The majority of people in the United States are in a position of wage slavery, in which they depend on their boss for the ability to survive, but it has been so normalized that many do not question this arrangement. We bring back an interview with John Curl, author of “For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements and Communalism in America.” He writes about the long history, that isn’t often taught, of people who created cooperative structures to counter the power of industry and finance. Cooperative movements often parallel social movements. We discuss why this matters today.
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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.