About Z

Dedicated to developing vision and strategic activism, resisting injustice, defending against repression, and fostering liberty, we view the racial, gender, class, political, and ecological dimensions of life as fundamental to understanding and improving contemporary circumstances. ZNetwork is a platform to engage with educational content, vision, and strategic analysis, that aims to assist activist efforts for a better future.

ZNetwork exists under a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and operates internally according to participatory principles that elevate equity, solidarity, self-management, diversity, sustainability, and internationalism.

Why Z?

Z’s name was inspired by the 1969 film Z, directed by Costa-Gavras, which tells the story of repression and resistance in Greece. Comrade Z (a leader of the resistance) has been assassinated and his killers, including the chief of police, are indicted. Instead of the expected positive outcome, the prosecutor mysteriously disappears and a right-wing military junta takes over. The security police set out to prevent “a mildew of the mind,” an infiltration of “isms” or “spots on the sun.”

As the closing credits roll, instead of listing the cast and crew, the filmmakers list the things banned by the junta. They include: peace movements, labor unions, long hair on men, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Aeschylus, strikes, Socrates, Ionesco, Sartre, the Beatles, Chekhov, Mark Twain, the bar association, sociology, Becket, the International Encyclopedia, the free press, modern and popular music, the new math, and the letter Z, which has been scrawled on the sidewalk as the film’s final image, symbolizing “the spirit of resistance lives.”


Z’s History

Z Magazine was founded in 1987, by two of the co-founders of South End Press (f. 1977), Lydia Sargent and Michael Albert. In the opening days, a few writers’ support was critical to the project’s success, including: Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Bell Hooks, Edward Herman, Holly Sklar, and Jeremy Brecher. Z developed into a major left-wing, activist-oriented publication that went fully online in 1995, later becoming ZNet.

In 1994, Z Media Institute was founded to teach radical politics, media and organizing skills, the principles and practice of creating non-hierarchical institutions and projects, activism, and vision and strategy for social change.

Z has remained, in broad terms: anti-capitalist, feminist, anti-racist, anti-authoritarian, anarcho-socialist, and heavily influenced by participatory economics, with much content focused on vision and strategy.

Over the decades, Z has been a rich source of information about participatory vision and strategy, and a north star for many on the left.