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John Curl has been a member of Heartwood Cooperative Woodshop in Berkeley for over thirty years, and has belonged to numerous other cooperatives and collectives. His historical writings includes History of Work Cooperation in America (1980). Memories of Drop City (2007) is his memoir of the 1960s commune movement. He is a translator and biographer of Inca, Maya and Aztec poets in Ancient American Poets (2006). His seven books of poetry include Scorched Birth, Columbus in the Bay of Pigs, and Decade: the 1990s. He is a longtime boardmember of PEN, chair of West Berkeley Artisans and Industrial Companies, a social activist, and has served as a city planning commissioner. He is a professional woodworker, and resides in Berkeley, CA.
Introduction by: Ishmael Reed
Publisher: PM Press
Published July 2012
Page Count: 608 Pages
Size: 9 by 6
Subjects: History, Political Science
It is the cooperation of working people that has brought the best of the United States to life. Cooperatives have played a vital role throughout the American saga, starting in its formative years. A staggering 120 million Americans belong to cooperatives today--yet the existence of such a movement, and its dramatic and stirring story, remain all but ignored by most historians.
For All the People seeks to reclaim this history.
The very survival of indigenous communities and the first European settlers alike depended on a deeply cooperative style of living and working, based around common lands, shared food and labor. Cooperative movements proved integral to the grassroots organizations and struggles challenging the domination of unbridled capitalism in America’s formative years. Holding aloft the vision for an alternative economic system based on cooperative industry, they have played a vital, and dynamic role in the struggle to create a better world.
In this groundbreaking, scholarly, yet eminently readable study, Curl surveys the vast range of cooperatives that have shaped America's past and continue to inform, and transform, our present. With an expansive sweep, and breathtaking detail, For All the People examines each of the definitive cooperative movements for social change—farmer, union, consumer, and communalist—that have been all but erased from our collective memory.
John Curl, with over forty years of experience as both an active member and scholar of cooperatives, masterfully melds theory, practice, knowledge and analysis, to present the definitive history from below of cooperative America.
"It is indeed inspiring, in the face of all the misguided praise of 'the market', to be reminded by John Curl's new book of the noble history of cooperative work in the United States."
--Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States.
“This new edition is greatly welcome, because we need a cooperative movement and spirit more than ever before. Curl surveys all, and explains much. New generations of readers will find this a fascinating account, and aging co-opers like myself will understand better what we did, what we tried to do, where we succeeded and where we failed. Get this book and read it, Curl will do you good.”
--Paul Buhle, coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left, founding editor of Radical America (SDS).
For a calendar of speaking events, please click here
- New Interview on TruthOut
There is a new interview with me by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers in the web magazine TRUTHOUT. The article is entitles, "Cooperatives and Community Work are Part of American DNA." Check it out! http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14076-cooperatives-and-community-work-are-part-of-american-dna
- Another New Radio Interview
Last week I did a live interview with Kevin Reese on his radio show Clearing the Fog. Here is a link to it online, http://clearingthefogradio.org/john-curl-on-the-history-of-cooperatives-and-communalism-in-the-us/.It is currently the top story on their web page, http://www.ClearingTheFOGRadio.org.They have a near final draft of an article based on my book For All The People and this interview, which will be published in Truthout next week. Kevin Resse and Clearing the Fog are part of It’s Our Economy, which seeks to educate, organize and mobilize Americans to shift the power from concentrated capital to the people.
- New Interview with John Curl
You can read a deep interview with me by Michael Johnson of Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO), called "Lessons for Building a Co-Operative Movement" http://www.geo.coop/story/lessons-building-co-operative-movement http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/12922-lessons-for-building-a-co-operative-movement
- Tom Bates and the Secret Government of Berkeley
This is an article I just finished about Mayor Bates, a career politician posing as a progressive, and his destructive effects on the city.
- Interview with KALW radio City Visions
On April 30, 2012, I did an hour-long interview on the City Visions radio show on station, KALW 91.7 FM San Francisco, titled, "Cooperatives: Workers in Progress," along with representatives from three cooperative organizations: the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops, the Network of Bay Area Cooperatives, and WAGES (Women's Action to Gain Economic Security)You can listen to the podcast of the interview from their web site:http://kalw.org/post/co-operatives-workers-progress
John Curl interviewed for Cooperative Vermont
- For all the People excerpted on Roar Magazine
- John Curl on Professor Richard D. Wolf's Economic Update
- Lessons for Building a Co-operative Movement, and Interview with John Curl: Grassroots Economic Organizing
- For All the People: Znet
- Living in the U.X.A: CounterCurrents
- John Curl Video Interview
- For All the People Review: Science and Society
- Cooperatives and Community Work Are Part of American DNA: Truthout
- Hidden History of Cooperation: Peak Oil Blues Blog
- Book Review: P2P Foundation
- Passion for Community Revealed in Curl's History of Co-ops: Berkeley Daily Planet
Interview with John Curl
by Michael Johnson
Grassroots Economic Organizing
Interview with John Curl
By Gabriel Kuhn
Internationally, US society is often associated with rampant individualism. Your book portrays an impressive number of cooperative and communal projects throughout the country's history. Can you sum up the most important chapters of this legacy?
Curl has created an invaluable resource and historical timeline regarding worker cooperatives and communes. This book will surely be of interest to students and activists in these fields for years to come.
By Kevin Carson
Curl’s history of cooperative and communal movements in America is set against the backdrop of one overpowering trend: the transition from an almost completely self-employed work force at the time of Independence, to a present-day labor market in which self-employed workers are almost as much of an anomaly as free blacks ca. 1850. Two hundred years ago, wage labor was viewed as a form of bondage, something submitted to only when absolutely unavoidable. The majority of wage laborers were apprentices and journeymen, who viewed their status as a temporary stage on the way to the normal status of self-employment.
Passion for Community Revealed in Curl's History of Co-ops
By Richard Brenneman
The Berkeley Daily Planet
Thursday August 27, 2009
Though his hair has turned white, John Curl’s passion burns undiminished by the passage of nearly seven decades.
Curl, John. Memories of Drop City. iUniverse Inc, 2007.
Curl, John. History of Work Cooperation in America, Homeward Press, 1980.
Curl, John. Ancient American Poetry. Tempe: Bilingual Review Press, 2005.
Curl, John. Columbus in the Bay of Pigs. Homeward Press, 1991.
Curl, John. Decade: The 1990's. Muchos Somos 12, 1987.
Curl, John. Scorched Birth. Berkeley: Beatitude Press, 2006.