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What Rights Did Your
Ancestors Enjoy?

By Punkerslut

From WikiCommons
Image: From "Land Painting" Gallery from WikiCommons

Start Date: July 16, 2009
Finish Date: July 18, 2009

"Inquire of the most learned and wise of the present day, ask them to speak with sincerity, and they will tell you that they have long known the principles on which society has been found to be false."
          --Robert Owen, 1816
          "A New View of Society," Essay 3

     Before agricultural society, the world was the collective property of mankind. Each person had a right to move wherever they pleased, to work where they liked, and to pull out of the earth what belonged to them.

     Why would our ancestors would have given up their rights for nothing? Why would they trade their right to work the land in exchange for unemployment and poverty? Humanity no longer recognizes an individual's right to the land. Our governments have completely forgotten about it.

"What do we understand by revolution? It is not a simple change of governors. It is the taking possession by the people of all social wealth. It is the abolition of all forces which have so long hampered the development of humanity."
          --Peter Kropotkin, 1880
          "Revolutionary Government"

     At one point, there was a person who decided to claim a piece of land as theirs permanently, to the exclusion of all others. This was encroaching upon the collective property right of all other people. But farmers were more productive than gatherers; those who started large plantations could afford to buy a military. Our ancestors' right to the land, then, was not traded -- it was taken from them, by brute force.

     Those who came before you had more rights and lived in greater liberty. If the land was taken from them, then we still each possess a right to the earth. Property rights are hereditary; they pass on from generation to generation, as it had been for thousands of years with the earth's collective property.

"...the essential reason why men take orders willingly is that they are born serfs and are reared as such. From this cause there follows another result, namely that people easily become cowardly and submissive under tyrants."
          --Étienne de La Boétie, 1548
          "Discourse on Voluntary Servitude"

     There are too many advantages to industrialized society to revert back to hunters and gatherers. Modern medicine, as well as manufacturing and agriculture, have improved mankind's standard of living. Capitalism asserts that the land is the exclusive property of some few individuals -- and it generally happens that very few people own the majority of all land, no matter what country you examine.

     We still have the right to the land -- to labor it and to benefit from it. So we need a social organization that fulfills that right but still maintains the benefits of industrial society. In the Capitalist system, there is plenty of land begging for industry, but it is all fenced in; there are many factories, but they are all idle. The land is definitely not being used to benefit the majority, to provide for all the people. Instead, it is running for the profit and privilege of a few, against the interests of the masses. To stop the tyranny of the few, we need an economy managed collectively by the people themselves.

"...the property of all the people should be owned only by those who cultivate it with their own hands."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~Late 1800's
          "Stateless Socialism: Anarchism"


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