Fourierists - La Réunion

La Réunion, Texas, USA
Fourierist, Utopian Socialist
Single-Family Housing
Joint Stock Company
1855 - 1857

In 1855, the French socialist Victor Considerant, founded La Réunion as a utopian community based on the ideas of Charles Fourier. Considerant believed the phalanstery was the solution to social and economic injustice and envisioned 1,200 people working together to provide food, shelter, clothing, and education. Banished from France for his political views, Considerant believed no European country would tolerate a Phalanstery and turned his efforts westward. Between 1842 and 1858 more than forty phalanxes were established in the USA and only three lasted more than two years. American phalansteries demonstrated a propensity for catastrophic floods and fires. Others like La Reunion fell victim to mundane details: lack of money, lack of experience, and general disorganization.

Considerant established The European Society for the Colonization of Texas, as a joint stock company to attract settlers from Europe and America. Considerant planned to have the first batch of settlers be farmers and frontiersmen who would establish the colony. Instead, 200 colonists, made up of cultural elites from France, Belgium, and Switzerland, descended on La Reunion before the colony was established and chaos reigned. The community they built bore no resemblance to the phalanstery, instead it was made up of small, freestanding buildings without coherence or planning. By 1859 almost all the colonists had left, returning to Europe or settling in nearby Dallas.

Fourierists End Notes

“The architecture of civilization bears the stamp of egoism, corruption, poverty and discord of society...The Association will create Her Architecture, and it will be one of combination and unity...When men will be associated and united, one great, elegant building will replace hundreds of isolated and miserable constructions of civilization” (Albert Brisbane)

Ungers, Liselotte, and Oswald Mathias Ungers. Kommunen in Der Neuen Welt: 1740-1971. Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1972. Page 70.

Preucel, Robert W., and Steven R. Pendery. “Envisioning Utopia: Transcendentalist and Fourierist Landscapes at Brook Farm, West Roxbury, Massachusetts.” Historical Archaeology 40, no. 1 (2006): 6–19. Page 15

Ibid, 15

Ungers, 71

Annie Schneider

Communes in the New World

The question of how to live together—of how best to live together—is the foundation of any society. The last few years have exposed the fault lines in our current system: climatic catastrophe, economic crisis, supply chain collapse, civil unrest, rampant inequality, and a global pandemic. We live in congested cities and in potentially dangerous proximity, yet remain isolated. In light of these mounting pressures, it’s time to revisit the fundamentals. How to Live Together offers alternative ways of being, thinking, dwelling, and living. It calls into question every basic assumption and prevailing social norm: belief, sex, the nuclear family, property ownership, our relationship to land, production, and consumption. It is both a critique and a roadmap.