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Dissident Intellectuals: East and West, RPG Reports, etc.


philosophers sacked
According to press reports eight
philosophy teachers have lost
their jobs at Belgrade University
as a result of political pressure.

Mihailo l;larkovic, Ljubomir Tadic,
svetozar stejanovic, and the
0th8rs, formed the Belgrade wing
of the philosophical tendency
associated with the journal

The Zabreb wing has also
come under fire but the major
repression has occurred in

‘fhe background to the affair
is as follows (according to information collated by Chomsky for the
!lew l’ork Review of Books early
this year). 1964: Praxis founded
by Zabreb and Belgrade philosophers
and sociologists. Gradually it
moved from abstract humanist criticisms of Stalinism to critical
analysis of Yugoslavian reality which alarmed party officials.

It discussed such issues as the
meaning of the sociolist perspective, bureaucratic and authoritarian
tendencies in party and state organisations, advantages and weaknesses of self-management and the
rights of minority opinions.

1968: Student occupation at
Belgrade University – Tito reportedly concluded that philosophers
were responsible because through
their lectures they ‘corrupted
the student~’, and that they must
be ousted.

1969-72: Stalemate – because all
power was in the hands of faculty
councils of professors, assistants,
and students, and the sole criterion for positions was scholarly

1972: In the autumn the University
Committee of the League of
Communists (after suitable expulsions) drew up a list of eight to
be fired.

Foreign protests slow
up the process.

1973: University law now requires
professors to be politically
acceptable (equated with active
support for the programme of the
League of Communists) and the
composition of the faculty council agreed with the given Federal
Republic government. The Faculty
of Philosophy claimed these
changes were unconstitutional.

May 1973: Belgrade University
League of Communists demanded of
the Faculty of Philosophy that
the eight be sacked. The Faculty
solidly refused this, including
the students and even the party
organisation in the Faculty.


October 1973: The various Faculties agree to allow half the
management council to be appointed
from outside the University. The
Faculty of Philosophy resists
this, but after a violent press
campaign, with threats of closure,
it agrees.

1974: The newly reconstituted
council dismisses Markovic and
his colleagues.

The issues raised here occur
in the more general framework of
an increasing Stalinisation in
Yugoslavia, with the elimination
of public discussion of the country’s condition, and primarily
must be fought out there. Nevertheless Markovic and other Yugoslav philosophers are well-known
internationally for their distinctive brand of , Marxist ‘humanism’.

If they are silenced the world of
philosophical debate will be the
poorer for it.

In Spring term
the philosophy subject group at
Sussex voted to send a protest to
President Tito about this repression. The Bertrand Russell Peace
Foundation has also been taking
an interest in the matter.


Gaol and ban
A Yugoslav court sentenced the
philosopher, Dragoljub Ionjatovic,
to three years and six months in
prison for “hostile propaganda,”
the news agency Tanjug said.

He was also banned from public
lecturing for two years after
serving his sentence.

(Guardian, 10 April 1974)

2. Maspero
When fascist troops burn books in
Chile, or rampage through the
house of Pablo Neruda destroying
his library and possessions, the
British press does take note of
the event, and may even express
a mild disapproval of such excesses while nevertheless maintaining a stand of general support for
the military junta. And when
Solzhenitsyn is deported from the
USSR the press of the ‘Free World’

really wakes up and loudly declares
itself in favour of free speech.

But when the French government
and police hound a socialist publisher for ten years and drive him
to attempted suicide the press is
less interested.

Fran~ois Maspero has done
more than any other single independent publisher for the diffu-

sion of socialist literature. He
has pUblished an enormous list of
important socialist texts in
France. A small sample of the
authors in his catalogue – Bettelheim, Poulantzas, Althusser,
Benjamin, Debray,”Emmanual, Fanon,
Frank, Godelier, Mandel, Marighella,
Palloix … He has been systematically harrassed to breaking point
by the French authorities.

the period 1959-63 a large number
of books putlished by him on the
Algerian war (including some which
have subsequently become internationally famous, such as Fanon’s
The wretched of the Earth) were
seized by the police, and Maspero
was charged with, among other
things, inciting to sedition.

Subsequently, in the period from
1968 to the present day he has
been attacked with a different
legal weapon, the infamous
Article 14 of the Press Law,
which makes punishable the publication, circulation or publicising of books ‘of foreign origin’

which the Minister of the
Interior regards as undesirable.

This law, which dates from
May 1939, was originally aimed at
preventing publication in France
of Nazi literature calling for the
annexation of Alsace-Lorraine.

permits the Minister of the
Interior (of late this has been
the notorious Raymond Marcellin,
the man who proposed, a couple of
years ago, the death penalty for
convicted drug pushers) to ban or
to seize any book ‘of foreign
origin’ by arbitrary fiat, requiring of him no public defence of
his actions, no reasons for his
banning any particular book.

has been used against Maspero with
savage regularity, first against
his publication of the Tricontinental Review, and more recently
against his publication of a
series of books about African
countries, a French ‘Little Red
School Book’, and his distribution of the Spanish Communist
Party paper Mundo Obrero. Every
two or three months the French
tribunals perform a ritual book
destruction, less visible than
the Chilean book bonfires but
equally barbarous. The publication
of the Tricontinental Review has
cost Maspero a total of some 30
million old Francs in fines, as
well as spells in prison and the
loss of his civic rights including
the right to vote. And he has
lost dozens of millions of francs
worth of books each year in
destroyed stocks, and additionally
of course a large amount in lost


group ‘recently claimed that even
blacks in South Africa are not
subjected to such cruel persecution
and constriction as ‘unorthodox
thinkers’ in the USSR.’

Medvedev’s important essay
‘Problems of Democratization and
Detente’ printed in New Left
Review, No.83, Jan-Feb 1974).

As for Solzhenitsyn himself,
let us examine his recent ‘Letter
to the Soviet Leaders’ (Sunday
Times 3 March 1974, to be published
in book form by Fontana). The
Sunday Times absurdly announced
this text as ‘one of the most
remarkable and edloquent documents
of our time .•. a testament of
astonishing power, with uncanny
relevance to our own problems in
the west’.

In fact the only remarkable thing about this document
is that anyone has taken it seriously at all. The ludicrous elevation, by the Sunday Times and
others, of Solzhenitsyn to the rank
of Prophet of our time has more to
do with sensationalist money-making
and cynical mind-bending than it
has with a concern for the truth.

He is certainly a man of great
courage, and a man who has
suffered hideously, and no doubt
he does see himself in the tradition of the great Russian novelistProphets.

It would be worth
examining at length the way in
which the Sunday Times employes the
whole range of journalistic techMarxism can only retain influence
nique to endorse and as it were
on the consciousness of people authenticate this image.

let alone increase it – by uncompromisingly honest, open and truthThe text is printed beneath a
ful scientific analysis of the

totality of contemporary social
problems and of the whole unexclusive’ is fascinating – a
falsified history of international
mixture of commercial pride and
even:-s and revolutionary expericosmic pretention.

It is said to
ence5 of the 20th century.

be ‘world exclusive’ because this
Roy Medvedev
is a way of announcing that there
follows a message that the whole
So Solzhenitsyn has been deported.

world is waiting to hear. The
And what does that tell us about
speech of Solzhenitsyn is an event
the Soviet Union? That the Soviet
in world-history and the reader in
authorities do not regard individSidcup knows he has the privilege
ual freedom of expression as
of being the first to hear the
having automatic priority over
Prophet’s voice. For only of a
other considerations of social
Prophet is i t true that the very
policy? Well, that is no doubt
act of speech is an event that
true, as it is true in practice
demands the whole world’s attenof every other state. The
tion. For, as Kierkegaard pointed
abstract principle of freedom of
out, the Prophet has authority,
speech, whatever other merits it
whereas the ordinary mortal has
might have, does not help us to
only reason or power to legitimate
identify clearly what is specifichis speech.

In news jargon the
ally objectionable about Soviet
politician discusses, acts, anncensorship. Solzhenitsyn’s case
ounces, condemns, decides, accuses
is too easily taken as an indicaetc.

But Solzhenitsyn speaks.

tion that the Soviet censor and
And there they are, these conhis bosses take as their target
, trasts, spread out across the page
only anti-soviet and anti-Marxist
below the headline. On top a thin,
thought and writing. For there is
elongated photograph of nineteen
no dOUbt that Solzhenitsyn, and
rather anonymous but powerful and
also Sakharov and the other ‘right
unsmiling men, the 1973 Soviet
dissidents’, are indeed antigovernment, the photograph printed
Soviet and anti-Marxist. They
too dark so that one gets the
flirt with fascism and indirectly
impression that these men prefer
give support to imperialist and
to work in an underground baseracist savagery. Sakharov’s
ment, that they fear exposure.

reference to the ‘national renaissImmediately below them a bigger
ance’ inaugurated in Chile by the
picture, head-and-shoulders, of
gangsters of the military junta is
the writer, a background of trees
a famous example of this. And Roy
and air, a mysterious half-smile
Medvedev reports that one of this
on his face and a blurred hand

this year he was fined
yet anothc~ 1,800,000 francs when
a book by a Belgian lawyer, Jules
Chome,;· was banned. The book is
about Mobutu.

No doubt the French
foreign office does not wish to be
disturbed in its relations with
friendly countries by the inconvenient publication of books which
are critical of their heads of

Last year they seized
Main basse sur le Cameroun by
Mongo Beti, a French government
employee, educated and employed
in France and holder of a French
passport, which illustrates the
scope of the control over ‘books
of foreign origin’ exercised by
the authorities. It seems that
any book about a foreign country
is at the mercy of the arbitrary
judgments of the right wing

Frangois Maspero, his health
broken and his business facing
ruin, attempted suicide in the
summer of 1973. At present books
are still appearing from his publishing house, and a solidarity
committee of authors and other
friends are active in support.

The barbarians have not yet won.

J .K.M.

3. Solzhenitsy’n

upraised in a motion of benediction.

In reality, of course, at
that moment when the camera froze
him, Solzhenitsyn might have been
shaking a fist at the crazed photographers and telling them to piss
off. But a photograph on the page
of a newspaper is not a straightforward representation of visual
reality, it is a message carefully composed of visual space,
text, captions, quality of print
etc. The effect of the whole
composition is, in this case, the
message ‘This man is a Prophet’,
all the more powerful because
those words are not themselves
anywhere to be found. ‘For this
page says of the Soviet leaders
what AlIen Ginsberg said of
Lyndon Baines Johnson and his
gang: ‘They open their mouths and
10 they pour forth cement’. Not
an implausible thought, of course,
but what it helps to create is the
contrast. Solzhenitsyn the uncanny,
Solzhenitsyn speaks.

Well, what is it then that he
actually says? If one turns the
page one finds a heading spread
right across the whole width of the
text, across 33 inches of the
double spread.

It is a quote from
the writer.

SAY?’ Now I must admit that I am
at a bit of a loss to say why it
it; that the editors chose to ex-tract this particular sentence from
the test for this special treatment.

Can it be that there really is at
the Sunday Times an editor who
agrees with Solzhenitsyn here, that
there really is nothing more to be
said? If there is such a man he
must be not only male chauvinist
but also extraordinarily blind
to the facts about women’s labour,
both domestic and industrial, in
the West. Because the message
here endorsed is that the scandal
of women performing arduous labour
has come about in Russia because
it is a country dominated by the
monstrous tradition of MarxismLeninism. This is confirmed both
in the text itself and in its
presentation by the newspaper.

The latter is shown by the photograph immediately below the quote
– a photograph of Russian women
apparently repairing or painting
curbing stones, with a truck
nearby which one woman is sitting
in and another climbing into, as
if to emphasize the heaviness,
the ‘maleness’ of what they are
being forced to do. And just in
front of the women, dominating
the whole scene, an enormous hoarding carrying a picture of Big
Brother himself, V. I. Lenin,
without whose oppressive gaze no
doubt these women would be free to
return to where they belong among
the dishes and the kids. Only in
Russia, then, are women forced to

In the text Solzhenitsyn gives
his own version of this thesis.


He repeatedly explains that it is
only because the Soviet government
squanders national resources in
its support of far away revolutionaries that women are forced to
labour in the streets.

following the sentence headlined
by the newspaper the author says
‘Who would hesitate to abandon the
financing of South American revolutionaries in order to free our
women from this bondage?’ This
expenditure is not only judged
immoral because it conflicts with
Solzhenitsyn’s intense nationalism, it is also said to be
completely unnecessary.

leave South America to itself,
nobody is threatening to take it

They must be chortling
about that one in the Pentagon.

Just one more example. Another
photograph shows us ranks of
soldiers of the Chinese army.

They are, of course, as soldiers
tend to be when on parade, somewhat regimented looking, rifles
on shoulders- arms all rigidly and
synchronouslY in movement, heads
in line.

But don’t all armies
look like this? So, what is the
point? Well, this is not a representation of the army at all,
but of the Chinese people. The
caption is another quote from the
author; ‘One aches with sympathy
for the ordinary Chinese … They
are held in such a strait-jacket.’

Who is the most ludicrous,
Solz:1eni tsyn with his ignorant
and foolish remark about the
ordinary Chinese, or the Sunday
Times which decides to represent
them as robotised like an army?

At least Solzhenitsyn has the
excuse that his sources of information about China, the Russian
media, are not among the most
balanced and objective.

If he has
foolish ideas about China (he
bemoans the fact that they are
led by Mao ‘in place of a peaceable
neighbour such as Chiang Kai-shek’)
the Soviet leaders are at least in
part to blame. Which is the most
repugnant – Solzhenitsyn’s remark
about Vietnam, that ‘ i t was not
capitalism that rejected negotiations and a truce for fifteen to
twenty years’; or the Sunday
Times decision to present such
naive and ill-informed judgements
as part of a great vision, as a
testament of astonishing power?

One might reasonably expect them
by now to have read the Pentagon

One of the tragedies of these
anti-Soviet dissidents is the
extent to which their revulsion
with the horrors they have had to
suffer in their own countries tends
to produce in some of them a
r.aively benevolent view of the
West. Without necessarily realising it or wishing it they allow
themselves to be used, to become
producers of imperialist and capitalistpropaganda, exploited by
forces just as sinister as those
they have had the courage to
resist in their own countries.

An important example of this is


analysed by Edward Thompson in his
intriguing and provocative ‘Open
Letter to Leszek Kolakowski’

(Socialist Register 1973).

Perhars the most important and
damaging error in Solzhenitsyn’s
argument is the one which, in his
circumstances, it would have been
most difficult to avoid.

It is
his analysis of Soviet society and
Soviet culture. The USSR is, he
says, steeped in lies.

universal, obligatory force-feeding with lies is now the most agonising aspect of existence in our
country – worse than all our material miseries, worse than any lack
of civil liberties.’ That I do
not have the presumption to dispute. What I do dispute is his
explanation of why this is so.

The root cause, according to
Solzhenitsyn, is Marxism. Marxism is an ideology which is crude,
discredited and bankrupt. The
only way in which it can be maintained as the dominant ideology
is by systematically denying
reality, by a continuous campaign
of falsehood and evasion. The
Soviet censor excludes antiMarxist thought because this is
the only Wqy in which Marxist
thought has any chance of survival.

This thesis, however, ignores
an essential feature of Russian
censorship, and indeed of the
whole policy of the Soviet government in the field of education and
culture. The point is not that
socialist thought is imposed while
non-socialist thought is excluded.

It is that, when it comes to thinking about, investigating and understanding the history of the Russian
revolution, the development of
Soviet political and administrative organisations, the division
of labour and the control of production, i.e. the whole history
of Russian society since 1917,
that in relation to all this
socialist thought is also excluded.

What is brutally prevented by the
state apparatuses is any open,
scientific investigation, and
therefore any understanding, of
Soviet society. And since this
is done in the name of Marxism
there is produced a situation in
which c~lture and the intellectual
life are dominated and deformed
by this most outrageous contradiction.

It means that ‘Diamat’

can survive in Soviet schools in
a condition rather like that of
religious instruction in our own
– a sort of appendage to formal
education which is not intended to
be taken too seriously when it
comes to the production of social
self-knowledge, which indeed
comes to have the function precisely of an obstacle to knowledge.

Thus stalin and stalinism, for
example, are not posed as problems
demanding a scientific investigation, but are evasively obscured
beyind the non-marxist concept
‘the cult of personality’. And
the pronouncement by the 22nd
Congress of the CPSU that, with
the disappearance of the class-

struggle, the dictatorship of the
proletariat has been ‘superceded’

in the USSR, and that the Soviet
state is the State of the whole
people – these doctrines are not
the products of socialist thought;
they are in effect orders – Do
not ask questions about the
bureaucracy; do not attempt to
understand how it is possible that
in a State of the whole people
there is no recognisable form of
democratic control; do not analyse
the distribution of the surplus,
the privileges and the differentials .•• The specific oppressiveness of Sovi~ society is that
it is a self-proclaimed socialist
society in which socialist thought,
discussion and criticism of this
very society, socialist selfunderstanding, are disallowed.

If the Soviet authorities need to
ban Solzhenitsyn it is in part
because they have themselves
created the intellectual and
cultural conditions in which his
work becomes a threat.

So i t is
worth remembering that there are
also socialist dissidents in the

It is worth reading, in
this connection, the article by
Roy Medvedev mentioned above, and
the essay about two of Medvedev’s
books by Ralph Miliband in
Socialist Register (1973). Just
how very efficient are all of the
obstacles to knowledge in the
Soviet Union is suggested by
Medvedev’s remark thab ‘most of
our students and senior schoolchildren know nothing of Stalin’s
crimes’. Yevtushenko has provided
an illustrative anecdote (in his
‘Letter concerning Solzhenitsyn’

of which extracts appeared in the
English press; the full text is
available in French in Le Nouvel

Observateur, 25 February 1974).

Last year in Siberia, around a
camp fire, a young girl, a student
about eighteen years old, proposed
a toast to Stalin.

I leapt up and
asked her why she did that.

– ‘Because in those days everyone
had faith in Stalin, and because
this faith enabled us to win great
victories’ •
– ‘Do you know’, I asked her, ‘how
many people were arrested during
the years when Stalin was in

– ‘Well •.• perhaps twenty or

There were other students of about
the same age around the fire. I
asked them the same question.

– ‘About two hundred’ said one boy.

– ‘Perhaps two thousand’ said a

only one, of the fifteen or twenty
present, said ‘I think there may
have been about ten thousand.’

When I told them that it is
necessary to count not in thousands
but in millions they did not want
to believe me.

J .K.M.

4. Noam Chomsky
and Edward Herman

Pictures, Warner records, Warner
Cable TV, and other outfits.

Warner Modular was set up simply
as an independent publishing
house. OUr dealings were sclely
Chomsky and Herman have written
with them, just as when I publish
a monograph called CounterRevolutionary Violence: Bloodbaths
a book with Pantheon I do not deal
with RCA (or whoever it is that
in Fact and Propaganda. This
‘Ultimately owns them).

monograph investigates the way
A few days before our monoin which atrocities committed by
American forces and by the forces
graph was to be published, an
of client regimes are
executive of Warner Publishing
.·systematically covered up;
Company came across some advertisand the way in which myths about
ing copy, demanded to see the
alleged atrocities by revolutionmanuscript, and ordered the pubary forces are created and perpetlisher to stop publication. Later,
uated by the ‘information’

apparently realizing that the
services of the US Government and
publicity would not be too good
by the Press. The text was
if the news got out, he agreed to
printed by Warner Modular Publicapermit distribution of our monotions but has not been distributed.

graph, but only on condition that
In a letter to a French magazine
another monograph would be pubeditor Chomsky has given an
lished to ‘balance’ the picture.

account of how it has come about
He also insisted that there be
that this text has been, in effect,
no advertising for our monograph.

suppressed. We asked Chomsky
One ad did appear in the NY
about the affair for RP. He sent
•Review, before all of this took
us a copy of his letter to M. Faye. place, but since that time there
We print it here.

has been no advertising, and the
copy that appeared in the NY
Review has since been modified,
in later publication, with our
Dear M. Faye
monograph replaced by something

You raised the question some time
At my suggestion, the editors
ago about publishing some remarks
at Warner Modular approached
on the censorship of ‘CounterIthiel Pool to ask him whether he
revolutionary violence’, and I
would let them publish several
recall being rather reluctant.

articles of his on Indochina and
since, I’ve discussed it with Ed
related matters as ‘balance’ to
Herman and also with the director
ours. Frankly, though I of course
of Warner Modular, since fired,
was a bit taken aback at the
and I think it is all right to
censorship attempt, nevertheless
give the background, as long as
I was not unhappy to see Pool’s
it is presented as report or rumor
things appear. Pool is a miserand not attributed to specific
able apologist for imperialist
indivic ‘als in the firm. The
violence who works within a
actual L :ory, as reported to me,
is as follows.

framework of academic respectability, and I would simply regard
Warner Modular is a subsidiary
of the Warner Publishing Company,
his articles as an illustrative
which is itself a subsidiary of
appendix for our own monograph.

Warner Communications Inc. The
As far as I know, they did go
latter is a big conglomerate,
ahead with the pUblication of
including Warner Brothers Motion
Pool’s articles, as an antidote

to ours.

However, at this point the
director of Warner Modular was
simply ordered to close down the
operation entirely. He and most
of the other members of his staff
were fired, and now Warner Publishing Co is attempting to sell
the remaining assets of Warner
Modular. It is very difficult to
find out what the status of our
monograph is, whether it is indeed
on sale, or in fact, anything.

As for the decision to close
down the publishing operation, I
doubt that that was simply a
reaction to our monograph. However, it is not entirely obvious
what other considerations might
have played a part. The company
seemed to be making money. I
assume that there must have been
other considerations, and that
our monograph served to trigger
the decision to phase out the

I suspect that what really
lies behind the hysteria over this
issue is the matter of cable TV.

Warner Communications Inc. is
attempting to move into the cable
TV business, which requires approval by the Federal Communications
Commission. They are probably
worried about FCC reactions to
their publications.

This account is, I am convinced,
quite accurate. I’ve left out the
names of the individuals involved,
and, of course, it would be difficult to prove any of it, unless
those individuals wanted to tell
the story themselves. I’ve neve~
heard of anything like this in
the field of publishing. It is,
however, the sort of thing that
many people feared when big conglomerates began to take over the
publishing industry.

If you want to use the information, I think it is quite all

Sincerely yours,
Noam Chomsky

ReR-‘—oJ_I_s_ _ __
Marxist Activist
A group of philosophers calling
themselves Marxist Activist
Philosophers (MAP) have organized
in the United States and have held
two working conferences thus far
and are planning a third. They
come from diverse philosophical
(and political) backgrounds, but
most of the participants are working themselves out of a background
in analytic philosophy. They see
their goal to be the development
of a constructive Marxist philosophy and a Marxist critique of
bourgeois philosophy. Their aim
is not to ‘take over the academy’

(as if that could be done within

‘capitalism) but to contribute to
the development of a serious and
vigorous alternative to academic
philosophy both within and beyond
the academy. They are interested
in reaching beyond the confines
of philosophy departments to people
in other disciplines who share a
similar perspective and they are
also interested in getting a
Marxist alternative to the bourgeois weltanschaunng to a broader
audience outside the university.

Most of the participants in MAP
are or have been involved in
political activity and some are
in socialist organizations. All
of th~ participants, however, are
convinced of the necessity of
connecting their intellectual work
with their political practice.

The first of the conferences
was purely organizational. The
second, held in September 1973,
had papers on a Marxist approach
to the mind-body problem, the
fuller realization of human nature
as a justification of revolution,
the function of intellectuals and
a Marxist critique of Quine. All
the papers produced full and
lively discussion. There was
disagreement as to what view on
the mind-body problem Marxists are
committed to, whether a fuller
realization of human nature is a
reasonable justification of political struggle and whether Marx
held it to be, just who intellectuals are and what their function
is and the connection of trade
unions to this, and what a Marxist


theory of truth would be like.

The disagreement seemed to be due
both to the different philosophical views of the participants and
to the absence of clear answers
to many of these philosophical
questions in Marx. Thus the need
to develop a constructive Marxism.

Although the debate was vigorous,
it was constructive and (largely)
uncompetitive – qualities that
are rare in philosophical discussions in the university.

The third working conference,
to be held in the spring of 1974,
will have papers on the following
topics (as well as possibly others):

Marx as a political theorist; a
Marxist epistemology; a Marxist
critique of Popper; Free Will and
a Marxist concept of Natural
‘.>J.:’ .5, and the Falling Rate of

Papers are not read at the
conferences but are circulated
in advance and people are encouraged to send comments to their
authors, thus getting as much
cooperative work in advance as
possible. About 25 people were
at the last conference – mostly
from the Northeast, some from the
Midwest. Many more are expected
at the next one, due to a somewhat broader orientation and
petter publicity. People coming
to the conferences are all expected to participate. A travel
pool is used for the conference
so that each participant shares
equally (according to income) in
travel expenses.

Inquiries regarding MAP can
be addressed to Professor Marlene
Fried/Department of Philosophy/
Dartmouth College/Hanover/NH/USA.

to put into words with her resolve
to ‘go to the stake for “philosophy
plus something else” courses’.

Mary Warnock is chairperson
(though she insists on being
called ‘chairman’) of the C.N.A.A.

Philosophy Panel. Hearing her
speak I could glimpse some (though
not perhaps very much) of the
hurdles that innovations have to
pass to gain official approval.

She confessed her personal orthodoxy but gave us to understand
that it did not represent the views
of the committee. What did appear
to represent the views of the
committee was the criteria questions: Was it clear precisely what
the students were going to do
(especially read and write)?

Were they of a standard to achieve
it? and What graduate courses
would they be able to do at the
end of the course that they could
not have done without it. Ms.

Warnock said she opposed the
dismissiveness of Language, Truth
and Logic, but her impromptu list
of possible’introductory reading
that covered only Plato, Aristotle,
Loc~e, Berkeley, Humei Russell,
itself se~ms rather dismissive.

Three speakers described course
innovations. All sought to introduce content that did not stem ~rom
the restricted field. Themecentred courses which display t~eir
high ideals on their faces; ‘packs’

pf material from newspapers and
pooks for criticai examinatidh;
relevant seminars on some modern
‘classifications’ (educationindoctrination, male-female).

aut the discussion suggested how
little certainty there was about
what was being taught in teaching
philosophy. On the one hand’it
seemed that philosophy was so
promiscuous it had to be a study
in the matter of valid argument;
on t~e other hand contributors
felt that they had something very
The context in which philosophy is
specific which had to be communibeing taught has thrown up a new
cated. But what was it and so how
organisation. The explicit aim of
could it be communicated? Even
the Association of Teachers in
accepting the apparently generally
Philosophy is to bring together
held view that the professional
teachers and ‘all those interested
pressure to claim expertise was no
in the teaching of philosophy’, to
longer so intense, I still felt
talk, and to act as a pressure
that few of the teachers could find
group in respect of academic boards any ground between the arrogance of
and the Council for National
philosophy as selling proper modes
Academic Awards, whose personnel
of argument to anyone who’d buy
unite, I understand, the cosiness
and the exclusiveness of philoof the British philosophical estab- sophy with a content of texts and
lishment with that of the British
disputes never bearing on that
beyond. HoW, one contributor
Civil Service.

But at its first conference,
asked, could we keep deliberately
quiet in seminars when the
held just before the beginning of
students know we are being paid
the summer term, one glimpsed the
£2-3,000 per year to be there?

changes and uncertainties in
And we not even knowing when to
institutional philosophy. The
conference was dominated by polyspeak and when to keep silent.

At one point a contributor
technic teachers, who are feeling
their way outside the atmosphere
challenged the predominance of
of independent university philoepistemology (remember Mary
Warnock’s introductory reading
sophy departments where they
studied. But they are keen to
list). This aroused almost no
comment. Yet it is the medium
swap experiences and ideas of
by which the philosophy students
innovation, devising courses almost exclusively for nonspecialists. develop the prejudice that they
I suppose it was the spirit of
are learning about learning, not
that which MaryWarnock was trying
learning anything in particular

of Teachers
of Philosophy


(which other subjects naively
assume) ‘. ‘Scant opposition was
heard either to Mary Warnock’s
absolute qistinction at the
start between the teaching of
philosophy and the teaching of
the history of ideas. But history,
as the context of all human activity, offers some alternative to
the aridness of prior epistemological solutions. If epistemology comes first on philosophy
courses it comes as the problem of
learning which can be decided
upon, for philosophy or any other
Subject in the institution, prior
to getting our fe~t wet in anything actual. The ‘relevant’

topics of innovative graduates
have been given only the instruments of a timeless epistemology.

Their search for relevance represents merely the unhappy consciousness of the philosophy
specialist who has lost his faith.

Why has the feeling that philosophy
should be relevant not led to any
understanding of why ideas are
relevant when they are. Perhaps
because philosophers have been
content to leave these questions
to the more accumUlative minds of
historians and sociologists.

One who did believe the history of
philosophy to be inseparable from
philosophy itself thought of
history only as that which is
past – a notion itself based upon
epistemological criteria of the
object of historical knowledge.

What philosophy (and much else of
intellectual life) tries to avoid
is that history is not first and
foremost something we fotudy but
something we live in.

But all that is under the surface, and for the futUre I hope.

I was glad to be there because the
association will have to be a
focal point for the expression of
these uncertainties and perhaps
their resolution in practice.

Philosophy is changing in the
new circumstances of education in
this country; and in periods of
crisis we may hope for exciting

Membership of the A.T.P. is £1.50
a year. The secretary is Peter
Caldwell at Bolton Institute of

Noel Parker

canterbury, March 22-24
Publicity ballsups restricted
attendance at the Conference,
though about 50 people came from
all over Britain. Extreme diversity of perspective, involvement
and experience ensured a modest
discussion. In one way this had
a positive lesson: that each
institution, because of its
traditions, structure and geographical loc~tion, presents
different problems and possibilities.

Sussex is liberally pluralistic,
making it easy £or radicals to get

into an academic-left ghetto.

while it adjusts to the instituBangor is straight and lecture/
tional necessity for students to
exam dominated – students are
‘follow’ the course.

sullenly putting up with the shit
Courses, exams and assessments
that is heaped on their heads.

were discussed in the context of
Leeds Poly is the same; there
the functions for capitalism: to
lectures are compulsory. Concrete
produce routinised personnel with
differences were also highlighted
‘certain skills and aptitudes. It
in different ‘sub-;ject’ areas:

was suggested, on the basis of
sociology’s left image incorporindustrialists’ complaints and on
ates and digests radical ideas;
the basis of high figures of
. the left economists’ meetings are
voluntary and involuntary unemploydominated by high-theoretical
ment among graduates, as well as
debate; the radical philosophers
on fiscal indications that the
are in danger of being happy with
state is seeing educational
their new identity badge. You
expenditure as low-priority, that
can’t run lecture/essay banks in
severe contradictions were getting
subjects where compulsory lab-work
revealed in this function. In
is the order of the day.

particular, the narrowness,
Generally, ‘counter-course’

passivity and impracticality of
activism has been squeezed between
examination courses was often seen
the straight academic routine and
by major industrialists as resoff-campus priorities of the left
ponsible for the unsatisfactory
groups. A Warwick contributor
character of graduates. Hence the
reported a ‘counter-course’ series
inconsistent needs of capitalism
there on ‘The University and
create space for major reforms of
Society’ which snuffed out with
the colleges.

the self-epitaphing conclusion
There was an argument over
that you can’t change anything in
examinations; in particular over
higher education unless there is
how to replace them without, in
revolutionary change outside,
effect, putting the student in
the position of depending on a
specifically initiated by the
working class. At the most pragcharacter profiie from his teachmatic level, then, the need is to
ers. Various suggestions were
develop struggles which (a)
made: (a) they depend on this at
subvert the bourgeois academic
the moment, through references
routines and ideology, (b) do not
etc, (b) [shades of Warwick files]
students and teachers should have
simply compete with academic worktime to become spare time activiaccess to their files and right of
complaint; (c) essays, projects
ties, and (c) involve us in
etc should be able to be sent [eg
practical-investigative activity
by the student] outside the
in areas of oppression and
student’s college, to be

‘assessed’ by people of the
In this connection a number of
student’s choice. Lists of
suggestions made at the conference
possible readers and their fields
are worth recording.

of interest and competence should
At Manchester students have
be available; (d) students and
moved off the campus and, in the
context of resisting demolition of
teachers should be more mobile
buildings for university purposes,
between colleges.

Several documents were circuhave set up an ‘educational
lated, and are available. Write
exchange’. The goal seems to be
to John O’Leary, Students .

to end the dichotomy of educational
struggle and mass-political
UKC, Canterbury.

struggle. In addition, students
are r~turning to their courses and
demanding radical changes, in form
and content.

Essay banks, lecture-note banks,
exam cribs etc, were suggested as
time-creators, as ways of developThe latest Open Meeting took place
ing a collectivist approach to
on Sunday 24 March, at the end of
work, and as ways of jacking up on
the Canterbury Conference.

the system to force it to change.

The Radical Philosophers decided Journal
to try to organise a number of
popular pamphlets debunking import- There was some discussion about
and ideologies: ‘Law and Order’,
whether to do a further reprinting
‘The National Interest’, ‘Extremism of Nos.l and 2, which were almost
and Moderation’, ‘Reasonableness
all sold out. Richard Norman had
and Violence’ were among the topics made enquiries with the Printing
suggested. (Anyone interested
Unit at the University of Kent, who
contact Mike Dawney, Middlesex
said that they would not be able to
Polytechnic, Crouch End Hill, N8).

do the job until the summer. It
In some universities, e.g.

was agreed that he should get an
Sheffield, critical seminars track- estimate from them.

Jonathan Ree explained that the
ing and attacking the mainstream
editorial arrangements had been
course on a week by week basis are
slightly re-organised, so as to
going on. This, unlike the
abstract Warwick topic, encourages
relieve pressure on the coordinator
and give more responsibility to
students to deal very concretely
editors. This left the coordinator
with the alienation and mystification brought on by their courses,
with more power, and Jonathan

RP Open

asked whether this was desirable.

It was generally agreed to be
acceptable, since the work of the
editorial board remained open.

Richard Norman suggested that as
contributions for the book were
still coming in so slowly, it might
be a good idea to publish some of
them initially as a series in the
magazine, as they came in, and to
aim at producing the book when
enough contributions had accumulated (say in a year or so). This
was agreed.

There was some further discussion
of the idea which had come up at
the conference of producing a
series of pamphlets attacking
current ideological concepts and
slogans (see report of CounterCourse Conference).

It was decided to work in the
following way: small groups or
individuals would select a topic
and aim at producing a short
critique or demystification by
November 1974. Provided sufficient material was available,
editorial meetings would then be
held with a view to production in
some form – .books, pamphlets,
leaflets ~ in early 1975.

To avoid too much duplication,
the work will be coordinated by
Mike Dawney, Middlesex Polytechnic, Crouch End Hill, London N8.

Any groups who want to start work
should check with Mike first.

Groups should try to meet as soon
as possible to discuss this, and
to start work.

London Day Conference
The London group had decided to
organise a number of day conferences, on 18 May, 1 June and 29
June, and to try and get wellknown speakers to join in meetings
on the subjects of ‘sexism’, ‘The
State’ and ‘Ideology’. It was
decided that the one on 29 June
could usefully be combined with
the next Open meeting, which
Janet Vaux agreed to chair.

(Please send items for agenda to
to Janet Vaux, 53 Ramillies Road,
London W4 IJW).

Radical Philosophy 6 contained
an article under the heading
‘Terror in Cambridge Tripos’

which made unjustified allegations
about the integrity of the
Cambridge University Examining
system and of an external examiner,
L. Jonathan Cohen. The editors of
Radical Philosophy completely
withdraw the allegations and
apologise for the pain and inconvenience caused to the individuals
and bodies involved.

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