About This Issue

About This Issue

by The Editorial Collective

‘Science for the People’ Vol. 6, No. 2, March 1974, p. 2 – 3

When our Editorial Collective was formed it appeared from our backgrounds, the topic of the magazine, and the general good rapport of the group that most of us had come to the group more as “people” than as “scientists.” Our expectations were that working for a political magazine might add to our own political awareness, help solidify our political philosophy, and, most importantly, ground it in reality and concrete action. Unfortunately, these expectations have not been fulfilled. The reasons why are hard to define exactly, but we feel that many of them reflect problems within SESPA/SftP which rate serious discussion and consideration.

The first problem we came up against was that of a lack of time — we were two weeks behind the normal schedule before we even began meeting as a collective. The Magazine Support Group, we were told, was in the process of soliciting and preparing articles which would be given to us for final editing. The final copies were not given to us until mid-January, at which time many still needed extensive editing. This is not an indictment of the people in the Support Group, who were also working behind-schedule from the beginning, but because it raised serious problems early in our collective. We were left with a feeling of helplessness, not knowing what the articles were like or even what we were supposed to be doing, since none of us had been on an Editorial Collective before. At this point our initial burst of enthusiasm had begun to wane, and it was becoming harder and harder to come to meetings where we did virtually nothing.

A more important problem was that when we got the “final” articles at last, we found that in large part, when viewed as a whole, they did not reflect our outlook concerning the IQ controversy. (remember we did not solicit them). To us, many of them were merely tangential, in a political sense, to understanding the significance of the issue because no article really showed how people — especially poor and non-white people — can struggle against the class weapon of IQ. The stress of almost every article was on factors of ideology and ideological control.

The issue of whether intelligence is inherited or not is at times raised to the level of “ideological struggle” between bourgeois scientists and social scientists and those who base science on the interests of the working class and oppressed peoples. This approach, when viewed only in these terms, cuts the ideological struggle away from the class struggle taken as a whole — it separates ideology from politics and economics, and worse still, from people. Yet even those articles which do look at the IQ controversy in more political and economic terms end without suggesting concrete action with which to fight and change the existing social structure which uses science, education, IQ tests, etc., to oppress and exploit people. Nowhere do the “experts” writing for this issue, the geneticists, statisticians, historians, economists, social scientists, who do point out the untruths presented by the “enemy”, show how to deal with IQ type tests day to day, on the job, or in the classroom, or how to work towards the elimination of their use. Nothing is suggested on how black people can deal with the effects IQ scores may have on their lives. In other words, the members of SESPA/SftP have shown themselves as alienated from the people. They have indicated just who the enemy is, and how and where the enemy acts. But the battle lines have not been drawn, nor have strategies been outlined for present and future battles. After reading the articles, the letters, and other copy submitted, and after looking through back issues, the class base of SESPA is all too obvious. The majority of SESPA members work in white academic circles. Too often they speak as scientists to other scientists, rather than speaking to the working class. SESPA/SftP must come to terms with a fundamental question: how strongly rooted is it in the working class? This will answer the problem of whose battle is really being fought when we are speaking out on the IQ issue and its effect on oppressed and working people.

Perhaps we should have worked harder, rewritten more, talked to the authors, etc. But this leads us to a third and equally serious problem in SftP. We didn’t know the authors, the members of the Magazine Support Group, Magazine Coordinating Committee, or even each other, since four out of five of us had never worked with SftP before. Not only did we not know how to proceed editorially, but most of us had at best vague and questionable ties to the organization and the magazine. Several of us were left with the feeling of having done the shit work — editing, typing, etc. — for an organization they had no allegience to, because the “members” of the organization were too busy (something that led to not a few bad feelings).

In looking back we wonder why (and how) this issue of the magazine was finished. What good is our political analysis and scientific truth without action? What good is a $50 vocabulary and the big ideas it obscures if nothing is done and no one is moved? In short, we feel that in order to become a more effective organization SftP must ground itself in the reality and concrete action which we ourselves were looking for when we began.

CONTRIBUTORS: Gar Allen, Kostia Bergman, Pat Brennan, Tom Cottle, Stu Flaschman, Les Levidow, Richard Lewinton, Susan Orbach, Joe Schwartz, Mike Schwartz, Janet Selcer, Mike Teel, Al Weinrub.

EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE: Susan Conrad, Ruth Crocker, Phil Czachorowski, Pat Daly, Dave Palmer.

LETTERING: Jeanne Olivier


p. 8      Earl G. Elliott
p. 18    U.S.A., Hallway A. G. Bern
p. 24    Edcentric
p. 27    Ken Williams
p. 29    Workforce
p. 30    Earl G. Elliott
p. 36    Mt. Schnapper, American Labor, A Pictorial History, Public Affairs Press

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.


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