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About This Issue
‘Science for the People’ Vol. 9, No. 4, July/August 1977, p. 4
The stability of capitalism in the US depends a lot on the fact that many of our society’s most serious problems are exported abroad. Labor unrest can be minimized by setting up unskilled labor industries in countries where wages are cheap and laws repressive. Pollution problems are postponed by building supersized oil refineries in places like Puerto Rico rather than on the mainland. The costs of energy and raw materials to industry here are lowered by propping up those Third World governments most willing to let their country’s natural wealth flow freely into the hands of North American multinational corporations. The oppressive relationships created by neo-colonialism and imperialism have many aspects, some of which are detailed in two articles in this issue.
Leah Margulies, in “Exporting Infant Malnutrition,” describes the marketing practices used by infant formula manufacturers looking for profits abroad, now that markets in “developed” countries are saturated. The unethical means used to push sales are especially damaging in countries of the Third World, where the product is not only unnecessary but critically endangers the health of the population.
The article on political repression in Argentina describes the extent to which a country’s leadership will go to achieve total control over its people. This control is necessary in order to institute economic and social policies that are against the interests of most of the population and that favor a select grouping of the ruling and foreign multinationals. Whereas Western press makes much of the plight of dissident scientists in Soviet-bloc countries, little mention is made of repression of scientists and technical workers in client states of the US.
The article also points out that, while Argentina is part of the Third World, it is similar in several ways to the developed capitalist countries of Europe and North America. If the U.S. turns to fascism, it may happen in a manner similar to that described in the article: beginning with legal measures against workers’ and leftist activity, combined with unofficial but state-supported right-wing terrorist actions, followed by the merging of legal and “illegal” repression, all of this assisted by sophisticated technology.
Several articles have appeared in recent issues of Science for the People focussing on the dangers of nuclear power and why it is being pushed as a solution to an “energy crisis.” The November-December “Current Opinion” supported the aims and approach of the Clamshell Alliance. This past May, Clamshell organized a massive occupation of the site of a proposed nuclear reactor in Seabrook, New Hampshire. The strength and depth of people’s opposition has been evidenced by the willingness of over I ,400 non-violent demonstrators to be arrested and spend two weeks in Meldrim Thomson’s armories.
Among those arrested were several members of Science for the People. We asked them to write accounts of their experiences and feelings about events at Seabrook. These and other reports from New Hampshire suggest that the methods used by Clamshell to stop the nukes are a model, not only for protests by middle-class college students, but for efforts by all people interested in gaining and exercising control over our own lives. As was the case with the Vietnam War, the proliferation of nuclear power threatens, and can therefore unite, all Americans.