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Belgrade Protest


,’Belgrade ProIesl
In the last three issues of Radical Philosophy we-reported on the
continued ba”rr~!sment of philosophers in Yugoslavia. The following letter from eight Belgrade philosophy professors was sent to
the Assembly of the Socia~ist Republic of Serbia earlier this year

The seven year long campaign against us – in which, in a way unprecedented in the postwar history of this country, all repressive
1 propaganda means w~re used and many political authorities mobilYUGOSLAVIA (Document)
ised, the present ones and some past ones – has by the force of
necessity reached its climax·.- By an arbitrary decision
3 which is contrary to the basic legal acts and the principles of
Paul Feyerabend
self-government on which the very fo~ndations of the existing
9 order should rest,.we have been ousted from our teaching positions
Bob Ecclesball
at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade.

This was done because all the pressures and threats used
Gabriel Josipovici
against us during those seven years, intended to split us and to
compel us to capitulate, eventually fail~d. The banning of books
17 and journals; elimination from mass media, from official cultural
Sonia Kruks
and scholarly institutions and from all public life; suspension of
24 financing for the projects of research in which we participated;
Interview with Michel Foucault
the spreading of insulting rumours, confiscating passports;
harrassing and arresting the students who dared to support us;
30 attempts at corruption; threats of closing the Faculty of PhiloCharley and Rosa Parkin
sophy; and of splitting it into two parts; of abolishing selfNOTES Bob Borsley on
32 management and introducing compulsory management – none of these
Radical Linguistics
34 measures turned out to be sufficient to ensure either our voluntLE’I”I’ERS
ary withdrawal or our democratic removal by the self-governing
bodies of the Faculty.

Pierre Macherey, JIour une
The Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, although exposed to
Tbeorie de la Production
35 long, c~nstant pressure, refused to act contrary to its beliefs
and to bow to sheer arbitrary force. With impressive dignity and
I I Rubin, Essays on Marx’s
39 courage the Faculty has maintained its firm c9nviction that it must
Theory “of Value
take its decisions in an independent, democratic way with full
Michael Raptis, Revolution and
~oral integrity.

It evaluated all proposals and demands only with
Counter-Revolution in Chile
respect to publicly declared reasons and evidence, only on the
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Prose
grounds 6f the basic principles of our socialist society and of
of the World, Adventures of the
42 university self-management and not with respect to the political
44 authorities behind them.

In the history of Yugoslav socialism the
45 Faculty of Philosophy is the first and, until now, the only instiLETTER TO READERS
tution that was able to resist bureaucratic pressure and successfully to defe~d basic university and human rights: the right to
freedom of research and scholarly publication, the right to assume
a critical attitude towards the existing social reality and towards every ideology, the right to be equal with any political
figures, the right to autonomous decision-making. As a consequence of the need to adjust the law to arbitrary bureaucratic
will, the University law was drastically changed twice in one
year, and exclusively for the Republic of Serbia. First, in 1973,
the demand was incorporated into the law that the university
professors must satisfy moral and political criteria in addition
to scholarly ones. At the same time, university self-management
was transformed into co-management by including half outside

members on the Faculty Council. The second chan<J e of the Univers~
ity law in November 1974 made complete viol~tion of self-manageThe next Open Meeting of the Radical
ment possible by giving the right to the Republican Assembly to
Philosophy Group will be held from
fire all those professors who allegedly 'damaged social interests'

llam at North London Polytechnic,
Until this very day the Yugoslav mass media, which have proKentish Town Road. The meeting will
duced an incredible amount of misinformations and untruths about
be in two parts, The first session
us, never confirmed the result of the legally prescribed, selfwill be concerned with the-organigoverning procedure of examining our ‘moral and political suitasation of course criticism and alter- bility’, namely that committees composed of thirty-five outstandnative ways of learning, and will be
ing scholars from various Yugoslav universities wrote very
introduced by students from ‘Ideas
favourable reports about our activity and_that these reports were
in Education for SUssex’ (‘ie
accepted by an over1helming majority in all self-governing bodies
SUssex). The second session will be
of the Faculty in July 1974. Although, according to the Constia ‘business’ meeting, discussing the
tution and to the existing laws ‘that decision had to be consider9d
magazine and conferences, and, most
final, it did not satisfy political authorities. They continued
important, the possibilities of
:to demand our elimination from the Faculty.

revising, reviving and improvising,
In the interests of normalizing the work of the Faculty of
the organisation of a network of local Philosophy we have expressed our readiness temporarily to abstain
radical philosophy groups. Definite
from teaching and to take leave for scientific research. We only
proposals will be presented to the
requested minimal guarantees that persecution of the students and

further pressures on the Faculty.would be stopped. But the authL -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _~·’orities were not satisfied with anything but unconditional capitu-


Open Meeting unol7th


lation. The political campaign was continued with
~s Marxists, as the theoreticians of democratic
redoubled abusiveness, the University law was again
socialism. We defended that freedom consistently,
adjusted and supplemented. This act of bureaucratic
not merely for us and for some particular practical
violence constitutes a heavy blow to Yugoslav culpurposes, but for all and in principle. On the
ture, to self-management, and to the reput:ation of
other hand, there are and there always have been
socialism in the contemporary world.

powerful forces in the labour movement that tended
Our crime consists in taking democratic socialto win complete freedom for themselves but to
ism seriously, in expressing publicy the truth about prevent it among their followers.. In his letter
the present crisis of Yugoslav society, about its
to Trier of 18 December 1889, Engels has very
cause and the possibilities of its future developclearly formulated the nature of the problem:


The labour movement rests on the sharpest critique
We are accused of ‘corrupting the youth’ and of
of the existing society. Critique is its life
being engaged in political activity. The first of
principle. How then can the labour movement avoid
these accusations is as old as the history of philocriticism and stop debate? Do we demand freedom
sophy: it~ victims have been precisely those who
of speech only in order to destroy it in our own
have most contributed to the progress of the human

mind and true knowledge about men and about the
Two years later, after the news had reached him
world. The second accusation is grotesque: it has
been expressed in a country in which the active
that the German Social Democratic Party planned to
introduce censorship of its own newspaper Neue
. political commitments of every citizen, active
participation in all political decision4naking,
Zeit, Engels wrote to Kenchi (on 25 February 1891):

is the basic assumption of its economic and poliThis is really a brilliant idea to impose a new
tical system. Unless~perhaps our professional
anti-socialist law on German socialist science,
political leaders consider that all should be
just after it was liberated from Bismarck’s law
politically engaged except Marxist philosophers
against socialists. And this new law has
and sociologists? Naturally, any relevant critical
introduced and implemented by the Social Democratic
social theory.has certain political implications.

Party leadership itself.

To accuse scholars of political engagement in the
In the letter to Bebel of 12 Hay 1891, and to
sense of struggling for power on that ground
Kenchi of 11 February 1891, Engels described in the
solely without any other supporting evidence
following way the attitude of the theoretician who
clearly only reveals bureaucratic obsession with
power and a poorly hidden intention to create a
found himself under attack by the leadership of his
own movement.

suitable atmosphere in which any repressive
measures could be justified.

NO party in any country can condemn me to silence
We have been accused of holding a ‘monopoly in
if I decided to speak up. It is high time that
scientific and cultural activity’. In a manner
people once and for all stop wearing silken gloves
worthy of the heroes of Orwell’ s novels, those who
in all their relationships with Party functionhave a complete monopoly on the mass media, pubaries, in fact their servants, and that they stop
lishing houses, funds for cultural and scientific
behaving humbly instead of critically toward those
activity and indeed of all socialised property,
infallible bureaucrats.

accuse of monopoly those who have no power, no
Already Marx.and Engels, whose Party friends
property, whose baSic human rights have been vioBebel and Kautsky attempted to prevent the publicalated, and who are not even allowed, contrary to
tion of .the Critique of the Gotha programme, found
the law, publicly to reply to all attacks and to
themselves in a situation which will become typical
the most outrageous insults.

We have also ~en accased of cultivating
for a theoretician of socialism whenever he takes
the ideals of the revolutionary movement seriously,
‘connections with foreigners’ – in a country that
whenever he takes the liberty of searching for
one decade ago adopted an ‘opening towards the
truth and of expressing critical statements about
world’ as one of the basic goals of its policy.

the errors and inconsistencies of the functionaries
It is true, we have many connections abroad, but
of the movement, whenever he refuses to keep silent
with scholars and progressive people all over the
and to stand humbly and obediently in front of those
world, ‘and not with politicians, businessmen,
powerful and infallible bureaucrats.

financial magnates, generals, kings and emperors.

Together with Marx and Engels we have been conThose numerous persons in various other countries
sidering that critique is the life principle of the
who have been supporting us, expressing their conlabour movement ‘not only in capitalism but also in
cern and dismay because of this deplorable developsocialism’ •
ment·of repression, are not enemies of socialism How there can be a real workers’ movement and
as the official propaganda tries to present them a real socialist society which forbids discussion
but some of the most active and most brilliant
and criticism, and which treats free speech as a
defenders of socialism and democracy, some of the
hostile act to be punishable according to the
greatest friends of Yugoslavia and its socialist
. norms of the Criminal code?


future. Utteriy vague, unsubstantiated allegaAll our critical remarks: against the professiontions about growing enemy forces, about ever
alisation of politics, against bureaucratic privipresent ‘hostile activities’ invariably serve a.

single purpose: to scare, to suppress any dissident
leges as.. a form of exploitation of the working
thought, to silence all those who refuse to Gonform. class, against reduction of self-government to a
disintegrated cluster of councils which plays an
One of the most absurd accusations is that we
inferior role in the distribution of social power
deny the revolutionary character of the working
and represents’ only an appendix to the Party and
class. The ~ut~ is that we deny the revolutionary
the State, against the utterly uncritical transfer
character of all those social forces, first of all
of the ‘laissez-faire’ model of market economy
of political bureaucracy, that prevent the working
with well known consequences (such as the rise of
class from becoming a real historical subject.

social inequality, growth of the new middle class,
And this is the very reason for the present conirrational competition among socialist enterprises,
flict, and similar conflicts between bureaucratic
destruction of the solidarity of the working class,
leadership and the theoreticians of the Internacreation of the artificial needs and the dominational labo~ movement. We. exercised the freedom
tion of the petty bourgeois consumerist mentality),
to not mereiy serve bureaucracy but to speak up

and of universal hUmanism, but by shortsighted
against incompr~hensible neglect of the workers’

education, against authoritarian relatonships
particular interests of the ruling apparatus of
within the League of Communists, against the intropower. It is very characteristic that parallel
duction of censorship and bureaucratic pressures
with the development of the campa~gn against us
for self-censorship, against increasing repression~. there is an obvious growth in the influence of
·”the ideologists of Stal,.inist dogmatism who have
in the field of culture- all those critical
remarks are clearly in the spirit of the basic
pa tiently waited for their hour of revenge ready
principles of a classless socialist society, and,
to justify every voluntarism, every twist and turn
of daily politics, and on the other hand, ready
furthermore, in the spirit of the 1958 Programme
of the Yugoslav League of Communists. That
savagely to attack any attitude, any idea if it is
merely different from the infallible leadership.

Programme requests members of the League of
Communists to fight bureaucratism. it is nearer
In the long run this bureaucratic, apparently
to the truth that in that respect we have done
legitimate violence turns against those who use it.

Nothing weakens a ruling elite more than to order
less than possible, rather than more than was
needed. On the other hand, there is hardly any
such acts which can no longer be convincingly
doubt that the Party leadership has given up most
ideologically justified, which even lack proper
legal basis, which do no longer rest on any other
of its own programme. It experienced our critique
as the voice of its own uneasy conscience and that
authority but the authority of power. On the
is perhaps its main motive in trying to silence us.

other hand, no party in any country can condemn to
silence a person who has decided to speak up.

Its accusation that a few philosophers are eager to
seize power is not only an utterly unconvincing
Ideas cannot be defeated by preventing them from
rationalisation but also the expression of its own
being expounded from a professor’s chair. We are
convinced that a bold, dignified, truthful scholarobsession with power.

Rejecting all such wild accusations that not
ly community like the Faculty of Philosophy in
Belgrade will not be demoralised and disabled in
only endanger a few of us personally but freedom
and socialist culture of the whole country, we
continuing to defend the great principles of freewish to emphasise as strongly as possible that
dom and integrity of scholarly research, merely
because it has temporarily lost eight, of its
every theoretical thought that moves solely within

the framework of the existing structure, that conforms and adjusts to it instead of transcending it
Zagorka Golumbovi6/Triva Indji6/Mihailo Markovi6/
– deprives socialism of its future. Such thought
Prafyiljub Micunovi6/Nebojsa Popov/SVetozar
can hardly be anything but a superficial and mystiStojanovi6/Ljubomir Tadi6/Miledin Zivoti6
fying apology for the given. SUch thought is not
Belgrade, 28 January 1975
guided by the interests of the workers’ movement

Bow 10 Defend Sociely
Againsl Science
Paul Feyerabend
The following article is a revised version of a
talk given to the Philosophy Society at SUssex
University in November 1974
Practitioners of a strange trade, friends”enemies,
ladies and gentlemen:

Before starting with my talk, let me explain to
you, how it came into existence.

About a year ago I was short of funds. So I
accepted an invitation to contribute to a book
dealing with the relation between science and religion. To make the book sell I thought I should
make my contribution a provocative one and the
most provocative statement one ‘can make about the
relation between science and religion is that
science is a religion. Having made the statement
the core of my’ article I discovereq that lots of
reasons, lots of excellent reasons, could be found
for it. I enumerated the reasons, finished my
article, and got paid. That was stage one.

Next I was invited to a Conference For the
Defence of Culture. I accepted the invitation
because it paid for my flight to Europe. I also
must admit that I was rather curious. When I
arrived in Nice I had no idea what I would say.

Then while the conference was taking its course I
discovered that everyone thought very highly of
science and that everyone was very serious. So I
decided to explain how one could defend culture

from science. All the reasons collected in my
article would apply here as well and there was no
need to invent new things. I gave my talk, was
rewarded with an outcry about my ‘dangerous and ill
considered ideas’, collected my ticket and went on
to Vienna. That was stage number two.

Now I am supposed to address you. I have a
hunch that in some respect you are very different
from my audience in Nice. For one, you look much
younger. My audience in Nice was full of profes,sors, bUSinessmen, television executives and the
average age was about 58~. Then I am quite sure
that most of you are considerably to the left of
most of the people in Nice. As a matter of fact,
speaking somewhat superficially I might say that
you are a leftist audience while my audience in
Nice Was a rightist audience. Yet despite all
these differences you have some things in common.

Both of you, I assume, respect science and knowledge. Science, of ~ourse, must be reformed and
must be made less authoritarian. But once the reforms are carried out, it is a vaulable source of
knowledge that must not be contaminated by ideologies of a different kind. Secondly, both o.f you
are serious people. Knowledge is a serious matter,
for the Right as well as for the Left, and it must
be pursued in a serious spirit. Frivolity is out,
dedication and earnest application to the task at
hand is in. These similarities are all I need for
repeating my Nice talk to you with hardly any
change. So, here it is.


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