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Founding Principal, The Democracy Collaborative; Author and Lecturer; Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland
Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, is a Founding Principal of The Democracy Collaborative. He is a former Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard and King’s College of Cambridge University. He has served as a Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and as a Special Assistant in the Department of State. Earlier he was President of the Center for Community Economic Development, Co-Director of The Cambridge Institute, and President of the Center for the Study of Public Policy. Dr. Alperovitz’s numerous articles have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times and The Washington Post to The Journal of Economic Issues, Foreign Policy, Diplomatic History, and other academic and popular journals. Dr. Alperovitz is also author of The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, published in 1995, and the 2002 book, Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era (with Thad Williamson and David Imbroscio).
Decades ago, a young Indian woman living near the Himalayas was on her way to one of her favorite rivers as a child. She wanted to visit it before she left to pursue her Ph.D. in Canada. When she reached the site, however, she was stunned: the river was gone.
“That made me realize that I couldn’t take for granted that our beautiful world will continue to stay that way, and there are very powerful interests out to destroy it,” said environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva in an interview with the Post. “I’ve been sort of an ecological activist ever since.”
In a speech she gave at UWM on Friday, Shiva criticized worldwide efforts to privatize public services, including Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to weaken pubic employee unions and a recent proposal to privatize the Milwaukee Fire Department.
“Wisconsin has evolved into the epicenter in the struggle for our unity, our common humanity, our oneness in democracy, contested by privatization, commodification and corporatization of all aspects of our lives,” she said.
Shiva is an internationally prominent environmental activist and founder of Navdanya, an organization that focuses on saving and distributing native seeds to local farmers. She advocates for the use of traditional farming practices and against the use of biotechnology, such as genetically modified seeds.
Frithjof Bergmann founded the Center for New Work in Flint, Michigan in 1981 and has developed a number of suggestions about work as a calling and a vehicle of self-realization, in rotation with mainstream employment, and involving a self-sufficiency that technology itself makes possible. He has worked with individuals and communities in the U.S., Canada, Germany, South Africa, India, and Saudi Arabia on developing positive strategies for dealing with the changing nature of work.
Professor Bergmann’s interests include continental philosophy –- especially Hegel, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Existentialism generally –- and also social and political philosophy, philosophical anthropology, and philosophy of culture. His seminal work, On Being Free (1977), was issued in a paperback edition in 1978 and had twelve printings.
He resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan and continues to write and lecture on the practical, social, and cultural implications of philosophical thought.
Activist, Writer, Speaker
Founder, Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
Grace Lee Boggs (b. 1915) is an activist, writer, and speaker whose seven decades of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of the past hundred years. A daughter of Chinese immigrants, Boggs received her B.A. from Barnard College (1935) and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College (1940). She developed a twenty-year political relationship with the black Marxist, C.L.R. James, followed by extensive Civil Rights and Black Power Movement activism in Detroit in partnership with husband and black autoworker, James Boggs (1919-93).
Grace Lee Boggs’s published writings include Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century (with James Boggs, Monthly Review Press, 1974; reissued with new introduction by Grace Lee Boggs, 2008); Conversations in Maine: Exploring Our Nation’s Future (with James Boggs, Freddy Paine, and Lyman Paine; South End Press, 1978); and Living for Change: An Autobiography (University of Minnesota, 1998). Her writings and interviews with her have also been widely disseminated through newspapers, magazines, websites, and academic journals.
At the age of 95, Grace remains much in demand as a public speaker and exceptionally active as a community activist and weekly columnist for the Michigan Citizen. Her many honors include honorary doctorates from the University of Michigan, Wooster College, Kalamazoo College, and Wayne State University; lifetime achievement awards from the Detroit City Council, Organization of Chinese Americans, Anti-Defamation League (Michigan), Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and Association for Asian American Studies; Detroit News Michiganian of the Year; and a place in both the National Women’s Hall of Fame and Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.