The Institute for the Study of the Science of Society was started in 1994 to further the understanding of how societies change and to help equip those fighting to change society with that knowledge.The initiative for the Institute came from people active in the movement for social justice. These frontline activists in the struggle for a new world were confronted with the realization that their work could not advance much further without a deeper understanding of how societies change. The Institute was founded to address that need.
The Institute is based on Marxism as the science of society. We recognize that the advances in science demand that we deepen and extend the science of society and revolution. That science must also get out to the frontline fighters who are working to change society.
Since 1994 we have been conducting institutes in Chicago and other cities. The basic institute is a four-day program. Each day builds on the previous day and addresses a different aspect of Marxism as a science.
In the Institute, we distinguish between Marxism-the-science and Marxism-the-doctrine. Marxism-the-science describes the laws that govern the development of societies. Marxism-the-doctrine rests on the conclusions of the science and is the set of principles that guide revolutionaries’ activity. The Institute organizes classes and study materials on the science of Marxism to lay the foundation for the use of Marxism as a methodology and for the development of doctrine for the current epoch.
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Michael Brand is a retired math teacher with a PhD in mathematics. He joined the peace movement during the 1960′s and became disillusioned at the lack of scientific outlook in the movement at that time. He found the Communist Labor Party, which was struggling for a scientific outlook with which to guide the struggle. Further efforts along these lines led him to the ISSS. He has three grown sons.
Beth Gonzalez is a co-founder of the ISSS. Beth is a student and teacher of the science of society and social change. She relies on the science of society to assess the stages of revolutionary change and the tasks of revolutionaries. Beth is also an active member of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America. She lives with her husband in Chicago, where they raised their daughter.
Brooke Heagerty has been a member of the Institute since 1994 and specializes in teaching U.S. race relations, globalization, history of U.S. slavery, methodology and historiography. She is also part of a team organizing the Institute’s History as Truth seminar series. Brooke writes and speaks on topics such as globalization, race relations, women’s rights, and the development of fascism in America. She is co-author of Moving Onward: From Racial Division to Class Unity. She is working on a new book that examines the story of how a young enslaved woman who killed her master in 1850′s Missouri illuminates America’s struggle today to overcome the legacies of racial ideology and slavery. She has a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
Thomas Hirschl has been teaching and conducting social science research for over 30 years. Early in his career he met Nelson Peery who inspired him to study social revolution, and one result is his contribution to Cutting Edge: Technology, Information Capitalism, and Social Revolution (Verso, 1997). Hi lives in Ithaca, New York with his wife where they are raising their family of three sons and one daughter.
Walda Katz-Fishman is a sociologist, scholar-activist and popular educator who combines her research and teaching of class, race/ethnicity/nationality, and gender inequality and political economy with struggles for economic, race and gender justice. She is a Steering Committee member of Grassroots Global Justice and a Coordinating Committee member of the U.S. Social Forum. She was co-recipient of the American Sociological Association’s 2004 Award for the Public Understanding of Sociology and has written numerous articles and popular education materials on political economy, race-class-gender inequality, globalization and popular movement.
Kimberly R. King
Kimberly R. King is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and an associated faculty member in the Department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, where she teaches courses in Community Psychology, Psychology of Gender, Prejudice and Discrimination, Research Methods, and African Americans and Psychology. She has taught for over 10 years in the Educational Opportunity Program’s Summer Bridge, an intensive 6-week program for primarily low-income first-generation college students. Her research focuses on the psychological effects of poverty, race, gender, and class discrimination, evaluation of diversity courses, and intergroup relations between African Americans and Latino/as.
Kimberly is producer and co-host of Beautiful Struggle, a weekly public affairs radio program on Pacifica’s KPFK (90.7 FM Los Angeles). Kimberly is a union activist and serves on the Cal State LA Executive Board and as a delegate to the statewide Council on Affirmative Action for her union, the California Faculty Association.
Kimberly was born and raised in Oakland, CA, and obtained her B.A. in Psychology from Yale College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA. She is committed to working for educational quality, access, and equity for students and fair working conditions for faculty and other education workers.
Joyce Mills is a nurse, mother, teacher, writer and revolutionary from Oakland, California. She has been active in the fight against poverty and homelessness and for heath care reform and has been a presenter on these topics for over twenty-five years. She has a master’s degree in US history as well as Community Health Nursing, has worked much of her adult life as a public health nurse and has taught philosophy of science, politics and ethics to nurses at local colleges and universities. She was a member of the Labor Party since it’s inception, leading early efforts to shape the Party’s Just Healthcare program with other nurse leaders. She and her husband have raised two boys in Oakland where she studies with and teaches for the Institute for the Study of the Science of Society (ISSS) nationally and in Oakland.
Nelson Peery is author of, “Black Fire: The Making of an American Revolutionary,” a memoir of his years in the Army during World War II, and the sequel, “Black Radical: The Education of an American Revolutionary.” He brings the conviction that it is possible for the first time in human history to create a democratic, cooperative, society that is an economic paradise for all. Nelson Peery has over 60 years in the revolutionary movement.
John Slaughter — author of New Battles Over Dixie: The Campaign For a New South — addresses the role of southern politics on the nation. The book is a dramatic non-fiction account of Southern politics and economics. He grew up in the piney woods of rural Alabama, picking cotton as a youth. As a young man he was profoundly affected by the civil rights movement, and later worked in oil fields, shipyards, and paper mills. He has pastored churches and taught philosophy. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Jerome Scott, a labor organizer in the auto plants of Detroit in the 1960s-70s, and a community organizer, popular educator and author in the South since the 1970s, was a founding member and former director of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide in Atlanta, GA. He serves on the National Planning Committee of the U.S. Social Forum, is active in Grassroots Global Justice and other social justice movement organizations, including the League of Revolutionaries for a New America. He is author/co-author of numerous chapters and articles on race, class, movement building and the revolutionary process, and is a contributing editor to four popular education toolkits including The Roots of Terror and Today’s Globalization. He was co-recipient of the American Sociological Association’s 2004 Award for the Public Understanding of Sociology.