SESPA Member Persecuted for Anti-War Work

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

SESPA Member Persecuted for Anti-War Work

by Herb Fox

‘Science for the People’ Vol. 3, No. 1, February 1971, p. 4

SESPA/Science for the People is proud that among those whose effectiveness in the antiwar movement was commended by the frame-up indictments for allegedly plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger and blow up government buildings is William Davidon of Haverford College, Pa. Bill, a courageous anti-war activist and member of SESPA, was cited as co-conspirator in the outrageous and grotesque indictments that shocked the country when they were handed down on January 12, 1971. Bill is in good company with several of the most morally courageous activists of the antiwar movement, including nuns, Beverly Bell, and Marjorie Shuman, and priests, Daniel and Philip Berrigan. The indictment’s objective was described by the Berrigan brothers as being “a simple but deadly one – to destroy the American peace movement.” Fear not brothers Berrigan, the movement doesn’t depend on “leaders”.

Davidon is among several SESPA people and other activist scientific workers whose effectiveness has been honored by harassment, indictments, or jailings. Clark Squire, computer programmer, and Curtis Powell, biochemist, presently awaiting trial in New York under indictments against the Panther 21, have appeared in the pages of Science for the People. John Froines, chemist, is one of the Chicago Conspiracy 8. A disciplinary pay docking was imposed on Charlie Schwartz, physicist of Berkeley SESPA. Deborah Solomon, biologist, and others of N.Y. SESPA were arrested in connection with actions at Riverside Research Institute. Many of our industrially employed members are being harassed and several have lost their jobs.

A resolution submitted to the AAA$ in December calling for a defense fund for such persons was rejected with no discussion. But large numbers of scientific workers, by affirming their own commitment to action, are coming to the defense of these persons. The attempts at repression and the inaction of such unrepresentative groups as the AAA$ council are only clarifying to these scientific workers and others that these are but the death rattles of decaying institutions.

We call on you SESPA members and all scientific workers to demonstrate your solidarity with our persecuted brothers by increasing your efforts in political struggle. Organize at the workplace. Have meetings to discuss the persecution of blacks, the persecution of the antiwar activists and of your own misuse, and the rise of unemployment among all workers. Encourage your fellow workers to participate in antiwar activities as a group. Demand the opportunity to make your science serve the people.


>> Back to Vol. 3, No. 1 <<