“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Saturday, 19 July 2014

You can't do that there 'ere. Oh yes we can.

"You can't just take people's property away from them", is the stock answer to any suggestion that London's housing shortage could, in part at least, be solved by the expropriation of all of the empty "investment properties" that are a blight on the capital. But of course it is perfectly possible for property to be requisitioned in times of greater need. During the war when the toffs fled to their country retreats to escape the bombing they found that bombed out Londoners were being housed in their empty town houses and there was not a thing that they could do about it. Nor were the stately homes of England safe from requisition and many were taken over for military use. No doubt many of the owners saw it as their patriotic duty to comply, others will have squealed like stuck pigs but it made no difference. Selfishness had become, if only superficially and for a short time, unfashionable.
It's a common misconception that the European upper class disliked Bolshevism due to fears about the loss of individual liberty and freedom of speech. Nothing could be further from the truth. They were perfectly happy with putting a stop to all this free speech nonsense, what was really putting the shits up them was the prospect of loosing all their vast estates and accumulated wealth. Such fears would prove to be well founded. But as the case of wartime requisitioning in good old liberal democratic Britain shows, you don't need a revolutionary situation to expropriate private property. Just the political will and a modicum of gumption.

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