Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK I: UTOPIAS AND COMMUNISTIC EXPERIMENTS - Socialistic Fallacies
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BOOK I: UTOPIAS AND COMMUNISTIC EXPERIMENTS - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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UTOPIAS AND COMMUNISTIC EXPERIMENTS
Politico-economic romances—Common features—Government by the wisest: abolition of private interest—Castes—Plato and the warrior caste—Conception realised by the Mamelukes in Egypt—Police—Xenophon — Plotinus — Monasteries, their principles: separation of the sexes, contributions of the faithful.
Von Kirchenheim, in his book “Die ewige Utopie,” has traced the history of politico-economic romances after Sudre, Reybaud, Moll and others. These works all present a family likeness and are founded on the ancient conception of a golden age, an Eden, an ideal existing in a far distant past—a conception which survives in such writers as Karl Marx, Engels and Paul Lafargue, who would have all the ills of humanity date from the moment when the communism of primitive societies came to an end. All these conceptions seek to confer the governing power upon the wisest: Plato gives it to the philosophers, and the same idea reappears in Auguste Comte. They are all founded upon the suppression of private interest as the motive of human actions, and the substitution of altruism (to use the word coined by Auguste Comte), to attain which their authors abolish private property, and those among them who are logical set up the community of women.
Nearly all these writers constitute castes. Plato proclaims the necessity of slavery and declares that the occupations of a shoemaker and a blacksmith degrade those who follow them. Labourers, artisans, and traders form a caste whose duty it is to produce for warriors and philosophers and to obey them. In the “Republic” the caste of warriors only possesses property collectively, the abolition of private property being in Plato's opinion the best means of preventing the abuse of power. The annual unions between men and women are to be decided by lot, controlled by expert magistrates, careful to ensure the most favourable conditions for the reproduction of the species, the army being treated like a stud.
We saw a caste organisation of this kind for three centuries in Egypt, a college of Ulemas and a corps of Mamelukes recruited from among children with no family ties, all exploiting the miserable fellahs until they were completely exhausted.
In his “Laws,” in which he attempts to work out his conception in detail, Plato fixes the number of citizens at 5,040, each with a share in the public lands, the equal produce of which is sufficient to support one family. These lands are indivisible and inalienable, and are transmitted by hereditary succession to the son who is appointed to receive them. The State is divided, in honour of the twelve months of the year, into twelve districts, in which numerous officials, as well as the councils, reside. The police enter into the minutest details of the life of every individual; until the age of forty travelling is forbidden. The police must see to it that the number of citizens shall neither increase nor diminish. The industrial occupations are followed by slaves controlled by a class of free labourers without political rights; commerce is left to strangers. A citizen of the Platonic city may not possess precious metals or lend out money at interest. Moreover, if Plato, in order to put his conceptions of the State into practice, reverts to individual property, he continues to proclaim that “the community of women and children and of property in which the private and the individual is altogether banished from life”1 is the highest form of the State and of virtue.
Plato’s speculations exercised no influence upon the legislation and the politics of antiquity.
Xenophon, on the contrary, set forth the conception of an ideal monarchy in the Cyropaedia, everything being conceived upon a utilitarian basis.
Three centuries after Christ, Plotinus, who was ashamed of having a body, and desired to free the divine element which was in him, dreamed of founding in Campania a State upon the model conceived by Plato—this desire remained in the region of dreams.
Communism was only carried out in monasteries, whose existence was based upon the two principles of separation of the sexes and contributions of the faithful.
The Kingdom of the Incas
The Incas, children and priests of the sun—A military theocracy.—Administrative organisation—Police—Marriage—Common labour—The Kingdom in dissolution after the landing of Pizarro.
in South America an organisation existed for several centuries to which true Socialists still point as an ideal. In the sixteenth century Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spaniard, wrote a history of the Incas, so full of admiration for them that he made their power extend back for thousands of years, whereas at the time of the landing of the Spaniards their empire only dated back for five hundred years. They are looked upon as a clan of the race of Aymara,1 which has left the great ruins of Tiahuanaco on the shores of Lake Titicaca.2 They created the legend of Inti, the sun-god, who, out of pity for the savage denizens of the mountains of Peru sent them his son Manco Capak and his sister and wife, Mama Ocllo. These taught men to build houses and women and girls to weave. At first their power did not extend beyond the kingdom of Cuzco, confined within narrow limits. The fourth of the Inca kings, Maita Capak, was the conqueror of Alcaziva, a descendant of the vassal-chiefs of Cuzco. His three successors extended their dominions by conquest. They constituted a warrior caste with the combatants from the conquered peoples whom they dispossessed, and in order to employ it their successors added to their conquests. They did not fall upon their enemies: they demanded their submission, and frequently on obtaining it they made a vassal of a conquered chief. They secured their authority by means of garrisons, and established large victualling depots for their soldiers. The rule of the Incas was not preserved from trouble; in spite of all their efforts their power met with resistance and provoked revolt.
One of its characteristics was that it was a military theocracy. The Inca, son and priest of the sun, was the absolute master of person and of property, of act and of will. He was the sole holder of property, but he had divided the soil into three portions between sun, Inca and subjects. He was also the sole owner of the flocks of llamas. Officials collected the wool and distributed it among those who were charged with stapling it; they slaughtered sufficient llamas to support the Inca. The mines of gold and silver were developed for the benefit of the Inca, but, inasmuch as there was no commerce, the precious metals were used only for ornament.
There were no taxes, the entire labour of each individual being due to the State. A piece of land was allotted to each family, which consisted of ten persons. The original portion was increased by one half at the birth of each son and by a quarter at the birth of a daughter. It constituted the administrative unit, and an official was told off for the purpose of taking care of it and of supervision. Ten families formed a group of one hundred occupiers and of ten officials under the supervision of a chief. Next came ten times a hundred families and ten times a hundred officials, and ten thousand families, with a like number of officials, constituted a province. The governors of a province, who were, as far as possible, members of the family of the Incas, and the principal overseers of the smaller groups were bound to appear at the court of the Inca from time to time and to transmit reports regularly. They were under the constant supervision of inspectors, and when a family was in default, it was punished, as were also its overseers of different degrees who had failed to exact its obedience.
Everyone, both male and female, was compelled to work. At the age of twenty-five it became the duty of the young Peruvian to marry, a day in each year being consecrated to this ceremony. The officials pointed out to each youth the maiden whom they decided to bestow upon him; a piece of land with a house was allotted to them, and when the province was already too populous, they were sent to new territories. The young men were liable to military service, while a number of young girls were selected to work in monasteries in which they were bound over to chastity under penalty of death. The lands of the sun and of the Inca were cultivated in common as State lands. The overseers conducted those over whom they had jurisdiction to labour as though to a festival, but they first flogged and afterwards hanged them if they refused to perform their share of the work. The same punishment was inflicted upon anyone who ventured to cease work without permission; old men and children were obliged to supply their contingent. Yet the Incas made no attempt to introduce this system in all the provinces which they had conquered.
The Spaniards landed in America during the period when Huacna Capak was occupied in reducing Quito, where he forgot his wife and his son Thrascar and violated the law of the Incas by taking to wife a woman who was not of their race. By her he had a son, Atahualpa, who became his favourite, and to whom he bequeathed the Kingdom of Quito, the Kingdom of Cuzco falling to Thrascar. A quarrel broke out: Atahualpa descended upon Cuzco with his warriors, gained a victory and put the Incas to the sword. When Pizarro landed in Peru he found the country in a state of anarchy, which explains the ease with which he succeeded.
Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia” and its Applications
Thomas More, Chancellor of England, published his Utopia at Louvain in 1516. The book consists of a critical part dealing with the government of England and contemporary politics, and of a part setting forth the organisation of a communistic society. More was familiar with the humanists from whom he drew his inspiration as well as with the travels of Columbus, of Peter Martyr and of Amerigo Vespucci. Columbus had spoken of peoples who held everything in common, living under the unlimited authority of a cacique, who spoke in the name of a divinity. Amerigo Vespucci had seen peoples living in a more or less anarchical state of communism, huddled in large barns containing some hundreds of persons.
More proceeded to trace the ideal of what Paul Lafargue calls the return of communism. There are too many poor people in Europe. To abolish property is to abolish the difference between poor and rich. The Utopians conclude that this will be for the benefit of the poor. The inference does not follow, for the abolition of property cannot be a factor in the accumulation of wealth.
More sets out in his comfortable fashion the geography of the Isle of Utopia. He places therein fifty-four cities, all built upon the same plan and with identical institutions; a territory of not less than twenty miles square in extent, the duty of cultivating which is apportioned between a certain number of families, is attached to each town: each family consists of no fewer than forty men and women and of two bondmen. Every year twenty citizens who have spent two years in cultivating the land return to the town and are replaced by twenty others. All the inhabitants of Utopia, both men and women, labour, but only for six hours a day. They have few wants, their clothing is made of leather and skins which will last for seven years. Their meals are taken in common, the women being seated opposite to the men. Travelling is rendered almost impossible. Every town is to contain six thousand families: when a particular family is too rich in children, it bestows some of them upon those which have not enough. Marriage is surrounded with formalities; the community of women is unknown, and adultery involves slavery.
The form of government consists of a prince elected for life and of a body of magistrates and officers elected for one year. The Utopians are men of peace, but they make war at need and employ mercenaries to carry it on. Religious liberty is established, but whosoever does not believe in the existence of Providence and in the immortality of the soul is incapable of receiving employment.
These visions have been translated, re-edited and propagated. When I was seven years old, just after the revolution of 1848, I was given as a prize a book approved by the Archbishop of Tours, a Life of Sir Thomas More, with the description of Utopia in an appendix. Yet the university and clergy who circulated this work must have known that it had translated itself into acts of fury within a very few years of its publication.
In 1525 Thomas Münzer, a Protestant pastor in Saxony, at the suggestion of his master, Storch, who was inspired by the Bible and by More, attempted to put the “Utopia” into practice. After having attempted to cause a rising in Suabia, Franconia and Alsace, he succeeded in driving out the town council of Mühlhausen and in installing himself in the Johannisterhof on March 17th, 1525. The rich were commanded to feed and clothe the poor and to provide them with seeds and with land upon which they might work: the majority of them fled, as is usual with them at times of crisis. Thomas Münzer spoke as a prophet and dealt out justice with the freedom of a delegate of Heaven. He sought to raise the miners of the Erzgebirge by telling them to rise and fight the battle of the Lord. “If you do not slay, you will be slain. It is impossible to speak to you of God so long as a noble or a priest remains upon earth.” Münzer sallied forth from Mühlhausen at the head of a kind of army. He mounted a black charger and was preceded by a white banner, upon which shone a rainbow. His bands laid waste and massacred throughout their career: after an initial defeat at Fulda, they were destroyed at a place which has since been known as the Schlachtberg (Battle Mountain), despite the invocations of Münzer to the Lord. Münzer himself was taken, tortured and beheaded.
Münzer left behind him Anabaptists, who scattered themselves over Switzerland, Moravia, the Low Countries, and North-West Germany. A baker of Haarlem, called Mathias, in a book entitled “La Restauration,” declared that every human individual must be regenerated by means of a new baptism, that princes, taxes and the administration of justice must be suppressed, and polygamy and the community of goods established. The Anabaptists inaugurated their rule at Munster on February 1st, 1534. They commenced by demolishing the church towers, for greatness must be laid low, and in burning the holy images. They commanded everyone under pain of death to come and deposit their money and articles of value at a given house. The doors of the houses were to be left open day and night, but they might be protected by a small railing in order to preserve them from invasion by the pigs which swarmed in the streets.
Mathias having been killed in an attack upon the troops of the Duke of Gueldres, a former inn-keeper of Leyden, known as John of Leyden, affirmed that his death was a sign of the grace conferred by God upon his prophet, claimed to be inspired by the Bible, entered into communion with the Spirit of God, and in the first instance nominated twelve judges of the people, following the example of the judges of Israel; but on encountering some opposition among them he declared that God in a fresh revelation had commanded him to assume absolute power and to become the king of the New Zion. A comrade called Tuschocheirer, perhaps in good faith, declared that God Himself had confirmed to him His command given to John of Leyden to ascend the throne of David, to draw the holy sword against kings, to extend His kingdom throughout the world, giving bread to those who submitted and death to those who resisted. In order to contend with the kings he anointed himself as King of the New Zion, arrayed himself in a robe made out of the silver embroideries of the churches, and a coat picked out with pieces of purple and decorated with shoulder knots of gold, put on a golden crown and a cap studded with precious stones, and displayed upon his breast a magnifi cent chain supporting a symbolic globe which bore the inscription, “King of justice on earth.” He never appeared without an escort with richly-caparisoned horses, and installed himself on a throne set up in the public square, where he combined the functions of legislator and of judge.
He married fifteen wives. For had not Solomon many wives? And is not the first commandment of God crescite et multiplicamini? How could a monogamist observe this commandment during the pregnancy of his wife? Upon one of his wives failing in respect, he tried, condemned and executed her himself, and danced before her corpse with his other wives in imitation of David, while the rabble followed suit to the cry of “Gloria in excelsis!”
The Anabaptists were defeated and massacred at Amsterdam: Famine raged at Munster; on June 25th, 1535, the troops of the Bishop of Munster entered the town and the orgies of the Anabaptists were succeeded by those of the forces of order. John of Leyden was put to the torture, exhibited in an iron cage, which may still be seen, and was finally executed on January 22nd, 1536. At the end of ten years the Anabaptists, who had proposed to conquer the world, were crushed, massacred and scattered abroad. These communists had found at Mühlhausen and at Munster but one form of government—the absolute rule of a prophet and under him nothing but a mob and a rabble.
After their fall the Anabaptists founded communities in Moravia in true monastic form, although marriage was permitted. They were obliged to labour even on Sundays, and to preserve perpetual silence. These people, surrounded as they were by enemies, found occasion to dispute among themselves: they excommunicated one another, and when they were not disputing they gave way to intoxication, all of them striving to escape from the terrible oppression resulting from their communism.1
AndreÆ and Campanella
Jean Valentin AndreÆ, a Protestant pastor, published in 1620 a “Description of the Universal Christian Republic,” in which he re-models More's “Utopia” from the Protestant point of view. The authority of government is in the hands of a pontiff, a judge and a minister of science. He reasserts in all the appropriate accents the return to God and the absorption in the grace of Christ.
In the same year a Dominican born in Calabria who, being accused of conspiring against Spanish sovereignty and of other crimes, had passed more than twenty-five years in the prisons of Naples, and had three times suffered torture, published the “Civitas Solis.” In this work the government is entrusted to a prince-priest named Hob, with three ministers under him: Pan, Sin and Mor, charged respectively with war, with science, and with everything that concerns generation and the maintenance of life. Von Kirchenheim remarks with astonishment that these are the first ministers of special departments known in the history of politics.
Campanella boldly accepts communism—living in common and community of women and of children. The minister Mor, with the assistance of subordinates of either sex, selects the parties to every marriage, and after taking the opinions of astrologers, directs the day and the hour at which they are to procreate their offspring. From the time when they are weaned, children are brought up in common. Campanella has them instructed in a particular manner. The work of adults is reduced to four hours a day and is directed by officials with the right to inflict punishment. Jurisdiction is solely of a criminal nature, as there cannot be civil disputes. Once a year everyone must confess. Meals are taken in common, the use of wine being forbidden.
Campanella commenced by putting forward the feelings of honour and of duty as sufficient motives for right conduct; he ends with penal sanctions. His conception of society is that of a monastic institution which permits of sexual promiscuity.
In his “De Monarchia Hispanica” he sets out a scheme of universal monarchy under the suzerainty of the Pope, supported by the military power of Spain. All the peoples of Europe will be one, heretics will be exterminated, peace will prevail on earth and the community of property will entirely suppress poverty.
Paraguay—Jesuit recruiting—Absence of civil and criminal legislation—Private property—Religious worship—Common meals—Clothes and lodging—Corregidors as police—Confusion of moral and civil order—Absence of commerce—Misery and idleness.
At the time when Campanella's book appeared, the Jesuits were putting its principles into practice in Paraguay. They had obtained certain privileges from Philip III., but Diego Martin Neyroni, the Governor of the Spanish possessions from 1601 to 1615, drove them back into the countries of Guaycuru and Guarani, where they succeeded in becoming independent of the Spanish viceroys and in refusing to tolerate the presence of any Spaniard. They found there a population accommodating enough to submit to a discipline under which a few hundred Jesuits were enabled to govern a territory extending from the Andes to the Portuguese possessions in Brazil, comprising the valley of Paraguay and part of the valleys of Parana and of Uruguay, and covering an area of four or five times the size of France.
In addition to their central establishment they had thirty-one others, which they called “Reductions.”
According to Alexander von Humboldt, the Jesuits proceeded to the conquest of souls by flinging themselves upon the tribe they selected, setting fire to their huts and taking away as prisoners men, women and children. They then distributed them among their missions, taking care to separate them in order to prevent them from combining.1 These prisoners were slaves, of whom the house of Cordova possessed three thousand five hundred at the time of the suppression of the Order.
Conversions were effected with great despatch by touching the converts with damp linen. The baptism being then complete, they sent the certificates to Rome. Each tribe had two rulers, a senior who was concerned with the temporal administration, and a vicar who carried out the spiritual functions.1
They did not establish any system of municipal laws, for which there was no necessity, either to regulate the condition of families (for there was no right of succession and all children were supported at the charges of the Society) or to determine the nature and the division of property, all of which was held in common. Neither was there any criminal legislation, the Jesuit fathers correcting the Indians under no rules other than their own wills, tempered by custom.
Although labour in common was the rule, the Jesuits were obliged to make some concession to the desire for private property and to the need for personal service. They therefore granted a small piece of land to each family with liberty to cultivate it on two days in each week. They also gave occasional permission to the men to go hunting or fishing on condition of their making the heads of the mission presents of game or of fish.
Two hours of every day were set apart for prayers and seven for work, except on Sundays, when prayers occupied four or five hours. Every morning before daybreak the entire population, including infants who were hardly weaned, assembled at church for hymns and prayers, and the roll was called, after which everyone kissed the hands of the missionary. Some were then taken by native chiefs to labour in the fields and others to the workshops. The women had to roast sufficient corn for the needs of the day and to spin an ounce of cotton.
Every morning during mass broth was made of barley meal, without fat or salt, in large cauldrons placed in the middle of the public square. Rations were taken to the dwellers in each hut in vessels made of bark, and the scrapings were divided among the children who had acquitted themselves best in their catechism. At midday more broth was distributed, a little thicker than that which was supplied in the morning, containing a mixture of flour, maize, peas and beans. The Indians then resumed their work, and on their return kissed the hand of the priest and received a further ration of broth similar to that of which they had partaken in the morning. Although cattle were plentiful, according to some accounts, meat was only distributed in exceptional cases or to men who were at work; according to others it was distributed daily. Probably each “Reduction” followed its own particular system according to the amount of its resources. Salt was scarce, a small bowl being served out to each family on Sundays.
Regulations fixed the amount of cloth, which was given annually, to men at six “varas” (five yards) and to women at five “varas.” This they made into a kind of shirt which covered them very indifferently. They had neither drawers, shoes, nor hats. Children of either sex went naked until they attained the age of nine.
Their huts, which were very small and low, were round. The framework consisted of posts driven into the ground and joined at the tops, trusses of straw being spread upon them to protect the inside. The inhabitants were crowded into them to the number of fifteen for each hut, of which an accumulation formed a town. There were no dwellers in the open country, owing to the difficulties of supervision. In the centre of a town stood the church, and beside it were the college of the fathers, the stores and the workshops. The streets were regularly laid out and planted with trees, and each town was encircled by an impenetrable hedge of cactus. The church was built with the sham elaboration and filled with the tinsel which are the characteristics of Jesuit art. Music was performed in them, choirs organised, and religious exercises practised, among which self-flagellations, to which women and girls submitted themselves, crowns of thorns, and positions representing crucifixions were to strike the imaginations of the natives.
The Jesuits selected from among their own members corregidors to watch over conduct, to supervise the regular performance of the religious ceremonies and to direct and control labour. These held office for two years. A native was never elevated to the dignity of a priest. The Jesuits solemnised marriages twice a year, but the community of goods had a sinister influence in encouraging the community of women.
The fathers were the guardians of virtue as of everything else. Of their manner of exercising their functions I will only quote from Bougainville, who was at Buenos Ayres at the time of the expulsion of the Jesuits, this passage: “My pen refuses to record the details of what the people allege. The passions aroused are still too recent to allow of the possibility of distinguishing the false charges from the true.”1 Clearly it was not respect for the native women and girls that could restrain the fathers, and we perceive once again the danger of confounding moral order with that which is imposed by legal institutions. The former had put an end to the latter, and there was no security either for person or for property. Every Jesuit was at one and the same time confessor, legislator and judge, and if he despised the office of executioner he nevertheless superintended the process of execution.
The Jesuits converted every Indian into an informer at the moment when he made confession, and when one of those whose confession had previously been made approached him, the Jesuit found no difficulty in convicting him. Punishments were not of a spiritual nature; they consisted of lashes with leather thongs inflicted upon men in public and upon women in secret, a father or a husband being frequently charged with the office of executioner, the culprit being finally constrained to kiss the hand of the father who had caused him to be chastised. Offences were of two kinds, offences against doctrine, failure to attend a religious ceremony and the like, and offences against economic obligations, such as negligence in work or even losing seed or cattle, which the fathers would replace without objection, but with the addition of a thorough whipping.
Commerce was prohibited and money unknown. There was no trade except with the foreigner, and this was undertaken solely by the Jesuits. It is estimated that they were able to collect from one to two millions of écus annually, of which one half was remitted to the General of the Order. Naturally the natives had no share in it.
The natives were not allowed the use of horses for fear lest they should depart from their settlements; they were not permitted to go beyond fixed bounds, on pain of the lash if they disobeyed. They worked very badly and very little. Antonio de Ulloa1 says that seventy labourers were required where eight or ten Europeans of moderate capacity would have sufficed. They lived in a state of wretched and abject inertia. One fact alone proves their condition of stagnation. Although a bell called them nightly to the performance of their conjugal duties, the population failed to increase.1 When the Jesuits were expelled in 1768, they left a population in a miserable condition such as Bougainville and La Perouse have described. Such was the result of putting into practice the principles of Campanella's “Civitas Solis.”
Morelly and the “Code de la Nature“
The “Basiliad”—Sexual Morality—Principles of the “Code de la Nature”—Their application: Babeuf and Darthé—Property and the Revolution.
In 1753 Morelly, an author of whom few details are known, published two volumes in duodecimo, entitled “An Heroic Poem,” translated from the Indian, and “Wreck of the Floating Isles, or Basiliad of the Celebrated Pilpaï.” I confess that I have not read them. Villegardelle has published extracts from them at the end of an edition of the “Code de la Nature,” which were quite enough for me. But, judging by the passages cited by Von Kirchenheim, Morelly exhibits himself even more boldly in his prose poem as regards sexual morality than would appear in the pages of Villegardelle. “They knew not the infamous names of incest, adultery and prostitution: these peoples had no conception of these crimes: a sister received the tender embraces of a brother without any feeling of horror….” From the moment when these acts ceased to be denominated by ugly words all was for the best.
The “Code de la Nature” appeared in 1754, a year after Rousseau's essay, “L'Origine de l'inegalité parmi les hommes.” The author starts with the same idea, “The earth belongs to no man.” He sets up a model of legislation “in conformity with the designs of nature.” His inspiration is derived from Moore and Campanella and he is entitled to be considered as having inspired all the communists and collectivists who have succeeded him, including our contemporaries. The essential conditions of his system are as follows:—
Essential unity of property and of living in common: establishing the common use of instruments of labour and of products: rendering education equally accessible to all: distribution of work according to capacity and of its produce according to needs: preservation round the city of land sufficient for those who dwell in it.
Association of at least one thousand persons in order that, while every one works in accordance with his power and capacity, and consumes according to his needs and his tastes, there may be set up for a sufficient number of individuals an average of consumption which does not exceed the common resources, and a total resultant of work which supplies them in sufficient abundance.
No privilege to be accorded to talent other than that of directing labour in the common interest and no regard to be had, in dividing the proceeds of labour, to capacity, but only to needs, which exist before capacity and survive it.
Pecuniary rewards to be excluded; first, because capital is an instrument of labour which must remain wholly at the disposal of those who administer it, and secondly because every grant in money is useless where labour, being freely and willingly adopted, would render the variety and abundance of its produce more extended than our wants, and injurious where inclination and taste failed to fulfil all useful functions, for this would be to enable individuals to avoid payment of the debt of labour and of obtaining exemption from the duties of society without renouncing the privileges which society ensures.
Morelly has codified this system, and I reproduce certain provisions of his code which it is desirable to compare with actual conceptions.
Art. 5. Calculated upon tens, hundreds, etc., of citizens, there shall be for each calling a number of workmen in proportion to the degree of difficulty involved by their labour, and to the amount of its produce which it is necessary to supply to the people of each city without unduly exhausting the workmen.
art. 6. In order to regulate the distribution of the products of nature and of art, it is necessary to recognise, in the first place, that these include articles of a durable nature, i.e., such as can, at all events, be preserved for a considerable time, and that all products of this nature include:—(1) daily and universal use; (2) use which, though universal, is not continuous; (3) some that are continuously necessary to some one person only, but occasionally to everyone; (4) others that are never for continuous or general use, such as articles produced for isolated gratification or for a particular taste. Now, all these products of a durable nature are to be collected in public store-houses in order that they may be distributed, some daily or at fixed times to all the citizens to serve for the ordinary necessities of life, and as material for the labours of different occupations; others to be supplied to such persons as use them.
Art. 11. Nothing is to be sold or exchanged between fellow citizens, so that a man who has need of particular herbs, vegetables, or fruit is to go and take what he requires for one day's use only in the public place to which these things have been brought by those who grow them. If a man has need of bread, he is to go and provide himself for a stated time from the man who makes it, who will find in the public granary sufficient flour for the quantity of bread which he has to bake, be it for one day or for several.
Art. 10. The surplus provisions of each city or province are to overflow into those which are in danger of falling short, or are to be preserved for future necessities.
Art. 3. Every citizen, without exception, between the ages of twenty and twenty-five is to be compelled to follow the pursuit of agriculture unless relieved by reason of some infirmity.
Art.1. In every occupation the oldest and the most experienced are to take turns, according to seniority, and for five days at a time, in directing five or six of their companions, and are to fix the scale of work to be performed by them, moderately, on the basis of the amount which has been imposed upon themselves.
Art. 2. In every occupation there is to be one master for ten or twenty workmen.
Art. 7. The heads of every occupation are to appoint the hours of rest and of labour, and to prescribe what is to be done.
Art. 1. Every citizen of the age of thirty shall be clothed according to his taste, but without exceptional luxury, and similarly is to take his meals in the bosom of his family, without intemperance or profusion; this law enjoins senators and chiefs severely to repress those who exceed.
Babeuf drew his inspiration from Morelly. The manifesto of the “Conspiration des Egaux,” written by Sylvani Maréchal, explains the difference between their conception and that of an agrarian law which permits the division of property. “Agrarian laws or a division of lands arose from the sudden desire of a body of unprincipled soldiers, or of a people united by their instinct rather than by their reason. We aspire to something more sublime and more equitable—the common good in a community of goods.” No more private property in lands, “The land belongs to no one; we claim, we want the communal enjoyment of the fruits of the earth.” The law of the 27th Germinal of the year IV. (April 16th, 1796), which punished with death “all who incite to pillage, or to the division of private property under the name of an agrarian law or in any other manner whatsoever,” was applied to Babeuf and Darthé.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1793 had asserted, with even greater energy than the Declaration of 1791, the right of property, which it defined in Article 16 as that which belongs to every citizen to enjoy, and to dispose at will of his income, the fruits of his labour and of his industry.
RObert Owen and “New Harmony“
M. Edward Dolleans, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Lille, has published an interesting and learned volume on Robert Owen. Robert Owen lived from 1771 to 1858. The son of a village labourer, he passed as an apprentice through various trades and businesses, and was selected at the age of twenty to direct the important fine thread manufactory of Messrs. Drinkwater, at Manchester. He developed this, and after leaving it in 1794, he married the daughter of a Scotchman called Dale, the owner of a large spinning mill at New Lanark, which he purchased and of which he assumed the control on January 10th, 1800, at the age of twenty-nine.
Robert Owen had imbued himself more or less conscientiously with the ideas of certain eighteenth century philosophers. He believed with Rousseau that man is born virtuous and that society has corrupted him, and that evil is inherent in institutions and not in man. He thought with Helvetius that all men possess the same degree of receptivity, so that man is the product of his surroundings with neither liberty nor responsibility of his own. It is necessary, therefore, to prevent evil and not to repress it. In order to prevent it, it is necessary to organise a machine into which every individual shall fit and perform the function which he sought to perform without realising it.
This conception is not new. The organisers of every religion have subjected their followers to dogma and ritual; by faith they destroy individual thought, by ritual they subject men to fixed mechanical observances. The repetition of impressions stores up a particular sentiment in a particular group of cells in the brain, which cause the performance of a particular definite act. Creeds, education, and military discipline never were and are not anything but the more or less systematic organisation of the phenomenon which is termed reflex action in the science of physiology. Owen furnishes an example. He is desirous of having the best machinery and the best cottons, but it is necessary to extract the greatest possible amount of advantage from them by means of a well-trained staff which is not overworked and is well fed and healthy, and is not enfeebled by drunkenness and disorderly living. He devotes himself to the well-being and the discipline of his workmen and prepares recruits for the future by undertaking the education of their children; but he does not interfere directly, although kept informed of the personal condition of his employees.
While holding that man is irresponsible and consequently ought not to be punished, he has recourse to a form of moral correction. Over each loom there hangs a square of wood, each side of which is painted a different colour, black, blue, yellow, and white. If the workman has misconducted himself on the preceding day, the colour which is exposed to view is black, if he has conducted himself well it is white. Owen by walking through the workshops sees at a glance upon the “telegraph” the condition of each of his employees, but he never remarks upon it to them.
The measures taken by Robert Owen, and his commercial practices, marked as they were by a niceness which inspired all the more confidence by reason of their unexpectedness, assured the success of his undertakings. But not content with doing good business, his desire was to transform the world.
In 1800 children were largely employed who belonged to the parish by virtue of the Poor Laws, and were cruelly over-worked. Owen, by precept and practice, showed how to reform the system under which they were abused, and on his competitors failing to follow his example he appealed to the legislature and obtained the Act of 1802, which formed an addition to the Poor Laws. He persevered and obtained the Act of 1817. He also desired to find a solution to the question of unemployed workmen during the crisis which followed the revolutionary wars.
Owen was never at a loss. He considered that the masses should be led by superiors, without enquiring into the origin of the right of control which he possessed, taking those who were out of work and making them inmates of “nurseries of men,” to use his own bold and characteristic expression.
Owen is an example of how a great captain of industry may thoroughly understand the conduct of his own business and may yet lose his footing when he meddles with politics. While himself employing the most highly perfected machinery, he looked upon machinery as the origin of the suffering of the workers, and in order to supply them with work he proposed to substitute the spade for the plough. This industrial worker dreamt bucolic dreams, and, considering agriculture to be the source of all riches and virtue, he desired to have the State organised as an agrarian community divided into communities of from 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants, each of which should be self-contained and self-sufficient.
Owen was prepared to put his experiments to the proof, and did so at Motherwell, in Scotland, with a capital of £50,000. But M. Dolléans devotes himself to the study of a more important one of which full information is available—this was “New Harmony” in Indiana, U.S.A.
The point was to substitute a new organisation for an existing communistic organisation, namely, that of the Rappists. The Rappists had succeeded, but each of them desired to have his share of the capital of the Society instead of leaving it undistributed. This ending might have enlightened Owen as to the ultimate consequences of his experiment in admitting that everything there was for the best. He proceeded to the United States in 1825, and made a great to-do over his foundation. He enlisted Maclure, a rich American (who contributed 150,000 dollars), a number of philosophers, and eight hundred visionaries and persons of unsettled temperament, dreamers of either sex, each one of whom believed communism to be the ideal, provided that his system was accepted, as well as some adventurers and knights of industry.
On May 1st, 1825, the experimental or preliminary society was constituted. Every one is under a general duty to place his capacity at the service of the community, for each member of which an account is opened, the value of his services being carried to his credit and his various expenses to his debit. In the result this beautiful arrangement merely ended in the most complete anarchy. At the end of six months the industries left by the Rappists disappeared and there was neither labour nor control. Those who might feel disposed to work were unwilling to do so for the benefit of the idle. A large amount of discussion and disputation ensued, and a convention was nominated, which, on June 5th, 1826, adopted a constitution which confuses juridical and moral questions. It is preceded by a declaration of general principles, in the front rank of which there figure community of goods, equality of rights and of duties, sincerity and honesty in all acts, freedom from responsibility and the abolition of punishments and rewards.
The assembly, which consists of all the members of the community of either sex of more than twenty-one years of age, is possessed of legislative power; the executive power is vested in a council consisting of three ministers, elected by the assembly, and of a secretary, a treasurer, a commissary and six superintendents, each placed at the head of one of the six departments of the community. Who appoints these superintendents? Their subordinates of more than sixteen years of age, subject to ratification by the general assembly. This restriction was not sufficient to invest these departmental chiefs with authority, they were dependent for it upon those whom they employed, while at the same time it was their duty to furnish the executive council daily with their opinion upon the persons under their authority. It would be difficult to find an organization better adapted to promote impotence and dissensions.
When Owen returned after the lapse of a year, he found “New Harmony” in dissolution, but with remarkable optimism he did not despair. He accepted the dictatorship, but on April 15th, 1828, he was obliged to admit the failure of an experiment which had cost him personally 200,000 dollars. I will not exaggerate this negative result; it is obvious that the elements of which the population which came to make the experiment was composed were not the most suitable for ensuring its success. One is none the less entitled to enter it on the debit side of the communistic account.
These experiments failed to discourage this practical man from his visionary dreams. From 1834 until his death he published a weekly newspaper, the “New Moral World,” in which he persisted in proclaiming his unsectarian millennium, a new moral world which was to abolish individualistic competition in the interests of communism.
Fourier and the American Phalanx
Fourier, born in 1772, was the son of a draper at Besancon. A brilliant scholar, he found trade unworthy of himself, and conceived a hatred of business avocations, which was all the greater in proportion as they disturbed his maniaC's ravings. His love of order was such that in his walks abroad he would take the measurements of a building or a public garden. In his passionate devotion to flowers, he desired to possess every variety of each species and to cultivate it. He adored music, and was full of enthusiasm for military displays.1 He was an ardent admirer of the universal harmony which enabled the stars to travel through an eclipse without colliding, and drew therefrom the conclusion that humanity must obey a principle of harmony as the planets obey the law of gravitation. It did not occur to him that Newton had merely ascertained the relations between these phenomena and that these phenomena existed before Newton's time, and he fancied that on the day when a genius analogous to that of the English philosopher should have discovered this principle, all the difficulties of social existence would be dissipated.
Fourier believed that it had fallen to him to discover this principle—it was that of the attraction of the passions. He expounded it in his book “Théorie des quatre mouvements et des destinées Générales” (1808), and later in his “Traité de l'association domestique et agricole” (1822). In 1825 he settled in Paris, formed a small school, and published his “Nouveau monde industriel et sociétaire.” Fourier was of the same mind with Bentham in his protest against asceticism, to which he opposes the “doctrine of happiness,” which consists in the possession of a number of passions and of means to satisfy them. Duty comes from men, attraction from God. It is necessary to study attraction. If in existing society the unloosing of the passions produces fatal results, this fact proves that society is badly organised. This is a new form of Rousseau's assertion that “man is born virtuous and that society has corrupted him.”
He believed that the passions are legitimate because they exist, but he departed from the principle of the persistence of species, and was convinced that the passions differed in species and variety as determined since the creation of the world. He said—
“The series of groups is the method generally adopted by God in the distribution of the kingdoms of natural history and of created things. Naturalists in their theories and their pictures have unanimously admitted this distribution; they could not reject it without seceding from nature herself and falling into confusion.”
Fourier was not familiar with the works of Lamarck and did not anticipate those of Darwin. He believed that philosophers had only to discover the order in which the Creator had arranged the species. Similarly he had only to discover the order in which the passions were arranged.1 He continues:—
If passions and characters were not subject to distribution in series of groups, like objects in the kingdoms of natural history, man would be out of harmony with the unity of the universe; there would be a duplication of system and want of conformity between mind and matter. If man would attain to social unity, he must seek for the way in the system of series which God has imposed upon nature.
A series of the passions is a league or affiliation of various small conglomerations or groups, each of which exercises some species of passion which develops the genus of the passion for the entire series. Twenty groups cultivating twenty kinds of roses form a series of rose-growers as regards genus, and of white rose-growers, yellow rose-growers, moss rose-growers as regards species.
I will not prolong this explanation, but in order that his system may be fully understood, I must cite this passage:—
Passions which are confined to an individual are not admissible in this mechanism.
Three individuals, A, B, and C, like their bread in three degrees of saltness: A likes it with little salt, B with a moderate, and C with a large quantity; these three merely form a graduated discord, incapable of the graduated harmony which is required for a collection of groups which are related to one another in an ascending or descending order.
A regular group requires not less than seven to nine separate units to make it susceptible of properly balanced conflict: one cannot, therefore, speculate upon individuals in series or groups of passions.
Twelve men who were passionately to cultivate twelve different plants could not assist the interaction of a series. The description of a series of passions always implies a relationship of groups, and never of individuals.
The three individuals, A, B and C, cannot constitute a series of bread-eaters or advocates of bread.
If instead of three individuals one assumes thirty, that is to say, eight with a's taste, ten with B's, and twelve with C's, they will form a series of the passions or relationship of groups graduated and contrasted with regard to taste in bread. A combined intervention, or discords and cabals among them, will furnish the friction calculated to raise the making of bread and the growing of wheat to a state of perfection.
The series being formed, production, consumption and distribution will be effected by homogeneous series, united solely by the attraction of passion. This takes the place of necessity, morality, reason, duty and force which are employed by the “civilised.”
Fourier works out a nomenclature of the passions, of which he classes twelve as fundamental. He seeks an organisation wherein the three “actuating” passions (the alternating, emulative and composite) bring the five “sensitive” passions (taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell) into harmony with the four “affective” passions (love, friendship, ambition, and familism or paternity).
This organisation he finds in the “phalanx” of about eighteen hundred members, men, women and children of all ages, each “phalanx” organised in groups and series, which was to occupy a square league of land in common. The “phalanx” lives in a huge building called a “phalanstery,” arranged in the most convenient manner, in which the different kinds of manufacturing industry are concentrated. Everyone can enrol himself in the series of workers which suits him best according to his taste.
The question of sexual relations is regulated as follows. A woman must first have a husband by whom she will bear two children, then a “genitor” by whom she will have one, then a favourite, and finally paramours. Men are allowed similar freedom.
In the midst of these dreams, Fourier nevertheless desired to respect certain economic notions: at the end of the year the total product of labour was apportioned as follows:—Five-twelfths to labour, four-twelfths to capital and three to ability: these portions being distributed in the first place among the series, then among the groups and so on. This method of distribution requires no operation in the nature of exchange, everyone's consumption being in accordance with his income, while a simple balancing of accounts will suffice every year to regularise his position.
Fourier thought that he had provided for everything. He dreamt of trying his system on a square league of land and appealed to princes for help. He fancied that some day a wealthy capitalist would come and offer him a million with which to form the first phalanstery, and he waited every day at midday for ten years for the unknown individual whose advent he confidently expected.1
Some well-to-do young folks attempted to found a phalanstery at Condé-sur-Vesgres. Before the walls were finished anarchy reigned in their midst and their resources were exhausted. Another experiment at Citeaux met with no better success.
Fourier died in 1837, leaving disciples who propagated his ideas in France by means of books, lectures and associations. Among them were former pupils of the “Ecole polytechnique,” such as engineers and artillery officers, who were captivated by the analogy between his principle and the universal law of gravitation. One of them, Victor Considérant, who had renounced the career of a promising officer in order to devote himself to Fourierism, sketched its programme in two volumes entitled “Destinée Sociale,” which he dedicated to the King. Like the followers of Saint Simon, Fourier's disciples desired the intervention of the sovereign. Considérant became a member of the National Assembly and asked for three sittings in order to explain Fourier's system to his colleagues. On April 14th, 1849, he spoke amid general indifference, and on his concluding by demanding from the State a grant of 1,600 hectares of land and of four million francs, no one was found to support his proposal.
But in the United States there were forty experimental phalansteries between 1840 and 1850. Brisbane reduced the number of persons necessary to found a phalanstery to four hundred, each member having to subscribe $1000 in order to form a capital of $400,000. The members were to receive a quarter of the total produce of the association, or, if they preferred it, interest at the rate of 8 per cent. For $1000 each member was to receive $80, and with this sum the association undertook to provide its subscribers with support and shelter. The mansion was to cost $150,000, the interest upon which at 10 per cent. would be $15,000, i.e. an annual rent of $37 for each of the 400 members: half of the rooms were to be $20, others were to be $100. A member living at the lowest rent would therefore have $60 per annum over. As the association was to supply its own grain, fruit, vegetables, and cattle, and was to effect large economies in fuel and cooking, this would be sufficient.
Brisbane failed in the attempt to find subscribers. But other enthusiasts, although less methodical, carried out the propaganda for the organisation of phalansteries. A number of individuals possessed of neither capacity, energy nor resources, founded phalansteries, some of which had a capital of less than $1000. They took a small piece of land in a wild region, burdened it with as many mortgages as they could obtain, and the majority of the co-adventurers having no knowledge of farming, they failed as soon as a payment of interest fell due. Three phalansteries survived a little longer, the North American Phalanx continuing to exist for twelve years, the Brook Farm Phalanx for five, and the Wisconsin for six.
The North American Phalanx was organised with the collaboration of the most celebrated American disciples of Fourier—Brisbane, Horace Greeley (who, in 1872, was the democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States), Ripley, Godwin and Channing. The original capital was $8,000; in 1844 the property was valued at $28,000; and in 1852 at $80,000. In accordance with Fourier's theory, the system of groups and series was applied to labour, remuneration for labour being apportioned according to the difficulty and unattractiveness of each allotted task. Masons were paid 50 cents. a day and the doctor six and a quarter. The architect was rewarded for his ability by a premium of 25 cents. a day in addition to his wages. The profits were distributed at the end of the year, wages being thereby increased by about $13, while capital received a dividend of about 5 per cent. The rent of a comfortable room was $12. The members lived together, but their food was supplied according to a tariff, a cup of coffee cost half a cent, a portion of meat 2 cents, a pie—the national dish of North America—2 cents, etc. Each member paid 36 cents. a week for the use of the dining hall, and accounts were settled once a month. The members of this phalanx were cultivated, and life was full of amenities: they indulged in music, organised dances, possessed a library and gave a good education to the children. The North American Phalanx survived all the other experiments, yet every member felt that the life in common had not brought with it the advantages of which he had dreamed, the life was a narrow one and the administration of the settlement gave rise to criticism.
In 1854 a mill belonging to the Phalanx was destroyed by fire. Greeley offered to defray the necessary expense of rebuilding, and a meeting was called to consider his proposal. During the discussion a member proposed the dissolution of the Phalanx, and, although such a proposition was not on the agenda, it corresponded so closely with the general desire that it was carried. The property was sold, the shareholders obtained 66 per cent. on their capital, and the members returned to an “odious civilisation.”
The Oneida Community
Further communistic experiments—The Oneida Community—Its administration—The reign of God—“Mutual criticism”— Promiscuity — Dissolution — One Community formed by Americans, the others by Germans.
further experiments were made in the United States, there being thirty-two Socialistic establishments in 1842. John Humphrey Noyes, the author of the first “History of American Socialism,” founded the Oneida Community in 1848, under the influence of Fourier's ideas. Its supporters contributed $107,000; in 1857 the balance sheet shewed assets of $67,000—a loss of $40,000. In the ten succeeding years they made a profit of $180,000; in 1874 they possessed 900 acres of land and numbered 300 members. Their affairs were administered by twenty-one committees, there being one committee for twenty members; there were also forty-eight directors of the various industries. The staff therefore must have been ample.
They believed that the kingdom of God was at hand; they desired the total and immediate abolition of sin, and they practised sexual promiscuity within the community, limited by freedom of selection. Control was exercised by “mutual criticism,” with or without the consent of its object. Nordhoff has given a description of one of their sittings at which fifteen members were assembled. For a quarter of an hour they attacked a young man whose emotion was made apparent by his paleness and by the large drops of perspiration which he emitted.
The community existed for thirty years. Outside opinion was hostile to the system of sexual morality which they practised, and possibly the “Perfectionists” were themselves tired of it; they gave it up, but from that day the community was dissolved, and in 1880 it became a commercial limited company.
This is the only community which was formed by Americans, all the others were formed by Germans, and all of them failed for the same reason, the corruption and despotism of those who directed them, and internal dissensions and rivalries, so that the time which ought to have been employed in production was wasted in disputes and compromises.
Cabet and the American Icarians
Cabet was born at Dijon in 1788. He was a lawyer by profession, and had taken an active part in the revolution of 1830. He was appointed Procurator-General in Corsica, and was recalled and elected a deputy in 1834. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and retired to England, whence in 1839 he brought back his “Voyage en Icarie,” written under the influence of Morelly's “Basiliad” and of the ideas of Owen. Under this title, with a peculiar typographical arrangement of his catchwords he brings together all the vague and high sounding expressions which were current in Socialist circles:
These catchwords are always in fashion. The book, written in a declamatory style, is divided into three parts; the first is devoted to a description of the inhabitants, the second to a history of Icaria, the third to the principles upon which Icarian civilisation is founded. We find once again the symmetry which was seen in the earlier romances; one hundred provinces contain ten divisions. The counties contain a county town, eight villages and a number of farms. There are one hundred provincial county towns, nine hundred divisional county towns, and eight thousand villages surrounding the capital of the land of Icaria. The police has attained a degree of perfection which all the cities of the world may well envy to-day. There are several harvests a year.
The principal meals are taken in common, but for the making of soup each family is furnished with the “Cook's Guide,” an official and perfect publication. All Icarians are perfumed, and they have at their disposal dirigible balloons, thanks to the communism which had also succeeded in abolishing the tooth-ache. The State directing everything is in advance in everything—this is the greatest miracle of Icaria.
There is only one great newspaper, the “National Journal,” for the liberty of the Press is of no value in this land of liberty. There is but one national history—for children must be brought up to moral unity. Statistics are the chief instrument of Government, they regulate all occupations, the callings of the young, victualling and all other requirements. Daily labour, which occupies seven hours in the summer and six in the winter, is compulsory on all men up to the age of sixty-five, and on women up to fifty. Anyone refusing to work is confined in a public prison.
The Government is in the hands of a president and of fifteen ministers elected biennially by the people. The Sovereignty of the people is ensured by two thousand representatives, at the rate of two for each division. Officials receive no salary. Fifteen special committees control the fifteen ministers and regulate all the conditions of social life, including the bill of fare of the common meals and the dress of the ladies.
There is naturally neither civil law nor a judicial bench. Inasmuch as there can only be minor offences, criminal law is supplanted by a few minor censures. There are places of worship, priests and priestesses, whose functions are confined to preaching, for there is no ritual.
Cabet does not venture to accept the necessary consequence of his conception of society, the community of women.
I put aside the history of the transition which at the end of a violent crisis brought this astonishing State under the control of the Grand Icarian, invested with the dictatorship.
Cabet enumerates the twenty-three decrees by virtue of which all property remains vested in the existing holder without the possibility of alienation, wealth is to be cut down, the condition of the poor improved, wages and the price of commodities fixed, and the cost of government limited, but supplemented by five hundred million francs per annum to procure work for the unemployed, and by one hundred millions for the training of the workers of the future.
In 1847 Cabet made an appeal for the organisation of an Icaria in America. He received numerous offers of service from traders who had goods to dispose of. In January, 1848, he purchased a million acres in Texas, and in February sent out sixty-nine enthusiasts who, on arriving at New Orleans on March 27th, were apprised of the Revolution of 1848, and regretted having left France at such a time. Cabet thought that he had bought a tract of land in a ring fence, but found that he had become possessed of scattered lots. The Icarians reached these lands in the midst of all kinds of difficulties. A second body of ninety-nine went to join them, and having ascertained that it was impossible to live there, they separated into small detachments.
At the end of 1848 and in the beginning of 1849 five hundred fresh Icarians, including Cabet, landed at New Orleans. All they possessed was 17,000 dollars. There being no question of their proceeding to Texas, two hundred went off separately, while about two hundred and forty, with Cabet, found a site ready for them at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, which the Mormons had been recently obliged to abandon. They were able to take eight hundred acres of land and to purchase a mill, a distillery and several houses. For five or six years the affairs of Icaria prospered. A wooden building was to be seen, fifty yards long, which served as a refectory and place of meeting.
The Icarians adopted a constitution. The election of a president was annual, and Cabet was chosen, but an opposition developed itself which continually increased in violence. Cabet opposed them with equal violence, and in 1856 declined to recognise the election of three members of the administrative council. Not only was Icaria distracted by discussions, libels and denunciations, but people even came to blows. Cabet demanded the revocation of the Charter of Icaria, and was expelled from the community, and in November, 1856, retired to St. Louis with eighty faithful supporters. He died there a week after his arrival.
The majority of his companions were workmen by trade who found work in this city. Two years afterwards one hundred and fifty of them resolved to recommence their common life, and with the assistance of Icarians who had remained in France, and who sent them fifty thousand francs, they purchased the Cheltenham Estate, situated six miles from St. Louis. But from 1859 they split into two parties, the older desiring that the Government should rest with the dictator, the younger desiring an organisation based upon discussion. The latter were overruled and withdrew. They were forty-two in number and represented the most active element. The community continuously decayed, and in 1864 numbered no more than fifteen adults of either sex with a few children.
Their president, Sauva, called them together in a “popular assembly” which declared the community of Cheltenham dissolved. The Icarians who had remained at Nauvoo became involved in debt and, declaring that they were too near civilisation to be able to realise their great dream, they bought a property of three thousand acres in extent in the south-west of the State of Iowa, sixty miles from Missouri. The land was good, but they lacked transport, and were burdened with mortgages. At the time of the War of Secession, which supplied them with resources, they only numbered fifteen, including children; later the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad absorbed their property. Prosperity had succeeded to misery, but they split up into factions. The Icarians lost sight of their original ideal, the younger generation becoming imbued with the doctrines of Marx and forming a new party.
In 1877 they attempted a dissolution, which was refused. They then appealed to the Courts, alleging that the community, which had been registered as an agricultural society in the form of a limited company, had infringed its articles of association by indulging in communistic practices. The circuit court appointed three trustees to liquidate its affairs, and the “young party” remained in possession of the whole village; but it never prospered, and was finally dissolved in 1887. The “old party” received the eastern part of the original property, an indemnity of 1,500 dollars and eight houses. The members composing it struggled on until 1895, when the community finally disappeared.
Short duration of each experiment—The religious motive—Necessity of a dictatorship—Unproductive labour—Complete deadlock—Communistic programme of the “Labour Party.”
Mr. Morris Hilquitt1 sums up the various communistic experiments in the United States as follows:—The average duration of the group of communities founded by Owen was two years; with the exception of the North American Phalanx, of Brook Farm and of Wisconsin Phalanx, the communities established by followers of Fourier were equally short lived, while the Icarian settlements were in a perpetual condition of reconstruction and dissolution.
Noyes and Greeley consider religion to be the one indispensable bond of every community, while Nordhoff maintains that even with religion a dictator is also indispensable.
Mr. Morris Hilquitt says that the religious communities were only more successful because they consisted of German farmers accustomed to agriculture whose wants were limited. The Icarian communities were composed of workmen whose calling was unsuited to agriculture and who were accustomed to a far more complex style of living. The aim of the religious communities was propaganda and not communism; they employed paid labour. The Communists of Amana recognised that their hired labourers did twice the work which they could do themselves. “Many hands make light work,” said the Shakers.
Mr. Morris Hilquitt concludes that the American communists have ended in complete failure. Nevertheless the programme of the Labour Party declares that “the true theory of economics is that the machinery of production must likewise belong to the people in common.”
Plato, Laws v. 739 (Jowett's translation).
In my book, “La Propriété,” I reproduced the hypothesis that the Incas were of an alien race.
“The World's History,” edited by Dr. H. F. Helmolt. Vol. i. The Prehistoric World: America, p. 315.
F. Catron, “Histoire du fanatisme des réligions protestantes, et de l'Anabaptisme”—Henri Olten, “Le Tumulte des Anabaptistes”—Guy de Bres, “La Racine, source et fondement des Anabaptistes.”
“Voyage aux régions Equinoxales,” vol. vi., book vii., ch. 19.
Charles Comte, “Traite de la Législation,” vol. iv., p. 464.
Bougainville, vol. i., pp. 196-197.
Cited by Charles Comte.
See Pfotenhauer, “Die Missionen der Jesuiten in Paraguay,” 3 vols., 1891-1893.
Pellarin, “Fourier, sa vie et ses théories.”
Fourier “Œuvres Complètes,” vol. iii., p. 19. Théorie de l'unité universelle.
Pellarin, vol. ii., p. 203.
“History of Socialism in the United States,” 1903.