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RPG Reports, Berufsverbote: the Russell Tribunalm, The Gould Report, Rick Turner

NEWS
Local groups

There is little to be said tulder this heading at
,present. Bristol group seems to have declined as
nobody from there has yet replied to requests for
information, although it is known that the only staff
participant in the group has recently decided to
withdraw from active involvement in Radical
Philosophy because he no longer holds his original
belief that Radical Philosophy can lead to a kind of
philosophy which connects with wider extraphilosophical problems in a way that would make
both the problems and philosophy more accessible
to more people. The people involved with Radical
Philosophy would like to hear from anybody else
who thinks like this and why. On a more optimistic
note, the res ponse to the request in Radical Philosophy
18 for people to write in if they were interested in
becoming involved in a Radical Philosophy group was
very good although almost entirely limited to London.,
We welcome further letters of this kind and in
response to those already received there will be an
inaugural meeting of the London Radical Philosophy
Group on Saturday 26 February at 11 am at the
~ondon University Institute of Education, Bedford
Way, London WC1 (nearest tube Russell Square);
assemble in lower foyer.

News from Oxford
In the autumn term Oxford Radical Philosophy Group
ran a successful series of seminars, on the linguistic turn in continental philosophy, called ‘Structure,
Sign and Discourse; Saussure to Pecheux’. This
spring term the main meetings are concerned more
with the results of work in progress, under the
general title: ‘Elements of ideologies’. For details
contact 16 Cranham Terrace, Oxford (50626).

Philosophy abroad
This is the first of a series of such items in this
section of the journal. Any readers who have experience of Philosophy within the Academy (as
either teachers or students) are welcome to contribute in the form of a short 200-300-word report.

This issue’s report comes from Brazil. The author
is Luis Guillermo.

‘Philosophy in Brazil is a subject with many
scholastic pretensions and one in which the pedagogue is elevated to a guru-like position. The
lecturers mostly try to maintain a haughty distance
between themselves and their pupils. They are
helped to do this by the teaching arrangements
which are such that the majority of classes are
formal lectures attended by the entire philosophy
year – these classes are often compulsory. The
teacher enters, gives his talk. and then departs
sWiftly without the least bit of time for questions.

The reading of texts plays a major role in my
course. All students have to attend one text reading
class per semester in which a teacher takes the
class through a standard ‘great’ text pointing out
various strengths and weaknesses and presenting
interpretations. Active student partiCipation is not
encouraged in these sessions – and the idea of the
teacher as a cipher through which philosophical
truths are passed is emphasised in a way similar
.to the role of the priest in the Roman Catholic
46

church. The course is exam orientated with exams
at the end of each semester and with all final assessment resting on examinations. Little effort has been
made in the course to step outside accepted western
philosophers, and modern philosophy is given only
a little time. Professional philosophers in Brazil
seem to have been content to accept the idea that
Philosophy is superior to other disciplines and this
is reflected in the choice of works to be taught
which are those that accept this idea. This has
meant that Brazilian philosophy has little
independence. ‘

Readers who would like further information should
contact the News Editor. Any Brazilian students or
teachers whose experiences are different from the
above are welcome to send their comments to
Radical Philosophy.

Radical Philosophy Conference
On the weekend of 6-8 January Radical Philosophy

held its conference at Sussex University. The main
theme of the conference was ‘Philosophy and the
Critique of Ideology’. The conference was well
attended, although the figure of 200+ registrations
is more or less identical with the figures for the
last two conferences. The workshops were placed
tulder five headings: (i) Science Ideology & Racism,
(ii) Feminism History, (iii) Education Information,
(iv) Theoretical Material, and (v) The Individual.

In the first session, which was a session of the
whole conference, Russell Keat of Lancaster
University had the tulenviable task of presenting a
paper in the standard formal mode which argued for
a less repressive and more informal attitude
to common intellectual work such as conferences.

Russell Keat approved of the emphasis placed upon
the personal and social dimensions of the conference workshops and argued that ‘… there has been
too much emphasis in the RP movement on the
development of theory, of radical philosophy, and
not nearly enough on the non-theoretical practices
of the people in the movement, of radical philosophers, especially in situations such as teaching,
conferences, or editorial meetings.’ These ideas
remained at the centre of the conference’s concerns
for the rest of the weekend, and one could character.·
ise its focus by using another of Russell Keat’s
phrases, ‘an exploration of how the antithesis
between reason and feeling operates in academic/
intellectual activities’.

However, one could not say that these good
intentions came to much, and there seemed to be
the usual number of beWildered, disillusioned
people arotuld by Stulday despite the beautiful food
provided by Pulse restaurant and the quite lyrical
weather. This is not to deny that the Sussex
collective made a tremendous effort in organising
the conference, nor indeed that their schemes
were without success, because at least these very
difficult questions were discussed for a change although there were those who resented doing that.

Perhaps the organisers just hoped for too much.

In their ‘N otes to all attending’ they said ‘… as
organizers of this conference, we will not have
considered it to have been a success tulless a
concerted effort is made by all those present to
depart from the usual fetishism of academic
analysis, with its accompanying de-personalization
of all individuals present.’ Whatever the merits or
otherwise of this view, it seems clear that it is too
far detached from the material reality of academic

affairs and conduct to be a realisable aim at present
I cannot hope to encapsulate everybody’s conference in this news item and there may be those who
think I am hopelessly adrift. Write to the journal
with your impressions. If they are not published
maybe they can be used by the organisers of the
next conference, which will probably be in London.

Watch this space for details.

tinuing support to the victims of the Berufsverbote,
it is important to mobilise the widest possible
international solidarity, through trade unions,
political parties, academic institutions and the
media. Valuable work has already been done on this
by several groups in Britain. The Leeds University
Committee against Berufsverbote, formed last
summer, has twinned itself with the University of
Frankfurt and intervened (through Leeds A. U. T.)
Berufsverbote: the Russell Tribunal
in specific cases of political victimisation. Its
newsletter, of which four issues have appeared so
As reported elsewhere in this issue, the Bertrand
far, can be obtained from John Schwarzmantel,
Russell Peace Foundation decided last year, in
Department of Politics, Leeds University, Leeds
response to widespread international appeals, to set LS2 9JT. (This is in future to be produced jointly
up a Third Russell Tribunal, with the task of invest- with a group at Edinburgh, and distributed from
igating alleged violations of human rights in the
Edinburgh: contact John Hollway, Department of
Federal German Republic. The Tribunal will
Politics, Edinburgh University.) The West
concern itself with the following questions:

European Committee of the CPGB has published
an excellent pamphlet by Hugh Latham, ‘The West
‘Are citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany
German
face of McCarthyism’, obtainable from the
being denied the right to exercise their professions
author
at
6 Little Green Lane, Farnham, Surrey
on account of their political views? ‘

GU8 8TE, price 30p inc p&p for single copies.

‘Is censorship being exercised through provisions
A group at Southampton University is working to
of the Criminal and Civil Law and through extraorganise support through trade unions (contact
legal measures? ‘

John Birtwhistle, Department of English).

‘Are constitutional and human rights being eroded
or eliminated in the context of Criminal Court
proceedings? ‘

The Tribunal is composed of a jury of 26
politiCians, trade unionists, academics and
writers drawn from countries in Western Europe
and North America. Its sessions will take place in
West Berlin from 28 March to 7 Apri11978. The
Tribunal’s West German secretariat is preparing
reports and documents for consideration by the
Tribunal. The British jurors are Howard Brenton,
Lord Gifford, Professor Ruth Glass, Trevor
Griffiths, Steven Lukes and J 0 Richardson MP.

Other members include Jean-Pierre Faye, Albert
Soboul, Otelo de Carvalho, Robert Jungk and
Umberto Terracini. Because of the risk of intimidation and reprisals by the State, no West Germans
are included in the jury, which instead has a fiveperson Advisory Council, consisting of the
Protestant pastor and theologian Martin Niemoller,
t he writer Ingeborg Drewitz, and Professors
Helmut Gollwitzer, Wolf-Dieter Narr and Uwe
Wesel.

The two earlier Russell Tribunals investigated
American war crimes in Vietnam and the torture
of political prisoners in Latin America. Willy
Brandt has called it an insult to West Germany to
make it the subject of a comparable Tribunal. The
Russell Foundation has made it clear, however,
that it does not equate the professional bannings of
radicals and allied practices in West Germany with
the systematic imprisonment, torture and murder
of political dissidents in other states, from Chile
to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, since West
Germany is still a (relatively) liberal democratic
state, there is room for hope that international·
opinion can exercise real pressure against the
destruction of civil liberties there.

The Tribunal has already been denounced by West
German press and politicians as an anti-state, proterrorist propaganda exercise. Its secretariat has
appealed for international financial support (costs
are likely to be well over £ 50,000) and for volunteer
translators; it also welcomes all messages of
support for the Tribunal’s aims. Its address is:

Thomas Dieckmann, D-1000 Berlin 30, Ahornstr.

5. In order both to safeguard the sessions of the
Tribunal from official harassment and to give con-

National Conference is to be held in London on
Saturday 18 February 1978 10.30 am – 5.00 pm at
the Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, at which
a British Campaign Committee against Berufsverbote
will be formed. The conference will be chaired by
John Saville, and the main resolution proposed by
Eric Hobsbawm. Other academic supporters of the
conference include Raymond Williams, Sheila Allen,
Richard Hoggart and Christopher Hill, as well as
Patricia Hewitt of NCCL. Thus after 18 February
1978 a British National Committee should have
come into eXistence, which will complement the
national anti-Berufsverbote committees which
already exist in other European countries. (The
provisional committee organising this conference
can be contacted through Jack Cohen, 67 Woodland
Gardens, Muswell Hill, London N10, telephone
01-883 5410.)
This national campaign is still at an early stage;
readers who share our concern about the West
German situation are urged to promote support for
the campaign in their political parties, trade unions,
academic institutions and els~where.

The British-based Campaign Against RepreSSion
in West Germany is preparing the fourth issue of
its journal Verboten, and also has a video-tape
available for hire on the mass movement against
47

nuclear power stations in West Germany and the
authorities’ violent reactions to it. They can in
addition offer speakers on various aspects of the
attack on civil liberties in West Germany. Write
to: CARWG c/o 35 Willington Street, ,London WC2.

The Gould Report
Last September, the Institute for the Study of
Conflict published their latest Special Report,
‘The Attack On Higher Education’, by Professor
Julius Gould. The report declares that this investigation, conducted by Gould, a ‘Study Group’ and
various ‘authorities’ began in November 1975. But
confidential ISC documents show that plans were
under way for just such a study as long ago as the
middle of 1973. The implication from this is that a
decision was made then to go for the ‘reds’ in
academia and it turned out to be a rather harder
job than anticipated to come up with the proof hence the often amusingly bizarre evidence offered
as to Marxists’ success in ‘penetrating’ cultural
and educational institutions. Overall, the report,
judged in its own terms as an account of a ‘threat
to our society’, is extremely tendentious and
shoddy; however, on this level it serves as a
faSCinating display of reactionary ideas.

The ‘concern’ of the report is founded on a pride
for the ‘rare, fragile and precarious achievement’

of our polity with ‘its basic values and principles’.

It describes itself as ‘setting out to explore’ certain
educational and cultural denials of those principles
– ‘denials which present a real challenge to our
society’; it ‘takes its origin in a concern to defend
those principles against those who would destroy
them’. It views the ‘educational and cultural institutions of our social and political order’ as having
‘with less or more awareness allowed themselves
to be used for purposes inimical to those basic
ideas’. The educational field, it declares, has
become, ‘par excellence, a focus for those who
seek to pursue various forms of political and social
engineering’ in a manner such that ‘it has proved
impossible to insulate a necessary and technical
debate over, for example, the curriculum and
methods of assessment from the attention of those
whose prime concern is to further political goals’.

The ‘targets’ of the report are declared to be
those who pursue a ‘variety of efforts to undermine
and negate • •• a set of values rooted in a genuine
liberalism and pluralism’. The report begins with
quotes from The German Ideology, a ‘sometime
President of the USSR’, ‘Stalin’s cultural hatchetman’, and Mao Tsetung, and adds that ‘since these
obiter dicta were offered there have been major
shifts in national and international affairs (sic).

The old-style dogmatism of Stalin’s day’ it continues, ‘has lost what charms it had. It has been
replaced within ‘orthodox’ Communism by a variety
of Marxist groupuscles which act independently of
the lYluscovite and/or Pekinese “centre”‘.

Radical Philosophy features as one of these
various Moscow- and Peking-independent groupuscles and serves in the report as an example of
the so-called Radical (as distinct from Scholarly)
Mode of discussion. The report declares that
‘what is true of most j oumals of this genre is true
of Radical Philosophy: its actual concern is not
with actual relevance but with Radical relevance’.

Gould’s ‘evidence’, here, consists of a quote from
Peter Binns taken from RP3 which includes the
statement that ‘a philosopher, like any other
48

thinker, can thus only be radical in virtue of
things extrinsic to philosophy itself’; Gould’s
conclusion is that ‘this passage is, of course,
Radical. But its philosophical content is hard to
find’; and adds that ‘Radical Philosophy differs
from other more “conventional” journals in other
respects. While it may be true that such journals
have not always given due place to papers in social
and political philosophy, none of them would find
place for polemical discussion of British imperialism in Ireland or the current situation in Chile.’

The section which deals with ‘the application of the
ideas of the Radical Mode’ reiterates and attempts to
expand remarks in the Introduction to the report.

‘Education’, Gould states, ‘.is a field in which
Radicals (influenced by social guilt or inspired by
their own social grievances) can seek to exploit the
confusion. The older traditions – of patriotism, of
adherance to religious values, of sexual restraint are naturally enough, far from immutable. The
Radical objective’, Gould continues, is not to participate in but ‘to cash in upon the debate – to claim
that, for example, “traditional values” (including a
decent respect for legitimate authority) are not
shared by working-class children: that to teach the
English classics (such as Shakespeare) to such
children is irrelevant to their needs: that the
“competitive ethic” should be replaced by a “cooperative ethic” more appropriate to the outlook of
such children: that to work in industry is to serve
capitalism ••• ‘ These are examples, for the writers
of the report, of the practical prescriptions of ‘those
who seek to undermine the basic values of this
precious achievement • .• our liberal politic’.

These subversives, the report asserts, make
questionable use of ‘other writers whose work can
be rendered compatible with the Marxist interpretations’. The section which ‘analyses’ th~se’ uses in
terms of ‘Marxist strategy and tactics’ would at
least delight the collector of Flewisms, with the
‘Positive and Negative Versions of the Tactic of
Generalisations’, the ‘Tactic of Pre-emption’,
‘The Tactic which ignores The Total Nature of Man
and the Context of Human Life’, which echo the
earlier mentioned tactic of ‘attributing irrelevant
guilt by loose association’. A search, however, for
non -fatuous remarks in this section is not so
rewarding.

Apart from the list of ‘tactics’ on the intellectual
front attributed to the subversive is a list of ‘tactics’

under the heading ‘Machine of War’ which constitute,
according to the report, ‘one of the elements in
preparing the ground and legitimising unruly, at
times violent, behaviour in universities and polytechnics;’ it continues: ‘the propaganda is often
addressed to the well-meaning liberal who is unsure
of his groWld and anxious to avoid unpleasantness’.

The latter image of the well-meaning liberal is one
that Gould himself invokes while feigning naivete and
surprise and the torrent of objections to his report.

The Conclusion of the report is that the ‘Radical
Left’s pOSition on educational affairs •.. deserves
serious attention and, without exaggeration, serious
rebuttal’; that ‘it is important to show how wrong
the Radicals are in what they say and what they do’.

It has to be said that the report, quite rightly, does
not claim to have done any of these things. The
question consequently arises as to how the report is
seen by its authors as functioning as the attack on
its ‘targets’ that it announced itself to be. Here, the
BSA almost hit the nail on the head by pointing to
the extensive naming of names that the report ineludes: the conclusion can only be that the launching

of the text was designed for the function that it is
currently serving, that is to rally like-minded
reactionaries into purging ‘educational and cultural
institutions’ of progressive individuals, progressive
ideas, and progressive curricula, thereby clearing
the way to reassert and strengthen ‘the basic values
and principles of a genuine liberal and plural
society’. Indeed, although the ISC is fairly wealthy
– they are known to have received money from Shell and
from the Ford Foundation: in 1971 Shell gave them a
grant of £30,000; and the accounts for the year
ending June 1974 show an accumulated surplus of
income over expenditure of over £52,000 – the
report, the same length as RP, is highly priced at
£ 5. At such a price the report is clearly not
directed at students and lecturers but at the inevitably more conservative administrative boards in
educational institutions – a view which is supported
by the reported distribution of free copies to
selected individuals.

The appearance of the report should raise several
questions, including What can lecturers and students
do to transform the curricula and the didactic
forms?, and What’s a group of people including exsenior intelligence service officers, counterinsurgency experts with very close connections with such
organisations as NAFF, the police and the army
doing attempting to take a cultural initiative? On the
-first question and related problems, a conference is
being organised by the Radical Publications Group (of
which RP is a member) around the theme of intellectual
work and political practice. This is likely to take place
in London on 29 April: details from Diana Adlam,
(telephone 01-580 4596). On the second question,
an organisation called State Research was set up
last October. It is an independent’group of investigators collectmg and publishing information from
public sources on developments in state policy,
particularly in the fields of poliCing, internal
security and espionage. It is also concerned with
the links between the agencies in these fields and
bUSiness, the Right, and paramilitary organisations.

Further details and subscriptions for State Research
bulletin to State Research, 9 Poland Street,
London W1 (telephone 01-734 5831).

The Council for Academic Freedom and
Democracy (CAFD) has published a reply to the
Gould Report entitled ‘The Attack on Higher
Education – Where does it come from? ‘. The
reply is 24 pages long, costs 25p and is available
from CAFD, 186 Kings Cross Road, London
WC1X 9DE.

Knowledge and power
The Franks Committee reported to Parliament in
September 1972 that Section 2 of the Official Secrets
Act should be replaced by a new Official Information
Act. Merlyn Rees announced that a new Act along
the lines of the Franks recommendations would
replace a ‘blunderbuss’ with an ‘Armelite rifle’.

The present situation is that a White Paper on the
subject is to be published in the spring, but the
current Labour government has indicated that any .

reform would place even tighter limits on information in major policy areas than those recommended
by the Franks Committee.

Meanwhile, this same government has acted, in
the interests of ‘national security’, to deport two
journalists – Agee and Hosenball – and has given
its consent to the prosecution under the eXisting
Acts of two other journalists and their source of

information – Aubrey, Campbell and Berry. In so
doing they have shifted the line between the desire
of the permanent state agencies, for secrecy and
the demand for more public information, even
further in favour of the state.

The common thread between the proposed
‘reform’ of the Official Secrets Act and the actions
taken against these journalists and their source is
an attempt to preserve the severe restrictions on
the information available in major policy areas defence, foreign relations, the intelligence and
security agencies, the police and the Special Branch.

At present it shows every chance of success. For
many years the needs of ‘national security” have
limited effective questioning by MPs of policymaking in these fields, and media coverage has
been in the hands of a select band of defence correspondents. The emergence of committed investigative
journalism presented a challenge to the biparty
‘conspiracy of silence’ in parliament, and ‘managed’

new coverage. The government, prompted by
pressure from the Ministries and the agencies in
these key areas, has acted to make an example of
certain journalists and to introduce a more effective
law in the future – the ‘Armalite rifle’.

Why is it that at a time when countries such as
Sweden and the USA are making information available under Freedom of Information Acts, Britain is
proposing to tighten its Official Secrets Act?

*****
Much of the information in this news item is taken
from the State Research Background Paper No. 3,
‘Secrecy and Security’, which is available from
State Research at the address given at the end of
the Gould report item.

*****
Philosophy in schools and nouveaux philosophes
The items on these themes promised in the last
issue of Radical Philosophy will not be appearing
in this issue, but we hope they will appear in a
subsequent issue. For this we apologise. Meanwhile
those still interested in the ‘Philosophy in Schools’

project, which is still alive, should contact the
News Editor.

Anyone wishing to contact the News Editor for any
reason should write to: Daniel Jeffreys,
52 Nightingale Lane, Clapham, London SW12.

RICK TURNER
Rick Turner, author of an article on Dialectical
Reason published in RP4 (Spring 1973), was
murdered by an unknown gunman at his home in
Durban on 8 January 1978. (See Sunday Times
15.1. 78). A political philosopher at Durban
University, a marxist and an outspoken critic of
the South African regime, Turner had been put
under an anti-communist banning order since
February 1973. He had also broken the most
rigorous taboo of apartheid by living openly with
his Malay wife. His death is one of a series of
recent ‘mysterious’ murders of banned South
African opponents of apartheid.

Despite his almost complete isolation under the
terms of the banning order, Rick Turner continued
his philosophical work during what he called his
‘five years’ enforced sabbatical’.

We hope to carry a fuller report in the next issue.

Any further information will be ‘gratefully received.

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