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Parasites of the Earth

By Punkerslut

Image by Punkerslut
Image: By Punkerslut

Start Date: November 26, 2009
Finish Date: November 26, 2009

"Old Man: It is true, if there were no injustice attending the state of a Landlord, it is the most desirable and enviable state in the world, even infinitely more so than that of a King, or any Placeman or Pensioner whatsoever.

"Young Man: It is indeed. Every body knows that well. For the Landlord is entirely supreme, independent, and arbitrary, in his own Domains, hence the title Lord, and nothing binds him but his own Leases, which he for his own interest grants. He is in no danger of losing his revenues, for he pays himself in a most haughty and lordly manner, without process, and without hardly condescending to ask. And when his rents are brought to him on the very hour they are due, his Dignity will not permit him to be thankful."
          --Thomas Spence, 1795
          "The End of Oppression"

     The landlord lives by owning. They earn their wealth by possession and not by labor. What they live on has been made by the endless toil of workers in all nations. They do not build up or maintain the housing of their tenants. They hire from the same class that they collect rent from, the laborers. The individuals or family inhabiting the building are only paying for a place to live and sleep. Since the world has been broken up into small tiny chunks of land, the possessors of land have been exploitive of those who need the land.

     Whether Capitalist or landlord, they live not by working, but by title; they live not by contributing, but by some artificial claim that excludes all humanity a right to live. For without a right to live on the land, and to work the earth for sustenance, one cannot survive. By possessing the right to the lands, the Capitalists have established themselves like the feudal lords of the 1600's and 1700's. They robbed the laboring peasants, by means of some artificial title of aristocracy; today, the same robbery takes place, but under the title of property.

     A significant share of what you make, by working day-to-day, must be handed over to the owner of your home. It is the modern incarnation of Feudalism and Serfdom. It proceeds with the guise of free choice and free markets. But there is no freedom when the majority are dependent upon an isolated minority for their food and land. There is no liberty where you must submit to any condition whatsoever so that you can eat -- where you must obey a master just to live.

     Inquire into the origin of the property title for the land monopolist. The first land was divided and given to lower, subordinate powers. The monarch cutting up their kingdom into provinces, and giving an obedient official to manage its local affairs. New properties were added by the conquest of other nations, just as the United States government is built on the mass graves of the Native Americans -- just as the Israeli government's possession is built on the mass deportation of Palestinians. Government is always manipulated by the wealthy for their own self-interest.

     There is a mutual alliance between these possessors. They are viciously defensive of their material possessions. They will sacrifice wealth to buy off politicians, to stuff campaign boxes, to pay lobbyist groups, to build propaganda news outlets -- all to maintain their wealth. They take a chunk of their financial power, and use it to steer society's public policy in their direction. To master the congresses, the parliaments, the presidencies, and the political parties.

"...property owners and capitalists, inasmuch as they live not by their own productive labor but by getting land rent, house rent, interest upon their capital, or by speculation on land, buildings, and capital, or by the commercial and industrial exploitation of the manual labor of the proletariat, all live at the expense of the proletariat. (Speculation and exploitation no doubt also constitute a sort of labor, but altogether non-productive labor.)"
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~1870's
          "The Capitalist System"

     All landlords, seeking to secure their source of income, are in a cooperative agreement with each other. They each seek to keep prices as high as possible; where there is a competition, it is weak. Since the common workers can very rarely possess enough to buy a house, they are subservient. They must find a landlord, but they have the choice of a landlord. It is to say that the vassal and the king, when there is a choice in which one to serve, are tamed. That is the argument of free market economists.

     It is easy for the few possessors of wealth to come together and make mutual agreements in their exploitation of the poor. They have all of the time and wealth in the world -- so much that they are always given in to meaningless, trivial, and extravagant pursuits of luxury. It is easy for them to come together and plot against the common people. To take more food from working families, to take more free time from the laboring masses, to worsen the living conditions of all but the few.

     Such explicit meetings are often unnecessary. Each capitalist and landlord is aware of their own interest, and similarly, is often aware of the interest of others who hold the same position. Each, wanting to stay afloat on the wealth of others, seeks to unite in a common direction with the others, so that they can maintain their mutual domination over the masses. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one such organization. They formally oppose belief in Global Warming -- not because there is scientific support for that idea, but because environmental regulation increases their production costs. And that cuts into profits. It weakens their ability to fleece their flocks, to squeeze every last bit out of rent, to get every bit of labor out of each hour.

     This class of land owners, which praises itself for "giving homes to people," often increases the rent on a regular basis. The cost goes up every year or two, and sometimes more often than that. They defend this on the grounds that "property values are rising" and "the value of the land is increasing." But during the Housing, Financial Crisis in the United States, properties fell to one fifth or one tenth of their original value. Did the cost of rent fall to one fifth or one tenth? No -- in many places, it was actually still increasing!

     Just as it is with the capitalist, who makes cuts and layoffs during a recession. "I must cut your wages, because profits have fallen," is the boss's justification. But the worker is wiser than that, and asks, "What about when profits were doubled and wages were the same? What happened to that extra money?" Profits, when they soar, do little to improve the condition of the worker. And when they fall, they spread all sorts of miserable ills -- from mass poverty and unemployment to artificial famines and coal monopoly winters. Poverty and unemployment that exists only because of some artificial title to property.

     There is no justification for it. The wealthy do not contribute labor, but live off of it. They do not add anything to society, but they exploit it. They alienate us from the land, prohibit us from living unless we admit them as a lord, prohibit us from working unless we admit them as a boss. There is no good in a system of Capitalists and landlords, as it is a system where the few live off of the hard labor of the many, to the great misery and poverty of the workers.

     It is naturally in the interests of the people to overthrow the landlords and employers, the new aristocrats and new noblemen. The landlords keep us from the property that we need to live. They put a tax on everything we make, called profit, and then when they "misdirect" the economy, waves of unemployment and poverty ripple throughout society. For the people to be made up of independent individuals, masters of their own lives, we must abolish the class of possessors. If there is any real right to live, to become part of society on equal terms, it must begin with an equal right for all to the land!

"There is no difficulty in discovering what makes those people poor. They have no right to anything that nature gives them. All they can make above a living they must pay to the landlord. They not only have to pay for the land that they use, but they have to pay for the seaweed that comes ashore and for the turf they dig from the bogs. They dare not improve, for any improvements they make are made an excuse for putting up the rent. These people who work hard live in hovels, and the landlords, who do not work at all -- ooh! they live in luxury in London or Paris. If they have hunting boxes there, why they are magnificent castles as compared with the hovels in which the men live who do the work. Is there any question as to the cause of poverty there?"
          --Henry George, 1885
          "The Crime of Poverty"


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