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common ownership

“Common Ownership”: Ourselves v. The Labour Party

 At a meeting in the provinces addressed recently by a member of the S.P.G.B. someone in the audience protested against the statement that the S.P.G.B. was the only party that stood for Socialism; and produced a membership card of the Labour Party, wherein occurred the statement that the party stood for “common ownership.” The above difficulty is typical of the state of mind of many workers who support the Labour Party under the impression that they are thereby helping to emancipate the members of their class.

Our Case in Brief

 We have seen how the whole structure of present-day, or any other society, rests upon and takes its shape from the property base; and now we can proceed to consider what, broadly, must he the result of the carrying out of the Socialist proposal to change the social basis from private ownership of the means necessary to satisfy the economic needs of the community to one in which these things are owned and controlled by the whole of the people.

Material World: One Thing the Romans Did For Us

Material World

What did the Romans ever do for us – other than pass down their concepts of property? For instance, land in Rome could either be ‘private property’, res privata or managed by the city authorities such as a park in which case it would be part of the res publica. Res nullis referred to land belonging to no-one, ownerless, therefore, it was available for occupation, the justification on which the British settlement in Australia was based despite it already being the home of indigenous peoples. However, res communis property was territory not subject to the legal title of anyone.

Material World: Socialism as a World Commons

Material World

The world’s environmental crises stem largely from the failure to share the ownership and use of the world’s natural and industrial resources. The principle of sharing has always formed the basis of social relationships in societies across the world. We all know from personal experience the importance of sharing to family and community life. In fact, sharing is far more prevalent in society than people often realise. The idea of individual (or private) ownership of land is a relatively recent phenomenon. There is now a growing movement that reminds us of this and which promotes the development of ‘the Commons’ and which has gone beyond the prevailing ideas of conventional capitalist private property economics.

Professor Cosmo Innes (1798-1874), Advocate and Professor of Constitutional Law and History wrote in his Scotch Legal Antiquities,

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