[diggers350] Re: Land ownership

Stephen Bint digger at barrysworld.co.uk
Tue Aug 3 19:14:23 BST 1999

Dear Hengist,

I am sorry I did not reply straight away. I have not had
access to email.

>the assumption that private land ownership is somehow
>the beast we should be excising could well be wrong.

You say land ownership is not the beast, but it is a
beast. The other main beast is tyranny, or a lack of ways of
organizing against tyranny. That is where the nukes come

I think the solution for tyranny would be someone inventing
a system of democracy that would work for ten people on an
island. Ownership of the island's resources would be one of
the things a democratic system would be used to determine.
I think they would vote to share the resources.

>Public land ownership is often a far worse thing.

You associate publicly-owned land with state-controlled
land, but it doesn't have to be state-controlled.

You could have a system that leaves the boundaries where
they are and leases every plot at regular intervals. All
plots would be registered at a local office, which makes it
easy to find out when a plot next comes up for lease. The
leases could be sold at auction.

We could share the money out by a traditional formula, based
on our income from the lease auctions. Once we know how much
was made everywhere, we give everyone in our area a share
out of the income from the local land auction house. If we
have any left over, it is sent to the nearest area with a

So it needn't be controlled by a central authority. We could
have a traditional way, a set of instructions we always
follow to the letter.

After all, this money comes free out of the earth. We could
have been sharing it all along. Your regular dividend has
been withheld from you since you were born, because a few
hundred years ago, a bunch of greedy, violent men put up
fences and claimed to own this land forever. I am 33, so if
an equal share of the earth's rent amounts to ten pounds a
week, I have had £17160 withheld from me so far.

I expect it amounts to more than ten pounds a week, because
people spend more than that on land. It would be worth at
least as much as the rent we all pay between us, divided by
the number of people; about a fifth of an average rent
(I estimate four fifths of rent is for the building) to each

Not just you, but your children too are born into a world
where they owe money to people who do nothing in return for
it. The landlords paid someone else for it, not us. If they
had paid us a big lump sum, it might be okay for them to get
rent off us for a while after that, depending on the amount.
But they didn't pay us, they paid someone else. We never got
anything out of it and we never will until we are paying
eachother for the right to monopolize land.

I think we are all responsible for letting the system take
the piss out of us, so we shouldn't let landowners be the
only ones who pay for the transition to a fair system. So I
am not hostile to landowners. If I was a Bolshevik I
wouldn't fit in. I just know we have to abolish private land
ownership because it is the reason people live in shanty

>Ps if anybody has any definition of civilization I'd like
>to hear it.

Civilization is a group of people who are prepared to be

Land Ownership looked like a bad idea when it was
introduced. It had to be introduced by force.
These extracts are from a pamphlet written at a
time when the greedy squires were fencing off England,
destroying villages and evicting the English people
into the street. It was addressed to lords of manors
all over England.

Poor oppressed People

...the earth was not made purposely for you, to be Lords of
and we to be your Slaves, Servants, and Beggers;
but it was made to be a common Livelihood to all,
without respect of persons...

...your buying and selling of Land, and the Fruits of it,
one to another, is The Cursed Thing, and was brought in by
which hath, and still does establish murder, and theft,
In the hands of some branches of Mankinde over others,
which is the greatest outward burden,
and unrighteous power, that the Creation groans under:
For the power of inclosing Land, and owning Propriety,
was brought into the Creation by your Ancestors by the
which first did murther their fellow Creatures, Men,
and after plunder or steal away their Land,
and left this Land successively to you, their Children.
And therefore, though you did not kill or theeve,
yet you hold that Cursed Thing in your hand,
by the power of the Sword...

See the whole pamphlet:

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list