Oaxaca, Monday, January 24, 2005
Ignacio Chapela’s struggle to tell the truth, and the Univ of
California Berkeley campus’ effort to suppress it, made it into The Guardian
(UK) on Jan 19th, and both Robert Mann (New Zealand) and Maurice Bazin
(Brasil) brought it to our attention. Many academics, including those in the
Science for the People group, are very troubled by the threat to so-called
academic freedom -- basically freedom to tell the truth -- that Chapela’s
firing quite clearly spells out.
I think we are troubled because (aside from deploring the injustice to
Chapela) we still hold the idealistic quaint notion that the academy stands
on a lofty summit above the turmoil and corruption that everyone knows
thoroughly permeates day-to-day commerce and politics. We want to cling to
our ideal. As academics we are loath to accept as fact that the academy is
not only not apart from the filth and dishonesty and brutality of the
society at large, but that it is a major source of the ideology that helps
the dominant élites control “the common people.” I was once told by an IWW
(Industrial Workers of the World) union organizer, when I said I didn’t
qualify for membership because I wasn’t an industrial worker, “Sure you are.
You’re in the head-fixing industry.” He was right. That’s the real purpose
of the entire educational establishment, including the “great” universities.
Exactly ten years to the day before John Vidal’s article in The
Guardian, I distributed to my students a course handout, the beginning of
which I want to share with you. It points to the reality that all of us wish
were not so, and that we struggle against, but, as Upton Sinclair showed
with no punches pulled, was part and parcel of all the so-called “great”
universities since before many of us were born. Sinclair couldn’t get a
publisher for his The Goose Step: A Study of American Education. So he
published it himself, in 1923. Here's the beginning of the handout.
Colleges and Universities from Coast to Coast.
Who Runs Them? And for What Purpose
handout reprinted for use in
SCIENCE FOR HUMANE SURVIVAL
—Science for the People courses—
at Oglala Lakota College, PO Box 490, Kyle, SD 57752
January 19, 1995
The idea that American universities are or ever were (even if only as
an ideal) bastions guarding an untrammeled search for value-free, objective
knowledge and supporting the widespread diffusion of such knowledge is one
of the myths that university presidents and other such public relations
employees are forever eager to propagate. From the first article reprinted
below we learn however, of "a meeting of top level business leaders and
élite university presidents . . . assembled to promote what Howard W.
Johnson, chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called [in
either an unguarded moment or a blush of naive and unusual candor] 'the
symbiosis between the private corporation and the private university'"
These "great" universities also strive to maintain their freedom from
bias by existing in symbiosis with the government and its various agencies,
even the most notorious of them.
President Johnson of M.I.T. is probably not quite so candid in letting
it be known that "Massachusetts Institute of Technology is still the largest
university recipient of Department of Defense (DOD) [Department of War
(DOW)] funds, according to a DOD analysis of its top 500 R&D [Research and
Development] contractors in fiscal 1973. With $124 million in military
contracts, MIT ranked 15th, a notch below IBM and one above Westinghouse"
according to the March 8, 1974 issue of Science magazine, Vol. 183, p. 936.
The second and third reprinted articles also illustrate the controls
used to prevent honest research and teaching that threaten important
interests of the dominant societal groups. That these practices are rooted
in the economic system and have firm historical precedent is indicated by
the excerpts from Upton Sinclair's The Goose Step: A Study of American
Education of half a century ago (1923), which follow these contemporary news
--George Salzman, June 23, 1974
Curb Asked on Gifts to Colleges
reprinted from The New York Times of October 18, 1973
David Packard Bids Business Restrict Aid to Education
By MARILYN BENDER
Corporations should no longer make unrestricted gifts to private education,
David Packard, chairman of the Hewlett-Packard Company told a meeting of top
level business leaders and elite university presidents yesterday.
The former Deputy Secretary of Defense said that boards of trustees could no
longer be counted on to spend the money in ways the corporation could defend
to its stockholders.
"Almost every board of trustees must have its members selected from a wide
array of constituents: students, faculty, alumni, various ethnic groups,
etc.," Mr. Packard declared in a luncheon address sponsored by the Committee
for Corporate Support of American Universities at the University Club.
Formerly, most of the trustees of the major private universities were also
corporate officers and their judgment could be trusted with unrestricted
funds, he indicated.
Militant Minority on Faculties Gaining Power, Packard Says
"Moreover, much of the power has gone to the faculty, and too often faculty
decisions are determined by a militant minority of the faculty," he added.
Mr. Packard said he was no longer convinced by the "bell cow theory" that
the great private universities give distinctive leadership to all of higher
education in America. He questioned whether trustees should "sit as sole
judge of the social responsibility of each American corporation and use this
as a basis for deciding whether its stock should be held in the university
He also alluded to "kicking R.O.T.C. programs off the campus . . .
prohibiting business from recruiting on the campus" and said that a survey
by an unnamed trustee showed that 90 per cent of students believe as they
have been taught "that American corporations are evil and deserve to be
brought under government control."
Mr. Packard recommended that corporations support the leading private
universities but give the funds for specified programs and to schools and
departments which "also contribute in some specific way to our individual
companies, or to the general welfare of our free enterprise system."
His speech was clearly an embarrassing disappointment to the committee and
to the educators who had assembled to promote what Howard W. Johnson,
chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called "the symbiosis
between the private corporation and the private university."
The other university heads present were: Derek C. Bok, president of Harvard
University; Dale Corson, president of Cornell University; Edward Levi,
president of the University of Chicago; Martin Meyers, president of the
University of Pennsylvania, and William F. Miller, vice president and
provost of Stanford University.
Corporate philanthropy to higher education has declined in part because of
businessmen's disgust with campus unrest, it is generally conceded in
fund-raising circles. In 1972, corporate giving to both private and public
education amounted to $340-million or less than one per cent of pre-tax
earnings of contributing companies. Five years before, corporations gave
$375-million to colleges and universities.
Students Rally at Berkeley
reprinted from The [New York] Guardian of June 19, 1974
By JOHN KEILCH®MDNM¯
Guardian Bay Area Bureau, Berkeley
Over 3000 University of California students engaged in a week-long series of
rallies and sit-ins early in June, in one of the largest demonstrations to
hit the Berkeley campus in years.
The students were protesting the administration's plans to close the School
of Criminology and to restructure the Ethnic Studies programs. Both the
"Crim School' and Ethnic Studies are enclaves for radical faculty members,
whose courses enjoy great popularity among students.
University authorities, disturbed at this breakdown of bourgeois ideological
hegemony, are moving with determination to eliminate the radicals' incursion
into the academy.
On June 5, 100 heavily armed riot police were called on campus by University
Chancellor Albert Bowker to disperse a student occupation of Haviland Hall,
where the School of Criminology has been located.
Ironically, the riot squad secured the shutdown of a school which had
originally been designed to produce "professionals" for law enforcement and
corrections agencies, particularly the police. To a large extent, the School
of Criminology still serves this purpose: 30 percent of the 1970-72
graduates are now employed in the criminal justice system.
But in the past five years a left-oriented school of thought has emerged,
centered around radical faculty members Tony Platt, Herman Schwendinger,
Paul Takagi and Barry Krisberg, and a number of radical graduate students.
Characterizing themselves as "radical criminologists," these teachers and
students have worked for community control of the police in Berkeley
elections, helped high school students organize to oppose Justice
Department-funded, police-in-the-school and identification programs and
lobbied against the proposed Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence
at UCLA (a laboratory for psychosurgery and behavior modification
experiments on prisoners).
The radicals also pressed to change the structure and content of the school
itself. A policy of admitting 50 percent third world and women was adopted.
David DuBois, editor of the Black Panther newspaper and radical lawyer
Barbara Dudley were hired as visiting professors. Courses included such
guest lecturers as former Ramparts editor Robert Scheer, author Paul Jacobs,
Black Panthers Elaine Brown and Ericka Huggins, and such films as "The
Battle of Algiers," "Growing Up Female," "The Murder of Fred Hampton" and
"The Winter Soldier Investigation."
Ideologically, the radical criminologists taught that legally defined
"criminals" were really victims and focused instead on the activities of the
wealthy and privileged who are beyond incrimination under the present system.
"Any objective study of the sources of crime," explains instructor Barbara
Dudley, "leads to the conclusion that it is poverty and injustice which
drive people into petty crime and that the most grotesque forms of theft and
corruption go unpunished. Any method of detection of 'criminal types' points
directly at the White House and this is unacceptable to Chancellor Bowker."
The attempt to "sanitize" the School of Criminology began with the denial of
tenure to Tony Platt in 1969 and continued with the denial of tenure to
Herman Schwendinger in 1973. But this customary method of academic
repression was ineffective in weakening the position of the radical
criminologists and the administration decided last year to take the
unprecedented act of eliminating the entire school. Bowker plans to replace
it with a "safe" interdepartmental program in criminal justice.
Although Bowker postponed announcing the decision to close the school until
"dead week" when students were preparing for finals, the response was
intense. A student and faculty Committee to Save the Crim School organized
sit-ins on four separate occasions preceding and after the announcement.
Broad student support was expressed in rallies and mass marches on the campus.
reprinted from the November 1972 issue of Environment
Dr. George W. Cornwell, wildlife ecology professor at the University of
Florida [was denied tenure by the university last winter, which means, in
effect, that his contract will be terminated this year.]
Ironically, Dr. Cornwell received the University of Florida Intrafraternity
Council 1971-1972 award for excellence in teaching this year. Last fall he
received a 3.5 out of a possible score of 4.0 on his students' evaluation of
his teaching ability and has scored high marks in student evaluations since
coming to Florida in 1967. The School of Forestry, which denied Dr.
Cornwell, contends that he has not fulfilled his research responsibilities
at the university and does not fit into the "future plans and directions of
the school." Dr. Cornwell appealed the decision to the University Committee
on Academic Freedom and Tenure, and during the first portion of the
hearings, he countered the charges of the Forestry Department by displaying
the nine Master of Science in Forestry theses he has chaired (41 percent of
the total for the department), the 37 papers he has published in refereed
journals (about one-third the total school output), the 18 research
proposals he has authored or co-authored, and the 23 research projects he
has been involved in. Since coming to the university in 1967, Dr. Cornwell
has demonstrated the greatest academic productivity of anyone in the entire
Forestry School, which totals twenty faculty members.
When Dr. Cornwell came to the university there were 31 students enrolled in
Wildlife Ecology. Last fall the program had 81 students, an increase
attributable in great part to the rising concern over environmental
deterioration and the strong leadership Dr. Cornwell gave to the program.
. . . Dr. Cornwell has been one of Florida's most effective
environmentalists. He was one of the original founders of Conservation 70s,
the Florida Conservation Foundation, and The Florida Defenders of the
Environment, which led the successful fight against the Cross Florida Barge
Canal. He is advisor to the student Environmental Action Group (EAG), which
recently won a highly publicized battle to stop a four-lane highway from
slicing directly through the campus, a plan that the university
administration was short-sightedly in favor of, and consequently came into
direct and prolonged conflict with EAG. In 1970, Dr. Cornwell was awarded
the Florida Governors Conservation Award in recognition for his many
environmental contributions, far too numerous to list.
Dr. Cornwell's environmental role often brings him into direct conflict with
forestry practices advocated and taught by faculty of the Forestry School,
and his philosophy on environmental management frequently clashes with
administrators of the university's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Science, especially over the use of DDT and other hard pesticides.
. . . As a student of Dr. Cornwell, I have come to admire his convictions,
his intelligence, his capability as a leader, and his willingness to lay it
on the line for what he believes. The hearings have been in process for some
months now and promise to continue for many more. The university has
provided unlimited legal funds to the School of Forestry, while Dr. Cornwell
must finance his own defense. Students, friends, and colleagues of Dr.
Cornwell have formed a legal defense fund to provide help; however, legal
costs have exceeded $5,000, and money is of the essence if the battle is to
be continued. Those interested in aiding in this struggle are asked to send
their contributions to: The Cornwell Defense Fund, P.O. Box 13062,
University Station, Gainesville, Florida 32601.
--E. CURRY HUTCHINSON
Some introductory notes to The Goose-Step
added by G. S., January 14, 1975
The other day I was talking to Robert Shope, a philosophy faculty
member who is offering a course in the philosophy of science. He was
disappointed that so few students had enrolled, however, he thought that the
course material was in reality quite complex and unlikely ever to attract
very many undergraduates. One of the major topics he had listed was, "Is
science value-loaded or value-free?," and I remarked that that theme was an
important — even crucial — one in the Science for Humane Survival course,
where student interest was very high.So we wondered together how much our
active interests in such themes ovelapped, and it soon seemed the answer was
— probably not very much. We are both convinced that science is not at all
value-free. Shope's interest tends towards such questions as whether it is
possible to make deductions in arriving at ethical systems (which are also
of course not value-free) in ways that are similarly structured logically to
the internal logic of scientific disciplines. In other words, can ethics be
"derived" as sciences are, or is ethics irrevocably arbitrary?
It's the question that Bronowski attempts to answer (affirmatively) in
his essay "Science and Human Values," (in the December 29, 1956 issue of The
Nation magazine). I think the question is interesting, but not very
important in the real world. In a world where hundreds of millions of human
beings are needlessly famished and suffering untold agonies of many kinds,
it seems to me that whether or not ethics can be "derived" is really — to
use the common jargon — just a philosophical exercise.
This is not to say that I am critical of it, any more than I am
critical of other pursuits of "the high culture." The theories of cosmology
in physics are certainly very interesting, as are studies in abstruse fields
of mathematics and logic, as are, I am sure, studies in the theories of art
and music, and so forth. The justification for such pursuits, I would argue,
ought to be that they give us pleasure and/or enrich our understanding. In
my view that would be enough, and I could not argue with them. A society
with surplus can use the surplus for a variety of luxuries — and why not
support philosophical and cosmological speculations among them — if they
give pleasure to people?
Of course, the reality in our world is that many people are deprived
of necessities to provide surpluses used to support and provide pleasure for
other people, privileged people. Most of us who are privileged are aware in
some degree of this one-sided "siphoning-off" process, and most of us don't
want to feel that we are part of a morally reprehensible social arrangement
in which we benefit by hurting other people, however indirectly. If,
therefore, some real utility attaches to the things we do to gain a
livelihood we feel better about them. It seems to me that this is probably
part of the reason why so often among academics one hears them argue about
the usefulnes — the utility of their particular pursuits. The society
reinforces such beliefs in a variety of ways, most directly of course by
rewarding (paying) people to engage in such surplus pursuits, by awarding
them prestige if they are highly successful, and in general by promoting the
high culture, which is comprised of these pursuits.
The educational establishment is one of the means for promoting and
supporting the development and diffusion of the high culture. While
educational institutions play other, more directly utilitarian roles — like
training people how to build bridges that don't collapse in the wind and how
to design electric motors — the promotion of the high culture is also an
important task, for it helps give the illusion of living in a society that
is civilized and devoted to genteel pursuits even when this is far from the
Upton Sinclair's great muckraking book, The Goose-Step: A Study of
American Education, which he published himself in 1923, ought to be "must"
reading for all college and university faculty, to help them perceive the
reality of their own lives. The book consists of ninety-three brief
chapters, of which I have included in the following only chapters I through
V, and a bit of VI, which tell of Sinclair's own experiences up through
college at The University of the House of [John Pierpont] Morgan, popularly
known as Columbia University, and chapters XIV through XIX, which describe
The University of Lee-Higginson, alas better known as Harvard University.
Make sure you read this dynamite right through to the end. The last
paragraph focuses powerfully on Harvard's promotion of the high culture, and
shows that Sinclair understands clearly wherefrom that surplus comes which
provides the material basis for sustaining these esoteric pursuits. He writes,
. . . I have a list of some of the titles of "theses in English,"
accepted for the Ph.D. degree by Harvard University in the last ten years,
and representing Harvard's view of general culture. Slaves in Boston's great
department store, in which Harvard University owns twenty-five hundred
shares of stock, be reconciled to your long hours and low wages and sentence
to die of tuberculosis because upon the wealth which you produce some
learned person has prepared for mankind full data on "The Strong Verb in
Chaucer." Policemen who have had your strike smashed by Harvard students,
rest content with your starvation wages — because one of these students has
enlightened mankind on "The Syntax of the Infinitive in Shakespeare." Girls
who work in the textile mills, who walk the streets of the "she-towns" of
New England and part with your virtue for the price of a sandwich, be
rejoiced because you have made it possible for humanity to be informed
concerning "The Subjunctive in Layamon's 'Brut.' " Men who slave twelve
hours a day in front of blazing white furnaces of Bethlehem, Midvale and
Illinois Steel, cheer up and take a fresh grip on your shovels — you are
making it possible for mankind to acquire exact knowledge concerning "The
Beginnings of the Epistolary Novel in the Romance Languages." Miners, who
toil in the bowels of the earth in hourly danger of maiming and suffocation,
be reconciled to the failure of a great university to install safety devices
to protect your lives — because that money has gone to the collecting and
editing of "Political Ballads Issued During the Administration of Sir Robert
Walpole." Peons, who quiver under the lash of the masters' whip beneath
tropic suns in Central America, be docile — because your labors helped to
pay off the bonds of the United Fruit Company, so that a Harvard scholar
might win a teaching position by compiling "Chapters in the History of
Literary Patronage from Chaucer to Caxton."
The Goose-Step: A Study of American Education
by Upton Sinclair
Chapter I. The Little Gosling
Once upon a time there was a little boy; a little boy unusually eager, and
curious about the world he lived in. He was a nuisance to old gentlemen who
wanted to read their newspaper; but young men liked to carry him on their
shoulders and maul him about in romps, old ladies liked to make ginger cakes
for him, and other boys liked to play “shinny” with him, and race on roller
skates, and “hook” potatoes from the corner grocery and roast them in
forbidden fires on vacant lots. The little boy lived in a crowded part of
the city of New York, in what is called a “flat”; that is, a group of little
boxes, enclosed in a large box called a “flat-house.” Every morning this
little boy’s mother saw to his scrubbing, with special attention to his
ears, both inside and back, and put a clean white collar on him, and packed
his lunch-box with two sandwiches and a piece of cake and an apple, and
started him off to school.