On private property

Hallesche_MaschinenfabrikProbably no concept in human history has been surrounded by such a huge number of myths as private property.

Why is that? Well, the reason is simple, private property is the basis without which human society cannot divide itself into the poor and the rich, i.e. into classes. Classes are large groups of people, some of whom can live happily ever after, almost without working, while others, a much larger group, have to work constantly and barely make ends meet.

This is how the contemporary Russian society works: oligarchs and top officials in our country pretend to work, “slaving away” at luxury resorts, and tens of millions of Russian citizens, working 12-16 hours a day, hardly scrape enough money to buy bread and to pay for housing and utilities.

Why does it work like that? Why is private property to blame for this? In order to clarify this issue, we must focus on two specific points, because there is a lot of confusion about private property.

First of all, private property should not be confused with property in general. Those are different things. Property has always existed in human history. And it will always exist, because property in itself is not a person’s attitude towards a thing. Ownership is the relationship between people.

Does it sound strange and unfamiliar? Well, it’s a fact. Think about it: your car or toothbrush don’t care who owns them – you or your neighbor Vasya. You and Vasya, and all other people around you, are the ones who really care. It is important for you, for Vasya and others to know that this car or toothbrush belongs to you, because knowing it, everyone will act accordingly, different from the way they’d act if this car or toothbrush didn’t have any owner.

The thing is, though, that not always in human history property was private, i.e. belonging to specific individuals, individual members of the society (a particular part of the society). There was a time when the property had a public (socialized) character, i.e. it belonged to the whole society. Such was the property in the primitive society and socialist countries, including the USSR.

It follows from the above that private property is only one type of property.

Secondly, there’s no point talking about property without mentioning what exactly that property is, what exactly is appropriated.

All things around us are divided into consumer goods and means of production. Means of production are things with which new things can be produced, i.e. equipment, machinery, plants, factories, heat and power plants, land, subsoil, etc.

Items of consumption, i.e. things for the personal use of an individual or his family, have always been private, i.e.  individuals have used them by themselves or together with the members of their family. And forever in human society, under any system, the ownership of consumer goods will also be private (or personal, it’s the same thing).

It just couldn’t be any other way! After all, a person creates (produces) consumer goods in order to use them, i.e. to consume!

But the ownership of the means of production is a very different matter. This is very important, because the person in whose hands the means of production end up, determines the entire social structure of this society, its entire economic, political and social structure.

This is the root of one of the main misconceptions about private property, which is widely spread in the Russian society.

When we talk about private property, some of our citizens, who are not really familiar with political issues, usually think of their own personal property, i.e. the consumer goods they own today. When they talk about the socialist society, they somehow think that under socialism “everything will be taken away from them”, i.e. their apartment, car, garden, TV, stereo, computer, etc., all the things that they own. These citizens for some reason forget that back in the day the Soviet state, being a socialist state, would in fact itself hand out apartments and allotments to the their citizens, completely free of charge, too, while not taking away their cars or televisions, but on the contrary, seeking to produce as much as possible of all of those things and sell them at as cheap a price as possible in order to provide these goods to as many citizens as possible. The naive fear of losing what is “theirs” when no one else needs it, makes these people feel panicky about socialism, which they were told so many horror stories about.

Of course, this fear didn’t appear out of nowhere. For more than 25 years, the Russian government has been actively brainwashing the country’s population, scaring  the young generation of Russians, who didn’t know the realities of socialism personally, with “nasty Bolsheviks who took everything away from everyone”

Yes, it’s true that some Bolsheviks did take away from the rich – landlords, bourgeois and aristocrats, but not consumer goods – they were taking away the means of production, which, as we said above, determine the entire social structure of the country. Bolsheviks didn’t want the working people to live in misery and poverty, moreover, the things they took away weren’t placed in their private possession, but became national property – what was taken from the rich became the property of all working people of Russia. The Bolsheviks banned private ownership of the means of production, because this is exactly the factor that divides the society into classes, into parasites and workers, into exploiters and exploited, into rich and poor, into masters and servants.


Because it’s the private ownership of the means of production that allows the private owner to appropriate the product of other people’s labour – meaning everything the workers produce, provided that it was produced using the means of production belonging to that owner (land, equipment, factory, etc.).

It’s this characteristic of private property that allows private owners of the means of production not to work, but to live happily ever after just because they own something, and this is why the notion of private property is fiercely protected by all sorts of parasites and exploiters, trying to pass it off as something sacred and inviolable. This has always been the case in all class societies, from slave-owners to today’s capitalist societies.

Do you think that we are making this up?  That we are falsely accusing “poor” businessmen who “work their asses off”? Well, let’s see.

Here is what is written in Article 2, paragraph 6 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On Property”[1], adopted on 24.12.1990, with a number of additions and changes made in 1994:

«6. The results of economic and other use of property, including production of products, as well as dividends and other income from the use of this property belong to the owner of this property, unless otherwise provided by law or in an agreement between the owner and another person”.

This chance to appropriate what has been made by others is the main value of the “holy private property”; in order to protect it, the noble “gentlemen” (the owners) will easily slash someone’s throat. The chance to live at the expense of others is the reason why there’s a right of private ownership in Russia! The protection of this “sacred right” to parasitize off and rob the labour is exactly what the job of the Russian government is, with all its army, police, squad teams, special forces, officials, courts, laws and government!

Moreover, the Russian bourgeois authorities do not even hide it – the other day the Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Maxim Topilin, when told during an interview that the Russian population was opposed to the government’s proposals on the new retirement bill and that they believed that the government simply wanted to steal their money, replied: “How can we talk about appropriation, if the funded part of pensions is not the money that belong to people, but the money of employers, which they pay”[2].

Turns out that what was created by the workers’ labour and appropriated by the employers, doesn’t belong to those who made it, who honestly worked 12-14 hours a day for it, but belongs to those who stole it all, who appropriated it all, taking advantage of the rights granted to them by the Russian bourgeois state!

Hired workers don’t own anything at all in the end – all those people who have worked for those parasitic employers for decades, providing them with prosperity and a comfortable life, aging early or losing health from hard work, have to live hand to mouth now.

There can only be one way out of this dishonest deception and humiliation – the complete abolishment and prohibition of the private property of the means of production. Manufactured products must belong to those who produce them – the working people of the country. Only the national ownership of the means of production can ensure this right for the labour. Only the public ownership of the means of production will allow the society to become truly fair and humane, because everyone in it will use what they really earned, not stole.

G. Gagina

[1]     The law on property // Consultant Plus. URL: https://base.consultant.ru/cons/cgi/online.cgi?req=doc;base=LAW;n=4704 (date of inquiry: 24.10.2018).

[2]     «It’s not your money». Topilin revealed the truth about the funded part of pensions. It’s bad news // News RIA URA.RU. URL: https://ura.news/news/1052166656 (date of inquiry: 25.10.2018).


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