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 astrologers say his chart is a Grand Trine. He lived in a Sixties rural commune in Colorado, worked on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, and has practiced custom woodworking at Heartwood Cooperative Woodshop in Berkeley, CA for over 35 years. He is chairman of West Berkeley Artisans and Industrial Companies (WEBAIC), promoting arts and industries in the manufacturing zone to the dismay of gentrifying developers, and has served as a Berkeley planning commissioner to the consternation of some elected officials. He is a fixture on the committee organizing the annual Berkeley Indigenous Peoples Day Pow Wow. He has a degree in Comparative Literature from CCNY (CUNY) and is a longtime board member of PEN Oakland and PEN USA.
He is author of For All The People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements and Communalism in America. Oakland: PM Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-60486-072-6