Communism vs. Commercialism

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Liberty (1881-1908)

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Benjamin Ricketson Tucker

The only society in which the rights of individuals will be respected will be a communistic society, in which the partnership will always be voluntary. Where the right to secede is not recognized—in a family, a state, or a federation of states—there exists subjection, slavery.

All the frenzied babble about the rights of majorities to govern other than themselves must cease. Between kingcraft and communism there is no logical or permanent abiding-place. The rights of all individuals must be recognized as equal, or, sooner or later, we must submit to the “divine rights of kings”—supreme thieves.

Already, in these states, we have an upper ten and an upper ten thousand—virtually ten kings and ten thousand peers of the realm—whose wealth is stolen from the people by the vilest monopolies, usurpations; usuries; and this devilish aristocracy is not despised, but admired. To-day this aristocracy is more powerful and more vicious than that of Britain, and the vox populi is now really less effective in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom.

Commercialism is organized discord. Communism is organized harmony. Commercialism is compulsory conflict. Communism is voluntary concert.

Wm. Harrison Riley


  • William Harrison Riley, “Communism vs. Commercialism,” Liberty 1, no. 3 (September 3, 1881): 3.