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Property is theft! Proudhon 200 years on

200 years of Proudhon

200 years of Proudhon

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is reckoned to be the first person to claim for himself the label of “anarchist” and yesterday was the 200th anniversary of his birth. His most famous statement was, of course, property is theft, still at the heart of anarchist economics but frequently misunderstood.

“Property” in this sense doesn’t refer to “personal property” – your clothes, your bike – which a person uses frequently. The property is theft type of property is your buy-to-let, landlordist, “location location location” type of property: the type of property, frequently housing, that is held by someone in order to stop someone else from using it (unless they pay you rent or some other condition).

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