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THE COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH - William Graham Sumner, The Forgotten Man and Other Essays (corrected edition) 
The Forgotten Man and Other Essays, ed. Albert Galloway Keller (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1918).
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THE COÖPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH
Note by the Editor
Among Professor Sumner's papers there turned up a curiosity which I do not like to pass over altogether, although it is more appropriate, perhaps, to the purposes of the biographer. Apparently Sumner amused himself, along in the seventies or early eighties, in figuring to himself the state of the world under a socialistic régime of the sort which he was always ridiculing and opposing. He did this by imagining the contents of a socialist newspaper, the New Era, of the date July 4, 1950, consisting of editorials, news notes, public announcements, criminal cases, and even a book review. The whole caricatures in high colors the phenomena attending such a régime in its period of exuberance. “The following,” he writes, “is a complete and verbatim copy of a [New York City] newspaper of the date given. It is printed on a small quarter sheet of coarse paper. The printing is so bad that it is hard to read, and the typographical errors, all of which have been corrected, are inexcusable.”
The motto of the paper is: “Let the Rich Pay! Let the Poor Enjoy!” The responsible editor is Lasalle Smith, and the proprietors Marx Jones, Chairman of the New York City Board of Ethical Control, Cabet Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Arbitration for Wages and Prices, Babœuf Brown, Chairman of the Board of Control for Rents and Loans, and Rousseau Peters, President of the Coöperative Bank. A notice warns readers that “This paper is published strictly under the coöperative rules established by the Typographical Union in our office and under the direction of the council of the same. The Committee of Grievances gives its assent and approval to each number before it is published. All subscriptions are payable monthly in advance to the Treasurer of the Typographical Union. The Typographical Union, being a member of the organized Coöperative Commonwealth, has police powers for the collection of all sums due to it.”
A special notice reads as follows:
We send copies of this edition of our paper to a large number of persons who have not hitherto coöperated in our enterprise but whom we have enrolled until they signify their refusal. We call especial attention to the names and standing in the Coöperative Commonwealth of the proprietors of this journal. We believe that many of those whom we now invite to coöperate, and who have been under suspicion of being monopolists, capitalists, recalcitrants, and reactionists, will see that they cannot better establish their credit for civism than by accepting our invitation.
The following extracts are from the editorials:
Our reports of the Ethical Tribunal show that our noble Board of Ethical Control needs to guard diligently our interests. Another pestilent preacher has been condemned to the chain gang. At least we make sure that our streets will be cleaned, a task which no Coöperative could be asked to perform, since all the ancient lawyers, professors, and preachers are now condemned to this business. The stubbornness and incorrigibility of these classes towards the Commonwealth is astonishing.
The Board of Ethical Control announce as the result of the plébiscite which was taken on April 1 last, that, by a vote of 5319 to 782, the Commonwealth voted to retain the present Board of Ethical Control for ten years, instead of reelecting them annually as heretofore. This is as it should be. Why disturb the tranquillity of our happy state by constant elections when our affairs are entrusted to such competent hands?
The agents of the Board of Ethical Control reported 213 persons found dead in the streets at the dawn of day, 174 bearing marks of violence; the rest, not having Coöperative' tickets, were ancient monopolists who had apparently perished of want. The Grand Coöperator said that he should submit to the Board of Ethical Control the question whether it is edifying to continue these reports.
There follow extracts from the inaugural of G. P. M. C.1 Lasalle Brown, which begin with the sentiment:
Of old ye were enslaved by those who said: Work! Save! Study! We emancipate you by saying: Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
The first right of everyone born on this earth is the right to enjoy. The Coöperative Commonwealth assures this right to all its members.
We have not abolished private property. We only hold that every man is considered to have devoted his property to public use. We have not abolished landlords, capitalists, employers, or captains of industry. We retain and use them. Such members of a society are useful and necessary if only they be held firmly in check and forced to contribute to the public good.
We need “history” and “statistics” to batter down all the old system, but we should be the dupes of our own processes if we used them against ourselves. All sensible Coöperative should know that history and statistics are far greater swindles than science.
There are dangers in the Coöperative Commonwealth which demand vigilance. There is danger of jealousy and division amongst Coöperative. Harmony is essential to the Coöperative Commonwealth and we must have it at any price.
Some say that our Commonwealth is weak. It is the strongest state that ever existed. No one before our time ever knew the power of a “mob,” as it used to be called. At a tap of the bell, every cooperator is at hand. Our only danger is factious division of this power. Let every cooperator have rewards for harmony and penalties for faction — strict, sure, and heavy!
There is danger from science. The evolution heresy is a worse foe to coöperation than the old Christian dogma. Stamp it out!
There is danger from the virus of the old anarchism — worst of all because it is often enough like the truth to deceive the elect. It means liberty and individualism. Stamp it out!
Under the heading “Domestic News” occurs the following:
The Commissioners of Emigration have detected several persons striving to leave the city for Long Island, carrying gold with them. It is well known that many rich persons, animated by selfishness and disregarding their duties as trustees of their wealth for the public, have escaped to the wilds of Long Island beyond the Commune of Brooklyn, carrying with them all the gold which they could obtain. Hence the Commissioners of Emigration have arranged to patrol the East River by the Commonwealth galleys and have limited the ferry transits to the Fulton ferry between 8 and 9 A.M. and 5 and 6 P.M. Any persons found carrying away gold will be sent to the galleys and the gold confiscated. Gold is needed to buy supplies for the Commonwealth.
No dispatches from Philadelphia have been received for a fortnight. A steamboat of 100 tons burden is cruising in the Hudson River, taking toll of all goods in transit across the river. Reports disagree as to the character of the persons on this boat. By some it is asserted to be manned by Coöperators who, being poor, are putting into effect ethical claims against material goods. By others it is said to be manned by a gang of monopolist scoundrels and vagabonds, who, driven to desperation by the boycott and plan of campaign, seek this means to perpetuate their existence. It behooves the Board of Ethical Control to learn which of these reports is correct before taking action.
A report comes from the West that the Indians have seized Illinois, killing the whites and taking possession of the improvements. They have imbibed the ancient capitalistic notions and are impervious to ethical and coöoperative doctrines. They are rapidly increasing in numbers, strange as it may seem, for we have read in ancient books that they were dying out a century ago. It is suggested that they now increase because they are conquering, and that they will go on doing so until they exterminate all whites from the continent. In the absence of private mails, we humbly suggest that our Board of Ethical Control should communicate with similar boards of the communes to the westward.
Under the heading “Industrial”:
The Board of Equalization of Production have set the amounts of various commodities which may be produced during the coming fall season. Those whom it concerns are to call at the office of the Board at once, pay the fees, and obtain their instructions. The penalty of over-production is fixed at 100 coöperative units per unit of product, half to the informer.
The Board of Arbitration for Contracts will sit daily at their office in Coöperative Hall from 10 to 12 A.M. to approve of contracts. The fee is 1000 cooperative units from each party. Notice is called to the ordinance of the Board of Ethical Control: “If two or more persons make a contract without the presence and approval of the Board of Arbitration or otherwise than in conformity with the regulations of said Board, they may be fined according to the circumstances of the case.”
The Coöperative Railroad Commission, having found a mechanic to repair the locomotive, announce that they will recommence regular weekly trips to Yonkers on next Monday. A train will start at 9 a.m., or as soon thereafter as convenient. Accommodation for twenty-five passengers. Passports may be obtained until noon on Saturday. They must be viséd by the Railroad Commission and by the Coöperative Guardians of Public Morals at their office in the Coöperative Workhouse not later than two o'clock on the same time. The fare to Yonkers will be 10,000 coöperative units. On account of the inter-county commerce law, all freight and passengers will be trans-shipped at Yonkers. To prevent vexatious inquiries, the Commission hereby announce that they are not informed whether or when trains will be dispatched to points beyond.
Since the Commonwealth was founded, as our readers know, Coöperative have refused to work in coal mines. No great harm has come of this since the factories and machinery have been abolished and railroads and steamers have almost gone out of use. Some coal, however, is a convenience, and our readers will see with pleasure that delinquents in considerable numbers are being sent to these mines under an agreement with our Board of Ethical Control with the similar authority of the Lehigh Commune in the ancient state of Pennsylvania.
We are informed that a number of ancient capitalists and monopolists, being in a starving condition, recently applied to the Board of the said Commune for leave to go into an abandoned coal mine and work it for their own support.
A week ago yesterday, Coöperative Association 2391, A. P. D., bricklayers, 7824, M. X. H., plasterers, 4823 N. K. J., hodcarriers, F. L. M. 8296, joiners, met to consider the state of the building trades. On account of the decrease in the population, by which great numbers of houses are vacant, building has ceased for years past and these once great associations have dwindled down. The Board of Ethical Control has caused public buildings to be constructed in order to give them work and has ordered landlords to make repairs to the same end. The conference on Friday, a week ago, was to consider further measures of relief. It was decided that no vacant house ought to be allowed to stand. Some maintained that no repairs ought to be allowed at all, in order that new houses might become necessary, but others thought that this would take away what little work is now obtained. G. C. Marx Rogers, former professor of political economy, made a speech in which he proposed that all houses now vacant and all ruins now standing which give shelter to unregistered vagabonds and boycotted persons should be destroyed; also that a committee be appointed to inspect all existing dwellings, mark those which are out of repair and unfit for cooperative residences, and that these latter should then be razed to the ground. This would cause an immediate demand for new houses. This proposition was unanimously adopted.
On Wednesday last the cooperative associations aforesaid met to hear the report of the committee. Twelve hundred and forty-seven houses had been noted so far as unfit for residences. The joint associations passed a decree against said houses, as a beginning, and ordered the committee of the whole to proceed to execute it.
They marched in a body to Bleecker Street, the northernmost limit of the ruined houses and demolished them entirely. They then moved southerly, destroying all vacant houses. Gradually, a number of persons gathered to look on. The agents of Ethical Supervision kept this crowd at a distance and secured the joint Coöperative Associations full independence in the execution of their decree.
In East Canal Street, Nonconformist Jonathan Merritt, lessee of a block of tenements, tried to dissuade or prevent the destruction of his buildings. He was roughly handled, his skull split open and his arm broken by the Coöperative. The agents of Ethical Supervision took him in on a charge of disturbing the public peace.
When it came to the destruction of occupied buildings, the tenants objected. By the ordinance of the Board of Lodgings and Rents, each had been allotted to his domicile and was, of course, bound to keep it until allowed to change. It was also feared that no lodgings could be found. The Board of Lodgings and Rents immediately convened and issued new allotments of domicile. Suspects, nonconformists, recalcitrants, and reactionists were sent to lodge in the ancient churches and the Coöperative were assigned to their tenements.
The revival and prosperity of the building trades is now assured.
Under the heading “Misdemeanors”:
Of all forms of incivism, the most reprehensible is hoarding gold. All good Coöperative who know of cases of this criminal selfishness are bound to report it at the Bureau of Ethical Supervision under penalty of incivism on the one hand and a reward of ten per cent of the sum on the other. All gold must be exchanged at the bank of G. C. Cabet Rogers for cooperative units.
An audacious lampoon has been printed at some secret press, the authors of which must be discovered at all cost. It is a blasphemous parody of the Coöperative Catechism. The Commission of Ethical Inquiry has directed all its powerful machinery to detect the authors of this outrage. Let every cooperator oppoint himself a detective to help. Search every house in your neighborhood! Trust nobody! Every person found in possession of a copy of this pamphlet will be summarily removed from the Commonwealth.
The supply of potatoes which forms the staple food of the mass of our population is obtained from the northern part of the commune, in what was formerly Westchester County. The great fields there are tilled by the delinquents under taxes and fines, incorrigible monopolists, survival capitalists and others under judicial sentence, under the direction of the Board of Ethical Control. The convicts work from sunrise to sunset, in order to mark the distinction between them and honorable Coöperators, who work but five hours per day. The product of the fields on its way to the town is subjected to toll by the free coöperative associations of the suburbs. Hence it always threatens to be. inadequate. Good Coöperators cannot better serve the Commonwealth than by ferreting out violators of the ordinances and other persons guilty of incivism.
Karl Marx Jones, agent of the Board of Equalization of Distribution, has disappeared. It is thought that he has gone towards Boston. He reported to the Board, it will be remembered, two weeks ago, a case of hoarding of gold. He was sent to collect it and was made custodian of it. It has disappeared. The Board count upon the aid of communes to the eastward to recover the gold, but not very confidently. He left all his coöperative units behind him.
Ordinances of the Committee of Inquiry appears as follows:
Boycotts are declared against Robert Dorr, for saying that the Coöperative Commonwealth is only a scheme to let a few exploit all the rest; Matthew Brown, for saying that it is all a woman's honor is worth to appear on the street of the Coöperative Commonwealth, even thickly veiled, for she runs the risk of attracting the attention of someone against whom no one can defend her; James Rowe, for refusing to aid the agents of the society in taking from her home without public scandal a woman charged with incivism; John White, for hiding gold coin; William Peck, for saying that Grand Coöoperator Lasalle Brown secured the boycott of Elihu Snow to get his property away from him; Edward Grant, for saying that the Coöperative Commonwealth is only slavery in disguise and the treatment of persons convicted of incivism is slavery without disguise; Peter Moon, for saying that the Plan of Campaign is only a scheme to allow a man's debtors to rob him of a small fraction of their debts if they will let some of the Grand Coöperators rob him of all the remainder.
A considerable number of minor offences are tried before Grand Coöperator Rodbertus Pease, Member of the Board of Ethical Control:
George Wood, aged sixty, was arraigned for carrying a pistol at night, not being a member of any cooperative club and therefore not entitled so to do. He declared that the streets were unsafe at night and that he never went out after dark if he could help it, but that he was compelled to go for a doctor for his sick grandchild and took the pistol for security. He was met by two coöperators who asked him to contribute to the Aged Coöperators' Retreat. On his declaring that he had nothing, they searched him and found the pistol. They then demanded his coöperator's ticket. As he had none, they took him to the Bureau of Ethical Supervision, where he was detained until morning. The two complainants appeared against him. They declared that they were poor men. On examination it appeared that he was an incorrigible adherent of the ancient monopolism. He was fined 10,000 coöperative units, half to the informers. He began to lament at this, saying that he was very poor — poorer than the complainants; but the Grand Coöperator declared that no man could be a poor man who was not a coöperator.
The Emigration Commissioners whose sole duty is to prevent any immigrants from coming into our commune put at the bar Fritz Meyer, charged with immigrating. He pretended to be a sailor on the Ferdinand Lasalle, but did not return on board of her before she sailed. In defence he pleaded that he was left by accident. He was condemned to serve on the yacht of the Board of Ethical Control at the pleasure of said Board.
Ulysses Perkins and others, some of whom were coöperators and some not, complained that their neighborhood was annoyed by the Coöperative Brotherhood who hold their evening festivals at Coöperative Hall. They declared that there was shouting and singing and that windows were broken in spite of the heavy shutters. Their complaint was dismissed as an attempt to oppress organized labor, and the coöperators amongst them were especially reprimanded. The Grand Coöperator remarked that the prejudice against beer which was manifested in ancient prohibitory and license laws was not respected by the ethical judgment of our time.
On Monday last, several persons appeared to complain that the roads outside of the city are infested by robbers. They were detained and the Board of Ethical Control sent out delegates to inquire. They reported yesterday, when the complainants were brought before the tribunal to hear their report. They denied that there was any robbery, since robbery means undue exaction of rent or of work for wages. The word was used by the complainants in the ancient capitalistic sense. The delegates found many coöperators enjoying holiday in the fields and by the wayside. Some of them were playful and resented the exclusive manner of passers-by who did not engage in sport. They asked for treats, and they had appointed a committee to solicit funds for their games. Some bands of banished monopolists were reported to be infesting the woods, living by chance or by tilling some small fields which have not been allotted to them, and plotting against the Commonwealth. The Grand Coöperator said that such persons would be promptly dealt with and dispatched a force of guardians of Ethical Order against them. The complainants were discharged with a reprimand for misrepresenting the innocent enjoyment of the coöperators in the suburb.
William Johnson, employer, was arraigned for contumacy. The Board of Arbitration ordered him to pay 1000 coöperative units per day of six hours. He closed his works. The Grand Coöperator ordered a second charge for malicious lockout and fined him 10,000 coöperative units per day until he should reopen his works.
Eliza Marcy, cook, actress, 26, was charged with defamation of Emily Wilson, coöperative seamstress. The accused presented a certificate of patronage from G. M. C. Brissot Robinson and was discharged from custody, a rescript of the charge being transmitted to G. M. C. Robinson for such action as he should deem proper.
Maria Waters, arraigned for working at type-setting below man's rates, pleaded poverty and distress as an excuse. She is the daughter of an ancient monopolist from whom she inherited $100,000 before the abolition of inheritance. She had therefore been denied admittance to any coöperative society. She was fined 1000 coöperative units and sent to the Ethical Workhouse to work it out.
Patrick Boyle, coöperative bricklayer, for mending his own table, he not being a member of the furniture-makers' union, was arraigned as a scab and sentenced to forfeit his coöperative ticket, be graded as a non-conformist, and pay 1000 coöperative units fine. Being unable to pay, he was put under G. M. C. Scroggs to work it out.
Under “Benefits and Amusements”:
In addition to the three regular Labor Days of July, the 10th, 20th, and 30th, the Board of Ethical Control has decreed an extra one on the 18th, with full wages. Commonwealth galleys will be ready to convey cob'perators and their families to Blackwell's Island, where the dancing and dining rooms in the ancient prisons of despotism will be arranged for their entertainment. There will be a free circus at 3 P.M. and a free variety entertainment in the evening. The two latter have been provided by the liberality of G. P. M. C. Lasalle Brown.
Rents remitted for June and all arrears before January 1.
All coöperators in good standing are entitled to pensions of 100 coöperative units per week, with rations of coöperative bread and beer.
The agents of the Board of Equalization of Distribution will begin next Monday the distribution of July pensions to all coöperators in good and regular standing. The agents will call at the residences of coöperators. There has been some delay which has occasioned just murmurs. It has been due to delinquencies of tax-payers, amongst whom not a little old capitalistic virus remains.
Masked Ball on every Sunday evening in the ancient Trinity Church. Coöperative Enjoyment Association. Admission 100 c. u. All persons must wear coöperative medals displayed.
“Foreign News” reports the following débâcle:
It will be remembered that about three years ago the last remnant of English landlords was exiled to Guiana. The Commune of London granted them a ship, of which an immense number blocked the Thames, not having occupation, and they were allowed to navigate it if they could. Their children were taken away from them, to be educated in the principles of coöperation. From this mistaken complaisance a series of evil consequences have flowed.
Some of the exiles have had yachting experience and most of them, being trained in the ancient athletic sports, were able to navigate the ship. Instead of obeying the law, they sailed to Gibraltar and captured the ancient fortress. There they obtained arms and cannons, of which they put a number on board their ship and returned to London. Their first step was to seize the Columbus, a fine steamer of 1000 tons burden, one of the newest and in best repair of those lying in the river. They then filled her bunkers with coal and wood which they took by force from the Commonwealth barges in the river. They next seized the arsenals at Greenwich and Norwich, carried off a great number of repeating rifles and ammunition, and destroyed all the rest. The coöperators of London, being taken unawares and being prepared only to cope with the city monopolists, who had been disarmed, were unable to interfere.
The pirates moored their vessel opposite the city and sent a message of the G. P. M. C. by a captured coöperator that they would bombard the city if their children were not all delivered to them. A hundred of them landed with repeating rifles and revolvers and marched to the coöperative factories, where they set free all who chose to join them. In short, they departed after securing their children, a vast quantity of tools and machinery, arms, supplies, and ammunition. A large number of flunkies and snobs joined them, sufficient to man one or two other vessels.
It now appears that they have taken possession of the Island of Sicily and made it a base of concentration for a grand political reaction. They have proclaimed as far as possible that their island is a refuge for landlords, monopolists, and capitalists, and the roads of Europe are crowded with vagabonds seeking to reach this nest of pirates. The pirate state is growing. It is a republic like one of our ancient states. It has an army of 5000 men who boast that with the arms which they possess they can march from one end of Europe to another. They control the Mediterranean and all its coasts. They have served notice on the communal commonwealths of the Continent that they will avenge any coercion exercised against any persons who seek to join them, and six months ago they sent a force of 6000 men to Lyons to set free a band of aristocrats who were imprisoned there and were threatened with the guillotine.
It is said that there are no artisans now who are able to manufacture repeating rifles like those which these robbers possess, except amongst themselves — they having hired mechanics to recover the art. Even the guns yet remaining on the Continent cannot be used because the art of making the ammunition is lost. It was a great mistake to let these pestilent scoundrels loose. Their state threatens the whole coöperative movement. Its existence has greatly strengthened the collectivists among cob'perators, for it is said that the big empires must be restored (on coöperative principles) to cope with them.
“Personal Items” record the following:
G. P. M. C. Lasalle Brown last evening gave a grand ball and house-warming in his new house on Fifth Avenue. By demolishing and removing the unsightly ruined houses in the neighborhood, a beautiful park and garden have been added to this fine tenement. It was illuminated last evening by thousands of lamps and torches carried by the convicts who are under discipline in the household of the G. P. M. C. The guests were members of the Board of Ethical Control and their families, some of whom, remembering their own antecedents, observed with interest amongst the convicts sons and daughters of ancient monopolists, and in some cases white-haired survivals from the age of bankers, railroad kings, and merchant princes. Such are the revenges of history!
One hundred new carriages for the Board of Ethical Control have just arrived. They are of the most superb workmanship and cost $5000 in gold each. They belong, of course, to the Commonwealth and can only be used under permission of the Board of Ethical Control. They have been put, one each, under the care of separate members of the Board, as no private individual is allowed to violate equality by owning a carriage. We noticed with pleasure yesterday the families of Grand Coöperators in these carriages in the park.
Non-conformists and others like them outside the pale of the Commonwealth have, of late years, when they found their position disagreeable, adopted the plan of attaching themselves voluntarily as retainers or vassals to coöperators, especially to the leading members of the Board of Ethical Control. In this way they secure some of the advantages of coöperation. In order to show their position and relationship, they wear special tokens or marks. The clients of the newly inaugurated G. P. M. C. have just been put into uniform or livery. They attended him in a body on his recent visit to his country seat at Riverdale, where they did guard duty. Added to his personal bodyguard of coöperators and friends, they made an imposing body. This country-seat, by the way, has just been surrounded by a high stone wall.
There occurs an obituary of one of the community's leading lights:
G. C. Brissot Cunningham died at 01 Fifth Avenue on Wednesday last. He was born May 16, 1905 and was educated for a lawyer. In 1930, putting himself in the foremost rank of the coöperative movement and identifying himself with the most radical section, he was admitted to the bar. By the abolition of inheritance, he found himself, on the death of his father in the following year, thrown entirely on his own resources. He then passed through some years of obscurity and great poverty, which taught him to feel for the poor.
Allying himself with the noble band which supported our present G. P. M. C., he helped to bring about the foundation of the coöperation in 1940 and was elected member of the Board of Ethical Control. In the Board he filled many of the most important and responsible positions on the several committees and was regularly reflected. He devoted himself to securing the Commonwealth, flinching from no measure to establish it. He believed thoroughly in the motto “Enjoy.” After he became a member of the Board of Ethical Control, the former mansion of the — s on Fifth Avenue was allotted to him and furnished from the Commonwealth storehouse of forfeited property. He there kept up a munificent hospitality on the most altruistic principles. He neither cared to know whence his income came nor whither it went. In the spirit of a true coöperator, whatever belonged to the Commonwealth was his and whatever was his was free to any coöperator. His popularity with the masses was shown yesterday when they turned out in a body for his funeral. The non-coöperators who had felt his scourge were naturally absent. A few of them who could not conceal their joy at his death were summarily corrected by the cob'perators. By his death at the early age of forty-five, our Commonwealth has lost a valuable supporter.
[According to the ordinance adopted by the Board of Ethical Control, February 10, 1945, since he died a member of the Board, his family will have a pension of $15,000 per annum in gold for twenty-five years and the use of his house for the same time. The Board will fill the vacancy next week. — Editor of this paper.]
The Text-book of Coöperation, ordained by the Board of Ethical Control for schools, is reviewed as follows:
This book is an authoritative exposition of the Coöperative Commonwealth in the commune form. It is to supersede all other books except the primer, writing-book, and elementary arithmetic. We have done with all the ancient rubbish. All the books which have not been destroyed are under the control of the Board of Ethical Control. Especially we are now rid of all pernicious trash about history, law, and political economy. The present book contains all that a good coöperator needs to know. Its tone is strictly ethical. By separating all children of incorrigibles and survivals from their parents and educating them on this book, we may soon hope to bring all capitalistic tradition to an end.
It is plainly proved here that the first right of every man and woman is the right to capital. This right is valid up to the time when he or she gets capital, when it becomes ethically subject to the similar right of someone else, who has no capital as yet, to have some. This principle carried out is the guarantee of justice and equality and is the fundamental principle of the Coöperative Commonwealth in the middle of the twentieth century.
The text-book describes the organization of our Commonwealth, with the duties of coöperators, and gives a list of the ordinances of the Board of Control.
There are now 1000 members of the Board of Ethical Control and 10,000 agents in their employ, chosen by lot monthly from all coöperators. The Board is divided into ten Boards of 100 each for various branches of duty. The members receive no salary but are remunerated by fees. They enjoy no privileges or rights in the Commonwealth, but have the duty of regulating all coöperative affairs according to their conscientious convictions of justice. The ten chairmen of Boards form an exclusive commission which decrees boycotts and plans of campaign. There are no laws or lawyers in the system and no courts or juries of the ancient type, now happily almost forgotten. There are no police, no detectives, no army, no militia, and no prisons. The ancient prison at Sing Sing, which is now within the limits of this commune, is turned into a Coöperators' Retreat. Under this happy regime no coöperator can do wrong. Our only culprits are recalcitrants, suspects, incorrigibles, survivals, and other would-be perpetuators of the old regime of monoply and capitalistic extortion. Such persons are compelled to expiate their selfishness and incivism by hard labor, but they are taken for this purpose into the households or factories of the members of the Board of Ethical Control, where they are subject to ethical discipline and produce those things which are essential to the community and which the Board of Ethical Control contracts to provide. The employments are such as free cob'perators consider disagreeable, unhealthy, or degrading.
The Committee of Inquiry into Incivism is a committee of the Board of Ethical Control and has the high and important duty of watching over coöperative duties. Its number and members are unknown, lest they should be objects of malice. Its sessions and procedure are secret. It employs 100 agents but has a right to command the services at any time of all coöperators. Complaints of incivism may be lodged night or day by any coöperator in the lion's mouth in the court of the Coöperative Hall (ancient United States postoffice).
The Committee proceeds against persons guilty of incivism by boycotts chiefly. This measure puts the culprit outside the pale of the Commonwealth which he has maligned or in which he has refused to take his share. Such persons become vagabonds, and disappear or perish.
The chapter on coöperative religion is in the form of a catechism and is to be thoroughly learned by heart by all pupils. It inculcates the doctrines of our social creed by which each one is bound to serve the health, wealth, and happiness of every other. Those who have the means of material enjoyment shall put them at the disposition and use of those who have them not. It impresses above all the great duty of civism, or conformity to coöperative organization and obedience to the Board of Ethical Control.
There is complete equality and no distinction of class in the Coöperative Commonwealth. Every man, woman, and child is eligible to the Board of Ethical Control. The only distinction is of merit and service to the Commonwealth. In this the members of the Board of Ethical Control stand first. There is no second. Outside of the Coöperative Committee are, in order of demerit and detestation, probationers (coöperators who have forfeited then coöperative tickets for fault but who may be restored to membership), survivals (employers, capitalists, landlords, usurers, subject to the Commonwealth and continuing the ancient functions of such persons), nonconformists (stubborn persons who refuse to conform to the new order), recalcitrants (any of the former who have been subject to discipline five times), incorrigibles (after twenty cases of discipline), suspects (so decreed if charged but not convicted of incivism), reactionists (once coöperators but convicted of disorganization) and convicts (under boycott or plan of compaign). Every person must be registered and have always on his person a brass medal hung by a chain about his neck, bearing his designation and number, with the letters designating his group, domicile, also district, ward, and arrondissement. This constitutes his social designation. These medals are given out by the Board of Ethical Supervision. The fee is 1000 coöperative units, repeated each time that the person is re-classified and a new medal issued.
Advertisements are included, as, for example:
John Moon, licensed to sell pistols and ammunition. A few revolvers newly imported from the commune of Hartford at great difficulty and expense. Bliss Bldg.
Henry Black, pistols and bowie-knives. Sales strictly within the ordinances. Every purchaser required to show coöperator's ticket, and sales registered. 268 Felicity Boulevard.
Elias Israel, pawn broker, loans at 10% per month on coöperative private property only. Sales of forfeited goods every Sunday. 618 Joy Avenue.
The editor has no compunction about publishing these extracts, though it may be objected that they can be at most of historical or personal interest. Perhaps, in the light of the antics of the Bolsheviki, even such a parody as the foregoing may seem less wide of the potentialities of the socialistic system. In any case, if modern socialism has renounced some of the wild dreams of its past, that is largely owing to the criticism and ridicule poured upon them by vigorous opponents of the Sumner type. Says a prominent American, writing to the editor subsequently to the publication of one of the foregoing volumes of this series: “I have for many years publicly and privately urged socialists to read — really read — Sumner — as the most doughty and competent foe with whom they have to reckon.”
These initials, as will be seen below, mean Grand Passed Master Coöoperator, while G. C. indicates the lower grade of Grand Coöperator.