Statist socialist framing: Property vs. Possessions


Statist: "Sure, you can have your possessions, but our worker council will take anything away from you that we consider property."


An artificial distinction between "property" and "possessions" is drawn by some kinds of statist; "property" is usually used for "means of production" and non-movable chattels, but it really depends just on what they envy and want to take away.

They may assert a right for, for instance, a tenant to steal the home being rented to him or workers to steal the factory they work in. Even though the owners of these properties have delayed gratification, saved their money, and invested that money in the properties—that is, the property is what they gained in exchange for their labor, just like a car or a bushel of apples, these kinds of statist will assert that their state has a right to award the property to the occupants.

Effectively, the idea is that if they envy something, it is "property" and the labor traded for it can be stolen; whereas, if they don't care about something, such as your toothbrush, it's a "possession" and you will be allowed to keep it.

Even more egregiously, some of these would-be thieves will call themselves anarchists, but will assert a right to take voluntarily and peacefully-acquired property by force. (DBR)

Possessions are a type of property - property which the owner uses personally for an end-use. This contrasts with the means of production (MOP.) These terms are used by socialists in lieu of what non-socialists call "consumer goods" and "capital goods." The problem is not recognizing a class of consumer goods aka possessions, but in denying the validity of private ownership of capital goods. [HB]