are to be privatized then the currently public roads must move into private hands. How would a person “homestead” an already-existing road?

6) Does this apply to all publicly-owned property? Could a person “homestead” NASA HQ, and if so, how? How would someone “homestead” the Large Hadron Collider? How about publicly-owned satellites?

7) Does discovering a star/planet/asteroid/etc. qualify as “homesteading” it?

8) What happens to the graves in publicly-owned graveyards when somebody “homesteads” them and wants to use the land for other purposes?

9) How will we defend ourselves when the wrong people “homestead” the enormous stockpiles of nuclear weapons?

10) If person A grows a tree on the border of their property, and an acorn falls into the garden of their neighbour, person B, and starts growing into a tree, is that a violation of the NAP and does that entitle person B to blow person A’s fucking head off?

11) Do beavers, ants and other structure-building creatures “homestead” and, if so, how can they be expected to navigate the minefield of an “an”cap legal system?

12) What happens to future generations when all the land has been “homesteaded” and is in private hands? Would they have any alternative to wage slavery?

13) Would the “homesteading principle” lead to a reckless and irresponsible drive to build anything wherever people can in order to claim land before it all goes? Couldn’t this just lead to ecological devastation that we can ill afford?

DEBUNKING “AN”CAP MEMES IV: …AND THEY’RE STILL MISOGYNISTS!

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This is yet another in a stream of misogynistic posts from “Anarchy”ball lately (and generally).  I have a suspicion that he also runs an MRA group and sometimes forgets which he is posting in.

So what is propertarianball pissed off about today?  Is he upset that women won’t sleep with him?  Is he annoyed because women are allowed to choose their own sexual partners?  Is he fuming because it is no longer acceptable to slap your “bitch” around whenever she steps out of line?  Well, yes, all except the last one (he’s probably saving that for later).

“Don’t teach women not to get raped, teach men not to rape” is, like most things in life, too difficult for neo-feudalistball to wrap his tiny mind around.  As far as he can see there is only one sensible person to blame when somebody is raped: the victim.  Don’t try to prevent rape “jokes” that trivialize and normalize this brutal act.  Don’t quit using misogynistic language that objectifies and dehumanizes women.  Don’t examine and improve the culture that depicts women as little more than the providers of sexual pleasure.  Don’t tackle the patriarchal system that so often condemns the victim and excuses the perpetrator.  Don’t do any of those things.  The best way to deal with rape, in the mind of “Anarchy”ball, is to blame the victim.  “It’s your fault, you were drunk”.  “It’s your fault, you weren’t wearing enough clothes”.  “It’s your fault, you fell asleep”.  “it’s your fault, you’re susceptible to date-rape drugs”.

CLASS PRIVILEGE AND CLASS INTERESTS EXPLAINED

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CLASS PRIVILEGE

I have written this in the hope that it will save me having to repeated explain what class privilege and class interests are. I doubt it will work as it is not in the interests of “anarcho”-capitalists to accept either as they demonstrate that “anarcho”-capitalism would be a dictatorship of the wealthy.

“Class privileges” is a collective term for all the advantages a person gets by being born into wealth. To demonstrate it, let’s look at two hypothetical couples.

Sammy and Sarah Smith are lazy. They prefer to beg, borrow, and steal rather than do any work, and they are consequently on the breadline. They have a child called Shawn.

Jimmy and Julie Jones are hard-working and industrious. Through their hard-work they have become exceptionally wealthy. They have a child called Joey.

I have stuck with the propertarian conception of the causes of wealth and poverty for the sake of simplicity. We will ignore all those capitalists who acquired their wealth through crooked and dishonest means, just as we’ll ignore all those in among the working class who work incredibly hard but for little or no reward.

Because the Smiths have no wealth Shawn gets only the most basic eduction. He is taught to read, write, and say “yes sir, how high, sir?”

Joey, on the other hand, gets the very best eduction, because his parents can afford it. He is taught how to manage a business, how to succeed in a capitalist society, and how to enjoy the high-life that is his “birthright”.

Shawn’s school friends will go on to be factory workers, shop attendants, and manual labourers. Joey’s school friends will be one day be among the corporate elite, or will be judges, politicians, or other powerful and influential allies.

It isn’t just at school that the children of the wealth-owning class are granted privileges. A stable home life has been proven to be an important contributing factor in academic success, and as a lack of money is the number one cause of marital strife, Shawn is likely to feel the effects far more than Joey is.

A health diet is also very important to those who want to excell at school, but working class parents can’t always afford to provide that, so again Shawn is given a disadvantage while Joey isn’t.

Even all this privilege, which gives children born into wealthy families an enormous advantage over those born into impoverished ones, isn’t enough. Joey is likely to be given an established business when he leaves school, or given access to enough capital to start his own. Shawn won’t get a business, or any capital, when he leaves school. If Shawn wants to start a business then he must work hard, and save the money he needs to spend on food and bills, to raise the capital.

Those born into wealth get advantages at every turn. They have so many advantages that it is almost impossible for them to “fail”. Those born into poverty get no advantages. They are effectively held-back so much that it is almost impossible for them to succeed.

While there is some movement between the classes, it is nowhere near enough to alter the fact that in a capitalist society, some are born to rule and others are born to serve. This is part of what gives “anarcho”-capitalism its distinctly feudalist flavour.

CLASS INTERESTS

“Class interests” is the collective term for all the interests that are common to most, if not all, people of the same class.

The employing class, to take an obvious example, has certain class interests: ensuring workers’ wages are as low as possible, avoiding “wasting” money on “non-essentials” such as providing a safe workplace, preventing workers from doing anything to improve their lot, such as joining a union, and so on.

The employing class isn’t the only one with common interests. The political class has an interest in promoting representative democracy as the only possible avenue for change. It is also in their interest to prevent working class movements that threaten the wealth, power, and privilege of the ruling class, and to hide unsavory government activities from the public when it is possible to do so, and “spin” it in their favour when it isn’t.

The working class also has class interests. It is to the benefit of us, and our class, to fight for better wages, better working conditions, shorter hours, and more control over our work, with the ultimate aim of removing bosses altogether.

The lack of class analysis in “anarcho”-capitalist “thinking” results in a messy, shallow system that takes no account of the factors that lead to wealth and poverty. Until they can shrug off the ridiculous lie that we live in a classless society they will never understand that bosses and workers are on opposite sides of the divide and they can never be reconciled as long as there is an employing class ruling over us.

DEBUNKING “AN”CAP MEMES III: THEY’RE BACK!!!

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After repeatedly trawling the cesspit that is “Anarchy”ball over and over again and finding nothing with enough substance to be refuted (mostly just memes calling anarchists “retards”), I finally found something where they at least try to get a point across, even if it is a very stupid point.

The main thrust of this “argument” is that anarchists should never prevent anybody from doing anything under any circumstances. Making any attempts to curtail the power of the ruling class makes us “statist” in the eyes of those who wish to privatize the state so that it obeys only the ruling class (logic isn’t their strong suit).

It is a ridiculous argument to make, and one they don’t even agree with themselves. Their system is full of rules, enforced by a monopoly on state power… but we’re “statists” because that’s what you call a collection of individuals who are fighting oppression and exploitation. It is weird that anything anarchists do is labelled as “statist” if it involves more than one person co-operating together freely, but having a private army to enforce your will is not statist.

I would try to offer an “an”cap definition of “the state”, but I can’t find one. “The state” means whatever it is most convenient for it to mean at the time, so an industrial union is “the state” because it involves several people working towards a common goal, but a the privately-owned police force that is attacking them for striking is not “the state” because they are obeying the diktats of their “rightful” masters.

“Anarcho”-capitalists are very much opposed to any infringement on their wealth, power, and privilege. For them a minimum wage means less profit for themselves. The employing class has all the power in the relationship, and uses that to drive wages down. To fight against the powerful and protect the weak is “statist” (because every state does that, obviously). To oppose exploitation and oppression is “statist” (again, all states are known for this). To not fight for the increased wealth, power, and privilege of the ruling class is “statist”.

PS: Capitalists never got rid of slavery, so “bringing it back” would be difficult.

WHAT DO “ANARCHO”-CAPITALISTS REALLY BELIEVE?

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The first thing we know is that it is anti-state, right? Well, actually, it isn’t. “An”caps propose to privatize the state, having a system of for-hire police, courts, armies, prisons, and the like.
“Anarcho”-capitalists believe that by having a state that operates solely according to the whims of those with the wealth to hire it, they can somehow get around the whole “abolishing the state” thing that anarchism is all about.

Even if they aren’t anti-state, they are at least anti-government, surely? Again: no, at least not in any proper sense.
There are, as would be expected, numerous rules necessary to define “legitimate property”. Do ideas, stories, songs, or names count as “property”? Exactly how much labour needs to be mixed with land for it to qualify as “homesteaded”? If you find somebody’s property discarded somewhere do you have a responsibility to return it to them? The list is both endless and tedious.
These rules need to be established and enforced by someone. As we’ve already seen, the enforcement comes from a privatized state. Many of the rules have already been laid down by “anarcho”-capitalist “thinkers”, making them a government, but one whose decisions are to be enforced forever rather than updated as circumstances arise.
Not all circumstances can be foreseen, and for those there is the private law and court system mentioned earlier. According to David Friedman, people would buy laws and hire judges. The party with the most money hires the biggest police force, and the best lawyers, those with little wealth can only get lawyers who are cheap because they capitulate on everything, and those with no wealth lose before they’ve even begun. It is a system designed to ensure that those with the most wealth have complete control of the “justice” system, and with it the social decision-making powers.

But they are anti-aggression, though? No, they have the weird belief that “aggression” means “violation of property rights”. This leads them to bizarre conclusions. For example, it is “aggression” for a starving person to take an apple from a tree, but it is not aggression for the “owner” of the tree to shoot him dead for it.
By putting “property rights” above all other rights, they ensure that “property rights” are the only rights. Their “non-aggression principle” ends up being a principle that legitimizes any force that is in the interests of the property-owning class.

Whatever else they’re not, they are certainly pro-free-markets… except they’re not. Not one “anarcho”-capitalist I’ve spoken to considers capitalist interference in “free” markets to be wrong.
While they are quick to condemn the government for distorting the healthcare market by providing healthcare to those who couldn’t otherwise afford it, they don’t see a problem with capitalists making deals with suppliers and distributors to prevent access to the market.
Society providing a basic incoming to those who are not required by employers is unforgivable because it gives people an alternative to poverty wages and therefore drives wages up, but using people’s need to eat to force them to compete with each other in a wage war is perfectly acceptable.

They must be anti-taxes, though. Right? Yep, they certainly are. They despise taxes with all their hearts. As they see it, regardless of the fact that capitalists pollute, use up resources, and use the communally-provided infrastructure, they shouldn’t have to give anything to anybody.

And what about corporate regulations? Again: yes. They really don’t like it when the ruling class have their power infringed in any way. They may believe that people should live by the rules of their “superiors”, but they don’t believe the same should apply to the wealthy and powerful. Anything they wish to do in the pursuit of wealth should be permitted.

So there you have it, there are just two things that “anarcho”-capitalists really believe:

1) Taxes are bad.
2) Corporate regulations are bad.

Debunking “An”cap Memes, Part II

This meme gets to the very core of the error in thinking behind economic fascism (propertarianism, neo-feudalism, there are so many names for it, yet they choose the one this is furthest from being accurate).

It is quite amazing that they could make so many errors in just 21 words. It is first genuine example I’ve ever seen of capitalists being efficient. So let’s have a look at some of the errors:

1) The assumption that ownership is the result of hard work. This is a necessary lie for capitalists, it underpins the “justification” for their system. It seems they think ownership is never the result of inheritance, theft, dishonesty, luck, or greedily fencing-off all the available land. If somebody owns something then it stands to reason that they must have worked hard for it and own it “legitimately”.

2) The assumption that any “work” done by the capitalist is of greater value than the work done by the workers. The capitalist may have done nothing more than fence-off a field (even that may have been done by a distant ancestor), but that is enough to justify them earning more than workers who spend their entire lives working the field. Ownership of the field gives the capitalist power over those who need to eat, and, as far as neo-feudalists are concerned, power is always justified as long as it is based on ownership.

3) The assumption that the capitalist worked so others “could have food”. Capitalists “work” (make others work for them) to increase their personal wealth and power. Any benefit to any other person is completely coincidental and unnecessary. If they can make profit without benefitting anyone then they happily will.

4) The assumption that anarchists are against work. Propertarians think that because we are against servitude then we must also be against work, but nothing could be further from the truth. Employment is intolerable, but in an anarchist society people would control their own work, and have an equal say in the running of their workplaces, meaning they would adapt the work to make it more tolerable. Merely being free of the authoritarianism of bosses would be a huge step towards tolerable work.

This is just another weak attempt to justify the wealth, power, and privilege of the ruling class and to undermine genuine anarchism using dishonesty and faulty logic. In short, it is exactly what you would expect from a far-right ideology that calls itself “anarchist” as a means of subverting the movement in the interests of the ruling class.

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Disabled in “An”capistan

How would those who are not fully able-bodied fare in a propertarian society? A fortunate few may have family or friends who are both willing and able to support them, but in a society where the working class are earning poverty pay (as they would in “An”capistan, due to the “surplus” of labour) and medical care is expensive, supporting someone who needs constant attention will be simply impossible for many.

Even if those born with a physical or mental disability are lucky enough to survive until adulthood, there is a new hell awaiting them: they now need to sell themselves to earn a living. According to the cold-hearted logic of the capitalist, people are machines, and the disabled are broken machines. Anybody whose disability would disrupt or slow-down their work would be at a severe disadvantage on the “free” labour market.

The solution of the far-right (I consider all social darwinians to be far-right) is for the disabled to reduce their asking price. But as the able-bodied poor would already be on poverty wages, those who are not fully able-bodied would not be able to survive on the greatly reduced pay they would have to accept in order to get the job, especially if they need a lot of medical attention pharmaceuticals and/or equipment to survive and be able to work.

It wouldn’t just be disabled people who would suffer the devaluing of their labour on the “free” market. Prejudices among the propertied elite would be reflected in the market value of various groups of people. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and other prejudices among the largely able-bodied, white, cis-gendered, male ruling class will limit the employment potential of anybody who falls into a “wrong” category, and especially those who fall into several.

In a world where you need to sell yourself in order to survive, you’d better hope you were lucky enough to be born with what the ruling class want to buy.

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