Law and Property
It is often thought that the existence of the “law” is a providential thing, and that its maintenance (usually expressed in the term “preservation of law and order”) is an aim worthy of the greatest effort of every citizen.
But history proves that the law is closely linked with property, that is that the first exists for the protection of the latter.
Now does the working class possess property? If so, then to that extent the law protects the interests of the working class, even though that law is framed and exercised by the capitalist class. But such is not the case, for the proletariat is propertyless, and possesses but one commodity, viz., labour power.
But what about his clothes, his furniture, etc., do not these constitute the worker’s property ? The answer is, no. For by what are these necessities procured ?
They are procured with the wages of the worker, and if we read Karl Marx carefully, what do we find on this particular point ?
This that wages (in the hands of the capitalist) are a part of capital, and that the capitalist ultimately receives again that particular portion known as wages.
By attending to his physical needs the labourer reproduces labour-power, which labour-power is given back to the capitalist for the accumulation of more capital—the production of surplus-value.
Therefore it is obvious that the working class have no property, and to speak of the “preservation of law and order” is synonymous with the phrase “perpetuation of capitalism.”
The law is the safeguard of the class in power; its function is the suppression of the voice and claims of the subordinate class and the monopoly of the means of life by the ruling class. The Socialist recognises that the economic basis of any society determines the nature and functions of the institutions built upon that basis. Law is a capitalist institution, and therefore works for the benefit of the capitalist class.
J. H. LAMB