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Expropriation is politically motivated and forceful confiscation and redistribution of private property outside the common law, allegedly to establish social justice.

Unlike eminent domain or laws regulating the foreign investment, expropriation takes place outside the common law and is the socially-motivated confiscations of any property rather than confiscations of real estate. The term appears as "expropriation of expropriators (ruling classes)" in marxist theory, or as slogan "Loot the looters!", very popular during Russian October Revolution [1]

The term is often used to describe nationalization campaigns by communist states, such as dekulakization and collectivization in the USSR [2], and as some form of justification for robberies by revolutionaries, such as by Joseph Stalin and Kamo in the Russian Empire [3].

According to the traditional interpretation of Marxism all large-scale industries and private properties should be expropriated and held by the state. Leon Trotsky was adamant that private owners should not be compensated.[4] Trotsky wrote that "The program of the equal distribution of the land thus presupposes the expropriation of all land, not only privately-owned land in general, or privately-owned peasant land, but even communal land.[5]"


  1. ^ Orlando Figes. A People's Tragedy: Russian Revolution. 1996, ISBN 0-7126-7327-X.
  2. ^ Richard Pipes Property and Freedom, Vintage Books, A division of Random House, Inc., New York, 1999, ISBN 0-375-70447-7, page 214.
  3. ^ Edvard Radzinsky Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives, Anchor, (1997) ISBN 0-385-47954-9, pages 256-259
  4. ^ "Marxism, nationalization and expropriation".,1243,0,0,1,0. 
  5. ^ Permanent Revolution & Results and Prospects

See also


1911 encyclopedia

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