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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  January 2005

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE January 2005

Subject:

Re: John Vidal of The Guardian on the Chapela case

From:

George Salzman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 11:45:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (132 lines)

Oaxaca, Monday, January 24, 2005

A couple of extra thoughts.

      Fishing out the Science for Humane Survival handout from ten years ago
made me think again of those courses. Given my understanding of what the
university was all about, naturally I tried to teach in a way that would
subvert the true purpose of the institution. That particular handout,
"Colleges and Universities from Coast to Coast: Who Runs Them? And for What
Purpose" isn't on my website, but I will post it sometime soon, in the
Science for Humane Survival folder, at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/SfHS/.

      One of the things I see as a shortcoming of our list is that many of
the postings are simply items from the corporate media, offered to us
without additional information. But even the "better" commercial media
rarely present material with adequate context to suggest meaningful
responses. That's because they are also part of the "head fixing" industry,
 like the educational establishment, whose real purpose is to mis-shape our
thinking so that we will act in ways that do not effect any substantive
changes in the status quo.

      Of course there are occasional exceptions, particular reporters like
Robert Fisk of the Independent (UK), who are always worth reading, but in
general the mass media would be better shunned and replaced, in our search
for understanding, by increased reliance on the grassroots communication and
news infrastructure. Where would you learn, for example, that a marvelous
popular struggle, based on grassroots organizing in the city of El Alto in
Bolivia, just succeeded a few days ago in forcing the Bolivian government to
cancel the contract for water distribution that was held by a French
international company that was exploiting especially the poor sections of
the city with exorbitant charges for water services. And in that struggle,
which lasted almost a half year, no one was killed or, according to the
report in NarcoNews (http://www.narconews.com/), suffered any injuries.
Sounds miraculous. We should know these things, and be inspired by them, but
of course that's not the kind of inspiration the owners of the corporate
media want us to experience.

      Towards the end of 2003, when I was trying to help revive Al
Giordano's NarcoNews website by seeking support, I sent in a check for
$1,000 and pledged to contribute the same amount in each of the next two
years if they got back up and running. I must know at least 100 people who
could easily contribute $1,000 towards building the grassroots
communications infrastructure without its having a significant financial
impact on their lives, and I was hoping to help raise $100,000 at that time.
Yet the only person of whom I know that actually contributed $1,000 was
Maurice Bazin of our group. I think we ought to ask ourselves which side of
the struggle to make a better world are we really on? Most
medium-level-income Americans consume far more than our fair share of the
world's wealth. Unless that changes, conditions in much of the world, and
even in the U.S., cannot get better. Are we willing to give up some of our
class privileges? Clearly I'm trying to subvert "The American Way."

      To be a professor, like being a Franciscan, is to suffer from an
incurable disease -- the need to teach, or at least to try to. I thought I
was done with the Science for Humane Survival courses when I retired in
1997, but the courses apparently weren't done with me. Recently I got an e-mail,

Subject: notes from a 1978 graduate in VT
From: <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 21:54:45 -0500
To: <[log in to unmask]>

George,

I don't know why, but I googled the best class I have ever taken "Science
for Humane Survival" and my god there it was. And your picture.......

The class was big when I took it with about 200 other students in 1976 or
77. I am here to let you know just how much your class has impacted my life.
I used to bus into "the haba campus" from downtown Brockton where I had been
living. I worked 30 hours a week and went full time so I didn't spend much
time on campus. One thing I did do though was sit in on the class even after
I had taken them, that is how much they meant to me. After 2 grad school
degrees, Master in Special Education and another in Management I am
currently working in a community mental health center in Rutland Vermont,
Director of the Crisis Team. My last son is a sophomore at Castleton State
College and I am laying out plans for the future. I have been involved with
the Vermont Earth Institute http://www.vtearthinstitute.org organizing
discussion courses on Voluntary Simplicity, Deep Ecology, Choices in
Sustainable Communities to name a few when not at work. This weekend I am
thinking about abandoning my career for 1 year, and chronicle my exploits on
the web somewhere. I think back on "Feet For Transportation" you taught us
years ago, and I am so grateful for. I am visiting straw bale homes and
unlike my parents who live in a retirement community in Florida, my goal is
to live as "softly" as possible. I can't imagine the impact you have had on
others, but I just wanted to send a letter along of thanks. I thought you
just might like to know.

Peace

Mike O'Brien
http://www.betraytheage.blogspot.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Subject: Re: notes from a 1978 graduate in VT
From: George Salzman <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 22:49:16 -0600
To: Mike O'Brien <[log in to unmask]>

Oaxaca, Saturday, December 4, 2004

Dear Mike,

      Great surprise to get your note, and what a boost for my ego! I'll
write more when I can. At the moment I'm working to complete my article,
"Blessed be the killers, Part III" in which I suggest a strategy for getting
rid of the Bush regime. My life continues almost frantically busy -- still
trying to contribute to a social order for Humane Survival. My wife Freda
died in 1981 of cancer (stress-aided, I'm sure, by the rotten administrators
at UMass). I've glanced at your blog site,
http://www.betraytheage.blogspot.com, and will return and read some of your
entries. My own website, started in connection with the Science for Humane
Survival course, has grown a lot since then. These days I'm doing mostly
writing, and will add you to my e-mail distribution list so that you'll get
my counter-propaganda rants. The radical science group that influenced my
thinking a lot during the Vietnam War period, Science for the People, is
somewhat resuscitated, but so far only on the web. If you're interested, you
can go to the archives page, and if you want, subscribe yourself. It's an
open discussion listserv operating out of the Univ of Vermont. The URL is
http://list.uvm.edu/archives/science-for-the-people.html. It's wonderful to
learn how constructively you're working and living. I have been living in
southern Mexico since Sept 1999, but coming to the States each summer for
2-3 months. Maybe we can get together this next summer to catch up a little.

      Many, many thanks for writing. Would you mind if I share your letter
with friends, especially with the Science for the People group? It feels so
good to get an unsolicited compliment. Actually it was always the students
at UMB who sustained me, never the administrators.

All the best,
George

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