binty at lycosmail.com
binty at lycosmail.com
Wed Aug 25 10:33:50 BST 1999
I wonder if you understand why I am so adamant that people
cannot own land. I have written a very short essay, which I
hope will make it clear that we have a duty and a right to
abolish private land ownership and make everyone who
excludes us from a plot of land pay rent to the community.
I hope you will read it, because this great moment in
history approaches. We are on the last stretch of the road
Why all land should be owned by the community
All land is common land until declared otherwise.
If there were no fences dividing our land into plots and
no-one was claiming to own it, all land would be common
land. Everyone would be free to go anywhere they want. There
would be no people with land and no people without land. I
am not saying we should do that. I am pointing out that
people owning land takes away your freedom to walk freely
across the land.
Imagine a small island with only a few people on it, who are
happy to share the common land for hunting and gathering.
One day, one of the islanders puts a fence around a quarter
of the island. He tells the others that he owns it from now
on, which means the other islanders are no longer allowed
into that quarter of the island without his permission. In
return, he will give them nothing. Sounds wrong doesn't it?
The islanders are being given no reason to agree to give
part of their gathering ground away. Bear in mind that they
are being offered nothing in return for the loss of this
territory. They are only being asked to because a man has
just decided he should be allowed to keep it to himself.
There are only two ways to maintain exclusive rights to a
territory: by threat and by tribute. By threat means you
attack people who trespass on your land. By tribute means
you pay all the other islanders to stay off your land for a
period, like a year.
You can't just pay a large sum to own the land forever,
because only those islanders that have been paid by you have
a reason to respect your land rights. Future generations,
born after you paid the islanders, would not get paid and
would have no reason to stay off your land.
It is hard to get anyone to make a promise for life anyway,
for any amount of money, so it is inevitable that someone
who wants everyone to stay his off land would have to pay
everyone a small amount every year, to keep staying off his
If land occupiers paid rent to the community at a fair
market rate, the ones who live in the corridors between
occupied land would get compensation for their landlessness,
which is caused by people fencing off bits for their private
enjoyment. In return for being deprived of so much land,
every one of us would get a piece of land or an income for
life as a birthright. If that seems hard to believe, it is
only because so
much has been stolen from us for so long, we have adapted.
To demand rent from people who monopolise land is our right. It
is no less than the community deserves for respecting
people's fences. It is compensation for not being allowed on
the land those people occupy.
I live in the narrow corridors between claimed land.
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