Losing Paul Pojman
Sep 20, 2012
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our comrade and friend Paul Pojman last night. Knowing Paul was to know an exceptional individual: his kindness, his generosity, his earnest dedication to his principles served to inspire many of us in our day-to-day lives.
As befits a professor of philosophy, Paul was always trying––in his unassuming, contagiously optimistic way––to shape his life in accordance with his ethical commitments to the project of a free society and a sustainable future. In his teaching, Paul had that rare gift of being able to break with conventional wisdom completely; he taught, for instance, a course on anarchism in which he dared to actually practice what he was presenting: every aspect of the course, from the syllabus to the structure and weight end of term evaluations, ran with the consent of the students.
Many of us had the pleasure of working alongside Paul in the early days of the Baltimore Free School, where his dedication to thinking through the micropolitics of everyday life helped put flesh on the bones of that experiment. It was Paul who built the first reading group at the Free School, a wonderful exploration of anarchist thought and practice. Another small, but telling detail: it was Paul who cheerfully took on the tasks he expected to be the least popular.
Paul’s recent work had focused on building the prefigurative kernels of a just and non-alienated world here and now in Baltimore, especially alongside the Baltimore Free Farm on Ash Street, where he had joyously thrown himself into the adventure of living and working collectively in Hampden’s improbable permacultural commune.
The loss of Paul Pojman hurts all the more because he was so consistently focused on patiently building for the future: his thought was always oriented towards the steps we’d need to take to build capacity in the long haul to remake our lives and our society, towards building infrastructure, creating ethically consistent institutions, towards planting seeds that might take decades to fully germinate. He deserved to see many, many more of these seeds grow and bloom; and it is our task to see to this long and patient work in his memory.