EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum

That squatting in abandoned buildings should be legal

2 points
0 points
BlackflagBlackflag (PRO)
There are about  610,042 people homeless on the streets at any given night in America. Many more miss the count by taking refuge with family and friends, or getting one of the limited spots available in the cities crowded homeless shelters. Some downtrodden veterans and seniors are unfit to survive unsheltered from the cold,  and a battle for a place to sleep, could very well be a battle for their lives. This isn't melodrama. It is a serious problem that needs serious fixing. Not only am I going to refute the social darwinists and those who wish harm on the homeless, but I will make a case for how squatting could help working class citizens and be beneficial to society by maintaining this practice as a viable living option. 

Squatting as a Civil Rights Issue: Legality in England, Wales, and the United States
Squatting in England and Wales is treated as more than a petty crime, but a serious civil rights issue. I think we have a lot to learn from their examples, and would like to argue the anglo-welsh process for squatting legalization, as it is a very thought out system with few flaws. A squatter may claim non-residential property (residential in some American states), as long as the property is not being used for illegal or criminal activity, and the resident maintains "Adverse possession" if requested, in the form of paying posthumously debts and or taxes left on the building. 

You may be asking, how can "squatting" ever be considered a civil right? Many constitutions throughout the world carry a near identical clause, that governments will serve to protect the "welfare of the people". Liberty, is something that most people acknowledge as a good thing. There are few people who would claim that we need less liberty, but not everyone realizes liberty is a two sided coin.  During the 1920's progressive era, many progressives, sometimes labelled "radicals", made the claim that people deserved the liberties of being free from "poverty".  People weren't mistaken in calling this a radical idea, because at the time, it most certainly was. From a modern standpoint, this idea is much more acceptable, and even widespread.

Even John Locke spoke of three essential liberty's. That of Life, Liberty, and Property. Which begs the question, why would people ever be in opposition to this proposal? Because people are naturally greedy. They know squatters lower their property values, and impede on commerce. But isn't it the government's duty to protect those citizens welfare and liberty? Could it be considered tyrannous to deny a naturalized citizen a home? It was, and still is the belief by many, that governments have a moral responsibility to protect us from our own greed. That the removal of liberty, is the emplacement of our greed? John Locke seemed to think so, and I would hate to disagree. It seems like a policy of persecuting squatters is removing liberty, and encouraging greed. And when has a greedy society ever been a just society?

My position is strong and secure. All citizens have a right to property, even if they do not retain legal ownership over any land deed, they still have the right to occupy an unused and abandoned structure, and work to obtain it through perseverance and "adverse possession"

The Solution: A Social and Civil Experiment in Community Building
Squatters usually live in packs. This is for multitudes of reasons, including mutual defense, scavenging, and the luxury of being able to divide tasks among each other. If there are any people who are more social and hardworking, it would be the homeless, and those in extreme poverty. Squatting communes don't work together out of love and respect for each other, but for the sole purpose of survival. A powerful motivation, is it not? Such motivation makes me question, how can we, the people of the world, harness such power and put it to better use? 

The answer for me is simple. We implement a three step action plan  both protect the liberty of property, and benefit the working class. 
A. Legalize Squatting for large groups of homeless citizens 
B. Sustain the principle of adverse possession, allowing squatters to occupy abandoned residences contingent on constant repayment of taxes on the land.
C. Work with landowners to spring up more social "communes" throughout the country, and support squatter leaders in their strive to repossess the property, through action plans and loans. Giving legality to the groups name upon sustainable repayment of said properties taxes. 

This is not just a proposal to end homelessness, but an ambitious vision to put an end to slums and poor living conditions, turning poor and dirty squatting residences into thriving commercial centers for the homeless. We can only do this by working with the homeless, and helping them become self sufficient in repaying the tax duties. It is found to be much easier when working in large groups, and with countries like the US instituting tax reforms, such as earned income on operating small farms, there is no barrier preventing poverty and homelessness from becoming things of the past. All we need is to give a solid safety net for not only squatters, but the real estate markets.

How does this help the Homeless?
Why it gives them a place to live, and the comfort and liberty of a home. Something many people take for granted in the first world. For some homeless citizens, they aren't concerned about the "right of property" as much as they are the "right of life".  As some wont make it to the morning, dying from disease or infection in the night. But a better question is how this will help the average joes. People who are financially secure and comfortable with their lives. Those people might ask, why? Why are the poor obligated to these things? Why do they get a freebie in life?

Well I'm here to tell you that there is more to gain from promoting squatting, rather than criminalizing it. Squatting can benefit the community in a number of ways. One such is reducing crime. See, abandoned buildings have become subject to unruly things like looting and salvaging. Property owners are in trouble, because they live in constant fear of having their buildings torn apart for raw materials, or their old grocer being turned into a gang hideout. In some cases, business owners have let squatters in, to keep criminals out. Before we talk about lowering property values, would you rather live next to an unemployed pauper or a west coast blood? Most citizens would choose the pauper over the blood, for obvious and apparent reasons. 

Squatting also improves the economic conditions of the homeless, therefore helping your wallet. The homeless work to achieve money in a number of ways. By begging, selling products and salvage, and many other things. Such wealth is shared among squatters to purchase items and food for the group as a whole. Improving living conditions and standards. Many homeless work towards buying products to start and maintain farms, providing a constant source of food and income, many of which ends up on local farmer markets and in the hands of other impoverished citizens.

The resolution is affirmed. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-09-23 14:47:38
| Speak Round

View As PDF

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
We can continue this debate. I actually really liked my opening argument, although I feel I've progressed since the time I made it.
Posted 2014-12-14 22:49:43
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
Posted 2014-12-14 20:12:44
sorry about forfeiting this.... I kinda forgot about the site for a while...
Posted 2014-12-14 20:11:19
I think the best part about my random topic generator is that nobody ever seems to like the topics it generates, or at least the sides they have to take on them.
Posted 2014-10-06 15:21:15
I thought the con side was easier to argue just so you know.
Posted 2014-09-25 14:57:52
how the hell am i supposed to argue this -_-

friggin random topic generator...
Posted 2014-09-25 13:43:21
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2014-11-06 18:19:26
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Blackflag
A bit of an unfortunate ending. Pro had BOP, met it, and was completely unchallenged.

Con - there's two main arguments neg usually runs in a debate like this: first, property rights (they exist) and second, externalities of squatters (they're negative). You can imagine it like a narrative: if I own a property and somebody else lives on it without my consent, they're taking my rights to make decisions regarding my property (abandoning the building is different from abandoning the property after all), and will probably reduce the land value, dump rubbish on the property, show me hostility etc (negative externalities).

If the random topic generator makes a topic you don't like, try searching for it or checking the "related" tab for relevant news. These topics are all from past tournaments in RL so have been well-discussed already. If all is lost, remember, you don't need a substantive case to be successful at neg, just refute everything pro says. Straight neg strategies are awesome.

Pro - your argument wasn't bad, but the scope was a little narrow. You were on to something when you started talking about helping the homeless, but who you were really talking about was all of society. For example, less crime is definitely a ok point in and of itself. I felt social impacts should have been de-linked from your civil case and structured into their own thing to make this apparent to me, because the way you've framed it it looks like your only talking about abandoned buildings being targeted. If you made it into a case like this it would have been better: on the streets, people need to steal to survive - when given a home they have one less thing to worry about and are better able to get on their feet, escaping a life of crime. That way it impacts not just property that landowners don't even care about, but all of society.

Don't get me wrong, your civil rights case itself was fine. Your warrant was a bit shallow but I like the way you went through the impacts. Would have been nice to read about why homeless people's civil rights should be prioritized over landowner's property rights, but I assumed you were keeping that for rebuttal.
1 user rated this judgement as constructive
0 comments on this judgement
2014-11-06 22:29:41
9spacekingJudge: 9spaceking
Win awarded to: Blackflag

don't ff romanii
1 user rated this judgement as good
0 comments on this judgement

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 3 rounds
  • No length restrictions
  • Reply speeches
  • Uses cross-examination
  • Community Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds does not mean forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Rated debate
  • Time to post: 1 week
  • Time to vote: 2 weeks
  • Time to prepare: None
  • Time for cross-examination: 2 days