About This Issue


by the Editorial Collective

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

Several questions are raised by the Chile article. First, to what extent can special groups like doctors be expected to divorce themselves from their associations with the dominant class and work for significant change? The article suggests that when it comes to a choice between class interests and change, most Chilean doctors chose class interests. Second, does the example of Chile constitute proof that change within a system is impossible in other countries as well? And third, what does one do toward a new system while living in an old one?

This last question led to disagreement between members of the collective. The original Chile article ended with a list suggesting what Americans might do to aid the people of Chile. We, the editorial collective, decided to eliminate those suggestions although this seems to contradict SESPA policy to provide, whenever possible, suggestions for concrete actions. This decision was made after a discussion which disclosed disagreements between us. To some of us it seems that these suggestions, calling as they do for individual actions, propagate an illusion. The Chile article itself argues and some of us think that such actions, because they are not an organized attempt to change the system, are at best fruitless and at worst counterproductive. We do not wish to translate political problems into moral terms but rather to find an effective way of translating our moral concern into political action.

Given this aim, what Americans can best do for Chile is to organize a movement capable of challenging the system effectively. This means that what we can best do for Chile is to work for revolution wherever we are. What we can do for Chile is to make a revolution in America.

This is the limit of our agreement. How to make that revolution — whether it begins with individuals or organizations; how individual action becomes collective action; when moral action (like writing letters or not buying Chilean goods) becomes political action — is still a matter of disagreement.

The two articles about engineers and computer workers touch upon a problem of the “new working class.” Three questions are raised. First, are the interests of these technical professionals fundamentally the same as those of the working class? Second, is the ideology of professionalism a tool of management or does it serve some purpose contradictory to the interests of management? Third, do the conditions under which technical professionals work tenet to diminish the differences between professionals and other workers?

Some of us would answer these questions by saying that the ideology and practice of professionalism serve only the interests of capital; that on a very fundamental level professionalism stands in the way of a communist working class conception of the social nature of production and consequently of the collective concept of responsibility.

CONTRIBUTORS: Diane Christoferson, John Dove, Larry Gardner, Mark Geiger, Minna Goldfarb, Purr McEwen, Frank Mirer, Hilary Modell, Jeanne Olivier, George Salzman, Howard Waitzkin, Women: A Journal of Liberation, Stony Brook Science for the People, the Northeast Regional Committee.

EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE: Carol Kouhia, Ken Muzal, Alex Szejman.


P. 3            Midnight Special/CPF
P. 7, 11       NACLA
P. 12           Boston Globe, CPF
P. 16           NEMCH Blues
P. 20, 21    Science for the People China Group
P. 26          CPF
P. 34          Working Papers
P. 35          Radical Therapist
P. 35          Ciencia Nueva

COVER: Sketch of an Inca Lloth

EDITORIAL PRACTICE: Each issue of Science for the People is prepared by a collective assembled from volunteers by the magazine coordinating committee. 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 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 a twelve-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. Science for the People is now available in microfilm from Xerox University Microfilms, 300 North Zeeb Rd.,. Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106, (313) 761-4700.


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