I for one find Herb's history very interesting and the lesson he points to
the correct one.

I have been mercifully traveling and away from the computer that past day,
so let us recapitulate where we are. When it became clear that the
challenges to the HIV hypothesis were not going away on this list, I
proposed that those making them put forward what they thought was their
strongest argument and that I would then respond to it. If and only if this
exchange was useful and satisfactory, did I propose that we consider
continuing the exchange over other arguments against HIV=AIDS. Mitchel
jumped at this and said that there were only about 4-5 main arguments
anyway, which is true. I take this as a sign of Mitchel's honesty whether I
agree with him or not. What we were then treated to was a series of
smokescreens from Jonathan, and what seems like a refusal to have the debate
on these terms even though Mitchel and I had already agreed it was a good
way to go. Jonathan said that I should be the one to write a major treatise,
and what they would do is post Mae's article or articles. But I had already
done that with the NIAIDS link to a lengthy article to which they had not
responded. That is why I proposed the solution I did, thinking it would be
easier for everyone involved, including the poor list members who must sift
through it all.

Again, these conditions, to which Mitchel initially agreed, are the only
ones under which I will participate. The consensus scientific is that HIV
causes AIDS, despite notable exeptions (some of whom, like Lynn Margulis
whom I gather has been invoked, no nothing about the subject). It is
parallel to the debate over global warming, where there is a consensus and
then there are dissidents. This did not start off by me posting articles
proving that HIV caused AIDS, but by Jonathan and Mitchel posting dissident
stuff, so I think it is fair to ask them to back up with points with
scientific argument and for me to respond.

I don't want to say that Jonathan has thrown up this smokescreen because he
can't come up with the goods, but all he has to do is prove that suspicion
wrong is agree what Mitchel has twice agreed was a good idea.\

best, Michael

On 4/1/07, herb fox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>  For the record.  There never was an attempt by the October League or the
> CPML to "take over" SftP.  There was a caucus within SftP "The Unity Caucus"
> of diverse persons who wanted SftP to take an explicit anti-capitalist,
> more-or-less Marxist position.  I was a leading member of that group (It was
> not a group of "outsiders."  For example I was the convenor of the first
> meeting of SftP when it tansformed from SESPA and the one who with Britta
> Fischer produced the first issue of the magazine).  Some of the members of
> that caucus resolved that, if SftP would not move to where the caucus
> thought it should go, they would join a "revolutionary" group and leave
> SftP.  That is why the Unity Caucus more-or-less disappeared.  I certainly
> believe today that it was ill-advised for the persons who participated in
> the Unity Caucus, myself included, to manifest their need to be associated
> with a "revolutionary" group by attempting to transform SftP.  To the best
> of my recollection about 1/2 dozen participants in the Unity Caucus did
> become members of the October League, myself included.  That was after the
> struggle in SftP and resulted in many of those persons taking on factory
> jobs, leaving the organization, and dropping their focus on Science.  (Note
> that by leaving science to work in factories, persons who could have
> increased the radical presence in science did not.)
> Science for the People came into existence through the radicalizing
> transformation of SESPA, an organization of scientists (and very few
> engineers), brought about by the infusion of  angry students in the Boston
> area (notably Al Weinrub, Larry Beeferman, David Jhirad.  It had in its
> ranks many non-scientists who rallied to the call for science for the
> people.  One of its programs was TAP (Technical Assistance Project) which
> among other things helped the Black Panthers in setting up health clinics
> etc.  It also worked at unionizing technicians.  The work of breaking down
> the barriers betweeen scientists and non-scentists and having non-scientists
> actively participating ceased to be a main focus after the departure of the
> persons associated with the Unity Caucus.  Notable exceptions were the work
> of George Salzman and Maurice Bazin (who continues to work with indigenous
> people in Brazil) and the work of Jon Beckwith with public school teachers.
> It appears to me that in the end SftP became more of an organization of
> scientists communicating with scientists and mainly a publisher of the
> magazine.
> There is a lesson here for the present discussion on this list serve.  The
> "revolutionary fervor" and insistence on a narrowed set of principles by the
> Unity Caucus and the almost inevitable split of that substantial group of
> persons away from the organization upset the balance that could have
> maintained a broader organization.  The transformation of society requires a
> transformation of consciousness that eventually becomes dominant in the
> majority of the population.  That is a very long process that cannot be
> brought about by shouting radical ideas that are alien and alienating to the
> very persons that must become the transformers of society.  What is needed
> is an active organization with a broad base united around a minimum set of
> principles that can and will become more focussed and radical over time, but
> only because the whole organization moves towards a more radical analysis as
> the collective experience teaches its necessity.  The problem with the
> pissing contests on this listserve is not that people make *ad hominem *attacks
> or any similar critique; it is that the listserve become less and less
> relevant to the task that all must unite around, namely, the building
> through struggle of a critical consciousness among all the people.  Our
> special responsibility is to contribute according to our particular
> capability, namely, science.  That is not happening for the most part.
> Apparently most of us express our political conscience by participating in
> other organizations.  It saddens me that there is no active, broad-based
> SftP organization.  Were there one, the discussion on this list serve would
> be quite different. I am confident that there will be such an organization
> in the not-too-distant future; but it does not appear likely that we on this
> listserve will be its initiators. More likely a bunch of young people
> struggling to realize science fo the people will look at us for what we are
> in the main--an ineffective bunch of nit-pickers who are committed more to
> what is correct science than to organizing to make the transformations in
> society that will result in science serving all the people.
> herb fox
> PS.
> I am not one who is going to quit the listserve or block out any
> participant; I find it very entertaining and do learn things from it.
> h f
> Carrol Cox wrote:
> Eric Entemann wrote:
>  later by some members of the
> October League, soon to become CPML, who were in the Boston chapter of SftP
> (and elsewhere, I would suppose).  Those were quite contentious times.  SftP
> did outlive the CPML.
>  That's a new bit of information for me. The CPML was a mixed bag. They
> could be pretty obnoxious, but there were also some very good people in
> the organization.
> Carrol


Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
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