TOTW: Squatting Vs Legal ownership
Lately I kept coming across people (on and offline) telling me about their plans of acquiring land, in some way or another, on the countryside, to create their full or scaled-down utopia. I always hear these ideas with a level of apprehension. Can't help it.
Not only it’s a no-brainer how such a claim reflects a belief -inculcated by society’s dominant ideology, that once you become the landlord you can do whatever the fuck you want on this piece of land- that is delusional in most places of the world (municipal interference is likely to happen, when not forceful police raids, against many things you’d do on « your » land). There is also the flip side of the issue of what does it means to be « doing what you want » on your land. Is it to further enforce your dominion upon non-human life? Or as some green NGOs have been doing already, to save as much land as possible from environmental onslaught, and perhaps also set forth restorative ecology projects or « forest farming »? Here's the big question of the purpose that lies beyond power.
But there’s also another problem. If a land becomes your land, so this means it becomes your exclusive right. Most likely I or others can’t use it as I see fit, no matter how eco-consciously, as this land is « your » land, your dominion. It is now part of your corporate body. How can anyone call themselves anarchist at that point is beyond me… for you see, in order to prevent me and others from doing any of that, you’ll need the State’s laws related to property to use against me in a prosecution, or as argument for justifying by eviction. All that, simply because through property, you have deprived other human beings from the freedom of using the land for them selves. Not just humans, but all these lives you do accept within your domain.
But what about the land is everyone’s? Or no one’s? Would that be too radical as perspective?
There comes the idea of anarcho-squatting. Or reclaiming space (usually abandoned for some reason) towards a breaking of property, a space liberation.
But we know that in the historical context of North America, « squatting » space has also meant something else; the reclaiming of land for private appropriation, with the colonial State as the provider and defender of this right to property. So we have a conflict between two notions. And an intense social pressure to take ownership of land legally, instead of just using it where it is easy to do so without asking any permission to Daddy State.
Is squatting anarchistic by default? Is buying land authoritarian or capitalistic by default?
Which of these approaches you think make sense to an anarchist, and how they can be best realized?
(thanks to fauvenoir for this guest TOTW)