Print

Print


I did not say that I would not ever produce any position papers. I merely stated that the debate was one-sided, that Balter did not offer anything that HE has written, so it seemed unfair at the outset to demand that WE produce one for HIS review. Under those conditions, I said that I was not willing to participate. Balter promoted a position paper written by someone else, and so have I.

Jonathan
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Balter 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 7:15 AM
  Subject: Re: when are appeals to authority ok?


  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 theOctober League, soon to become CPML, who were in the Boston chapter of SftP(and elsewhere, I would suppose).  Those were quite contentious times.  SftPdid outlive the CPML.  
    That's a new bit of information for me. The CPML was a mixed bag. Theycould be pretty obnoxious, but there were also some very good people inthe organization.Carrol  




  -- 
  www.michaelbalter.com

  ******************************************
  Michael Balter
  Contributing Correspondent, Science 
  [log in to unmask]
  ******************************************