Massachusetts colleges honor socialism advocate as 'noted historian'

“Capitalist society has failed for centuries," he said.

This year's "Writer-in-Residence" for a collection of five Massachusetts colleges is an the director of a socialism advocacy group.

Every year Massachusetts colleges honor a history “writer of national prominence.” This year they picked the director of a socialist advocacy group.

The History Writer-In-Residence program is put on by a collective of the five Massachusetts colleges and every year the academic dubbed the Writer-in-Residence gives an esteemed lecture. 

This year’s Writer is Vijay Prashad, who is the director of a group called the Tricontinental. Tricontinental describes itself as “an international, movement-driven institution focused on stimulating intellectual debate that serves people’s aspirations” 

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The group describes its historical goals as “peace and socialism” and boasts that its founders used “whatever means would lead to this goal had to be utilized.”

In a recent newsletter, the group asserts that the Communist Manifesto includes “a provisional ten-point plan that should make sense to any decent person,” adding “This list was drafted in 1848, and yet it seems not only contemporary but necessary. It opens with the demand to abolish the idea of private property in land.”

The Umass Amherst history department’s invitation to the event described Prashad as “A historian who looks into the ruins in search of the future has to squint, look carefully at the shards of hope, wonder if it would ever be possible to find the pathways outwards and forwards.” 

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During the lecture, Prashad emphasized how his studies aim to change the way an overall group thinks. He said that currently “It is easier to imagine the end of the earth than the end of capitalism.”

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According to The Daily Collegian Prashad  asserted during his lecture that “Capitalist society has failed for centuries.” He also argued that society fails to recognize that “intellectuals” come from all walks of life.

“The intellectual of the peasantry is not taken as seriously as the intellectuals of the elite class,” he said.

When referring to the liberal ideology in taxes and equality of wealth Prashad told the students that this was “illusionary” and that traditional liberal methods of mitigating inequity are not actually helpful to those in need, but benefit the wealthy. He asserted that these ideals are simply the byproduct of the exploitation of the poor.

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“Our interest is engaging people who write beyond an academic audience.” in reference to Prashad calling him a “noted historian,” said History department Chair professor Audrey Altstadt.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Jess_Custodio