ABOUT THIS ISSUE
by the Editorial Collective
Hard Times are beginning to touch our daily lives. Food prices go up. Fuel prices go up. Inflation reduces our real earnings. Economic recession and the spectre of Depression mean that the hardships previously experienced by only some groups, will begin to reach more of us. Oil company ads tell us it’s all due to poor planning. The government blames it on the Arabs. Others blame it on overpopulation or consumer greediness, or claim that the problems are inevitable. But we think that as long as our energy resources are managed for the profit of a few, rather than for the benefit of the majority, as long as food is grown for profit rather than to feed people, as long as we are at the mercy of coporate managers — we will bear the hard times and they will spend the profits.
Too often scientific and technical workers have considered what are social and economic problems from a narrow technological point of view. As in previous issues, we present articles which analyze the forces controlling critical sectors of the economy. For instance, the energy article lays out clearly and succinctly the ways in which our energy resources have been manipulated to maximize oil industry profits to the detriment of the rest of the economy.
Two shorter pieces discuss the control of food production. The first of these is the Health and Nutrition Column which emphasizes the dominant role of giant corporations in defining our food supply. The second, the Soyabean article, shows the sutble ways in which technology is exported, supposedly to increase the food supply, but in fact to open up new markets for expensive food processing technology.
In the same vein, the report on the World Population Conference in Bucharest analyzes the so-called population crisis. Those who emphasize this crisis entirely ignore the causes of rapid population increase in the Third World, the factors sustaining this increase, and the factors preventing the deceleration of this increase. The disruption of the Third World with the onset of European imperialism, beginning in the 17th century and continuing until the present century, was the basic cause of the rapid population growth. The revolution in social structure in these countries caused by imperialism can not create the material preconditions for the eventual levelling off of such population growth. Thus, population remains the primary source of productive energy in the Third World today.
We believe in the pressing need to improve the quality of life for people in all walks of life. But we are faced with the inequalities — inequalities between the lives of different groups of people. As the economic situation worsens, the divisions between those who benefit and those who bear the burden become clearer. The way scientific workers approach the relevant issues becomes a pressing political question. Two articles focus on social and political action at scientific meetings. In one case, the American Public Health Association meetings, and in the other, AAAS meetings, past and future. One describes progressive actions at the present APHA meeting. The second analyzes past SftP activities at AAAS meetings, and recommends against such actions in the future. The two articles printed on the topic generated the most discussion and disagreement within the collective, and were in fact a focus of general ideological differences. Essentially, the debate dealt with: (1) potential of public-interest science, and the question of whether SftP should support or reject the more liberal elements of the scientific community; (2) the aims of this magazine in reaching people with different ideologies, and yet in retaining a coherent political view, and (3) the distinction between those attending the Conference and those organizing it. The collective reached unity only on the fact that a clear distinction must be drawn between these two groups. The other issues were not resolved, and rather than extend the debate here, we have printed both articles in the hopes that the questions will be considered by the entire organization.
CONTRIBUTORS:The Genetic Engineering Group, URPE, N.Y. Science for the People, Bob Park, Michael Carder, Al Weinrub, Allen Silverstone, Sue Taffier, K.R. Bhattacharya, Northeast Regional Committee.
EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE:Bill Haseltine, Jon King, Frank Mirer, Anne Sevin, Ken Strauss.
p. 1 Jeff Petchek/Somerville Media Action Project
p. 3 This Magazine
p. 5 CPF
p. 9 URPE
p. 13 URPE
p. 14 CPF
p. 15 LNS/CPF
p. 20 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin
p. 26 Guardian/CPF
p. 29 Her-Self/CPF
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 an 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.