Karl Hess argues that defending individual property and freed markets does not mean apologetics for actually-existing economic
arrangements or concentrations of wealth, which are dependent on colonial theft and state privilege. Quite the oppose, principles of individual property actually mean revolutionary redistribution of wealth away from state capitalists and towards workers and farmers, including support for militant reclaim-the-land movements, and the occupation of state-capitalist enterprises by organized workers and community councils.
Libertarianism wants to advance principles of property but … in no way wishes to defend, willy nilly, all property which is now called private. Much of that property is stolen. Much is of dubious title. All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercive state system which has condoned, built on, and profited from slavery; has expanded through
and exploited a brutal and aggressive imperial and colonial foreign policy, and continues to hold people in a roughly serf-master relationship to political-economic power concentrations.
[Genuine respect for property and marks] is a far cry from sharing common ground with those who want to create a society in which super capitalists are free to amass vast holdings and who say that that is ultimately the most important purpose of freedom …. Libertarianism is a people’s movement and a liberation movement.
This is the article that inspired Murray Rothbard’s
Confiscation and the Homestead Principle, which was reprinted as MA01: All Power to the Soviets!
Introduced February 2010.