Our Story

In July 2014, a small group of veteran activist intellectuals convened an Enlightenment Project in Kansas City, Missouri. Meeting monthly at a local coffeehouse, it started out as an informal discussion group, without a defined agenda, but in order to exchange ideas, information and perspectives on books, current events and the like.

In time, a kind of agreement emerged, to respond to the example of the famed Frankfurt School in Germany, which flourished in the 1920s, and transferred to the United States in the mid-1940s. Their seminal book The Dialectics of Enlightenment remains influential as a cultural paradigm. Among its theses was that the Enlightenment itself had proven ineffective against Fascism, and furthermore, the post-World War II power structure of capitalism, headquartered as it were in the United States, was rendering socialist radicalism ineffective and obsolete.

In late 2015 our project began to develop a resolve to bring our political and cultural experience to bear on the key problem of answers to contemporary problems. It is not enough to be critical: we desire to move toward and participate in the process of developing solutions.

We noted the appearance of an international organization called The Re-Enlightenment Project, based mostly on participants from prestigious cultural institutions such as museums, universities, and so on. It began in New York, but quickly engaged people in Europe. In the United States, we further noted, its participants were entirely on the East and West Coasts. We believe our modest Kansas City effort, based in the geographical center of the country, can offer Midwestern perspectives and raise the flag of the Enlightenment in this territory.

We intend to develop a website which affords opportunities to present our own texts, links to tools and resources not only in the region but linking to parallel efforts world-wide. We hope to draw on initiatives across a broad political spectrum: socialist, anarchist, communist, co-operative, since it is apparent that no one tendency has all the answers, and much is to be gained from a kind of cross-fertilization during the present period of ferment.

“Meanwhile, if these hours be dark, as, indeed, in many ways they are, at least do not let us sit deedless, like fools and fine gentlemen, thinking the common toil not good enough for us, and beaten by the muddle; but rather let us work like good fellows trying by some dim candle-light to set our workshop ready against tomorrow’s daylight—that tomorrow, when the civilized world, no longer greedy, strifeful, and destructive, shall have a new art, a glorious art, made by the people and for the people, as a happiness to the maker and the user.”
— William Morris, “The Art of the People”

People Working on the Project

David Carson

I started as a ratkeeper at Kansas University Medical Center in my hometown of Kansas City, Kansas.  I injected rats with cancer.  Since then I have held low level teaching positions in mathematics and physics on both coasts, Canada, and Kansas City, Missouri.  I have also worked as a banker, brakeman, courier, etc.  I am a failed student of quantum theory; although I am proud of my study of time in quantum theory "Time Is Slippery" which is available on lulu.com.  I am currently finishing posting "Devil's Job Directory" on my blog, skeptickc.blogspot.com.


Doug Greer

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Doug Greer has a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of Missouri and is a native of the greater Kansas City area.  His interests include science journalism, reality-based economics, social justice and media reform.


Chris Hanlon

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Raised in Omaha, I describe myself as an ex-grifter, part time railroad bum (member of both IWW & FTRA), former military (USAF) and occasional contributor to VVAW.  A former disciple of the legendary Father McCallen at Rockhurst,  I am currently amember of KC SCREENWRITERS and working on a dramatic adaptation of Martin Glaberman's WARTIME STRIKES,  a project dealing with the IWW connection in Kansas City. 


Greg Hodes

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Greg Hodes received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, where his dissertation was awarded honors. He publishes in a number of philosophical specialties and is a co-founder of Votestand, a proposed plan for gaining voter control of our elections process. Dr. Hodes taught as an adjunct for many years until blacklisted for declining non-peer review. Previously, he was CEO of a non-profit company serving the educational needs of disadvantaged adults. He has published in adult education and man-power training.


Charles Reitz

Charles Reitz is a radical social and political philosopher who regularly contributes to the ongoing discussion and development of critical social theory and critical pedagogy.  Among his publications is the 2015 volume he edited, entitled Crisis and Commonwealth: Marcuse, Marx, McLaren (Lexington Books).  For several decades he was on the faculty of Kansas City Kansas Community College.


Ray Riepen

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Retired attorney, long-time jazz enthusiast, former impresario of the Boston Tea Party, a pioneering rock music venue, proprietor of the Boston Phoenix alternative culture newspaper, as well as being a legendary raconteur and student of philosophy.


Fred Whitehead

A native of Kansas, Fred Whitehead attended the University of Kansas, graduating with honors in 1965. After a year in England as a Fulbright scholar, he matriculated at Columbia University, earning the Ph.D. in 1972. He retired in 2000 from the administrative staff of the University of Kansas, at the rank of Associate Professor. 

Among his published books are Freethought on the American Frontier (1992), The Collected Poems of Don Gordon (2004), and The Whole Song: Selected Poetry of Vincent Ferrini (co-edited, 2004). 

More recently he has produced and directed documentary films, including A Commemoration of John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry, and Slavery in Missouri


John Wright

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Trade unionist, industrial welder/ mechanic, and lifelong student of philosophy, economics and physics.