Science for the People arose in 1969 out of the anti-war movement and lasted until 1989. With a Marxist analysis and non-hierarchical governing structure, Science for the People tackled the militarization of scientific research, the corporate control of research agendas, the political implications of sociobiology and other scientific theories, the environmental consequences of energy policy, inequalities in health care, and many other issues.

     Its members opposed racism, sexism, and classism in science and above all sought to mobilize people working in scientific fields to become active in agitating for science, technology, and medicine that would serve social needs rather than military and corporate interests. They organized in universities and communities, published a magazine offering sharp political analysis, and sought meaningful scientific exchange internationally in Vietnam, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other countries.

     Some of the issues we face today have changed in important ways, but fundamental questions of power, ideology, and democracy in science remain. The time is ripe to gather SftP veterans with other scientists, activists, students, and scholars in an exploration of what the history of SftP can teach us… and where we go from here.

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1 comment:

  1. Ah, thanks for the optimism and vitality of youth! To bring about UM divestment of dirty energy stocks will be a long, very hard slog. The principle of U of M's Regents and top administrators, and hence their investment strategy, is CAPITALISM. Sadly, I only heard this term slightly mentioned twice at the recent climate change forum in Rackham Aud. Capitalism dictates maximizing short-term private financial profits. Big Fossil Fuels is a key avenue (simply extract them from the earth).
    As a young UM professor of geography, I was active in the early 1970s movement to divest from companies making profits from Apartheid South Africa. The Black Action Movement (BAM) led the effort. I helped reveal that then-UM-president Robben Fleming was on the board of directors of John Deere, a prominent offender. The fight was very hard, but, I think, much easier than the current challenge of divestment from Dirty Energy. Dirty Energy "investment" constitutes about $1 BILLION of our portfolio. (All UM community members need to keep talking about OUR investment.)
    Incidentally, I was a pioneer advocate of our present energy concerns. In the mid-1970's I taught the course "Low Energy Living" which always closed out with 400+ students! So, numerous parents--or even grandparents--shared the energy concerns of many current students.
    Although I have retired from the classroom, I recently returned to Ann Arbor and plan to keep fighting for environmental justice. I am creating a poster to advocate UM divestment from Dirty Energy, which I would like to share with activists.
    Tom Detwyler (BS, Botany, 1960; Geography faculty, 1966-78), tdetwyler@gmail.com, 7 Nov 2017