Josiah Warren on “Communism”

I’ve finally posted all ten installments of Josiah Warren’s “The Motives for Communism: How It Worked and What It Led To” on the Libertarian Library blog. The series appeared in Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly in 1872. I think it’s worth mentioning again that what Warren is most concerned about with regard to “communism” is not a system of economics or property, but the assumption of a community of interests prior to the individual investigation of individual interests. You can compare Warren’s account to that of Paul Brown, another New Harmony dissident.

Speaking of Brown, I’ve been slowly transcribing his Gray Light, which is incomplete in the APS Online archive and almost unreadable in the Greenwood reprint volume. Today, I need to photocopy a couple of pages, so that I could return a volume to the library. I found that there are no coin-operated photocopiers in either of the libraries on campus, and soon apparently there will be none that take anything but the university’s debit card. As if loaning the university some sum of my money should be a prerequisite for making a copy. There’s been a kind of general clampdown on access to anything without a login identifying you. Right now I’m sure nothing untoward is being done with that very complete record of every search I have made, every book I’ve checked out, and now, potentially, everything I’ve photocopied. (Remember the security alerts of not so long ago about photocopier hard-drives?) That doesn’t mean it won’t happen down the road. Privacy is disappearing even faster than liberty as a value.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2701 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.