The following text has been automatically reproduced by an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) algorithm. It may not have been checked over by human eyes. For matters of precision please consult the original pdf.

Chile, Yugoslavia, Cambridge, RPG Reports etc.

mined pride in doing it well, not
to please their masters, but as a
way of rejecting the humiliations to
which capricious employers sUbjected
them.

This attitude to work is particularly noticeable in the rural
areas where class relations are
still personalised even towards the
end of the 19th century. The urban
accounts show a much more pronounced
alienation from work, bitterness
towards employers, and a greater
mobility.

Here, unemployment and
the fear of it dominates many of the
experiences and the ceaseless search
for work all over the country means
long separation from family and
friends.

The real problem with this kind of
material, as with the increasing
amount of oral history being collected, is how much value the labour
historian can place on it in comparison with the other sources such
as newspapers, legal records, trade
union and co-op histories etc.

It
is a question not just of faulty
or distorted memory which has to be
checked against more ‘reliable’

sources, but also of how far we can
use personal reminiscences for making generalisations about the way
the mass of the population lived,
and, more generally, of what exactly is the relationship between an
individual lived experience and its
historical co~text.

It is particularly important for a
social history of women that we
start to think about this. We can
use conventional historical methods
in discussing the exceptional women
or the organisations which they were
active in, as Claire Tomalin has
done in Mary Wollstonecraft [Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 19741. We can
also, as Anna Davin and- others are
doing, discover new ways of looking
at existing documentation like local
court records on marriage cases, or
school board reports.

But we are
going to have to rely a great deal
on oral history, particularly for
this century, if we want to investigate the effects of the decline in
the birth rate, the extended lifespan of women, the women’s ~ote etc.

How we deal with women’s reminiscences will determine how good our
history is going to be.

If the pUblication of this book
means that there is an increasing
market for this kind of history then
we should welcome it.

But it should
also mean a lot more hard thinking
about what we are going to do with
tIle information than Burnett has
provided.

Jean McCrindle

News

to the struggles which led to the
threatened expulsion of eight philosophy teachers at Belgrade University.

Their jobs seemed to have been saved
RP9 showed examples from Chilean
when, folloy/ing publicity and protests
childrens comics of the regime’s
from the West, Tito advised against
virulent anti-left propaganda.

measures “Which would do us more harm
Evidence of the way in which reoutside our country”. However the
pression continues in fo;mal’ educaBelgrade City Committee of the Communtion comes from a report by John
ist Party, which controls half the
Platt-Mills QC, ex MP and defence
seats on the faculty management comlawyer to the Shrewsbury building
mittee (a concession wrung from the
workers, who was sent to Chile by
faculty in 1973), is understood to be
the NUS.

The following is based on
re-mobilising and to have announced
his report:

its intentions of dismissing Stejanovic
The four man military government of
Zivotic, Golubovic and others.

Chile has set out to eradicate from
The recent series of measures taken
the minds of Chilean young people
against
students in the Philosophy
any understanding or even knowledge
Faculty follows public declarations
of what happened in the three years
made by the students of support for
of the Presidency of Allende and
the eight teachers, demands for the
the Popular Unity Government and to
free development of Marxist criticism
install a highly nationalist and
and the practical application of Marxnarrowly conservative system of
ist theory, and condemnation of bureducation.

eaucratic interference in the running
The minister of education Admiral
of the university.

Castrol says we have no time for
The students’ views were expressed in
politics of any ki~d in school or
a draft resolution of the Students’

university.

He is asked when will
Unions of Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljublyoung people gain any sense of sojana Faculties of Philosophy, of 31st
cial responsibility and replies
January 1974. This text includea
‘Plenty of time for that after they
statements to the effect that Marxare educated; besides we are to
ist criticism was being strangled
have brownies and then scouting from
and that the Universities were becomthe beginning. ‘

ing technocratic factories on the
Indeed there is shortage of time
It came out in defWestern model.

in the curriculum: several weeks
ence of the eight teachers and deeach year are devoted to the study
clared its support of the dictatorof Chile’s ancient heroes and such
ship of the proletariat, of a praccontentious international issues as
tical application of Marxist theory
the claim to Antarctica and to the
and of freedom of creativity.

Beagle Channel; 96 hours a year
On February 9th a temporary ban
‘National Security’ for every stuwas placed on the draft resolution
dent, full military instruction for
by a Zagreb Court. On the same day
all students with three weeks in
a search without warrant was carried
camp each year. There is an arbiout in Belgrade, six students were
trary approach to knowledge which
interrogated (several of them office
is not consistent – every left book
holders in the Committee for Student
is purged and rewritten; many asAffairs), and a large number of textpects of world history deleted,
books, other books and private papers
e.g. no French Revolution or Induswere confiscated. A few days later,
trial Revolution or Russian Revowith Faculty permission, the offices
lution or Cromwell; every publicaof the Faculty Committee for Student
tion and Radio or T.V. utterance
Affairs was unsuccessfully searched
under military censorship.

for copies of the draft resolution.

A military prosecutor in each uniOn the 26th of February, at the
versity; every Rector an Admiral or
Annual Assembly of the Belgrade FacGeneral; military police in every
ulty, Vladimir Palancin read out the
College; all these have power of
entire decision of the Zagreb Court
dismissal of stUdents and staff
which banned the draft resolution.

without appeal,
22,000 students
Palancin (but not the Zagreb judge)
have been dismissed from universiwas charged with an act of hostile
ties for supporting Allende from a
propaganda.

total student population of
At the same Assembly Jovan Vukelic
160,000.

presented a resolution calling for
It seems that the junta aims at
normal conditions of work for all
brainwashing a whole generation.

members of the Philosophy Faculty
and condemning the use of administrative and bureaucratic measures in
the campaign against the Faculty.

Among the charges brought against

Chile

lUgoslavia
Repression of Sludenls

Hore information is availabl~ about
Vukelic was that of making statethe continuing harass
t i h

ments of a kind liable to arouse
h
men 0 t e ph1l- ,alarm among the population”.

The
osop y Faculty at Belgrade University. charges against him rested partly on
The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation
has reported that the jobs of the
a claim that the proceedings of the
d’

,
Assembly were unconstitutional. lfuat
1ss1dent teachers are once again in
danger and has also obtained disturb- seems to be at issue is the right
ing news of the persecution of studof members to submit draft resolt
h
ut ions to their Assembly, and the
en s t rough out the year, including
right of the Assembly to publish
lO-month
prison
sentences
passed
on
,
those resolutions it accepts (VukS1X students currently awaiting trial. elic’s resolution was passed by 864
In RP8 we reported on the background votes to 4).

4,

The University Communist League,
which in 1972 drew up the list of
teachers to be fired, has continued
its attacks on the Philosophy Faculty.

In June it issued a statement
de!11anding the expulsion of six “extremist” students (including Vukelic),
against whom legal action was being
taken.

This statement criticised
the Philosophy Faculty for supporting “the extremist activities of a
group of teachers and students”
which, it claimed, IYere condemned by
the rest of the University.

The indications are that the Philosophy Faculty has given strong support to the students, as it did to
the teachers.

In any case the voting
figures on Vukelic’s resolution belie
the authorities’ attempts to blame it
all on a small group of extremists.

Vucelik, says the First District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade,
“unauthorisedly and in spite of the
opposition of a number of those present read out a Resolution which expressed his own personal attitudes ••• ”
All four of them shouting hard, one
supposes. And the results of the case
must further circumscribe free discussion in the Faculty.

It may be a measure of the effect of
Western publicity and protests that
when, earlier this year, Tito anpeared to have called off the hunt against
the Philosophy Faculty, the teachers,
whose cases were well known, kept
their jobs, but the students did not
even get a reduction in their prison
sentences. However, for such help as
it does give, it is very i!11portant
that protests are made in support of
the students, as well as in further
support of the teachers whose jobs are
once again threatened.

JV

More from Yugoslavia
On 9th April 1974 at the Valjevo District Court, Dragoljub S. Ignjatovic
was found guilty of the crime of hostile propaganda. committed at the Winter Meeting of the Serbian Philosophers’ Association.

Ignjatovic had described Yugoslavia
as a “primitive economy, unprofitable
and uncompetitive industry … inflation, poor health service, 19th century school system ••• etc.” He had
denied the existence of legal, civil
and creative freedom and represented
the government as totalitarian.

He was sentenced to three years and
six months imprisonment and is banned
from making a public appearance for
two years after his release.

On … ~t:~ ,pril 1974 the Titograd District Court issued a writ against
Ljiljana Mijanovic-Jovicic, accusing
her of damaging the reputation of
the State, its bodies and president.

The evidence included allegations
that she had said “our society is
heading for capitalism” and called
Tito a pig.

There is no record of court judge-

Cambridge
Counter Course Conference
A national ‘countercourse’ conference was held in Cambridge at the
beginning of November.

It was a
follow up to the Canterbury conference in March, reported in RPB
It was organised by a group of
Cambridge University undergraduates who are trying to devise
alternative modes of intellectual
work, and in general to make the
actual contents of their courses
a field for political action and
organisation.

‘You do not have to
get out of the university and go
down to the factory gates to find
class struggle’ said one speaker.

Several counter-course groups are
established in Ca:mbridge, and coordinated by a weekly lunch. There
is the urban studies group (where
students from geography, architecture, history, English, criminology and sociology meet to discuss the interdisciplinary study
of the problems of the city, concentrating on the social geography
of Cambridge itself); the women in
literature group; the education
group (formed to combat sexist
education in children’s books and
which has produced an alternative
children’s story book already in
use in schools); the science for
non-scientists group; and the
economists for non-economists
group.

Both of the last two are forums
where scientists and economists
try to demystify their subjects
and show how deeply they touch on
the lives, welfare and interests
of students from all disciplines.

Academic work, they believe,
should not be isolated and competitive, exclusively confined
to the requirements of the
academic curricula.

The conference fulfilled some
ideals by adapting itself to participants’ ideas and interests; in
the morning the Plenary Session
we had intended talking about the
theory and practice of countercourses, but ended up discussing
the role of higher education in
society, because most people felt
this was an essential startingpoint. The chairman was removed
and the discussion was spontaneous
without becoming chaotic.

Two main approaches to countercourse were apparent: one which
saw it as small groups of ‘intellectuals’ within universities
developing a counter-culture, and
the other which saw it as an
attempt to reach outside the
university and attack the structure of education in society. This
led to a discussion of the Present
aims of higher education: it was
agreed that universities are
largely concerned with producing
a self-perpetuating academic
elite, doing research which is
usually of little relevance to
most people.

But where it is
relevant it is designed for the
needs of capitalist production providing the technologists and
managers that industry needs to
run itself.

Within higher education, subject
division, teachers’ authority and
exams limit what we study and
define the questions we ask: our
own experience of life is irrelevant. And any breakdown in distinctions in one area makes the
others seem still more arbitrary.

The evening session, after hearing the reports of the various
afternoon discussion groups, went
on to emphasise that countercourse should not be an intellectual wank, with privileged students
simply improving the learning
process to which they have access.

They could use their knowledge to
provide counter-information for
those who need it: like trained
lawyers who help people fight the
conspiracy laws.

Students researching into the financial
interests of company directors
should give worker~ information
about them.

This would be a useful but limited part of countercourse activity: it has a more
continuous role in questioning
the dominant ideology, the control
a few people have over the means
of communication, and d~veloping
alternatives.

It was felt that some coordinating body was needed for countercourse at a national level, and
some members ot the conference
agreed to run a stall at the next
NUS conference to spread information and stimulate discussion about countercourse. The NUS community action representative agreed
to expand the section on Countercourse in the NUS magazine
Communus, and as a result of the
conference an additional countercourse group was set up in
Cambridge, on the ideology of
teacher training courses.

Some participants at the conference were depressed at the end of
it and complained that it had not
achieved anything.

But others were
more enthusiastic. The very
occurrence of the conference was
significant. Nothing like it would
have happened a few years ago, and
even if it only affected a small
number of students, the countercourse movement was completely
transforming their experience of
education.

History or Philosophy
Kolakowski has now replied to J:dward Thompson’ s Open Letter to him in
the current number of the Socialist
Register J974, and the two met each
other in a strange debate last month
at Balliol College.

Strange, because to hear the!11 talk, as to read
their respective contributions, is
to realise that they communicate out
of a historical experience of the
past three decades which has produced in each of them totally different ideas about Socialism, particularly the potential of its future.

Thompson has always been a disside.nt

43

Open

communist. As a historian; politicThe Open Meeting had to close
ally active since the war, with mass
hurriedly so as to make way for the
uneIlPloyment, spain, fascism, war,
Editorial Meeting scheduled for
post-war Britain and the ‘spirit of
the afternoon. This meant that
’56’ as his points of reference, he
discussion of activities other than
still believes in the possibility of
producing the magazine was impossa transition to a ‘socialist humanist
ible – a deplorable state of afrsociety’ which he describes as ‘disThe last Open Meeting was held in
airs which we have always tried to
tinguished both from the communist ex- London on a Saturday morning in the
avoid, and which we should not
perience and the experience of overallow to occur again.

Some of the
middle of November. One of the
centralised bureaucratic state monopSwansea students who was threatened
people who came to the Open Meeting were disappointed and bored to
oly. ‘

with suspension brought us up to
Kolakowski no longer shares that vis- date on the Swansea saga, and said
tears.

ion and it is one of the ironies of
that Radical Philosophy 9, which
Afterwards it was decided that in
their debate that it is doubtful whegave prominence to Swansea, had been I future Open Meetings should last for
ther he ever seriously did. Having
useful in their continuing struggle
a whole day, so that they could act
grown up in fascist and then communist – although it was a pity that the
as forums for theoretical discussPoland, experiencing ’56 as simply a
problems of lecturers weston and
ion – perhaps based on the current
renewal of Soviet imperialism in
williamson had been allowed to overis~ue of the magazine – rather thar
which ‘all cultural expression was sup- shadow the – in some ways more
hurried business meetings. Alison
pressed’ and then coming to the West
se~’ious – predicament of the stuAssiter agreed to organise the next
to be confronted with the ‘new barbar- dents. Someone else criticised the
Open Meeting.

ism’ of the post-1968 student revolt,
treatment of the Swansea victimisahe now defines his position as a vest- tions for being written in the
ern intellectual disillusioned with
dreary and offputting sloganizing
all change that does not guarantee the rhetoric of the political sects, and
‘basic freedoms’ of speech, puhlicfor refusing to admit that there
ation, cultural exchange, the right to were real problems about the relacriticise and organise without fear of
tion between struggles in higher
repression. He is clearly not intereducation on the one hand and trade
ested in whether these are in fact
union politics on the other.

part of most people’s experience of
There was obviously a feeling that
living under capitalism but in whether Radical Philosophy had struck out in
they are there in an abstract sense as
a new direction by giving such prompart of his definition of democracy.

inence to a topical, political issue.

He believes that the onus is on ThompOn the whole this was thought to be
son to prove that a radical restructur· good.

It reflected our shared being of capitalist society would ensure
lief that we could not criticise
Description of Charlotte Corday from
more access to these freedoms than
orthodox philosophy adequately witha newsheet, Repertoire du Tribunal
people already enjoy in the West. “The
out criticising the institutions in
Revolutionnaire, 1793, quoted in
idea,” he says, “that mankind should
which it is produced. But a number
Claire Tomalin’s Mary Wollstonecraft,
liberate itself from its intellectual
of doubts and worries were expressed
p153
heritage and create a new qualitatively about how this sort of material
different science or logic is a support should be handled. Radical Phi~osophy
Charlotte Corday was twenty-five; in
for obscurantist despotism.”
,;hould not try to be a left-win~
our society that means she was alThe ghosts which haunt both of them,
Times Higher Education Supplement.

most an old maid, especially when
as well as their present preoccupations, And it would be retrograde if – as
her mannish behaviour and build are
didn’t appear to have much effect on
‘had perhaps happened with the treattaken into consideration … Her
their audience and the ‘hissing faction7 ment of Swansea in RP9 – we were to
head was stuffed with book-learning;
alists’ mostly wanted to engage them at abandon the attempt to tentatively
she said, or rather confessed with
the level of current sectarian definit- Nork out an unfamiliar form of polridiculous aEfectation, that she had
ions of state capitalism v. workers de- itical activity and hasten back to
read everything there was to be
generated statism,which was a pity sin- purely traditional politics and its
read .•. she was a woman who simply
ce Thompson at least is clearly trying ready made rhetoric. Apart from
cast off her sex; when nature reto get away from all that into some
approving the statement which is
called it to her, she experienced
more fruitful discussion.

It is also a printed at the beginning of this
only disgust and annoyance; romantic
pity that he constantly pays homage to
issue of the magazine, the rest of
love and other tender emotions cease
Kolakowski ‘the philosopher’ in such
the meeting was concerned with the
to touch the heart of a woman who
flattering terms since the philosophy
financial predicament of the magaaspires to knowledge, wit, ledrning,
that does emergei’from Kolakowski.’ sfFeply zine. .John Krige explained how expolitics and philosophy, and who
is impoverished, his sense of history
penditure had increasingly exceeded
wants to make a name for herself.

non-existent. There is, for example,
income since the beginning of 1973.

Decent men do not care for such
no discussion of the historical context The unit cost of RP9 had been 23.5p
women, and because of this they in
of Polish fascism and communism, of
which meant that most copies were
turn profess to despise men; they
what the real choices were for Eastern sold at a loss in spite of the income to regard their own scorn as a
Europe in 1945 after decades of fascreased price. The meeting had to
sign of character, and their bittercism, underground resistance, nonaccept a package of price increases,
ness as energy; and their tastes and
existent working class traditions and
which were designed to encourage
habits soon degenerate into foolishstrong catholic peasantry with elitreaders to subscribe and to enness and licence, which they label
ist intelligentsias etc. Thompson’s
courage those who could afford it
philosophic behaviour.

contribution to the debate is infinto pay more than those who could not.

itely richer and more interesting
We decided on a ‘cover price’ of SOp
and he genuinely tries to argue with
with the understanding that sub’the philosopher’ by means of his own
scribers and individuals buying them
expertise as a historian. There is
from local sellers might get them
a rumour that his next ‘Open Letter’

cheaper. The most important thing
will be addressed to the English Alwas to increase sales – especially
thusserians but it is unlikely that he
through subscriptions – because an
will abase himself before the Parisian
increased print order would lower
Philosopher’who is certainly not a
the unit cost. The Canterbury
comrade from ’56
collective, which is responsible for
JMcC.

publicity, was asked to make sure
that the next issue was effectively
advertised. It was left to the
production group to devise ways of
reducing production costs.

Meeting

Decenlmen
,and philosophic women

44

Buy the newest RP in printDownload the PDF