The New Llano Co-Operative Colony (1914-1937) was founded on the general principals of equal opportunities for all members. Colony propaganda encouraged a variety of social programs which, at the time, were absolutely unacceptable to big business, although today are considered standard. These included minimum wage, Social Security, low cost housing, welfare, women in the workplace, and universal health care.
As the U.S. entered the 20th century,
men were leaving the farms -- going to the big cities where they could find
work. Usually, they discovered deplorable working conditions which they
were forced to accept, having cut all ties with the farms they'd left
behind. The power of the capitalist class grew enormously. Their giant
monopolies and trusts came to dominate whole branches of industry.
Unhappy workers began to organize labor unions and demand better treatment for
the workers. The Socialist Party was created and sent speakers throughout the
country to promote their ideals -- things like old age pensions, health
care, minimum wages, equal rights for women and child labor laws. Job Harriman,
a successful Labor lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, became popular throughout
the country for his Socialist lectures.
In 1914, Harriman decided that Socialist politics alone weren't going
to change the world. He felt that men would be more likely to
join the Socialist movement if he could show them a working example of a
co-operative lifestyle. He established the Llano del Rio Co-operative Colony in
the Antelope Valley, near Los Angeles, California. Growth was so rapid
that within three years, it became obvious they didn’t have enough water for so
many people. They purchased 20,000 acres in the highlands of western Louisiana
and approximately 200 colonists made the move in November of 1917…