Answers to frequently-asked questions about Los Altos Institute

Is Los Altos a democratic, member-driven organization?

No. Like other institutes Los Altos was created by a team of people with a specific intellectual and research direction. While we support democratic reforms in the field of electoral politics, we feel that think tanks/institutes are poor candidates for mass, member-driven organization. Instead, we recommend that those disappointed with the current intellectual direction of existing leftist institutes form their own. That’s what we did!

Is Los Altos aligned with a particular religion, political party of formal ideology?

No. Our anti-technocratic motto comes from the synoptic gospels in the New Testament. Our analysis leans heavily on Marxist scholarship. Many of our members are supporters of Canada’s NDP. Our name comes from a short-lived theocratic, collectivist, anti-colonial republic that flourished in the Guatemalan highlands in the 1820s and 30s. Leftist thought and politics is a big and diverse place; we are inspired by many divergent traditions within it.

Is Los Altos an invitation-based organization or can anyone get involved?

Los Altos welcomes new people and new ideas to any of our public events, salons and reading groups and we welcome collaborations with other leftist organizations and individuals.

Where does Los Altos operate?

Los Altos’ team is based in southwestern British Columbia. Our affiliate in Toronto, Los Llanos, is currently dormant.

Is Los Altos a Marxist organization

Like Edward P Thompson, author of the groundbreaking Making of the English Working Class, we prefer to understand ourselves as “theoretically-informed empiricists.” Thinkers like Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Antonio Gramsci are among those who inform our project, along with key twentieth-century critics such as Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault. We also work to canonize the work of key lesser-known BC intellectuals such as former SFU professor Fred Brown and climate change activist David Lewis.

Is Mr. Durden building an army?