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5 Editorial

It has always been intended that the editorship
of this journal should circulate regUlarly from one
group to another. This intention is now to be put
into practice; and with the next issue the work of
production and distribution will be taken over by a
group in London based at the Middlesex Polytechnic.

The more general editorial work will continue to be
done by a wider group than those involved in the
actual production. If anyone would like to involve
themselves in the editorial or distribution work they
should get in touch with Jonathan Ree (Middlesex
Polytechnic at Hendon, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT;
tel. 01-202 6545).

the organized structures which perpetuate it:

courses, syllabuses, and the exams and administrative
structures which enforce them; and eventually even
admissions policies (Roger Waterhouse raised these
issues in RP 4 pp.16-7). It is only ~f we can take
our struggle-against contemporary British philosophy
onto this material level that we shall properly
exert ourselves as a movement and as a force.

It is in this context that the question of
organization needs to be seen. At the last two
Open Meetings (see Report p.42) a directionless
discussion of organization in the abstract has
completely overshadowed any consideration of
concrete goals. This reflects an absence of any
real activity and real confrontation.

As this is the last editorial we shall be
writing we would like to use the opportunity to state
our views on the immediate needs of the movement.

The question is: What sort of movement has developed
so far? – and what sort of further developments are
now needed?

Our own view is that, although some form of
defined organization is clearly necessary, any
further debate on the appropriate form of it should
above all take account of two main considerations:

So far, the journal has become well established
as a theoretical and propaganda organ; but its contents
are still remote from any concrete activities. An
active movement of radical philosophers, aimed at
challenging the organized basis of contemporary
British philosophy, is hardly yet established. It
is this side of our activities which, in our opinion,
must now be developed if radical philosophy is to
maintain itself as a live force for change, and not
become merely another theoretical journal.

(a) The organizational structure must be fitted to
the nature of the movement as it actually exists,
and not to the movement as we would like to
imagine it. The real present danger is of the
groups, and with them “the movement”, ceasing to
exist altogether. This is inherent in the lack of
any attempt so far to define even the most minimal
concrete programme and to organize systematically
to fight for it. It is essential to tackle the
question of the nature and purpose of the groups.

As and when the network of groups develop and become
a force, then the overall organizational structure
will need to develop accordingly. But it is essential that the form of organization be related to the
actual development of the groups.

The overwhelming majority of our readers and
active members are engaged in teaching and learning
in various institutions of higher education. It is
therefore inevitable that the major (though not
exclusive) base for a movement vJill be local groups
in educational institutions.

(b) Radical philosophy can certainly combat contemporary British philosophy most effectively if it continues to create pressure as a broad front of all
those dissatisfied with it. At present this “broad
front” includes people of differing political tendency.

As with other left groups, the basic tendencies are an
“organizing and centralising” one, and a “spontaneist
and libertarian” one. It is very important for the
future effectiveness of Radical Philosophy that
people of both tendencies should be able to work
together within it. And it would be very regrettable
and retrogressive if one tendency were to impose a
form of organization which has the effect of excluding others fro~ contributing to the work of the
movement. These issues will be discussed at the next
Open Meeting (see details p.42) to which everyone is

The existing local groups have done important
work in stimulating interest and activity at a local
level. But they have sprung up here and there
without any coordination or relation; and there has
been no attempt so far to discuss common experiences
and to work out common aims: i.e. to organize a

However, it has become clear that there are two
main functiuns that local groups can perform:

(1) Discussion Groups: These fulfil a vital educational function and are an important part of our
activities. We have not been as efficient as we
would have liked in organizing conferences etc., At
the local level, however, discussion groups are often
difficult to sustain over a period of time. One of
the lessons to be learned from attempts to organize
such groups so far (Free Universities etc) is that a
very high level of motivation and rapport is required
from all involved for their survival.

Richard Norman
Sean Sayers

(2) Active Groups: This area has been much less
well developed so far; but if we are serious about
changing recent British philosophy we must organize
ourselves to challenge its institutional and material

The absurdity of learning and teaching a type
of philosophy is a technical and specialized
academic suhject is becoming increasingly apparent.

To change this situation we must fight not only the
theory of contemporary British philosophy, hut also


Material of all kinds is needed for the next
issue. Please send it typed and in triplicate if

Deadline: RADICAL PHILOSOPHY 6: 6th August
(Notes, short pieces ctc: 20th August)


Back Numhcrs arc still availahlc: pril’c
per coPy (postagc inc.).



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