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For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America
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For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Seeking to reclaim a history that has remained largely ignored by historians, this dramatic and stirring account examines each of the American cooperative movements for social change—farmer, union, consumer, and communalist—that have been all but erased from collective memory. With an expansive sweep and breathtaking detail, this scholarly yet eminently readable chronicle ...more
Paperback, 506 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by PM Press (first published 2009)
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PM Press
The 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 strug ...more
Between Howard Zinn and John Curl, we might finally have a couple of historians who can teach us our history, so that we are not doomed to repeat it. Curl's book focuses on the history of cooperative work and communal living, and the aggressive tactics of capitalist, corporate and governmental entities to cut democracy off at the knees. Time and time again, the coop loses. That's the depressing part. And, time and time again, the workers rise. That's the part that gives me hope.

Unlike previous
Worker Co-op & Economic Democracy Reading List
This book documents the importance of cooperatives, particularly worker cooperatives, throughout our country's history and their particular relevance today.

"It is indeed inspiring, in the face of all the misguided praise of 'the market', to be reminded by John Curl's book of the noble history of cooperative work in the United States." Howard Zinn, author of A Peoples History of the United States
Christina Zawadiwsky
I received this book as a "win" from Goodreads, and entered to win it because its title piqued my curiosity. I did not expect it to be SO packed with historical data that it was hard to find the human interest in the book, however! A bit heavy-going and heavily foot-noted, I would recommend it primarily to historians! For All the People Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America by John Curl For All the People Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America by John Curl ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
An interesting idea--the history of the cooperative and communalist movements in the US. certainly a history worth telling. Mr. Curl, however, writes like a researcher and not a writer. The first half of the book is a chronological history of these movements and coops but he is never quite able to weave together a compelling narrative. It reads like snapshots in history. Bland and almost unreadable. When he writes from his own experiences though, his writing shines and I could really feel and gr ...more
Picked this up because it was Howard Zinn-endorsed. Not as readable as the back cover would have you believe (and certainly not as readable as Zinn)'s a bit heavy-handed with the dates and names, but the relatable human interest points are what keep it compelling. I particularly enjoyed the beginning and the speculation on what might have been if we'd not gone the "indentured servitude" route in designing the labor force. Probably good for a classroom . . . and classroom discussion.
Good book on a subject I care about. I'm hoping that books like this will help spread the word about the benefits of cooperative movements.
I won this book from First Reads and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the author had signed it for me. Thanks!
Jose Palafox
Pretty good. Yet another great reprint from PM Press. This text is a new and totally updated version from the original 1980 title, 'History of Work Cooperation in America'.
Mark E. Smith
Included in this book are some excellent examples of how the laws people fight so hard to get enacted, are often used against the people they were supposed to help.
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John Curl passed his childhood winters on icy Manhattan streets and summers in steamy New Jersey pine forest farm country. A war baby of World War II, his parents were Irish-Catholic, English-Protestant, and Romanian-Austrian Jew, with one grandfather a Republican, the other a Communist, his parents New Deal Democrats, and on Thanksgiving they all got together and actually had a good time. The ast ...more
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“Being an employee was considered a form of bondage, only a step above indentured servitude.” 0 likes
“It has been often said that the winners write history. Cooperatives have been widespread and important in many periods of American history, and more people are members of cooperatives today than ever before. Yet it might almost seem as if they don’t exist and never existed in the US, because cooperatives are almost universally absent from history classes and almost never appear in the American media. An unbalanced emphasis has been placed on the self-reliant, individualistic frontiersman as typical of the Westward movement of American history, while this has only been one element in a much more complex situation.” 0 likes
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