What is Property? – by Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1890)

Property is theft!” (French: La propriété, c’est le vol!) is a slogan coined by French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his 1840 book What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.

By “property”, Proudhon referred to a concept regarding land property that originated in Roman law: the sovereign right of property, the right of the proprietor to do with his property as he pleases, “to use and abuse,” so long as in the end he submits to state-sanctioned title. Proudhon contrasts the supposed right of property with the rights (which he considered valid) of liberty, equality, and security. Proudhon was clear that his opposition to property did not extend to exclusive possession of labor-made wealth.

In the Confessions d’un revolutionnaire Proudhon further explained his use of this phrase:

In my first memorandum, in a frontal assault upon the established order, I said things like, Property is theft! The intention was to lodge a protest, to highlight, so to speak, the inanity of our institutions. At the time, that was my sole concern. Also, in the memorandum in which I demonstrated that startling proposition using simple arithmetic, I took care to speak out against any communist conclusion. In the System of Economic Contradictions, having recalled and confirmed my initial formula, I added another quite contrary one rooted in considerations of quite another order—a formula that could neither destroy the first proposition nor be demolished by it: Property is freedom. … In respect of property, as of all economic factors, harm and abuse cannot be dissevered from the good, any more than debit can from asset in double-entry book-keeping. The one necessarily spawns the other. To seek to do away with the abuses of property, is to destroy the thing itself; just as the striking of a debit from an account is tantamount to striking it from the credit record.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Method Pursued in This Work

Chapter 2: Property Considered as a Natural Right

Chapter 3: Labor as the Efficient Cause of the Domain of Property

Chapter 4: Property is Impossible<

Chapter 5: Psychological Exposition of the Idea of Justice and Injustice

SECOND MEMOIR: A Letter to M. Blanqui

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

Against the enemy, revendication is eternal LAW OF THE TWELVE TABLES

Product details

  • ASIN : B0083ZFL4Y
  • Publication date : May 16, 2012
  • Language : English
  • File size : 1023 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 233 pages

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