Laurence Gronlund.

The coöperative commonwealth in its outlines. An exposition of modern socialism online

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rite, requiring ceremonies that only could be performed by
the initiated. So because, and only because, a lawsuit is now
a warfare and because technicalities and precedents are mys-
teries to the uninitiated; finally because of the innumerable
conflicting personal interests, we undoubtedly could not at
present very well dispense with lawyers.

But when this multiplicity of interests is done away with
and the present method of administering justice torn up by
the roots, then their occupation will be gone. And the Com-


ing Commonwealth is not likely to squander the public treas-
ures on useless functionaries.

Fourth. To sue for justice will hi absolutely costless.

That is easily done, as soo:i as lawyers are abolished.

" But if justice be free, all will avail themselves of it and
there will be no end to litigation."

Is theu an appeal to law worse than a trespass? The New
Order will not so consider it; it will consider bhe least injury
to any of its citizens an injury to itself. Give me a license to do
any person at pleasure the minutest wrong conceivable; allow
me to pour a drop of water upon his head against his wdl ; that per-
son is my slave. Our Commonwealth will know what a groundless
suit means: it will know of no such thing as a frivolous one.
Besides, it is the modern sparing justice that feeds iniquity.
Be assured, that swift and unbending justice, with the lining
of malicious or litigious complainants, will check litigation.

But it is natural, that inquirers should not yet be satisfied.
They will ask: '* What kind of procedure, then, will the Co-
operative Commonwealth introduce? So far 3-011 have only
been tearing down the present system, except that you have
promised us one positive achievement, to-wit. a handy, intel-
ligible volume of laws. What system, now, will take the place
of the incubus you have relieved us of?"

We remark here as we did. when the economic administra-
tion under Socialism was discussed, that Socialists have no
readj'-made plan to lay down for the guidance of those who
will be called upon to organize the Coming Commonwealth,
least of all a detailed plan. They must be guided by their own
judgment, the then condition of affairs and the temper of the
people. But we grant, that we ought to show, if but in the
merest outlines, how the New Social Order may get along
without lawyers tolerably well. Only bear in mind, that So-
cialism is not responsible for the system we shall suggest.

It will be observed, that of our present machinery almost
everything has been thrown overboard except statutes and

We assume, that the New Commonwealth cannot dispense


with judges ; wo do not mean our present lawyer-fudges (their
"services'" will certainly be dispensed with,) but men especial-
ly trained to judicial functions, as others are trained to theirs.
The notion, which many within the Socialist ranks entertain
that justice can. and ought to be, dispensed by the "people,"
is one they would be radically cured of. if they could have some
y jars 1 experience in the trial of cases Justice by the "people"
w mid be mob-justice. It would be what " lynch " justice is
now. It would in its best form be an article not superior to
the scandalous judgments for which country Justices-of-the-
Peace out West are so famous.

AVe can give good reasons for such belief. True, in our
Co nraonwealth there will be, as we have seen, no difficulty in
ascertaining the law ; further, there will be little or no difficulty
i n interpreting the law. But it requires, and will likewise in that
Commonwealth require, some judgment to apply the law, and
what is the most important consideration of all, it requires a
good deal of education and training to ascertain the truth where
the facts are in dispute, as they are nearly in every case. It
is impossible to ascertain the truth, without knowing how to
estimate the force of evidence, and that knowledge cannot be
acquired, without having a Science of Evidence and having
studied it as much as any other science needs to be studied and
having learned the art how properly to apply it.

Men trained in that science, and trained to be exact lo-
gicians, will undoubtedly be needed, and they will occupy very
distinguished positions.

YVe apprehend, that in the future Commonwealth our sham
"science" of jurisprudence, which in its essence is nothing
but a " science" of precedents, will be supplanted with a true
science of Evidence, something else than that confused col-
lection of arbitrary rules, called "rules of evidence" which
Jeremy Bentham many years ago so sharply and caustically

Assuming, then, that we in our Commonwealth will have a
t)ody of trained judges we shall also assume that they will
f.trin. themselves into a Department like other functionaries,
with their Chief among the Board of Administrators, whose


peculiar function it possibly may be to draft all proposed laws.

But we pass over to the particular task we have set ourselves :
the procedure in case of a lawsuit.

Just as little Switzerland will furnish us a model of really
popular democratic administration in the k * referendum," so it
is possible, that little Denmark will furnish us a model of pop-
ular administration of justice in her socallcd'' Courts of Con-
ciliation," which have been in existence in thai country since
18:28 and during that period have given immense satisfaction,
so much so, indeed, that similar Courts have to a certain ex-
tent been adopted by other countries in Europe. The dis-
tinguishing feature of those Courts is that no lawyers are al-
lowed there. All suits whatsoever, without regard to the
amounts involved, must, in the first place, be brought before
these Courts. The judge takes down the oral complaiiTt of the
plaintiff and the oral defense of the defendant and renders
judgment accordingly. If, however, either of the parties are
dissatisfied with the judgment, the judge refers the case to the
regular Courts, in which Courts, however, no other evidence
is allowed to be introduced but that which was laid before the
judge sitting in the Court of Conciliation.

A vast amount of litigation is settled yearly by these Courts,
because it is the duty of the judge to explain the laws gov-
erning the particular case to the parties, and also, undoubted-
ly, because lawyers are excluded.

Our Commonwealth would do very well in following this
Danish model, and only improve on it in making the judgment
of such a Court conclusive on the parties. This would fulfill
the most important requirement, namely, render lawyers super-
fluous, and taking down the verbal statements of the parties
would dispense with the useless lying k * pleadings " of our
preseut system.

But the Coming Commonwealth might in another way util-
ize that model, by ingrafting some of its features oil another
mode of determining suits at law which is undoubtedly be-
coming more and and more popular. We refer to Arbitration,
which at present would be far more used than is the case, if
the tendency to resort to it were not constantly obstructed by


our lawyers, who naturally enough consider it an inferior com-
modity — something like neckbeef.

Suppose the plaintiff in a given suit were required to select
one of the Commonwealth's judges, who would take down his
own statements and those of his witnesses and then notify the
defendant ot the commencement of such a suit. He on his
part would select another of the judges, who would proceed
in a like manner. These two judges would then confer togeth-
er, giving each other the benefit of their views of the law on
the basis of the statements taken down, which would be le-
gal evidence, subject to cross-examination, however, in case of
discrepancy. If the two could not agree on a decision, they
would then select a third judge, and the decision of the ma-
jority would be the judgment. The same proceedings might
very well obtain in criminal cases, the judge representing tne
State being selected by the judges of the district from among

If it be objected, that trials then would lose their publicity,
we answer, first, that arbitrations now are mostly private, and,
next, that publicity is often more subversive of justice than
otherwise. Wrongs to women are by publicity often aggra-
vated rather than remedied. And administration of justice is
by it not infrequently turned into a mighty abettor of the black-

We said, that our Commonwealth might improve upon the
Danish model by making the judgment of the trial-judge con-
clusive on the parties. We mean that.

There can be no doubt, that the expense and interminable
delay of our lawsuits are mainly due to the many appeals.
This expense and delay are, also, the reason why in most of
the States we find so many appellate Courts constantly being
established at the instance of lawyers, of course, and never
once an appellate Court abrogated, for do not lawyers want ex-
pense and delay?

Why not dispense entirely with appeals under the system of ar-
bitration suggested?

What is the philosophy of appeals?

By no means, that the appellate judge is better fitted to render


a righteous judgment, for. not being face to face with the par-
ties and their witnesses, he evidently is not.

No, the first reason of appeals is that the trial judge may
have somebody to stand in awe of. so to speak. But the judges
of the future Commonwealth, being freely selected by the par-
ties, ceitainly need no one to stand in awe of.

A second reason of appeals to higher Courts is that the in-
terpretation of the laws may be uniform.

That, however, might be accomplished just as effectually,
and much more conveniently, by a provision, that the judges
shall inform their Chief of all cases and their particulars, where
a disagreement has taken place next, of the cases where they
have deviated from the strict law in favor of equity and of all
points arising, not yet provided for by law.

We say "deviated from the strict law,'" for the judges should
have discretion. No law should be inflexible. It would be
well to re-adopt the old maxim of the Roman law '* Sunimum
;ws, summa injuria" ("the strict law is often the hight of in-
justice. ")

The Chief would then approve or disapprove of the judg-
ment rendered, or of the deviation from the law resorted to
— a sort of reprimand or otherwise — and introduce amend-
ments to the existing laws, if thought proper. But the judg-
ment below would stand as rendered, and neither the judgments
nor disapprovals should ever become precedents, or we should
soon again be in the meshes of the lawyers. Nothing would
be law that has not been submitted to the people and obtained
their sanction.

Under such a procedure there would not be the least ex-
cuse for our infamous bail system. Infamous, because there
U hardly a crime so great, but that under that system a friend
of Vanderbilt or Astor can get out on bail and have the
inestimable privilege of being at liberty to collect evidence
in his favor and otherwise prepare for his defence; and be-
cause there is, on the other hand, hardly a misdemeanor
so trivial but that a poor man cannot get out without bail.
Infamous, because poor innocent witnesses are under that sys-
tem doomed to spend weeks and mouths in jail. There will


be no excuse for it under our procedure, for all cases can under
it be decided quickly.

Jnst as we are the worst party-ridden of all countries, so
we certainly are the most lawyer-ridden one. And the lawyer-
class is the most mischievous of all classes, the one that most
clogs the wheels of progress. When the Supreme Powers is-
sue their decree, that the Established Order is at an end, then
witb the Messrs. Six prr cent must go their retainers, the Messrs.
Eithersule and lawyer-judges. It is even more important to insist
upon their taking back seats here, where they claim to be the peo-
ple's guardians, than in England, where they have never ven-
tured to deny the nation the right to change its institutions at
its pleasure.

On the other hand, the very principle of Democracy demands
competent and qualified judges , the more so as the very highest
of the social activities is to see justice done. We may alsc
rest assured, that the Guilds and Departments of the New Com-
monwealth will insist on trained functionaries to whom to sub-
mit their differences for arbitration. When legal training if
freed from legal cobwebs, then we shall have

Natural procedure instead of technical procedure.



" The only school of genuine moral sentiment is society
between Equals*.'' — John S. Mill.

" Why is she constituted a woman at all? — Merely that she
may become a sort of second-rate man ? '" — ■' Biology and Wom-
an's Rights" Quarterly Journal of Science, Nov. 187S.

u Work is withheld from woman in theory, only to be more
harshly and clumsily inflicted in practice." — Value of Life.

The Position of Woman — of that half of humanity out of
whose wombs the coining generations issue— has generally
been taken as the measure of a people's advancement.

Yet, woman has hitherto always been a stepchild, is even
so now, and in our country, in spite of our boasted u chivalry."
If the man of toil is to be pitied, much more, indeed, is the
toiling woman; if a husband suffers from* an unhappy mar-
riage, much more a wife ; and the distance between the great-
est man and the lowest slave has always been far less than be-
tween the high-placed lady and the woman of the street. If
the Cooperative Commonwealth would not be likely to affect
a vast improvement in the lot of woman, it wouid not be worth
hoping for.

We have good grounds for expecting that she will under the
coming order of things be raised as far above her present

202 WOMAN.

position as the woman of the Middle Ages was elevated above
her sister of Ancient Greece or Rome.

Yet, bear in mind that Socialism, in its essence, has to do
with economic relations. There is no Socialist Marriage or
Family Life; we may add, there is no Socialist Education or
Morals, but neither is there any Socialist Politics or Justice.
Nevertheless, Socialism -will, as we saw, revolutionize the Ad-
ministration of Affairs and of Justice. This will be done by
a direct effort: by discarding the present machinery and
contrive other instruments, suitable to collective control
of all national affairs. But Socialism will, also, have

many indirect effects of vast consequence. Production and dis-
tribution of wealth being the roots of Society, the)/ determine the
soundness of Us trunk and the quality of its flowers and fruit.
Hence it comes that Socialism, by refashioning economic rela-
tions, will regenerate Society throughout all its activitities.'and,
more particularly, will have, most marked effect on Woman on
Education and on Morals.

While, however, the influence of Social Cooperation in the
other two respects will be a manifold one, as we shall after-
wards see, Woman will be affected in a peculiarly simple,
though not the less effective, manner. The Coming Common-
wealth 'will place her on an equal footing with man, economi-
cally^ that is all.

But here it is even more important than elsewhere to settle
what we are to understand by "economic Equality."' We
cannotdothis better than by comparing the Socialist view with
the demands of that persistent class of persons, known as
fc> women's rights" champions, of whom John S. Mill was a

These latter demand that the avenues to all employments
be opened as freely to women as they are to men — in other
words, they agitate for free competition between the sexes.

Well, we should say that the door to most industrial employ-
ments has for a long time been open to women ot the working
elasseS. According to the U. S. Census of 1880 there were
G152.O0O women engaged in manufacturing, mechanical and

WOMAN. 203

mining industries, one-sixth of the whole working force. In
some industries the proportion is far greater, notably in the
cotton mills, where there are considerably more women than
men employed.

Have these women's-rights agitators ever contemplated the
result? Which, under our present industrial system, simply
is, that competition is rendered yet more savage; that wages
sink to a lower and lower level ; that a whole family, on an ave-
nge, comes to earn no more than the head of the family used to
earn by himself.

Of these 632,000 females many thousand were married wom-
en and mothers of children. What kind of family life do
they lead? What kind of training do those children get? Ought
we to hanker after more competition?

Again, of the force that used to be employed in the Census
Bureau in Washington to work out the results of the last cen-
sus the givat majority were women. It is a fact, notorious
to those in a position to know, that these women performed
their work in a very slovenly manner, evincing next to no in-
terest in what they were set to do. Would, on the. other hand,
not that kind of work have afforded an excellent training school
for aspiring young men, in every way far better fitted to
perform it?

Xow. we say that the worst that can befall both sexes is for
woman to compete icith man in man's work. We contend, with
Mill, for equality, but, against Mill, that woman should not be-
come a second-rate man. That is to say, we again urge the vital
distinction, which is constantly overlooked, between being
equal and being alike.

Woman is different from man in intellect, different from him
in temperament, different from him in muscles. There is a
peculiarity of construction in the bones of the pelvis and chest
which forbids her to be as much on her feet as man. We may,
further, suggest certain notorious, physiological facts that de-
mand, in contrast to man, that woman sha'l have a periodic
rest of, say, three days every four weeks.

In other words, instead of free competition between the
sexes, we contend for special vocations for the sexes.

204 WOMAN.

Thnt, of course. ia not to be thought of under the present
system. The proportion of women to men in shops, mines
and factories will undoubtedly continue to increase. In dis-
regard of physiological facts manufacturers will go on re-
quiring their female employees to be on their feet from morn-
ing till night, and retail-dealers will stick to the rule against
sitting down. As a matter of sentiment the}' may think Plato's
proposition to mix the sexes in all things preposterous, hut
the system demands it. It is just the same thing in regard to
wages. Sentimental people deplore the fact that women are
paid less than men for the same work. There is no help for
it under our system : the law of wages demands it.

Quite otherwise in the Cooperative Commonwealth. TJirre
woman will become a functionary, she will have suitable em-
ployment given her, and be rewarded according to results,
just the same as man.

Suitable employment, mark you! Woman will there not
take the place of man. The sexes will there keep pare with
each other, but — in accordance with the teaching of physiology
— walk in different pathways. That will simply mean that the
principle which is the basis of our civilization, to wit : Division
of Labor will be extended so as to embrace both sexes. Jf
that principle is good for man, why not for man and woman?
Indeed, we shall find that this extension of Division of Labor
will furnish the desideratum of the Coming Commonwealth :
comprtent workers in every field of labor. Woman will surely
not be dragging behind, for we must remember that whatever
of greatness woman hitherto has accomplished she has
achieved in violation of the conventional code, but Nature with
equal laws always tends to diversity.

••Will there be work enough for all women who choose to
engage in public activities ?" you may ask.

Why! even now. in this crude civilization of ours, there is
an abundance of work which woman only ought to do. Why
should not our women insist on having female physicians ( \q
do not mean surgeons) to attend them? Is that calling more
un-wonianly than nursing? The Woman's Hospitals in Phil-
adelphia and other places whose medical stalls and students

WOMAN. 205

are women are most excellent institutions, aad mark the com-
ing change.

And imagine once the innumerable humane institutions of
the Cooperative Commonwealth! They will afford woman a
thousand opportunities for the exercise of her peculiar natural
gifts — we need only instance the Kindergartens, spread over
the whole country, of which we shall have more to say in the
next chapter.

How will this affect woman? Just as it will man.

As his becoming a public functionary will destroy the ac-
cursed dependence on the irresponsible will of some individ-
ual for a living which now obtains ; as it will make him a. free-
man, so it will make her a, free-woman. Woman now is de-
pendent on some man for a living : on father or brother or hus-
band or employer — that is why men arrogate to themselves to
say what is woman's sphere. Destroy that dependence — we
do not say make her independent, for " independence" is not
a Socialist word at all; all will be dppendent on the Common-
wealth and inter-dependent — give her the power of earningher
own living at pleasure, and the economic equality of woman is

Hut, undoubtedly, the idea that all women, even " ladies,"
might come to earn their own living will shock many a •' chiv-
alrous" gentleman in these hypocritic times. What would
life be to them without ''delicate and spiritual" women to
whom to pay homage !

Well, the consideration that the equality which we advo-
cate will hardly give us any female sailor or blacksmith ought
to console them somewhat. But we admit that they have some
reason to be horrified.

For these same persons generally fancj'", that it is their ap-
preciation that gives value to woman — a view, not so very dif-
ferent from the Mohammedan view. In the Coming Common-
wealth woman will certainly not. as now, form her character
with the express aim of pleasing the man-fool. But she will
have fuller opportunities than she ever yet has had of develop-
ing her specific gifts of womanhood. Then esteem will be
substituted for vapid compliments.

206 WOMAN.

However, this power of earning her living does not mean, that
in the New Social Order all women, or even a majority of them,
will be in the service of the public. Nothing will prevent the
daughters from remaining at home, assisting their mothers or
caring for their fathers, and nothing will compel married wom-
en to neglect their domestic affairs. It simply means that ev-
ery woman will be enabled to earn her own living, honorably,
and pleasantly whenever she chooses so to do. And this power
is essential to the dignity of woman, whether married or single.

After what we have said on Suffrage in other chapters we
need not dwell on that other, the prineipal. demand of our
•' women's rights." champions, that women now should vote
as much as men.

We, of course, suppose that in the Coming Oommonwealtii
woman will be intrusted with the Suffrage to exactly the same
extent as man — we say, advisedly, ^intrust* 1 ' for. all these cham-
pions to the contrary, Suffrage is not a ' right," nor is it a
privilege, but a trust.

But what woidd the mere power to cast a ballot help woman
now, supposing it were given to her? Suffrage is one of those
things which are so very valuable, when you have not got it,
and so very worthless when you have. The ballot has proven
anything but a magic wand to the toiling working-men, and it
would be still more impotent in the hands of toiling women.

The ballot would not bring strength to the lightless eye or
the thin hand of the needle-woman of this age of competi-
tion ; it would not remove the causes which now make wom-
an prefer almost any marriage to working for a living. It
might enable her to say a word about laws of divorce, but
would not enable her to support herself when divorced. The
ballot in her hand might suppress lewd houses, but would not
prevent men from leading victims to the altar of their passions
like sheep to the slaughter-bench.

Neither are we blind to the consideration that if woman
could exercise the suffrage to-morrow with the State as at pres-
ent constituted, the result would in all likelihood be detrimental
to progress, for it is undeniable, that they, taken as a whole,

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Online LibraryLaurence GronlundThe coöperative commonwealth in its outlines. An exposition of modern socialism → online text (page 17 of 23)