Z Friends

“Without community, there is no liberation...but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.”

Audre Lorde

The people listed on this page are Friends of ZNetwork.  They serve as advisors, contributors, a sounding board, and a source of ideas for the project. Many have been closely related to Z for years, in some cases since Z’s inception. Others are more recent or even newly allied.

We cherish and appreciate our friends’ support and hope we can provide for them a useful source, outlet, and ally as well.

ZNetwork lives in an oppressive and restricted present but is unabashedly oriented to an equitable and liberating future. The same holds for Z Friends.

Click on the names below to read testimonials from each Z Friend, and open their contributor bio to view all their articles featured on ZNetwork.

“From its origins in the Sixties New Left, which then begat South End Press, which then birthed Z Magazine, which then budded ZNet and ZMI, Z has given every day of my life direction, focus, and purpose. It has spurred and organized my every undertaking from media involvement, to organizing, to envisioning, to advocating. What Z has meant for others, not on its staff, only they can say and I can only wish it had been more. To my eyes, Z’s New Left roots, it’s visionary aspirations, it’s commitment to accessibility and above all to winning a new world were and remain worthy. But the job is far from done. The measure of any project is not its present or its past, but its future. What does a project give rise to. So here’s to the new Z being better, more successful, and to leading onward to far far more than the old Z did.”

– Michael Albert

Contributor Bio

“Between the brilliant graduates of Z Media Institute, the awe-inspiring roster of participants in Z-affiliated projects, and the multitude of writers for and readers of ZNet and Z Magazine (not to mention South End Press), there’s an orbit of educators and journalists and organizers and activists and artists and thinkers and leaders that Z has provided both gravity and light to. Within the vision it has promoted and the community it has created, the impact is immeasurable. As a ZMI graduate myself, I’m encouraged to see this legacy carried on and am truly honored to be a Z Friend. Like the iconic street-painting scene from Costa-Gavras’s 1969 masterpiece, I take solace and inspiration knowing that Z lives.”

– Lonnie Ray Atkinson

Contributor Bio

“Znet has always been a powerhouse of progressive journalism. I am proud to be a friend of the ZNetwork, whose importance to the struggle for justice, equality and freedom is self-evident. Z has done more than merely offering us space for unhindered self-expression, but also taught many of us the very fundamentals of radical journalism. Its contributors are engaged intellectuals par excellence and its founders remain wholeheartedly committed to its critical mission and original ideals.”

– Ramzy Baroud

Contributor Bio

“The New Z promises to promote Z’s brand of hard-hitting progressive journalism at a time that it is most needed.  Views from the global South have always found a congenial platform in Z, and the New Z will continue this tradition.”

– Walden Bello

Contributor Bio

“As a young woman searching for an ideological framework to understand the U.S. war machine, I looked to Z Magazine to shape my vision of the world. Now, decades later, I am delighted to be a friend of the new Z, which is more critical than ever. With right-wing nationalists on the rise throughout the world, and U.S. liberals stuck in Democratic Party politics that don’t address the revolutionary changes we must make to survive and thrive, Z forms a critical part of the landscape that educates, inspires and mobilizes us to think creatively and act upon our conviction that another world is not only possible, but essential to our survival. Long Live Z!”

– Medea Benjamin

Contributor Bio

“From the first days of South End Press forty-five years ago to today’s expansive ZNetwork, Z in its various manifestations has made a unique contribution to the Left and more broadly to addressing the problems facing humanity. It has created an on-going forum for an astonishing range of views and concerns. At the same time it’s continuing elaboration of “participatory economics” has provided an explication of a truly democratic economy. And its commitment to social change through the agency of ordinary people has been a beacon to illuminate alternatives to both domination and despair. All thanks to those who are creating a way for the “Z World” to continue making its necessary contribution in the years to come.”

– Jeremy Brecher

Contributor Bio

“ZNet has been a very important institution for the left, and for me, for many, many years. What has stood out are its posts on alternatives to capitalism, and on social movements and struggles in the U.S and globally. Michael Albert has been its main organizer, and what is rare on the left but exemplary is Michael’s decision to turn this operation over to a collective of seven talented people, significantly younger than him, who will maintain the new operation and solicit, decide, and generate its content and direction. I know most of these seven people as exceptional and cooperative human beings. They have been meeting for over a year, learning to work together, establishing their decision-making processes, and designing the new Z. I am very excited about the new ZNet. I look forward to its coming innovations, and expect it to be the first news and analysis site I go to every day.”

– Peter Bohmer

Contributor Bio

“Hard to imagine the world of struggle without ZNet. A steady, anchoring part of the eco-system of left activism, ZNet and ZMagazine have consistently offered first hand information, new insights, critical analysis, and a home for debate about the pressing issues of the day. Agreeing with everything that ZNet publishes has never been the point: the foundation of the project has always been about airing new ideas and opening wider discussion. Grounded in a deep belief that change is possible, ZNet has nurtured organizers and theorists, reminding us by its practice that moving forward means moving together. I’m confident that the next steps in ZNet’s work will build on its tremendous history.”

– Leslie Cagan

Contributor Bio

“In the early 1970s I had the good fortune to stumble into a political-personal relationship with Mike Albert and Lydia Sargent that led to work with a series of media projects including South End Press, Z Magazine and ZNet. Now decades down the line, I can say that enduring connection to Z has been an essential life sustainer of relentless critical analysis of the powers that be in this world, alongside visionary thinking about how we might shape a better one. The new Z is a fresh and bold growing of that legacy.”

– Sandy Carter

Contributor Bio

“For me personally — and many others as well — the appearance of the Z network in the late ’70s was a most welcome gift. Activist movements had declined along with their journals. The country was drifting towards the bitter one-sided class war called “neoliberalism”. Z and its various manifestations offered a voice for critical independent thought, and a community of mutual support and engagement. Znet has been a constant and refreshing source of commentary and analysis, always illuminated by a guiding vision of a future based on the ideas of participatory economics, politics and society generally that Mike and his associates have developed. And so it has remained, with its many exciting offshoots, such as the Z media institute, a highlight of the year with large consequences for building and sustaining popular movements that have had a powerful impact on civilizing the society, never more needed than today. It’s a real privilege to continue to be a Friend of Z.”

– Noam Chomsky

Contributor Bio

“Among media outlets on the left, ZCommunications has been a true long distance runner, continually re-inventing itself in new and improved forms, most recently birthing the new ZNetwork.org. This exciting new cross-generational and cross-border collaboration is a fitting testament to the vision of Z co-founders Michael Albert and Lydia Sargent, who never succumbed to founders’ syndrome. Instead, these Sixties-inspired activists created a durable and indispensable forum for sharing political ideas, analysis, and strategies that has survived the ups and downs of U.S. progressive movements over many decades. And, now, most importantly, ZNetwork.org will continue to be a catalyst for fresh thinking about how to meet the challenges facing feminists and socialists, labor and environmental activists, racial justice campaigners, opponents of ‘forever wars,” and advocates of economic restructuring that empowers poor and working class people.”

– Steve Early

Contributor Bio

“I first came across ZNet after reading Noam Chomsky at some point during the 1990s. I immediately identified with the left-libertarian tradition that Chomsky talked about and then, when I read Liberating Theory and Looking Forward: Participatory Economics for the 21st Century, I knew that I had found my political home. Over the preceding two decades I have used Z to both educate myself and to network with others interested in organising for a just world. As time passed and life took its usual turns, however, I did start to worry that Z might not be around for very much longer. Then I got the email announcing the launch of the current site, all reimagined and rebuilt by the new Z staff. Great work – thank you!”

– Mark Evans

Contributor Bio

“ZNet has been one of the most important and hard-hitting Left sites to have emerged over the last forty years.  It has been a critical site for both information and debate, not only regarding the USA, but as well the world.  We need that from ZNet going forward.”

– Bill Fletcher

Contributor Bio

“ZNetwork and its predecessors have proved over many decades that it is an important, essential contributor to the work of building a people-powered movement which can change the world, finally, in the 21st Century. Given the myriad crises and challenges facing us, we need Z. Z is a place where many voices and ideas can be seen and heard. It is relevant long-term while also being relevant each day as we build the pieces and understandings necessary to succeed in the historic project of replacing corporate capitalism with truly liberating, just, peaceful and Nature-connected societies worldwide.”

– Ted Glick

Contributor Bio

“Z revolutionaries recognized the terrible consequences that prevail when people driven by fear and greed acquire weapons. They constantly resisted controlling interests of the U.S. and its allies. Through writing and outreach, Z helped others say “No,” or, as Leonard Cohen put it: “I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd.” I’m deeply grateful for the education and solidarity the admirable Z stalwarts enabled.”

– Kathy Kelly

Contributor Bio

“I started reading Z in the 1980s and found it informative and provocative. I have carried forward in the digital era to ZNet. As an explicitly radical medium, Z has always been full of fresh thinking, and has been willing to expose shibboleths on the left as well as elsewhere. It is heartening to see that a new generation of gifted young journalists is prepared to carry Z forward. It is an institution we desperately need today and in the future.”

– Bob McChesney

Contributor Bio

“Apart from its rich history and its distinctive mark in fighting for social change, ZNet’s uniqueness lies in a rare convergence of elements that are not always encountered together: timely issues and timeless concerns, theoretical education and activism, critique and concrete counter-proposals, ‘barricades’ and ‘ways forward’, organising and analysis, mobilisation and detailed, future-oriented visions — in short, theory and practice. The community of ZNet is not merely anti-capitalist, but indeed post-capitalist, in the sense of daring to propose how a different present and future could and would (and will?) look like — and to invite a dialogue on actual possibilities and their roadmap. Last but by no means least, ZNet is also a place of discernment between what is actually radical and what merely presents itself as radical on any given day.  Given that all this is the case, and in these most tenebrous times, everybody with a sincere sensitivity for societal transformation cannot but be profoundly grateful for all that ZNet has done and for all that ZNet will continue to do.”

– Sotiris Mitralexis

Contributor Bio

“Something’s happening in the world that you need to make sense of? Check ZNet. Need some ideas about how to respond strategically to something going on in the world? Check ZNet. Need to find a community of people thinking seriously about vision — about “real utopia”? Check ZNet. This is what I do myself, and this is what I suggest to others when they ask. For people serious about understanding the world, figuring out how to join with others to take action, and developing a sense of where we should be headed (vision!), ZNet is your source!”

– Cynthia Peters

Contributor Bio

“I am honoured to be a Friend of ZNet. In the many years I have been a contributor I have watched newspapers decline as they close their columns to oppositional voices. As a former newspaperman I would find that grievous were it not for the rise of the likes of Znet. The eclectic voices in Znet – from the radical to the not so radical – are what a people’s newspaper should be.”

– John Pilger

Contributor Bio

“For my most formative years Z was my real school and then my real work, my home and my community. Now even where we have intra-left disagreement, I credit Z for giving me the tools to even identify those agreements and disagreements. Long live the spirit of resistance!”

– Justin Podur

Contributor Bio

“Long before the internet and the spread of various left-wing media outlets, Z staunchly opposed war, imperialism and the rationalization of law and order in capitalist society, while its zeal for making the world a better place served as a source of inspiration to activists both in the United States and abroad. The struggle continues, so it is heartening to see that a revitalized Z is determined to carry on the fight.”

– CJ Polychroniou

Contributor Bio

“After decades of incredible efforts, ZNet has become a “must stop” digital destination for all who align themselves with peace, justice and equality in the USA and around the world. If you are looking for a combination of credible information, insightful analyses and thought-provoking commentaries, ZNet is the place to visit often. Its historical value continues to grow and expand in these challenging times.

– Don Rojas

Contributor Bio

“For many years, ZNet has been the go-to website for left political news and commentary and for extended debates and discussions on pressing issues of the day. In addition to its critical analyses of all those things we are against, ZNet has been especially valuable for engaging with the question of what we are for, what political, economic, and social institutions and values we seek in the future. These ought to be essential concerns for the left and ZNet has been an essential resource for pursuing them. I look forward to the new ZNet, building on this admirable history, as it encourages new generations to think seriously, with an open mind and critical eye, on what is and what could be.”

– Stephen R. Shalom

Contributor Bio

“Z Magazine and ZNet have been mainstays of strong progressive analysis and key information for decades. Z represents a throughline for a passionate, deeply rooted, perceptive, non-doctrinaire left that searches for the best paths forward in the midst of monstrous social conditions imposed by extreme concentrations of wealth and power. The relaunch of Z online offers a resurgence of desperately needed energies and communication at an extraordinarily dire time in human history.”

– Norman Solomon

Contributor Bio

“For more than 3 decades, Z has been an essential resource for information, analysis and long-range visioning on the Left. Z’s support for writers, both young and old, has been unsurpassed, and their uncompromising focus on the need for long-term strategic visions has been a vital source of hope through countless cycles of political despair. If the future is ours, the newly revitalized Z will continue to help us see the way forward.”

– Brian Tokar

Contributor Bio

“Conservatives are blessed with a myriad sites, newspapers and TV stations where they can turn every morning to have their prejudices and fixations confirmed and reproduced. Radicals, who love to have their convictions tested against unadulterated evidence and uncompromised fact, have very few opportunities. For me, and for three long decades, Z,  ZNet, ZMag have been that rare port of call, that precious opportunity to luxuriate in news, reports and analyses that inform me about the important struggles raging world-wide; that challenge my false assumptions; that give me a chance to connect with those fighting the good fight. Nothing darkens the soul of a radical more than not knowing where to turn to every morning for facts and views that the establishment wants to keep under a heavy lid. I thank Z, old and new, daily for helping me lift that heavy lift and consider it an honour to be listed as a Friend of Z.”

– Yanis Varoufakis

Contributor Bio

“My political transformation wouldn’t have been complete without sites like Z Net, which has been a trusted resource for decades. I remember reading articles by Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, and others back in the late 1990s, when it was called Z Magazine, and when I was just learning the realities of US imperialism after a youth steeped in truths held self-evident that turned out to be bald-faced lies. It’s great to see Z informing and educating a whole new generation of activists—and to see my own work published there.”

– Brett Wilkins

Contributor Bio