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Realism and the Philosophy of Science (Conference Report, Northern Association for Philosophy, Manchester Polytechnic, 25-26 February 1983); Confronting the Crisis: The Essex Sociology of Literature Conference; RP Day School on Ideology; Repression in Turkish Universities; Distribution, Disaster and the Economic Base

Does the Emperor have any Clothes?

Wayne Hudson, The Marxist Philosophy of Ernst Bloch,
MacMillan, 1982, i.20 hc
Bloch’s philosophy is not yet well known in the Englishspeaking world, and yet it forms a remarkable contribution
to the Marxist tradition. Bloch 0885-1977) was born and
educated in Germany. During the Nazi period he was forced
to emigrate to the US, but in 1949 he returned to East
Germany as Professor of Philosophy at Leipzig. However,
he exiled himself to West Germany in 1961 and spent the
remainder of his life there.

His philosophy is an extraordinary amalgam of utopian,
metaphysical, speculative and religious themes, drawn, as
Dr Hudson shows, from a great range and variety of
scholarly sources, and all combined within the framework
of a quite orthodox Marxism – adherence to which enabled
him to live and work in East Germany for over a decade
without problems. This book is the first full-length treat-

ment of his work in English and, as such, it is welcome.

However, beyond summarising some of the larger themes in
Bloch’s work, the book is not useful either in helping one
to understand Bloch’s philosophy or to appreciate its significance.

The approach is diligent and scholarly, but unenlivened and unilluminating. One is given a good sense of
the amazing scholarly range of Bloch’s work, and of his
openness (so unusual in a Marxist writer) to themes of a
utopian, speculative and even mystical character. But
whether it all adds up to a coherent system of thought, or
whether it is just an unrigorous and specious eclecticism, is
never made clear. Does the emperor have any clothes? This
is the doubt that has been raised by other commentators on
Bloch’s work. Unfortunately, this book does not really help
one to settle it.

Sean Sayers

NEWS
Realism and the Philosophy
of Science
Critical Review of the conference of the Northern Association for Philosophy at Manchester Polytechnic, 25-26
February 1983.

This conference was timely in capturing the trend towards
‘realism’ apparent in seemingly diverse areas of philosophical thinking: the growing interest in De Re modality (for
example in Kripke’s a posteriori necessities) in analytical
philosophy, the ‘Formal Ontology’ movement in phenomenology and the concern with realist theories of science in
the work of Bhaskar and Hillel Ruben.

Six papers were read and discussed by contributors
from Britain and Germany. Two symposiasts: B. Smith and
J. Shearmur (both of the University of Manchester) en~aged
in what they called Dialogues Concerning Naturalistic
Realism. Both are phenomenologists and formal ontologists.

Formal ontology is the description of, for example, part whole relations where, say, ‘if a is a part of band b is a
part of c then a is a part of c’ is held to be necessary and

where this necessi ty is held to obtain actually in the objects and not, say, in some convention of language or constraint on the human imagination or in some logical rule
such as ‘p is necessary if not p is self contradictory’. Most
of the examples of De Re necessities (or as they preferred
to call them ‘existential necessities’) were drawn from the
study of colours. For instance on this view it is de re
necessary that no phenomenal colour can be unextended, no
two colours can simultaneously and exhaustively occupy
numerically the same extension etc. The symposiasts conceded that there are logical and a priori necessities but
allowed a further class discoverable a posteriori.

One possible drawback of this approach is that the
concept of necessity has to be taken as ‘primitive’; not
capable of further analysis. Theorists agree that ‘nothing is
red and green all over’ expresses a necessary truth or that
in some very strong sense the purported state of affairs
the sentence describes cannot obtain. Precisely what we
are interested in though is the nature of this necessity. A
regress is generated by saying the necessity is itself necessary. To say it is just a fact that nothing can be red and
green all over is to restate the problem and not to solve it.

If we say in some respects the world cannot be other than
39

it is we still want to know what the force of this ‘cannot’

is: what is says that ‘The world isn’t other than it is’ does
not.

The second paper was read by Rom Harre (Linacre
College, Oxford). It was called Reference and Identity for
the In – Principle Unobservable. Or: To what sort of beings
do tendency and propensity statements refer? Harre began
by distinguishing two sorts of realism: (1) The sort of realism which depends on the logical bivalence of propositions:

Any proposition is either true or false. We may not know
whether a given proposition is true or false. Any proposition is true or false irrespective of our beliefs about its
truth value. He said he would not be concerned with this
sort of realism. (2) So called ‘referential realism’. This is
the sort that holds that propositions are true or false in
virtue of describing correctly or incorrectly the world as it
really is. To explain referential realism Harre distinguished
three ontological realms or areas: (1) The set of observabIes, where ‘observable’ means ‘observable through direct
sense experience’. (2) The directly unobservable but indirectly observable (e.g. viruses, bacteria), and (3) The in
principle unobservable (e.g. electrons, quarks). Harre was
concerned with the third.

Central to his paper was the concept of a disposition. Dispositional concepts have three principal characteristics for Harre: (a) they are ‘future directed’, (b) they are
articulated by propositions of conditional (‘if ••• then’)
form. That is: ‘x is disposed to y by virtue of some nature
‘N’ where ‘N’ denotes some occurrent structure of x.’ As an
example of dependence of dispositions on non-disposi tional
grounds or properties, Harre used the case of D.M.

Armstrong’s materialist supplementing of Ryle’s account of
dispositions by just such an occurrent structure; in this
instance some structure or configuration of the human
central nervous system as the ground for a behavioural disposition. (c) Dispositional sentences have possibilities for
their extensions.

The bulk of Harre’s paper was concerned with the
second feature of dispositional explanation. He used the
device of ‘attribute stripping’ with the following structure:

any given disposition is explained by reference to some
occurrent structure which in turn may rest on a second disposition etc. A sort of explanatory hierarchy is thus generated, or a sort of explanatory regress which in terms of
physics proceeds from macro to micro levels. The ontological categories of the entities referred to at each level
may be radically different. So also might the sorts of
logical or structural relationship which obtain between
levels; for example, part – whole, or, in the case of ‘the
molecular activity of a gas is its temperature’, identity.

Harre had a clear reservation about this sort of
explanation. This was: we could, it seems, never know when
it is complete. It was difficult to see what sort of termination, if any, this iterative use of micro reductions could
have. For Harre, one possibility was a reversal of the process and an invoking of macro explanations.

Harre discussed two other matters connected with the
‘attribute stripping’ model. Firstly, he mentioned his principle of ‘attribute + grounding = power’ and, secondly,
raised the problems of the individuation and identification
of dispositions. If we want to count them where are they?

He considered two possibilities: that they can be thought of
as ‘agent located’ or as ‘target located’.

In Harre’s view their ranging over possibilities introduced an ‘ideal’ component into dispositional sentences.

What was needed here, then, was a realist analysis of ‘possibility’ but Harre pointed out it would be difficult to
devise one that did not make use of ideal terms like ‘will
be’ or ‘could be’. It seemed to me that in this Harre’s realism rested on a minimal idealism and he didn’t reject this
view.

The next paper was The Place of Powers in a Realist
Ontology read by K. Mulligan (University of Hamburg). This
divided into what he called a ‘historical’ and a ‘concrete’

section. The historical section was an overview of those
4D

historical precursors of his own formal ontology. They
included the phenomenologists Husserl and Ingarden and
also Meinong. Rom Harre was also discussed for his view
that the most fundamental ontological category might be
that of ‘powers’ but it was noted that Harre’s antiA.ristoteleanism was deeply opposed to the Austrian tradition in ontology. Analytical philosophers were also discussed by way of a tripartite division into phenomenalist,
realist and rationalist approaches in ontology. Ryle was
placed in the first category, D.M. Armstrong in the second.

(It was claimed that his ‘occurrent ground’ for dispositions
was prefigured in the work of Meinong.) Harre and Mellor
were cited as ‘rationalists’: the rationalist position in a
sense presupposing and in corpora ting the first two.

The concrete part of the paper was mainly an application of the following principle to the cases of states and
powers: ‘If an entity is real then everything in it is real. It
is wholly real.’ ‘Entity’ was used in the sense of ‘determinable for whatever ontologists want to quantify over’.

iReal’ meant ‘spatio-temporal’. Mulligan discussed work by
David Wiggins and Ian Hacking, the former for the discussion of the reality of states in Sameness and Substance
(pp.I2D-I2l) (1), the latter for his distinction between
logical and material probability in his paper ‘All Kinds of
Possibility’. Discussion of the paper centred around, firstly,
the logic of relations, for example the nature of the necessity whereby if aRb then bRa and the necessity by which
there are relations if and only if relata, and, secondly, the
controversial concept of a ‘punctual event’. Dr. Wolfe Mays
was not convinced there were any. Mulligan produced possible candidates for what he considered a-temporal events:

like beginnings and endings. Others thought the notion
incoherent.

Ivor Gratten-Guinness (Enfield College) read Nervous
Notes on Popper’s Ontology. After some remarks on the
Haack – Popper debate in the pages of Philosophy
Gratten-Guinness made the point that Popper’s theory of
truth is really taken from Tarski. This is truth as ‘that to
which true statements correspond’. It was-emphasised that
there is nothing uniquely realist about this definition. An
idealist or a solipsist could have held it.

Popper’s ontological division into Worlds One, Two
and Three was considered critically. Three was thought
one world too many and World Two, it was recommended,
should become part of World One.

Gratten-Guinness emphasised that he is a historian of
science rather than a philosopher but it seemed to me that
two of his remarks were particularly perspicacious from a
philosophical point of view. Firstly, he was one of the few
contributors who maintained that facts were ‘theory laden’.

That this was not the case had so far been assumed in
debate, but the position that facts are not theory laden is
certainly one that needs arguing for. Indeed, this dispute
revealed that the sort of realism under discussion was more
appropriately contrasted with ‘idealism’ than ‘relativism’.

Secondly, he distinguished between ‘realists’. In
particular, he said, they fell into two sorts:

1. Realists who hold that knowledge consists in
direct acquaintance with the contents of sense experience
and that all else is metaphysics.

2. Realists who hold that knowledge to count as such
mus t be of reality as it is in itself and all else is
‘phenomena’ •
This was argued for through use of Lakatos’ distinction
between two ontological levels: the ‘hard core’ and the
‘auxiliary’ or the ‘deep’ and ‘surface’.

Wolfgang Degen (University of Erlangen) read On
What Makes What True. This was another paper in formal
ontology. Degen thinks the world possesses a necessary
meriological structure which can be described in a formal
system he is devising. It was pointed out that the system
had a contradiction in it. Most of the discussion was of the
logical form of sentences expressing relations.

Howard Robinson (University of Liverpool) read A
Defence of an Idealist Theory of Matter. This paper was

profoundly opposed to the realist tenor of those read so
far. It was, he made clear, an idealist critique of a
materialist-realist theory of matter rather than a positive
idealist theory. It was developed out of the final sections
of Robinson’s recent book Matter and Sense (2) and drew
support also from John Foster’s The Case for Idealism (3).

The conclusion was that the realist ontology of powers
leads to a vicious regress. For any power P ‘ ••• the list of
effects constituting the determinate and complete nature
of P will be finite only if the list contains (and thereby
terminates at) an effect which is not a power. However an
infinite list constitutes indeterminacy’ (i.e. a power to
produce a power etc.). The exposition of Foster’s critique
of the realist theory of space was criticised in turn for the
neglect of the continuity axiom in geometry. Physicalists
and realists will have to try to take account, though, of
the objections to their projects that Robinson and Foster
are compiling.

At the root of the idealist-realist debate, it seems to
me, is a profound subject-object dualism. For the realist,
knowledge is the correct scientific characterisation of the
processes and ultimate constituents of the objective world.

For the idealist that world is mentally constructed by the
human subject. Perhaps Harre came nearest to reconciling
these two tendencies with his minimal idealist preconditions
for a realist ontology.

sense’. Tonkin argued that it was necessary to acknowledge
the theoretical claims of conservative thought, and went on
to examine some of the historical texts upon which these
arguments were based. Despite this opening out of the
category of the ‘political’, the following papers and discussion of the Falklands episode tended to revert to more
classical definitions of events. However John Arden’s
paper, ‘Falklands/Malvinas 1982: An Irish Perspective’,
proved a salutory reminder of the narrowness of the
English perspective on the world and of the almost fana tical myopia of the English media. The ideological and cultural reverberations of a popular Imperialist war could be
seen in the uncertainty, disagreement and theoretical confusion evidenced in the discussion that followed the
Falklands’ papers. This unease was clearly articulated in
both Jenny Taylor’s paper on the ‘Origins of the Isolation
of Radical Intellectuals’ and in David Punter’s workshop,
‘Crisis, Institutions and the Unconscious’, which broached
obvious worries about the role of the teacher/intellectual
in the transmission/reproduction of social relations within
the academ y.

Stephen Priest

Footnotes
1 David Wiggins, Sameness and Substance, Blackwell, 1982.

2 Howard Robinson, Matter and Sense, Cambridge University Press, 1982.

3 John Foster, The Case For Idealism, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983.

Confronting the Crisis: The
Essex Sociology of
Literature Conference
The Essex Sociology of Literature conferences began in the
optimistic years of theoretical innovation and apparent
political advance that characterised the 1970s. The long
march of Marxist and radical criticism through the decaying institutions of English literature appeared inexorable,
energetic and coherent. Wave after wave of new theoretical developments from the continent fuelled the development of this field and there was a sense of opening out the
muddy philosophical waters of Empiricist England. The
warm spring in which several flowers bloorned has now
given way to the cold wars of Thatcherism and the politics
of survival. The ‘crises’ of British society have fragmented
the field of cultural study and the ‘crisis’ of marxism itself
has seen a breakdown of the assumed paradigm within
which much of the earlier work was conducted. This year’s
conference was explicitly intended to examine the nature
of the interlocking crises that confront intellectuals concerned with cultural studies today. The disparity of views
and approaches demonstrated by the conference itself suggested the complexity of the problems facing a radical
movement. The debate ranged from the very constitution of
‘literature’ itself, a topic not resolved by the Cambridge
fiasco, to the politics of CND and the politics of meaning.

The ‘political’ was foregrounded in Boyd Tonkin’s
opening paper, ‘Right approaches; Sources of the New Conservatism’, which considered the philosophical precursors of
Thatcherism and set out to develop a framework for understanding the presence and power of right-wing positions
within current political discourse. Tonkin argued the need
to confront militant conservatism on a theoretical plane
rather than merely at the level of ideology and ‘common-

The ideological power of the .’New Right’ was
returned to in Simon Barker’s paper, ‘The Resolute
Approach – where does it come from?’ in which he examined the origins of the notion of a ‘Golden Age’ in English
history to which much of the present political discourse
and popular cultural hegemony addresses itself. This discussion of an ideological hegemony and fixi ty centred on
notions of England and ‘Englishness’ was also raised in
papers on the media coverage of the Falklands and on
media coverage of industrial disputes. A certain mild
schizophrenia was evident in these discussions, deriving
from the clarity on the one hand of the analysis of ideological institutions and their functioning and on the other
from the ineffectivity of radical intellectuals to intervene
in the process of the reconstitution of the ideological map
of Thatcherite Britain. Despite brave titles such as
‘Television News: What is to be done?’, a pallor of marginality hung over the conference like Banquo’s unwanted
presence. Gordon Brotherston bravely atte:npted to hold
back the ghosts of imperialism in his paper, ‘A Nuclear
Election? The Spectres in Britain’s Choice’, in which he
clearly pin-pointed the nature of the ideological battle that
was being waged around notions of ‘national defence’ and
of the ‘nation’ itself. He also pointed to the decline of
authority in the discourse of such liberal and professional
groups as doctors, lawyers and priests, and could well have
added academics and teachers. In fact underlying most of
the discussions during the conference was a sense of the
rapidly changing role of the ‘liberal’ institutions and of an
uncertainty as to how to react to this crisis of legitimacy.

Papers that were outside the mainstream debates
presented perhaps more focussed viewpoints that raised
many interesting questions, provisional questions about
radical struggle and theoretical understanding. In particular
Nicole Ward Jouve’s paper ‘Why I have written a book on
the “Yorkshire Ripper”: or, beyond fascination: towards,
through and beyond, Identification’ posed a number of
fascinating questions about the social pathology and con41

struction of sexuality in specific cultures. As a woman, as
an ‘outsider’ and as someone ultimately implicated in the
social processes of the construction of the “Ripper”, Jouve
carefully unravelled the complex subjective, ideological and
cultural forces at work in the myth and reality of the
Sutcliffe case. Melissa Walker’s paper ‘The verbal arsenal
of Black Women Writers’ also drew on the strength of ‘outsiders’ in her analysis of a writing movement that saw
itself ‘at the barricades’ and as developing a ‘nurturing,
creative approach to radical change’ in America. Mark
Allen Levy also discussed the social, institutional and discursive practices constituting the subject’s precarious sexuality, in this case that of gay sexuality in America. Levy
argued for a location of the space proper ‘to fragmentation
itself – alongside the body, the text,’ and for the Derridean
choreography of ‘mobile, non-identified sexual marks’.

Jennifer Stone also drew on theories of subjectivity, power
and discourse to discuss the ‘Interminable Crisis: The
Italian Precedent 1948-83’. Stone discussed the nature of
the discursive crisis in Italian society through an examination of how power governs the molecular revolution and
‘makes uniform the incalculability of writing new subject
positions’. In a somewhat more classical and empirical mode
Dr Nurit Gertz discussed ‘The History of the Present in
Israel: Culture and Politics’.

A proposal to set up a new Radical Literary Journal
was discussed although no firm conclusion was reached, and
the conference closed with a paper from Catherine Belsey
entitled ‘The Politics of Meaning’ which set out to discuss
the production of meaning as a political process and to
sketch a politics of radical intellectual work. In brief, the
conference rather uneasily covered a great deal of ground
and reflected the dispersal of the field into somewhat
tenuously related areas bound together at least by a sense
of the mUltiple ‘crises’ of culture, radical intellectuals and
liberal institutions.

inference from the idea that a concept has a critical function within a particular theory to the idea that such a concept is epistemologically ‘negative’. Lively discussion
followed both presentations, and debate focused on the
question of the sense in which Marxism is a ‘critical’

theory – the concept of ideology, in this respect, being an
index of competing conceptions of Marxism as a whole.

Finally, Paul Hirst read a paper on the social construction of ideas of person hood aimEd at demonstrating
the continuing pertinence of certain traditions within bourgeois thought. Drawing upon the work of the French sociologists Mauss and Durkheim, and some familiar (but some
thought disreputable) anthropological literature, he defended a structural-functionalist approach to the theorisation of the construction of subjectivity. Althusser’s well
known essay ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’,
he maintained, can be read in this context, and its theoretical anti-humanism thereby defended. We have no reason,
he suggested, to view the historical process as in any way
rationally structured. There was considerable hostility to
this idea expressed in the discussion which followed, in
which Hegel’s contribution to the topic in question was on
several occasions suggested to be somewhat greater than
the speaker, who seemed determined to focus on Hegel’s
ideas about early Chinese history, would allow.

Thanks are due to Madan Sarup for organising the
event and chairing the sessions, and to the speakers for
contributing their papers. More day schools are planned.

For information, and suggestions of any kind, please write
to Madan at Goldsmiths.

Peter Osborne

Richard Osborne

Repression in Turkish
Universities
RP Day School on Ideology
A Radical Philosophy Day School was held at Goldsmiths
College, London on Saturday 18 November. on the nature
and function of the concept of ideology. Some 80 people
attended. The main part of the day was taken up by discussion of two competing conceptions of ideology within the
Marxist tradition as recently outlined by Joe McCarney and
Jorge Larrain respectively, in their books The Real World
of Ideology (Harvester, 1980) and Marxism and Ideology
(Hutchinson, 1983). In the morning, Joe presented a critique
of Jorge’s ‘negative’, epistemological conception of ideology, and a defense of his own ‘epistemologically neutral’,
political account of the role played by the idea in ~arx’s
work. After lunch, Jorge expounded and defended his own
position.

Joe’s position was that Marx takes ideas to be ‘ideological’ only when, and by virtue of the fact that, they are
essentially related to the interests of a particular class.

Jorge, on the other hand, takes ideological ideas to be
those with a particular epistemological function, and he
sees their political meaning to derive from this function.

Ideologies, he argued, are syste’lls of ideas which provide
false resolutions at the level of social consciousness of
contradictions produced by, and irresolvable within, certain
limited forms of material practice. Joe took this formulation to involve a misunderstanding of the place of the concept of ideology within the structure of Marx’s theory as a
whole, and to involve a consequent misrepresentation of
the nature of that theory. It involves, he argued, a false
42

Within a single week in November 1982, 195 academics
were fired from Turkish universities without notice, compensation or right of appeal, and without even cursory justification. Those dismissed lost not only their livelihood and
pension rights, but are excluded from all forms of public
service, and in ‘Tlany cases have also lost their right to
travel abroad. To date (November 1983), at a time when
the number of Turkish universities has recently increased
from 19 to 27, and the number of students has doubled
within a year, 700 out of a total of 12,000 academic staff
(about 6%) have been dismissed or forced to resign.

The formal agent behind these measures is the
Turkish Higher Education Council (HEC), but their real perpetrator has been the Turkish military authorities themselves, who effectively control the Council through their
nominees to it (out of a total of 25 me;nbers, 8 are directly
nominated by the head of state, 6 by the government, 2 by
the Ministry of Education, and 1 by the General Staff).

Through the Council the Turkish military has a monopoly of
administrative power over the whole university system. It
has used it to try to eliminate all progressive influence
upon Turkish intellectual life. As The Guardian reported on
5.2.83, ‘All academic posts in administration ••• have been
filled with hardline supporters of military rule who can
summarily eject anyone they come into conflict with.’ Most
of the existing decision-making bodies within universities
have been abolished, and previously elected rectors have
been replaced by newly appointed ones, several of whom
formerly had connections with the extreme right-wing
Nationalist Action Party. In short, Turkish universities are
being militarised.

The Council fixes the programme and contents of
courses, and it has made the study of ‘The Principles of
Ataturk’ compulsory in all faculties, in many cases employing retired army officers to do the teaching. Both staff and
students are denied the right to join political parties, despite the fact that such parties have to be approved by the
head of state merely to exist under current political conditions. Staff have to receive permission from their chancellors to join any form of association. Women in universities
are forbidden to wear trousers, and men are forbidden to
grow beards. The contracts of all lecturers and assistant
professors are henceforth to be renewed yearly. Even the
THES (11.2.83) has seen reason to describe these measures
as ‘an orchestrated terror campaign’ in which the authorities have tried ‘to frighten lecturers so much that campus
politics will disappear and the progressive, questioning
influence of the universities on society and politics will
become a thing of the past’. The content of cultural and
scientific life in Turkey is in the process of being irreprievably damaged.

There are no signs that this situation is likely to
change with the formal transference of power from the
military to the new puppet civilian regime due to take
place in early 1984 as a consequence of the recently carefully stage-managed national elections. Rather, worse may
be yet to come, with a new Education Act currently in
preparation by the HEC designed to obliterate the remnants
of autonomy in the upper echelons of the system (at the
professorial leveI). Under present conditions, an extensive
and extended international campaign against the erosion of
educational rights and intellectual freedoms in Turkey is an
essential part of the struggle for those rights and freedoms
in Europe.

Thatcher’s government remains the mainstay of
support in Europe for the Turkish military, despite requests
for Turkey’s expUlsion from the Council of Europe and its
appalling human rights record since the coup – Heseltine is
currently engaged in negotiations to sell Rapier missiles to
Turkey. An increase in public consciousness in Britain of
events in Turkey – something up to now hindered by what
at times has almost been a conspiracy of silence in the
national press on th~ subject – is thus an important part of
the struggle to bring international pressure to bear on the
Turkish government. More particularly, in the light of the
Turkish government’s increasing need to recruit academic
staff from abroad, awareness among academics (and potential academics) in Britain of the situation in the universities there is necessary to combat the enticement of those
fearful for their jobs here into the posts of those summarily dismissed for clearly political reasons in Turkey.

(Foreign employees are being offered up to three times the
salaries of their Turkish counterparts, often with accommodation and fringe benefits as well – THES, 29.10.82). The
mutual advantage of such an arrangement to the Thatcher
and Turkish governments is obvious.

So far, however, the attempt to recruit from British
universities has fortunately proved unsuccessful. A tour of
British universities by Drs. Tezel and Gurun of the HEC in
early spring 1983, arranged by the Department of Education, appears not to have borne the results hoped for. A
hastily arranged campaign against the tour seems to have
been successful. And a number of British academics, particularly from Sussex University, voiced their disquiet in the
national press. But with time, the pressure from both sides
is likely to increase.

Just how far the military have been prepared to go
to demonstrate their determination to stamp out intellectual opposition to their policies is perhaps best illustrated
by the recent case of the treatment of Dr. Yalcin Kucuk,
an economist, founder of the” Turkish State Planning Office,
and architect of Turkey’s first five year plan (1962-1967).

Sentenced to eight years imprisonment for the publication
of his book For a New Republic, a collection of essays
written over the decade prior to the coup, Dr Kucuk was
acquitted on appeal on 24.11.83, only to be re-arrested
hours later (he never left prison), and charged with
‘slandering the army’ in an article about a demonstration
dating back 13 years to 1970. A number of leading academics are also among those of the Turkish Peace Association Executive recently sentenced to eight years hard
labour and eighteen months internal exile by an Istanbul
military court on the grounds that their expressed views on
peace criticised the principles of the State and constituted
‘communist propaganda’. (Five MPs of the Republicans
Peoples Party, sister party to the British Labour Party,
were also found guilty of this ‘crime’. Details of the farcical nature of the trial are available in the END Special
Report: Turkey: Peace on Trial, END/Merlin, 1983. Among
other things, a letter written by Peter the Great was cited
in evidence of Russia’s plans to invade Turkey.)
If you have any information about recruitment to
Turkish universities at your place of work or study, or
would like further information on the issue, or can help in
any way, please contact the Solidarity Committee For
Freedom of Art, Science and Expression in Turkey, 32
Ickburgh Road, London E5 (01-609 6207).

Distribution, Disaster and
the Economic Base
Publishers ignore the constraints of the economic seemingly
more than any other group of economic actors and every so
often the last instance arrives. Rather depressingly for the
beginning of 1984, the last instance has just arrived for the
alternative distribution agency PDC (Publications Distribution Co-operative). For those who have never heard of PDC
we can just say that they distributed for 380 separate left,
feminist, peace movement, anarchist, international and
campaigning groups. Included in this number was Radical
Philosophy who, like many other publishers, are going to
lose money because of this unfortunate bankruptcy. More
important for alternative cultural groups is going to be the
absence of a distribution network for many smaller publications who would not be touched by the commercial distribution companies.

PDC performed a vi tal role in giving small publishers
access to the market-place, and this may well have been
the cause of its downfall. In applying cultural criteria
rather than commercial principles it could only stand
against the tide of recession for so long. The politics of
organisation and of commercial survival are obviously difficult questions for a co-operated founded to allow open
access to all-comers, but the iron hand of market forces
has to be held at bay with more than good intentions. During the last six months of PDC’s decline approaches were
43

L

made to the GLC, and its business arm the Greater London
Enterprise Board, to assist with capital restructuring and
computerisation. Despite protestations about the need for a
‘cultural infrastructure’ in London the GLC only demonstrated the truth of the claim that a new ‘left thatcherism’

is abroad. A feasibility study by some of the new hard-boys
of the left came up with the conclusion that PDC wasn’t
commercially viable, which it clearly could have been with
a bit of re-structuring, and thereby ensured its demise, the
loss of I:. 7 5,000 to the left as a whole and Radical
Philosophy’s need to increase our cover price from the next
issue. Well done Co-media! There are rumours that in wierd
places like Sweden and Norway they actually subsidize
community publishing and distribution, and newspapers, but
they are clearly behind the times and will go down the
economic drain like all those other countries who haven’t
followed Thaatchi and Thaatchi into the brave new world
of efficiency, marketing and macho.

44

From issue 36 we will have to put up the price to
1:.1.50, which is still relatively cheap, and subscriptions will
be adjusted accordingly. Radical Philosophy, being a
medium sized journal in terms of circulation, has found a
new home in Central Books, who can be contacted at:

14 The Leathermarket, London SEl 3ER (phone 01-407
5447)
Richard Osborne

The cartoons on the theme of books and censorship are
from Turkey’s only remaining independent-daily
newspaper, Cumhuriyet, whose editors are currently in
gaol for involvement in the country’s banned peace
movement.

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