About This Issue


by The Editorial Collective

‘Science for the People’ Vol. 6, No. 3, May 1974, p. 2 – 4

“Once started, a journal must be run conscientiously and well. This is a responsibility of the readers as well as staff. It is very important for the readers to send in suggestions and write brief articles indicating what they like, and what they dislike, for this is the only way to make a journal a success.”

— Mao Tse-tung

It all started at a January meeting, when one of our members came up with a rather bizarre suggestion. “Since the magazine coordinating committee was thinking about moving the magazine collective to chapters outside of Boston, why couldn’t we do an issue?” “What?” we gasped. “I said, why don’t we do the magazine?” “Well……. (gulp)” Anyway, soon we were on the phone with Boston… “We wouldn’t have to do layout, would we? … Oh, we would.” “Well, what about soliciting articles? … That too, huh.” “No, we’re not changing our minds ….. (double gulp).”

Now you realize none of us knew the first thing about magazine production. But the good old magazine coordinating committee was quick to respond to our dilemma. They sent us a production schedule and a few suggestions on “how to edit a magazine.” Needless to say, the schedule didn’t include, “How to spend four hours arguing over something you really agreed upon the whole time” or “How to spend two days sending out letters for chapter contributions that never get answered” or even “How to tell your boss that you had just put your head down, and it really wasn’t snoring she heard.”

We did learn to understand each other despite our various nervous disorders and attacks of sleeping sickness. Some of us even improved our spelling, not to mention grammar. And of course we did lots of reading and sorting out of ideas. It really helped to sharpen our understanding and analysis of behavior modification and the historical and material factors surrounding its use.

We’ve learned that history is characterized by conflict. We’ve been involved in and have witnessed people’s struggles against oppressive conditions (low wages, alienating work, poor living  conditions). Some of this activity performed by individuals, is spontaneous and desperate in nature. A good deal involves organized, politically conscious, militant group action. In either case, the ruling class is unwilling to make the necessary political change. They attempt to stop the activity itself and conceal the social causes of dissent by blaming, punishing and isolating the individual.

Toward this end, different tactics may be employed. These range in form from direct physical brutality (gassing, clubbing, shooting) to more subtle techniques (behavior therapy). From “Solitary is an Old Story,” we learn that the “medical model” of behavior therapy is an extension of old ideas; penitance, prison, solitary. In either case, the “professionals” attempt to eradicate symptoms rather than causes.

The March issue of Science for the People reported on pseudo-science as a weapon in the attack against minority populations through the manufacture and manipulation of intelligence quotients (IQ). In a similar fashion, behavior modification is used to justify the manipulation of individuals displaying “undesirable behavior.” In both cases it is important to understand who defines the concepts of IQ, violence and acceptable behavior, and to what ends.

We find that in the relationship between oppression and resistance, the latter is usually condemned and labelled “violent.” This issue is explored in “Genocide of the Mind.” While describing various behavior modification techniques. the article exposes the rationale given by persons who profit from these practices.

To view behavior modification as the “cure for violence” then, is to ignore the social nature of violence. An extreme, though characteristic approach to violence appeared in the American Medical Journal after the 1967 Detroit riots. (See “Violence Center” article.) Here Drs. Ervin and Mark present the view that ghetto riots are caused by brain damaged (hence violent) individuals. We don’t deny the possibility that brain damage may cause individual acts of violence. However, to attribute a social phenomenon to biological functions is necessary only if one wishes to eradicate the riots and not the oppression of ghetto life. The article on the UCLA Violence Center uncovers the relationship between universities, research centers, funding agencies and “eager experts,” as studies are used to justify maintaining the status quo. For instance, none of these “experts” advocate that William Calley or the illustrious families who gave us the Banana Republics be behavior modified. Yet when an unemployed, exploited person loots a store, researchers receive grants to create a cure for “violent individuals.” From the Violence Center article and the statements appearing in “Prisoners’ Verdict” we see that prisoners (and other subjects) have become aware and then enlisted support in averting individual programs. In this way, federally funded programs such as START (See “Genocide of the Mind“) have been closed.

In “Now, Kids… ” we learn how the scientifically meaningless term “hyperactivity” is used to label and isolate “rebellious” children. These same children are used by researchers and drug companies for experimental purposes to push “wonder drug cures.” Again, an intense community struggle proved important in thwarting one such project.

While mass action to eliminate individual programs is important, it is not a long term solution, in itself. The liberal viewpoint stresses the notion that systematic violence, as witnessed in behavior modification programs, is merely a moral aberration of an otherwise sound system. One merely as to eliminate a particular, brutal program and everything will again be perfect. We maintain that in present day U.S. society, violence is a mode of existence with its most widespread and extreme applications found in the everyday functioning of the ruling class. In this respect, as the Violence Center article indicates, as long as the material bases for this exploitation remain intact, such programs will invariably arise, in new forms under different guises.

The final point we wish to raise in this issue is that science is not value free. Once oppression was carried out in the name of God. Today it is justified in the name of science. Like religion in the past, today science is mystified by technical jargon and unnecessary complications, rendering it inaccessible to public understanding. It is only when science is used against the people that it must be cloaked in mystique. Hence, in order to establish a science which will serve the real needs of the majority, it is necessary to expose the nature of pseudo-science. It is in this spirit that we put together the May issue of Science for the People.

NOTICE: An important part of the work of Science for the People is putting our ideas into practice. The two boxes on this page indicate actions that urgently need our support.

Ed. Note


At the Northeast regional conference in the fall, 1973 (see SftP Vol. VI, No. 1, Jan. 1974) the issues of racism, sexism, and elitism within SESPA–Science for the People were raised. Specifically, many of us were concerned that questions of the position of women, minority groups, and technical workers within Science for the People were not being dealt with adequately. The conference passed a resolution that chapters should start discussion of these matters and that the magazine should publish reports of them. Therefore we suggest that a special section of the magazine be devoted to these questions. We hope that people will respond by sending articles for this page—songs, ideas, stories, complaints, comments, suggestions, reports—especially within the spirit of the resolution from the regional conference.

SftP Magazine Co-ordinating Committee



“Forty-three citizens of New York State died at Attica Correctional Facility between September 9 and 13, 1971. Thirty-nine of that number were killed and more than eighty others were wounded by gunfire during the fifteen minutes it took the State Police to retake the prison on September 13. With the exception of the Indian massacres in the
late nineteenth century, the State Police assault which ended the four-day uprising was the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War.”

Official Report of the
New York State Commission
on Attica, 1972.
(Available in paperback)

On April 29, 1974 the 61 indicted Attica Brothers’ trials are beginning. They collectively face over 60,000 years imprisonment as a result of the 42 indictments issued. An estimated 60–75 separate trials could take place, tying up the Buffalo court system for nearly six years, costing millions of dollars. Concerned citizens who wish to support the defense should contact the Attica Brothers Legal Defense, 1370 Main Street, New York 14209. The telephone number is (716) 884-4423. They need money, court observers, people to help out. If you want to keep informed, write for the Attica Brothers Legal Defense newsletter to ABLD Newsletter, Box No.7, Station G, Buffalo, New York 14213.

CONTRIBUTORS: Christopher Dominico, Anne Eisner, Joe Heath, Al Huebner, Nancy Jervis, Randy Knight, Dick Leigh, Jon Levine, Kathy O’Brien, Edward Sanchez, Christopher Sutherland, Charles Wise-Bey, Chicago Southside Chapter and Terry Kupers.

EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE: Elyse Berlly, Ann Crawford, Minna Goldfarb, Kosta, Douglas Schiff.

This magazine was produced by members of Stony Brook Science for the People on Long Island, New York.

LAYOUT: Carol Cina, John Kalish.

SPECIAL THANKS: Peter Breggin, Eric Entemann, Sara Lenox, Al Weinrub, Riley and Margot Bostrom.

Cover     Beyhan Durgut
p. 7         Pat Oliphant
p. 8         Stony Brook Medical School
p. 10       Liberation News Service ( LNS)
p. 11        LNS
p. 14       LNS
p. 18       Syracuse Sun
p. 20       LNS
p. 22       LNS
p. 28      The N.Y. Post
p. 31       LNS
p. 34       LNS
p. 37       Maurice Bazin
p. 38      Bonnie Mass


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 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 descrimination 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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