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MIT, Secret Societies, and Powerful Institutions

Source: Politics Art Roots Culture – Media

Michael Albert is an American economist, speaker, writer, and political critic. Since the late 1970s, he has published books, articles, and other contributions on a wide array of subjects. He is known for helping to develop the socioeconomic theory of participatory economics. In 1965, Albert was studying physics at MIT, where Albert met long-time friend and collaborator, Noam Chomsky. Albert publicly objected to the US military’s funding of the university. This, along with the civil rights movement, led Albert to become politically active. He became a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and opposed the Vietnam War. He was expelled from MIT, in January 1970, for disruptive behaviour, although he claimed the charges were ‘cooked-up’. Albert founded South End Press in 1977 along with Lydia Sargent and Juliet Schor, among others. In 1987, Albert founded Zeta Magazine with Sargent. The magazine focused on libertarian and anarchist socialist thought. It was renamed Z Magazine in 1989. In 1990–91, Albert and Robin Hahnel worked on outlining their ideas around participatory economics. They published ‘Looking Forward’ and ‘The Political Economy of Participatory Economics,’ with the latter including an economic model of the system. By 1995, the organization Z Magazine had branched out providing online content and media training. Along with the magazine the ventures are collectively known as Z Communications. In 2003, ‘Parecon: Life After Capitalism’ was published further outlining participatory economics in a more accessible, less academic format. The book was translated into 20 languages. Albert was a founding member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society, in 2012. Sean Michael Wilson created a comic book based on Albert and his ideas in 2013. His latest book, ‘Practical Utopia: Strategies for a Desirable Society,’ was published in 2017. Albert is the co-founder of ‘C20,’ a group of activists, scholars, and writers from around the world who write under the pseudonym, ‘Collective 20.’

4 Comments

  1. avatar
    Michael August 24, 2020 1:38 pm 

    Frankly, I was interested when I saw this feature, but doubted I would take the time to listen for 90 minutes, but I started listening and listened to the whole thing before I got into my day with lots to do!

    In part, I listened because I have valued for many years ZNET, read portions of it every day, and I think Michael Albert is an honest, very thoughtful guy. Plus, I did my graduate work in Boston near where he was at the same time, I experienced the history and culture he was a part of. (I make a donation each month, automatically.)

    I had an experience recently that is part of what they were talking about in regards to organizing, learning how to talk to people, and take a good, even critical, look at ourselves. Ask ourselves, what’s missing in me?

    I get a call from a fellow who “sounded” somewhat like me, same generation, well-intentioned, asking if I would be willing to call neighbors and encourage them to vote because it is so important. First of all, I get telephone calls soliciting so much stuff all the time that the fact that I engaged in a conversation with this fellow even surprised me. At first I hesitated to say yes because I live in a neighborhood that is mostly people of color, but there are some older whites like me, and frankly I think my voice sounds white and I had doubts that I was the one to make such calls if this well-known organization wanted people to call who could over the phone win listeners’ willing interest immediately.

    However, I agreed to do it, thought it was a good idea. The caller gave me a telephone number and a web address to make contact to get a list of 10 neighbors to call. I tried for three days to call the number and contact the web site and neither were working. Could this, too, be an example, of the “left’s” missing the mark? They found a willing collaborator and then I was unable to follow through. This was no fly-by-night organization, it is a well-known, respected, long-time group. They simply dropped the ball.

  2. avatar
    Joel Isaacs August 12, 2020 10:43 pm 

    A good listen.
    Thank you Vincent, thank you Micheal.
    You raise the important need for the left to talk to more than itself; to talk with working people, without using coordinator class language,
    How can we talk to organizers, to unions, to Black and Latino communities, to show them a vision of something better? Something that will inspire hope and sustained effort?
    I believe we are back to REALIZING HOPE..

  3. avatar
    Joel Isaacs August 12, 2020 10:42 pm 

    A good listen.
    Thank you Vincent, thank you Micheal.
    You raise the important need for the left to talk to more than itself; to talk with working people, without using coordinator class language,
    How can we talk to organizers, to unions, to Black and Latino communities, to show them a vision of something better? Something that will inspire hope and sustained effort?
    I believe we are back to R

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