Use It Or Lose It – An AnCap Perspective On Squatting

August 12th, 2013   Submitted by Gyorgy Furiosa

Reclaiming“Libertarianism wants to advance principles of property but… in no way wishes to defend, willy nilly, all property which now is called private… Much of that property is stolen. Much is of dubious title. All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercive state system.”

~ Karl Hess

“Squatting is the oldest mode of tenure in the world, and we are all descended from squatters. This is as true of the Queen … as it is of all the ultimate recipients of stolen land, for to regard our planet as a commodity offends every conceivable principle of natural rights.”

~ Colin Ward

Mikhail Bakunin warned that if you make plans for after the revolution, you are a reactionary. Therefore, the following is a speculation to better understand the conflict between anarchist practices and what in our society is held to be the sacred right of property, with the aim of shedding light on how we might agitate and organize to actualize our praxis immediately in our daily lives.

How does squatting – the occupation of disused land and property without legitimate consent – figure in an Anarcho-Capitalist society? And subsequently: can ownership continue in perpetuity despite neglect of the property, or can ownership be legitimately transferred by, as John Locke calls it, ‘the mixing of one’s labour’ with property or land?

In the UK it is a criminal offence to live in a residential property without consent of the owner, however it remains a civil dispute between owner and occupier if that property is registered for commercial purposes. This means that any persons found in occupation of residential buildings can be arrested and criminally prosecuted, whilst those in a commercial building can be summoned to a magistrate’s court to resolve the dispute.

Before this legislation was passed, so-called ‘squatter’s rights’ allowed people without capital or property a reasonable amount of time to prepare for evictions by locating new properties to live in. This established a semi-nomadic community whereby people could shelter themselves for periods ranging from a few days to years in each successive property. The criminalization of squatting in residential buildings has reduced the number of available options for people, but this is still a minimal change when estimates of squatters are conservatively at 20,000 in London alone with over 100, 000 empty properties.

There is also the argument that with the absence of a State, and with the factor of original appropriation, the question of ownership of huge areas of real estate would become debatable. If a historical view is taken of the theft of commonly-owned land during the period of enclosures where armed elites appropriated previously communal property, then the question of original appropriation is thrown wide open. The anarcho-syndicalist perspective is that these lands would be collectivized by groups and retained in commonwealth, whereas an AnCap view may allow for the idea of original appropriation and use rights to come to the fore. Specifically, that lands of questionable ownership would be open for a person or persons to claim the right to use in the absence of property of their own, and that through mixing their labor with the property, they would be able to build a strong case for making a claim.

Fundamentally, the condition of ‘use it or lose it’ would be applicable, and ‘squatting’ would be better known as ‘homesteading’.

Within an AnCap society, any dispute between claims on land could be resolved within one of the private courts of the land, and ideally the ownership decided along the lines of least harm, and most benefit, in accordance with the rule of necessity – that those with needs will do everything they have to in order to fulfil those needs, irrespective of legality. Simply put, ‘use it or lose it.’ As private institutions these courts would be dependent on the support and consent of the people who attend them for adjudication. Thereby a large, organized group of people with common interests – people without land or property for example – would attend and support courts that promoted their interests. Conversely, individuals with large amounts of property would prefer courts sympathetic to their situation. The sheer imbalance of haves and have-nots would lead to certain courts flourishing and others languishing in a truly free market, until equilibrium was reached. Without a State-sponsored police force, and with the threat of coercion through violence removed, the vast abundance of disused property could be redistributed for use by persons in need, for them to attain the capital they need through their labor, and this would be recognized for its value by their societal peers under the principles of property ownership. This will naturally evolve a judicial system very close to how ‘common law’ exists in the UK – a body of precedents evolved from the judgments of peers and respected members of the broader community, rather than dictated by a parliamentary class as in all democracies.

For example, the gutted metropolis of Detroit. What if, upon declaring bankruptcy, the authorities decreed that all the empty properties could be confiscated from their owners – largely multinationals and faceless conglomerates – and given over to whoever can put them to use. The ‘mixing of one’s labour’ would be the defining condition of claim for ownership, as in the days of homesteaders across the American West.

There is a precedent for this. In Holland, up until 2010, it was legal to occupy a building that had been left empty for twelve months. This was a response to a crippling housing crisis in one of the most over-populated areas of the world. It created a pressure on property owners to put buildings they owned into meaningful public use, and allowed those with the need and ability to appropriate empty property for their own purposes.

Currently, the judiciary system in the UK and most other countries are bound by the laws of State that insist that private property is sacrosanct, regardless of the harm and waste it creates. People cannot be allowed to house and shelter themselves if it threatens the interests of capital ownership and development. If it was commonly held that society should be built voluntarily, without permission, then the majority of disputes would be resolved between private individuals without recourse to a court or the authority of the community. As anarchists I would hope we can agree that people, as a commonality, are reasonable and operate along lines of mutual aid and cooperation. It is the insanity of the bureaucratic State that violently defends properties to be left in disuse when the multitude requires them for their own advancement.

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60 Responses to “Use It Or Lose It – An AnCap Perspective On Squatting”

  1. ErvNo Gravatar says:

    Nice piece Gyorgy. When I first read the title, my mind went to homesteading, which is where your article went as well. Your analysis was well thought out and I was unaware of the Holland scenario.

    With the recent announcement from the USG FHA (call it Affirmative Action for neighborhoods) it would seem that we are currently looking at a 21st century version of the Homesteading Act (homesteading through government force and diktat), so the parasite beauraucrats may have gotten the jump on this. Hopefully, rational humans can get ahead of the leeches on this one.

    • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Holland does provide an excellent model, however, my problem with it is that it still requires State-intervention. And bureaucrats will always ride the coat-tails of any genuine grassroots movements and eventually co-opt their progress.

  2. DarrenNo Gravatar says:

    Well put Gyorgy. I’m still amused at how the left thinks that the enclosures movement was about protecting private property rather than stealing it.

    • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Darren. I agree that the enclosures are often mis-interpreted, though I’m not convinced it is only by left-wingers.

  3. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    I imagine in a stateless society, where all defense agencies are voluntarily contracted, the minute a person stopped contracting for the defense of their house and the moment they personally abandoned the house and could no longer defend it themselves, the house would be open to homesteading.

    It would be sort of like insurance for a car. If you have insurance on your car, and it gets stolen, your insurance agency buys you a new one if the other cannot be recovered. But if you don’t have insurance and your car is stolen, no insurance agency would retroactively buy you a new car, or really give a damn that your car got stolen in the first place.

    So would it likely be with houses. If you do not have a defense agency protecting your house, it’s entirely up to you to protect it, but if you leave the house and it gets homesteaded, in order to get it back you’re going to have to do it by yourself, because a defense agency will not do it for you since, to them, it would look like offense.

    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

      Suppose you don’t have a defence agency and went on a vacation and came back to find squatters in your home?

      Seems like some qualification of time unused would be a good idea. It would really suck to go to the grocery store and come home to an occupied house with no ability to take it back without murdering the folk inside.

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        “Seems like some qualification of time unused would be a good idea.”

        Who is responsible for setting this amount of reasonable time?

        There is no insurance or defense agency involved, because you were not covered. This would be strictly between you and the squatter. If you feel the squatter is unjustified in taking your house, it would be your responsibility to take it back. And who knows, the squatter may have signed a contract with a defense agency that will come to his protection.

        In other words, there is strength in numbers, and if you refuse to get insured you’re extremely vulnerable.

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          It’d probably come down to killing the squater then. Which would suck for them.

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          Seems alot like blaming the victim to me.

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          You either have some custom that is accepted (like standing in line) or you’re going to wind up with alot of people fighting eachother.

          I mean couldn’t we say the same thing with cars? Well you weren’t there to defend it and it got stolen, but sense the other guy has your car and you weren’t using it. It’s justified.

          Granted a car is not the same as land but both are “property” and if we follow where this article is going then the only thing that matters is who has it now.

          • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

            Which I suppose is the reality of the situation. But I’m not going to let some asshole take my shit so…

          • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

            There probably would be some custom. But I’m not really interested in what’s “right” or “wrong” or “customary.” I’m more interested in reality. And reality is what I said above.

            Suppose you don’t have a defense agency and you leave your house for ten years. Then is it “okay” for somebody to squat?

            At which point is it “okay” for somebody to squat? The truth is there is no “right” answer. It all comes down to a giant pissing contest at the end of the day. If you and the squatter share EXACTLY the same custom, then there’s no problem. But that’s not real life. In real life different people have different senses of “right” and “wrong.”

            • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

              So the end result is people are going to die. Just like they do now because people are going to squat the wrong place and end up dead for doing so. That’s the reality.

              • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                It depends. If the squatter has a defense agency at his disposal and you’re all by yourself, you might back down and consider it a lost house. If it’s mano y mano you might very well just kill the bastard and call it a day.

                Do you see the parallels between this scenario and the state?

                • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                  I see some. Which do you see? The thing is if something like that happens to someone and they don’t want to lose their house the smart play is to kill the bastard and dispose of his body.

                  • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                    Don’t let them contact the defence agency. People disappear all the time.

                    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                      If he disappears, maybe his family calls the defense agency and tells them that their relative has disappeared and there’s a strange man living in his house.

                  • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                    The similarity is this.

                    Imagine you don’t pay your property taxes. The state evicts you. Do you simply kill the next state bastard that walks on your property? Do you let them take your house and sell it to somebody else? Or do you simply lay down and pay your property taxes?

                    The truth is it’s very easy to say you’d just “kill the squatter.” But what you’re not seeing is that this squatter could very well be the state.

                    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                      I’ve thought about it. I still think about it. What am I going to do when State goons come after me? I can’t defend a house from the State.

                      I don’t know what I’d do. I’m not even saying I’d kill the squatter it’s situational. But it’s an option. And the reality is I’m a nice guy compared to alot of people out there.

                    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                      The point I’m trying to make is that there is no “property” but what you can defend. There are only claims. If we want “our property” to stay in our possession we’re going to have to be willing and able to defend it.

                      Most people think that the state defending “their property” is good enough. But then people fail to realize that the organization they pay to defend their property is ALSO the same one that will take it away from them if they do not pay their property taxes.

                      Under market-anarchism if you do not pay a certain defense agency then it does not follow that that same agency will then claim your house the minute you leave. But it could very well be an individual that IS a member of a defense agency that does it anyways.

                      Long story short, if you can’t defend your property, it’s going to be taken from you.

                      If you do not have a defense agency to help defend your property, you’ll be too weak to defend it yourself.

                      Market-anarchists are going to need to create a defense agency that can successfully ward off the state. And it’s not likely to succeed unless it can offer prices BELOW that of property taxes.

                      On the one hand, it should be able to offer more competitive pricing, since property taxes go towards a bunch of non-defense items, like public school. On the other hand, challenging the state would be very expensive and the state has more resources than a fledgling defense agency likely would.

            • DomNo Gravatar says:

              There always exists the possibility that just because you have a contract with a defense agency does not necessarily mean that they will cover you regardless of what actions you take. They have a reputation to uphold and if they have the public image of ‘taking’ peoples property it could backlash on them very severely, even if the previous owner does not have defense insurance of his own. The threat of negative press and loss of potential customers will do a lot to dissuade them from covering everything or anything you do. Then there is always the possibility of a competitor doing pro bono work…

                • DomNo Gravatar says:

                  Thank you. I agree with everything you have said except the last two paragraphs, but if i understand correctly this stems from your being a voluntaryist (sp?). I do not think the state will ever allow this type of competition; instead i believe we have to wait until the state is mortally weakened by some type of inflationary financial crisis. At that point things can go one of two ways, the right way, i.e. what we believe, or the state will rise from the ashes and pick up where it left off. Sorry to get off track, interesting discussion.

                  • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                    You may be right, either fully or partially, but I don’t think the state will cease to exist until we have all of the institutions in place that can compete against it. To me, the state doesn’t die in one fell swoop. It dies every time one more person sees it for what it is, when one more person switches to completely free software instead of proprietary software, when one more person uses Bitcoin instead of Dollars, and on and on.

                    The state is billions of little pieces.

                    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                      I agree that you only have what you can defend. But just because someone doesn’t have gaurds posted doesn’t mean it’s okay to take their stuff. I don’t think you’re suggested that either, am I wrong?

                    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                      No, I’m not saying it’s okay. I’m saying it’s irrelevant. Just because you never have to worry about me, Seth King, occupying your house after you just left doesn’t mean somebody else won’t. Hell, it could be a red man who feels completely justified in taking your house because the house is on a plot of land that was his great-great-great-great-grandfather’s, which was stolen by a white man.

                      Or maybe it’s another white man, who had his land stolen by the BLM, which 30 years later they then sold to you, and he’s merely reclaiming his long stolen property.

                      Or maybe it’s just some punk kid who feels slighted and wants your shit.

                      The real question is what are you going to do about it?

                    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                      I’m going to defend my stuff. Or if I can’t defend my stuff I’ll go somewhere else and plot revenge. I can be vindictive.

                    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                      That is precisely what we’re doing here, plotting revenge against the state and trying to figure out ways to “keep our stuff.”

        • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

          Another example of the “social standard”. I expect that such things will be worked out the same way easement, traditional use, right of way, and all the other “limitations on private property” in the Common Law were worked out, through experience, consensus, and justice.

      • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

        It would be simple enough to get a house-sitter to prevent this scenario. In the UK, if a squat is left unoccupied it immediately can be entered and reclaimed by the ‘owner’, or by any other ghroup with a claim. Its a basic practice that you don’t leave a squat unoccupied, and I imagine it would be the same with homesteads in the West – if you leave it, you can lose it. This would help people to put real value on occupancy, rather than contracted ownership.

        • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

          This was all worked out in terms of mining claims a long time ago. Have you considered looking into how the idea of “abandoned” mining claims was dealt with?

  4. DomNo Gravatar says:

    I cant say i agree with this at all, sorry, except in matters where the owner has passed away and left no inheritors. Once you determine its okay for others to determine how often i have to show up at a property and what i have to do with property then you are going down a slippery slope.

  5. Greg AllmainNo Gravatar says:

    I think the definition of the “use it or lose it” philosophy is important here. I’m reminded of a house that Occupy Seattle successfully took over for a fairly decent amount of time during the height of that movement.

    They did, indeed, mix their labor with the property, but mostly in the form of graffiti and other similar acts. In turn, they turned the house into something of an eyesore.

    So in the situation described in this article… Would there be a set standard for “use it or lose it”? A scale of productive labor/improvements that would impart ownership?

    • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

      I guess this is where the private-run courts would come into effect. It might be arguable that occupying a building for use but with anti-social impact to the area (thus covering polluting factories, drug dens, etc) could be rejected by a good claim that the local area suffers a detrimental effect because of this use. Local groups could then organise to request the occupiers to relocate. The dialogue in these scenarios is all important, rather than a focus on violence and conflict to resolve disputes. I would hope that occupiers would often change their behaviours or leave for sympathetic communities rather than stubbornly battle it out.

      Alternatively, you could paint-bomb the house with a colour you prefer.

  6. Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

    As far as that goes Seth I think the first step would be expatriation. Go somewhere where the biggest baddest gang in the land can be defeated.

    No one is beating the US war machine for the foreseeable future. Unless you don’t prioritize defence first…

    Thoughts?

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Well, I’ve chosen New Hampshire as my battleground. I’m sure I’d also fair well in Switzerland and some other countries. But for the time being I’m very happy with New Hampshire, mainly because I’m a firm believer that there is strength in numbers, and there are simply more market-anarchists in New Hampshire than anywhere else.

      • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

        I agree there is strength in numbers but when the enemy is better trained and equipped and out numbers you I don’t think they’re that important.

        But NH might be a nice stop before leaving the country. Might be a good place to recruit people for an out of country experience and to gather funds for said trip.

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          Agreed. A lot of people talk about leaving the country, but will never do it and end up stuck where they’re at. I tell people that if they can’t even at least move to New Hampshire, they’ll never be able to leave the country.

          You’d be surprised though. There’s a lot going on here that simply isn’t possible without the numbers being concentrated in a small area.

          • RagnarNo Gravatar says:

            I’m presently looking at a move from California to East Texas. May not be Shang-gri-la, but is step in right direction. Saving my money to buy a piece of ground. If I do so, then leave for vacation, for ten days or ten years, and return to find it occupied, I will forcibly reclaim my property.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        NH may have quite a few anarcho-capitalists, but it is also loaded with east coast liberals. You also freeze your butt off every winter!!!Here in the Ozarks there is too much bible belt mentality but a lot of respect for back to the land concepts and not so cold winters!

    • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

      I disagree. I think we have to do whatever we can, wherever we are, here and now. Crossing a border may make some things easier than others, but it still defers to State-control. In a Stateless society, there are no borders, and we need to act and organise along those principles to the best of our ability wherever we are, rather than waiting for some imaginary future shift.

      • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

        In a stateless society there are no borders. In reality there are men who claim those borders with the means and the proper psychosis to kill all of us. I like living I’d like to keep on for a while yet.

      • DomNo Gravatar says:

        Im curious to know which ‘imaginary future shift’ you were refering to, I know its a bit off the topic of squatting but as there are several vastly different predictions Im inerested to hear the different thoughts on them.

      • RagnarNo Gravatar says:

        Agreed. Since I am not bound by the law, only by my desire not to be punished, what the laws are where I am is solely a pragmatic consideration for me.

  7. ShawnNo Gravatar says:

    Wouldn’t it also depend on what mechanisms are in place to enforce contracts? The purchase of property is a contractual arrangement between the buyer and seller, and a squatter is a third party who has no “skin in the game,” so to speak. The reality is, a society unencumbered by the state can evolve in a myriad of ways, and one may be the overwhelming majority of folks may place a high value on the meaning of contracts, and many may be willing to come to the aid of someone who found a squatter in his home, civil defence agency or not. I don’t know if there’s a “right” or “wrong” answer to the question of squatting, but there sure as hell has to be something better than “oh, you left on vacation for a week and someone took over your house? Sorry about your luck, you should’ve had a defense agency.”

      • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

        The vacation squatting story is a total myth. Nobody who needs a house is interested in stealing an occupied building off someone else. Why would you bother? There are so, so many empty buildings that people can use and make their own. Amongst the squatting community there is no interest in taking a home away from someone else. Who understands homelessness better than someone who is forced to squat? It is also self-defeating. Squatters want the best possible opportunity to stay in one place, so if someone else is using that property, why go through the effort of arguing with them when there are buildings left empty for decades that could be used?

        • ShawnNo Gravatar says:

          Ok, Gyorgy, let’s try to get to some clear cut definitions. “Unoccupied” to you, then, means “not in use” by the owner, eg, they don’t have any items in the building, and aren’t currently using it for any purpose? That’s important because, in fact, there HAS been the occasional squatter who has used a family’s house without permission while the family was away on vacation. Granted, they tend to abandon them upon the return of the ownder, but for that week or whatever, they eat the owner’s food, make messes, and are generally nuisances. I’m not sure how you mean “myth,” but it’s reality, as there was such a story in the news about two weeks ago. So, that’s key: you DO recognize property, which is left unattended for a short period of time, as still occupied by the owner, correct?

          Also, how is it *known* by outside parties that a building is “not in use?” Unless you know the owner or are extremely vigilant about watching the goings on at the place of interest for a period of time, you wouldn’t necessarily know. Unless you’re just going on the notion of “it looks abandoned…”

          As far as *truly* unocuppied* property is concerned, I’m still not sure I agree with your argument. As I pointed out on another squatting related article on this blog, if I exchange my resources for a parcel of land and/or building, it is now mine to do with as I wish. If I knew it would be some time before I could do whatever it is I have long term, I would be likely to consider allowing someone to stay there to take care of it, but that in no way means anyone who wishes can just start using it. I suppose that would mean purchasing insurance and, as Seth points out, contracting with a defence agency or finding some similar way of protecting it, but I just can’t buy the argument that because I haven’t used something in a while, it’s no longer mine. Hell, my Christmas tree shouldn’t belong to me anymore by that definition, because I only use it once a year…

          • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

            Hey Michael, great questions, I’ll try my best to give my opinion and answer them.

            Unoccupied is a term for a period of time before someone with a more enforceable claim turns up to challenge my own. If the owners are on holiday for a week and I move in, I would say I have a very weak claim and it is actually closer to trespass/burglary – ie, theft. However, if those other claimants are unable to enforce their claim (through a legal process, negotiation or force) then the actual ownership becomes moot. It is being occupied.

            If I build a latrine pit toilet for my own use, and arrive one day to find someone else using it, it may well be an inconvenience for me, but I would probably try to be understanding. However, we might understand that the person occupying my toilet had a necessity to use it for a time, but not forever. Probably we could work out a way of sharing it, or doing so for a time whilst he builds his own toilet. It would depend a lot on the individuals involved. Squatting provides options for collaboration, but our present mindest promotes it only in terms of conflict. I would suggest this same idea towards unlicensed use of properties – that if they are not being used in that moment, it is more beneficial for all to share and find ways of using resources like this together, rather than militantly protecting them. On a larger scale, if someone owns a building, but is using it once a month, once a year, or simply owns the paper rights, does that mean he still occupies it? Again, whilst someone else is shitting inside it, no he doesn’t, but he can claim to, and if he can enforce that claim, then yes, it is still his.

            With the holiday squat stories – I mean to describe it as a media myth – negative squatting stories are heavily promoted and positive stories hidden from the public arena. Of course in reality there are both, but this is not represented in news. This is because, in our society, property rights and the sacred right of contract must remain unchallenged and hegemonically accepted to prevent major challenges to the distribution of power. There can be no discussion in mainstream media that there are alternative viewpoints on land ownership and use.

            In these questions to do with ‘knowing buildings are not in use’ let’s remember that the majority of squatters in the world live for generations on land that is not ‘their’s’, that they have no claim to legally – think of Brazil and India. In the UK, some experienced squatters are sophisticated in their means of observation and research, whilst others in desperation have to chance it. It is possible to research ownership through the land registry, and also look up planning permissions, and simply watching a place for a few months is also possible. It becomes very clear, very quickly if a property is being used. Common sense – if someone wants a place to live, they have to balance necessity with opportunity, and in the end, gamble. Squatting only becomes an issue when another party with an alternate claim emerges.

            As for ‘truly unoccupied’ … may I throw the Native American story in here? The lands European settlers arrived on were comparatively unoccupied, but were definitely ‘used’ by natives. Again, its back to enforceability. The Indians in the end could not enforce their claim. I would suggest this needs baring in mind – when more people haven;t got property than those who have – who will be enforcing the claims?

            As for the Christmas tree … Maybe the family down the street needs your Christmas tree more than you, but they probably also know that at Christmas time, you’ll need it, and that in our society stealing Christmas trees is abhorrent. They will also know that if you see them with your tree, you’ll undoubtedly demand it back immediately. Why would anyone want it?. All ownership is an illusion. The reality is in enforceability and the dialogue around it. Most squatters in the UK, and in general, are careful to source areas that are obviously disused, and try to stay hidden, due to their legal status. And though you say, ‘anyone who wishes can’t just start using it’. Well, if you can’t stop them, yes they can, and if they need to, they will. In these instances, you can use dialogue, force or the legal system to enforce your claim over theirs’, and most likely, they will leave before that ever happens.

            • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

              @Shawn – sorry I called you Michael by mistake. Hope the above gives you some idea of my own opinions.

              • ShawnNo Gravatar says:

                Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Gyorgy. I unfortunately don’t have time at the moment to give a full, reasoned response, but I will try to do so this evening.

  8. CesareNo Gravatar says:

    This is my first time posting. But anyways, I agree with all your comments for this article. I love reading the comments, hearing both different and similar perspective and arguments.

  9. Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

    Gyorgy, thanks for this timely article. The recent realization of the huge gap between the “haves” and “have nots” has made common men aware of how the top 20% of the populace own 85% of the country’s wealth. It is hard to see how this could occur in a real free market system so many more people are realizing that the “capitalism” of the USA has virtually nothing to do with the free market and everything to do with gaming the system for the benefit of the ruling elite. Since this means that most of what the wealthy “own” was not earned but in some sense “stolen”, an appropriate means of redistributing the stolen goods is needed. Since government was and is an active collaborator in perpetuating the power and perqs of the elite it is obviously not the change agent needed to level the playing field so a true free enterprise system can function. Squatting is a simple and direct method that could work. Just do not expect a bloodlesss redistribution. The elite will never give up their power willingly.

    • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Fritz and well-said. As for a bloodless redistribution, friends and colleagues of mine already face imprisonment, violence and vilification in the media on a daily basis for their actions … the major aim of this article is to generate discussion and sympathy for squatters as our numbers continue to rise. Their are various political actions underway to try to change the laws to protect the vulnerable, but in the long-run people need to understand the contemporary and historical significance and indeed value of squatting as a process of self-directed empowerment outside of bureaucratic control, and overall, the necessity of these acts in challenging the tyranny of property.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        I hope you understand that I am not against property ownership per se. I just do not think that ill gotten gains should continue to be the basis of the ruling elite’s control of us all. I have 20 backwoods acres that I have mixed a huge amount of my own labor with over the past 19 years to build my stone house and numerous buildings and making a wild woods into a parklike setting. I live off the grid using all wood heat. Land ownership when you actually live on it and work it is a wonderful thing which promotes industriousness, responsibility, and creativity. But most big landowners never do the real work themselves and thus lose the indivlidualist perspective of real productivity. Sqatting and homesteading are ways to start righting the wrongs of corporate ownership of the world.

        • Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

          Right on Fritz! I agree that it should be a direct relationship, the mixing of your labour (mostly, if not entirely) that ratifies claims. Big landowners are forced to employ people to work their lands, and they receive no claim to it, and it is this exploitation of labour by capital that I feel needs to change.

          • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

            Thanks. Unfortunately since most of society supports the status quo the odds are greatly against meaningful change. I used to wonder why people support a system which obviously exists to screw them. Then I realized that it is due to the fact that most people wish to be the slave owner themselves so they do not want to change the system to where nobody is a slave. Most people want life or death power over others and will never be happy in a truly free market society where you are limited by your own productivity. They far prefer a system like ours where theft trumps productivity most of the time.

  10. BrianNo Gravatar says:

    The state doesn’t protect property anyway, so the absence of the state isn’t likely to get worse. Here are several examples that I have personally experienced in the state of Missouri:
    1. I used to be a heavily leveraged in debt residential statist landlord. A tenant would get behind on rental payments and I’d notice that on trash day there was a great abundance of trash and boxes, which indicated that they had money to buy things like T.V.s and computers. They only made a partial payment, promising to pay the balance by the next month, but the next month they only had the regular payment amount. I’d initiate the eviction and won every case, but the tenant would destroy my property. I caught a tenant trashing my place while making several trips to move out, and I called the cops. They informed me that since that person was a tenant that had the right to live there until forced out by the sheriff, there was nothing they or I could do because it was a civil matter. I replied: “You mean to tell me that if I lock the doors to keep the tenant from further damaging the property, and the tenant comes back with a chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall, there is nothing you could do about it?” He said no. I then asked him what the difference is when a tenant purposely steals $900 from a landlord by withholding it and someone stealing a 50 cent candy bar from a store. He said that one was civil and the other criminal.
    I’d win judgements against the tenants, but none of them would ever pay up, which is contempt of court, yet a cop could pull them over for speeding and never would know about those things, but he would damn sure find out if an unpaid parking ticket or a warrant for arrest for shoplifting existed!
    I was informed that I have the right to file against the tenant again, but I would have to find the tenants current address so the sheriff could serve the papers.
    2. I worked for an employer for several years. The guy was handed the established business from his father, and he had never worked as a common employee for anyone. He never gave raises to any of us, yet he would buy 6 new go-carts for his family of 5, buy a race car, and otherwise waste money. Working for him I could easily see how unions came into being, but by this time I was an anarchist. He also gradually became a bully, and he wouldn’t let any of us take a vacation even as he would go on one twice per year. As soon as I got another job lined out I quit. He refused to pay me vacation pay, which should have been about $1000.
    I considered this to be theft, so I seek to take him to court only to find out that even if an employer has a contract with an employee, the employer is free to violate all of it even as the employee cannot violate any of it!
    3. I got a job driving truck OTR, and I am not married, so there is nobody to protect my old travel trailer home 12 miles from town. I put my high dollar stuff into storage, but I left plenty of things behind that I didn’t think anyone would steal, like a snapper riding mower painted Oliver green with all of its wheels removed. My property can’t even be seen from the road, and my driveway is literally an old dirt logging road.
    Yet I had probably about 2 pick-up truck loads of stuff stolen. Since the mower and other stolen stuff was metal, I figured that someone has taken my stuff to a scrap yard. I started to call around to see if any of them received an Oliver green Snapper mower, but the first yard refused to answer me, telling me that I must go to the Sheriff. I reported the crime to the Sheriff, and a deputy came out to write a report. He asks me if I had insurance, and I tell him no, because I doubt they would insure anything not locked up in a building I couldn’t afford to build. I asked him if they ever find stolen scrap, and he said yes. None of the scrap yards around here have crushers, so my mower should have been easy to find because I doubt that there was another one painted like that in the U.S., since they are factory painted orange. I had to return to work driving OTR, so I could not search for it myself, and the Sheriff never found it. I doubt he did anything more than make some phone calls if even that.
    The only people being really protected in this country are merchants, banksters, politicians, and the wealthy, and in Missouri: employers. Anarchy would about have to be an improvement for us common folks.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for sharing your stories. Very interesting.

    • Frlitz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      Good point about anarchy being preferdable for we working class. But it is not preferable for the ruling elite who have gamed the system for themselves and their progeny long before we were born. They will not give up their power and perqs easily or peacefully. So long as the top 20% own 85% of the county’s wealth there can be no free enterprise. The real aquestion is how to redistribute this mostly stolen largess without falling into the horror story of soclialism? Marx was half right, but socialism desroys individual incentive. Still, it is easy ato see why poor people all over athe world want to try soclialism since capitalism has screwed them so badly.