About This Issue
By the Editorial Collective
In the last issue of Science for the People mention was made of the political reevaluation going on in Boston and elsewhere. The Boston chapter report suggested that SESPA has suffered by failing to develop a clearer self- definition and political discussion of our goals. As one step forward we are beginning such a discussion in this issue. We have solicited statements and assembled others from letters and publications. None of the statements are meant to be definitive, and we hope they will be analyzed and challenged.
Is our society getting closer to 1984? The article on remote warfare, “Toys Against the People”, describes some military elements of the perfectly-ordered nightmare. However, we have chosen to add a commentary following the article to discuss why these developments are taking place and why they will not be as effective as the Pentagon planners would like to believe. “Runaway Electronics” is in part a commentary on the “why” of remote warfare. The article gives some of the reasons why it is important to American corporations that Third World countries be “pacified” and made safe for their investments.
Since Hiroshima scientists have been concerned about taking social responsibility for the effects of their work. For a much longer time industrial workers, including technical workers, have been concerned about the conditions of their work. Now both are putting these two perspectives together. That means that scientists realize they are hired workers and technical workers—they are social and political beings. Three articles in this issue describe this transition. “Workplace Politics: Experiences at Honeywell” relates what happened to technical workers at Honeywell who became incensed at what their work was used for. The proposal for scientific organizing is based on an understanding of how present scientific work is structured by who pays for it. The article on stopping university war research partially comes out of people’s experience of how DoD funding affects their work conditions, viewing the university as a workplace, not a paradise for isolated individuals.
Women, like so many other groups in our society, have not avoided the ill effects of “advancing” science. One use of women as guinea pigs, with tragic consequences, is related in the article on Stilbestrol. The discussion of midwifery shows how the real interests of people are left behind in the competition to produce and institutionalize the most “advanced” science. A whole issue of Science for the People is now being prepared on how science has participated in the exploitation of women.
A number of articles provide needed critiques of Establishment Science. The call for actions at the AAAS convention, the AEC articles, and the description of actions at the ACS convention all point out the nature of the beast and why it must be caged. Despite recent efforts at facelifting (the AAAS is a good example) Establishment Science continues to assure the Pentagon and corporations of the knowledge they need, while not meeting the needs of the people. It also acts as a sort of house ideologue to offer mystifying explanations for real problems. “Ecology for the People” points out that while our ecological problems are serious, they have been analyzed in such a way that any solution appears to be against the interests of working people, women, the poor, and the Third World. Actually, the opposite is true, and some of the big losers will be the mandarins of Establishment Science. (So onward toward ecological sanity and Science for the People!)
This issue is filled with thought-provoking (and action-inspiring!) articles. If there is something you don’t like, send us some criticism. If there is something missing, send us an article.
EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE: Jane Hill, Alex Szejman, Mike Teel
CONTRIBUTORS: ACS Collective, Arlene Ash, Selina Bendix, Berkeley SESPA, Boston Industrial Group, Martin Brown, David Jhirad, Pam Kalishman, Jeannette MacDonald (ACME), Lenny Siegel, StonyBrook SESPA, Joel Swartz, Alex Szejman, WATCH (Women Act To Control Healthcare), Alan Weinrub
Thanks to NEAR (New England Action Research) for “Toys Against the People”. For more information on military R&D contact them at 48 Inman Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139.
CREDITS – GRAPHICS AND PHOTOS: page 22, Steve Clenger/LNS; page 3, Ciencia Nueva; page 17, Ralph Cook/LNS; pages 40 and 41, The American Legion Magazine; cover, Mettie Whipple.
EDITORIAL PRACTICE: Each issue of Science for the People is prepared by a collective, assembled from volunteers by a committee made up of the collectives of the past calendar year. A collective carries out all editorial, production, and distribution functions for one issue. The following is a distillation of the actual practice of the past collectives.
Due dates: Articles received by the first week of an odd-numbered month can generally be considered for the magazine to be issued on the 15th of the next month.
Form: One of the ways you can help is to submit double-spaced typewritten manuscripts with ample margins. If you can send six copies, that helps even more. One of the few founding principles of SESPA is’ that articles must be signed (a pseudonym is acceptable).
Criteria for acceptance: SESPA Newsletter, predecessor to Science for the People, was pledged to print everything submitted. It is no longer feasible to continue this policy, although the practice thus far has been to print all articles descriptive of SESPA/Science for the People activities. Considerably more discrimination is applied to analytical articles. These are expected to reflect the general political outlook of Science for the People. All articles are judged on the basis of length, style, subject and content.
Editorial Procedure: The content of each issue is determined by unanimous consent of the collective. Where extensive rewriting of an article is required, the preference of the collective is to discuss the changes with the author. If this is not practical, reasons for rejection are sent to the author. An attempt is made to convey suggestions for improvement. If an article is late or excluded for lack of space, or if it has non-unanimous support, it is generally passed on to the next collective.
Editorial statements: Unsigned articles are statements of the editorial collective.
Opportunities for participation: Volunteers for editorial collectives should be aware that each issue requires a substantial contribution of time and energy for an eight-week period. Help is always appreciated and provides an opportunity for the helper to learn, and for the collective to get to know a prospective member. There are presently plans to move the magazine production to other cities. This will increase the opportunity for participation. For legal purposes Science for the People has become incorporated.