This essay is reproduced here as it appeared in the print edition of the original Science for the People magazine. These web-formatted archives are preserved complete with typographical errors and available for reference and educational and activist use. Scanned PDFs of the back issues can be browsed by headline at the website for the 2014 SftP conference held at UMass-Amherst. For more information or to support the project, email email@example.com
by Ann Arbor & St. Louis Chapters
ANN ARBOR CHAPTER REPORT
1977 has proved to be a vintage year for our chapter. Our membership has grown steadily to about 30 active members. In addition, we’ve reached a wider audience through publications, events, and better distribution of the magazine (now available at most bookstores in Ann Arbor). This fall we held a series of political films, the best attended being “Sociobiology: Doing What Comes Naturally”, which drew over ISO people. We had Allan Chase, author of The Legacy of Malthus, speak here (on his way back from the Champaign-Urbana chapter). The Science Teaching Group held a workshop for High School science teachers. It was poorly attended but established contact with the teachers that will facilitate the success of future workshops planned for the Michigan Science Teachers Association and a citywide “in-service” day this spring.
We have been writing prolifically. Our book, Biology As A Social Weapon, was finally published in August and is being used in several courses taught by SftP members around the country. An article we wrote, entitled “Is Our Biology to Blame?”, appeared in the October 77 issue of the American Biology Teacher magazine. The Sociobiology Study Group in Ann Arbor wrote several articles including a response to DeVore’s letter in the Oct. Anthropology Newsletter, a rebuttal to an article defending sociobiology in the student newspaper, and a lesson plan for the STG workshop.
Many new groups have formed within our chapter this year. We started a support group for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in Toledo. The support group wrote bilingual pamphlets on pesticides and nutrition for the migrant workers. They are now planning (with the Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Group) a spring teach-in on the food issue. Members of our Nuclear Policy Group attended the Mobilization for Survival convention in Chicago recently and are actively working to support that coalition. The group is planning a film series on nuclear power this winter. The Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Group is writing an article on pesticide poisoning in Guatemala. The China Study Group is awaiting a reply from the People’s Republic to their trip proposal. Meanwhile, a Cuba Study Group has just formed. SftP members have also been active in a local group opposing Recombinant DNA research and in the effort to vindicate two local nurses (Narciso and Perez) accused of poisoning patients at the VA hospital here in 1975.
One group was formed last spring on Sexism in Science. Its purpose was to discuss sexism in science and within Science for the People. It grew out of the discussions at the Midwest Regional meeting in Champaign-Urbana. The group (composed mostly of men) spent the summer discussing and reading about sexism, but broke up in September.
Currently, the chapter is organizing for the AAA$ meetings in February, planning a mini-course for March, and preparing for the Midwest Regional meeting in Champaign-Urbana on January 21-22 (Contact Tina Hall there, if you would like to attend).
And lastly, Science for the People in Ann Arbor has a new office (4104 Michigan Union, Ann Arbor, Mi. 48109)! So stop by and check us out, if you’re in the neighborhood.
ST. LOUIS CHAPTER REPORT
Yes, we are very much alive, in fact we’ve never been stronger or more active. This semester we’ve been concentrating on issues concerning the “Social Structure of Health.” We read and discussed the article from the magazine on infant formula abuse, and wrote a critique of it. [See Letters, p.5] We moved on to examining a paper by one of our members on the subject and are now reading Ivan lllich’s Medical Nemesis. We have gotten so involved with the issues, we are planning a relatively large conference in April on the subject.
We had a membership meeting in October and now have approximately 20 members. We still meet weekly for discussion and business meetings. We now have members from Architecture, Anthropology, History, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, Technology and Human Affairs, Sociology, and English. Needless to say it is a diverse and exciting group.
We are apologetic for our lack of correspondence, and hope to be communicating more often in the future. We collectively believe in the importance of SftP’s work in analysing, educating, and acting on scientific issues. We wish to offer our support for the continuation of the Boston Chapter as a central force and intend to offer ideas on national organizing in the future.