[diggers350] The Abolish Private Land Ownership Info Pack

Stephen Bint digger at barrysworld.co.uk
Wed Aug 4 21:25:54 BST 1999

Dear Friend,

The end of private ownership of land and mineral resources
would mean an end to starvation, poverty and wars over
resources. Its abolition would require neither a Bolshevik
uprising nor abuse of the rights of living landowners.
Common ownership can be phased in as gently as we like.

If we want common ownership we must concern ourselves with
our ability to convince one person that it is desirable and
possible. If every one of us convinced one person that we
can and must strive for common ownership, our movement would
derive a proven strength from that basic ability. It sounds
small, but the ability to convince a single individual has
great power because it represents a great test for a cause.
If you convince one person you are a veteran and you know
that you are right.

To which end we need a common store of solid arguments,
which we can use to convince our friends and families at
least. I am building four lists. Anyone who wants an end to
starvation and homelessness and wars over resources, can
help in these ways:

1. You can convince just one friend that land ownership can
and must be abolished.
2. You can make videos of yourself convincing people and
show them to the rest of us at meetings.
3. You can have new ideas about how and why we should end it
and contribute them to one of my four lists.
4. You can get a copy of my lists, sort them in order of
preference and send them back. You can also add and delete
items. (I am trying to find out what people think is fair
and acceptable.)

My four lists are:

A list of reasons to abolish private land ownership 
A list of ways of establishing common ownership
A list of ways of collecting the money
A list of ways of distributing the money

A list of reasons to abolish private land ownership

1. Landowners have no contract with us. They only have a
contract with the person they bought it from.

If you buy land from someone called John Smith, you pay John
Smith to recognize and respect your land rights. If John
Smith ignores your land rights by trespassing on that land
or refusing to pay rent to live on it, he is in breach of
that contract he made with you.
But your contract with John Smith does not bind me. You paid
him to treat that land as yours but you have neither paid me
nor made a contract with me to establish your claim with me.
No-one but the person you bought your land from, has any
moral reason to agree you own that land.

2. All human beings will begin to get a regular income we
have always had a right to.

When all the rent from land and money from selling oil and
other resources is shared, everyone in the world will get a
regular income. It is not unrealistic to expect every one of
the six billion would get ten quid a week. Think what that
is worth in poor countries and what a difference it would
make. It would mean the end of starvation and homelessness
in Africa.
There is no reason why the Africans or we would choose to
have a system that deprives us of our share. We get nothing
out of it; we just don't get our money every week.

3. All wars over resources will cease

As long as it is possible to own an oil well, two tin-pot
warlords might battle each other over the right to own one
so they can get free money forever for themselves and their
descendants. If the whole human race owned the oil well, the
warlord would be stealing it from the whole human race and
all of our incomes would go down till we got it back, so
no-one would buy the oil. The financial incentive to war
would disappear.

4. Land cannot be property because nobody made it.

You can own something by making it yourself or by acquiring
it by consent of the rightful owner. If the first people to
sell the land or bequeath it to their children had actually
created the land and brought that wealth into the world,
they would have owned it and had every right to sell it.
The original claimants, by erecting a fence around the land,
created no wealth so they are not entitled to any reward
from the community. They never earned the right to own it.
You can only buy something from someone who owns it, so our
own legal system neither has a right nor a motive, to force
us to pay rent to people who have not acquired the right by
legal means.

A list of ways of establishing common ownership

1. Through voluntary contributions, landless people could
buy it back over a long period, spreading the burden over a
few generations. Local groups would buy the land in their
local areas, all over the world.

2. We could pay landowners to convert their freeholds to
100-year leases.

3. We could announce the nationalization of the land, 100
years in advance. All current landowners would be dead by
the time it actually occurs and anyone purchasing land after
the announcement would pay less for it, knowing what was
coming. The rental value would be unaffected.

4. We could announce a referendum to take place in 100 years
time, on whether all land will become common land. This is
the same as (3), only it is not finally decided whether it
will actually happen.

5. We could make a law forbidding the acquisition of land
from now on. When the current owner dies it becomes common

6. We could convert all freeholds to 100-year leases by

7. We could buy it back in forced sales, effectively getting
it at a discount.

8. We could put a tax on land rent and use the money from
the tax to buy it back.

9. We could put a tax on land rent that gradually increases
to become a hundred percent tax in one hundred years. A
hundred percent tax is full common ownership.

A list of ways of collecting the money

1. Leave the boundaries where they are and lease every plot
at regular intervals. All plots are 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, by
a traditional method overseen by civil servants and open to
the public.

A list of ways of distributing the money

1. We could share the money out by a traditional formula,
chosen by democracy and based on nationwide (or worldwide)
income from the lease auctions. Once we know how much was
made everywhere, we calculate what everybody gets. We give
everyone in our area their share out of the income from our
own, local land auction house. If we have any left over, it
is sent to the nearest area with a shortage. If we have a
shortage, we get some of our share shipped in or transferred
from a nearby area with a surplus.

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. Basically it says, "You can't demand
rent from us just because your ancestors killed people."

Poor oppressed People 

...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:

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