My old political science professor once pointed to someone’s laptop as an example of private property and said to the class that this was what the cold war was about. “Wouldn’t you want to live in a society where your laptop, phone, and house belongs to you?” Yes! Of course, I, as a Marxist, would! But Marx never said a negative thing about your personal property, he was against private property. This was the same obfuscated explanation of communism I was taught back in high school. I was furious at this absurdity and explained the difference between personal property (such as your phone, laptop, home) and private property (factories, enterprises, i.e. the means of production). I remember that the class seemed rightfully baffled at such an obfuscation of one of the most basic ideas of Marxism
Marx himself wrote in The Communist Manifesto that,
“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.
In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.”
By this absurd equation of private and personal property, my professor would have been implying that Marx thought that 9/10 of the population had no personal belongings, something that throughout human history, has never been the case in the least.
Such explanations are one of the many attempts on account of bourgeois intellectuals and educators to obfuscate the logic of Marxism, for if it were presented as it actually was to the broad masses of people, no one would ever deny its logic. In fact, if Marxism was taught by Marxists in schools, even side by side with bourgeois lectures on the necessity of greed, 9/10 of the population would identify as Marxist.