AutorIn 1:
Leikin, Steve
The Citizen Producer: The Rise and Fall of Working-Class Cooperatives in the United States
From: Consumers Against Capitalism: Consumer Cooperation in Europe and North America, 1840-1990. Edited by Ellen Furlough and Carl Strikwerda. (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999)
"(...) In the long-running debate over the exceptionalism of the American working class historians and social scientists have asked why the United States, unlike its European counterparts, failed to develop a large Socialist movement or working-class party. Rarely in this debate have scholars compared the role of cooperation in the evolution of working-class movements in the United States and Europe. Yet in the countries taken as models of workingclass activism--Britain, Germany, Belgium, and Scandinavia--cooperatives were critical to the success of Socialist and working-class movements. Indeed, cooperative movements were sometimes larger than unions or parties and often provided vital support to these institutions. In the United States, according to recent scholarship, a labor movement similarly inclined towards cooperation emerged in the immediate post-Civil War years. Organized as the Knights of Labor this movement was a broadly-based collection of trade and labor unions as well as cooperatives. In both the European movements and the Knights of Labor, producersí cooperatives were initially as important if not more important than consumer cooperatives. While European activists gradually neglected producersí cooperatives when capital costs proved too daunting and then turned towards consumer organizing, the American labor movement lost its enthusiasm for cooperation as a broad strategy for change after the Knights of Labor failed in the late 1880s. (...)"
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