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The Writings of Professor Robert M. Young

'Science versus Democracy' 17k

This short piece is a manifesto which appeared in the first issue of a staff-student publication in Cambridge, Science or Society? Bulletin of the Cambridge Society for Social Responsibility in Science. Its members were unlikely to have much experience in practical politics in the world and very unlikely, indeed, to have thought of the scientific workplace as an appropriate site for political agitation. Yet this was the lesson of the politics of libertarian (anarcho-) socialism of the 1960s, whereby hierarchical and authoritarian structures, including those of the academy, were the subject of critique and subversion in the name of direct democracy. I was myself deeply influenced by the German student leader, Rudi Dutschke, and his anti-authoritarian views and writings found their way into the radical science movement. We eventually persuaded the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science to join forces with the anarcho-commmunists of Solidarity (a sect much-influenced by Cornelius Castroriadis in France) to mount a conference on 'Workers' Self-Management in Science'. I cannot claim that this tendency won over the labs of Great Britain, but the holy of holies of objectivity as a bulwark of authoritarianism may have trembled for a moment. This was, I think, my own first essay in directly agitational politics. It appeared in Science or Society? No. 1, May 1971, pp. 2-3.

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Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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