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Yugoslavia, US, RPG Reports etc.

issues, in fact, Aarons and Dewey
are interchangeable. Dewey expresses Aarons’ main problem as
follows:

The problem of restoring integration and co-operation between
man’s beliefs about the world in
which he lives and his beliefs
about the values and purposes
that should direct his conduct is
the deepest problem of modern
life. It is the problem of any
philosophy that is not isolated
from that life.

(The Quest for Certainty, New
York, 1929, p255J
Aarons capture’s in a line Dewey’ s
emphasis on the philosophy of
education, when he asserts
To change the school, is to
change society. [p22J
So where does that leave Aarons?

We are facing him with that
dilemma which socialists are duty
bound to take seriously – reform
or revolution? – and he looks to
be firmly impaled on the wrong
prong. However much a socialist
might disagree with ~arx, one
would expect his even more total
opposition to such as Dewey.

I dare say Aarons has a ready
answer to my criticism, but,
whatever this is, it isn’t readily
derivable from the book. There
are passages where he appears not
insensitive to possible allegations of reformism If all great social changes
involve, and in a’ sense are
brought about by, a revolution
in philosophy and values .•.

this would have a great bearing
on the conceived model of
revolution. (p151J
On the same page there is just
a hint that he might think the
issue to have been superseded yet another consequence – apparently, of contemporary society’s
incredible rate of change. But
even if it were possible to remain
simply on the level of values,
some similar problem would still
arise. Aarons nowhere indicates
how one is to distinguish a
values-revolutionary, like himself, from a values-reformist
(whatever that might turn out to
be). And, of course, it isn’t
possible to remain just on the
level of values, for, whatever
else values might do, they must,

sooner or later, result in
action.

In conclusion, let me mention a
few things in the book’s favour.

It is easy to read. This encourages the reader to have a few
thoughts of his own along the way,
instead of, as too often happens,
having to expend all his mental
energy on just trying to understand what the author is on about.

Also, and to his eternal credit,
he neither mentions Lukacs’nor
Gramsci, and Korsch only gets a
few lines in a footnote. Apart
from this the book is recommended
mainly for some good quotations he
has dug out. My favourite is the
anguished cry of the Philosophy
Lecturer, in a letter to the
Sydney Morning Herald There has been a noticeable
decline in the ability of
philosophers to distinguish
between what is philosophical
and what is not ..•
[quoted p34J

Rob Gill

NEWS
Summer school in Korcula

~

Last August, I participated, as
an invited contributor, in the
tenth annual Korcula Summer
School, sponsored by the Yugoslavian Philosophical Association.

It was my second such participation in the school, the first
having been in 1971.

I shall attempt to relate, with
all possible brevity, some of
the principal significances of
this gathering under the following headings: Recent historical
background; Socio-politica1
import; Theoretical orientation;
Aftermath and conclusion.

I want immediately to stress I cannot do so enough – that
post-war Yugoslavian philosophy
has by no means been monolithic,
and that in fact the view that
it has been so is one of the
most detrimental misconceptions
of the Yugoslavian scene that
have been prevalent among
American radicals. For one thing,
the non-Marxist contemporary
philosophical currents that have
affected the style and thought of
some of the best-known figures in
Yugoslavian philosophy have
differed greatly; to indulge in
a gross over-generalization for
brevity’s sake, it could be said
that the Zagreb philosophers,
such as Gajo Petrovic, have on
the whole paid more attention to
recent Continental philosophy,
whereas Anglo-American currents
have been somewhat more influen-

tial in the formation of some of
the Belgrade philosophers, such
as Mihailo Markovic and Svetozer
stojanovic. As a matter of fact,
the post-war burgeoning of Yugoslavian philosophy as an important, internationally-recognized
phenomenon was only made possible
by the fact that, as I have already noted, a certain degree of
diversity of thought came to be
regarded as healthy and desirable
in Yugoslavia dUring the 1950’s
and 1960’s. On the other hand,
certain traits were common to all
the figures who dominated the
Yugoslavian philosophical scene
during this time and still dominate it up to the present: a deep
interest in the thought of Marx,
combined with the view that
Marxism required re-thinking in
light of the new social and
economic situations of the midtwentieth century: a strong belief that philosophy, to be at
all valuable, should be deesotericized and applied to
current social problems, though
not at the expense of rigorousness of thought or with a loss
of a sense of the history of
philosophy; and a commitment to
abetting the development of a
more fully socialist society in
Yugoslavia, a task in which the
philosophers could best play some
part by calling critical attention to evidences of opposite
tendencies.

Although the above catalogue may
read like an idealization, I do
not consider it to be at odds
with the gross historical facts.

Documentation of them is readily

available, among other places,
in articles that have appeared
over the years in the philosophical journal, Praxis, published under the auspices of the
Serbo-Croatian (now Yugoslavian)
Philosophical Association. The
same general rationale lay behind
the establishment of the Korcula
Summer School. One additional,
~ /
but perfectly obvious, consideration should be noted: the postwar Yugoslavian philosophers have
been very anxious to share their
insights and activities with
like-minded, or even potentially
like-minded, foreigners. Thus,
the International Edition of
Praxis has enjoyed a wide circulation, and the Korcula Summer
School attracted intellectuals
from both the political ‘West’

and the political ‘East’ – at
least until 1968.

In retrospect, that year can be
seen as the single most important
turning point. Intellectual retrenchment was already proceeding
apace in the USSR and other Warsaw
Pact countries. However, prominent
younger philosophers from at least
one of those countries, Hungary,
were still in attendance at the
1968 Korcula sessions, which were
under way when the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia took place.

The members of the School formulated an official protest. The
Hungarians returned home early,
never since to go back to Korcula;
in their own country, they have
been the victims of a still-ongoing repression (censure, deprivation of passports,’ cessation of
contacts with students, and even-

43

r

tual loss, for at least some, even
of research appointments). (So,
for different but by no means
completely opposite reasons, has
one of the American philosophers
who attended that year’s session,
Ken Megill, whose name is familiar
to most readers of Newsjournal.)
Since 1968, as I understand it,
there has been no participation
in the Korcula Summer School by
any philosophers resident in
Warsaw Pact countries (with the
possible exception of one or two
Romanians, and not even of any of
them in 1973), and the ‘Praxis
group’ has been subjected to
exceedingly harsh and sustained
criticism in certain Soviet
publications.

Over Yugoslavia itself, the
clouds have blackened and for the
moment are still blackening. There
has by now come to be fairly widespread agreement in the country,
I think, that the dominant cooperative spirit of the early postwar years (if indeed it really
existed even then!) has been
pretty much dissipated. For many,
perhaps especially in Croatia,
this is a good thing; there are
strong currents, including some
that would fall under anyone’s
jefinition of ‘Fascism’, favouring a return to capitalism and to
an extreme regional nationalism.

r It is presumed, on the basis of
past experience, that no eightyyear-old leader is destined to
live forever; accordingly, political jockeying proceeds apace.

The threat of a Russian invasion,
particularly in the wake of
Brezhnev’s declaration of his
right to invade any wouldbe
socialist country that has become guilty of intolerable deviationism, as Czechoslovakia
presumably was, cannot be discounted; although this threat
has been somewhat allayed by
the twin tactics of shoring up
internal defenses and making
significant concessions to the
Soviet leadership, it was felt
very strongly during the summer
of 1971, when massive Warsaw
Pact military manoeuvres were
being conducted near the Yugoslavian borders, and it would have
been revived instantaneously if
Yugoslavia had rejected the
Russian request to permit roundthe-clock overflights of its
territory by airplanes re-supplying Arab forces during the
recent Mid-East war. Meanwhile,
it is my personal impression that
Yugoslavia now faces a threat of
an even more severe economic
recession than most of Western
Europe: as stagnation sets in in
the Western economies, Yugoslavian
workers are going increasingly to
be asked to return home, and an
unemployment situation of staggering proportions is likel~, at
least under the present economic
institutions, to result.

The principal official answer to
all these 9azards has been, at
least up to the present, to call

44

for a tightening of the ideological reins. True, efforts have also
been made to combat some of the
most salient excesses of the
present economic system, presumably by clipping the wings of a
few yugoslavian socialist millionaires. But the main thrust has
been to call for a return to
Marxist purity and for the elimination of ideological deviations of
the right and left.

It is in this
context that Yugoslavian philosophers have come under the glare
of official disapproval; some of
them are said to be leftist deviants.

In particular, eight members of the Belgrade philosophy
faculty, including Markovic and
Stojanovic, were officially singled
out as undesirables by the highest
Party leadership in fall, 1972.

Yugoslavia
In RP8 we reported on the threat
to fire philosophy teachers at
Belgrade University. The Guardian
now reports that the faculty
council (half academics, half lay
outsiders) will probably cancel the
moves now.

In a speech Tito
alluded to the professors as
‘black sheep’ but_~aid ‘w~ mu~t
remain more calm towards such
excesse~.

We should not react
too nervously to such things or
with measures which would do more
harm to us outside our country.

CA

As of this writing (January 1974)
they still retain their teaching
positions,for a variety of complicated reasons.

(Among other
things, a respect for socialist
legal forms still exists, and
the faculty workers’ coupcils
that would have to vote for their
removal have until now refused to
do so. Moreover, there are
important differences of political
orientation both within the Serbian League of Communists, whose
leadership has the responsibility
of applying pressure against the
Belgrade philosophers, and between
that league and those of the other
yugoslavian republics.

(Yugoslavia has, at least in theory, no
single federal communist party.)
Finally, the Yugoslavian authorities are force4, by virtue of
their delicate political and
economic situation, to have some
concern about Yugoslavia’s ‘image’

abroad, and considerable attention has been directed to the
‘Belgrade Eight’ by some elements
of the Western press and by some
Western intellectuals.

It is one
of my hopes, in writing this article, to broaden the scope and to
heighten the information level of
this attention in the United
States.) But several important
developments of the last two
months, most notably the implementation of a change in the rules,
highly unfavourable to the philosophers in question, concerning

the methods of removing university faculty members, have cast
even greater doubt than before
on the chances of at least some
of the ‘Eight’ to remain university
teachers.

A wide range of the intellectual
spectrum was represented.

In
addition to philosophers, there
were also numerous journalists,
some of them well steeped in
political theory; there were
sociologists and political scientists and economists as well.

Branco Horvat, a prominent Yugoslavian economist whose scorn for
the majority of radical theoreticians, whom he considers doctrinaire and unpragmatic, is equalled
only by his admiration for the
measurement techniques of the
contemporary Western social
sciences, had nevertheless
returned once more to Korcula
to match wits and try to find as
many areas of agreement as possible with his misguided old friends
among the Yugoslavian philosophy
professors. Franz Marek, who has
shunned the university world for
a life of active political organizing, but (or should it be ‘and
therefore’?) whose work on Marxist
theory and practice has always been
first rate, was there.

So were
such leading Marxologists as
A
Robert Tucker and Shlomo Avineri.

So were some philosophers who are
known for their work in quite
different areas, such as Abraham
Edel and G. H. Von Wright.

However drastically Yugoslavia
may, by the admission of its own
national leadership, have diverged
in practice fr.om its announced
goals, the original effort by some
to achieve these goals was, it
seems to me, thoroughly admirable. To a large segment of
the socialist movement, particularly in Western Europe, the
Yugoslavian self-management model
has seemed to provide a genuine
alternative to the authoritarian
and statist model that has evolved in the USSR. Despite the
obvious reality of the New Class
and the inherited problems stemming from vast inequalities among
the various federated republics,
many of the country’s citizens
have appeared committed to work
towards the achievement of a more
egalitarian way of life.

Selfcriticism has seemed to be encouraged: when in the 1960’s, for
instance, Yugoslavian philosophers
wrote about the forms of alienation still prevalent in their new
society, the political authorities
did not loudly denounce this claim
as being an unacceptable contradiction to the conclusions of
genuine Marxism.

Some such thoughts as these, it
seemed to me, were on the minds of
most of my Korcula colleagues in
August 1973. They are clearly
irreconciliable with the image of
Yugoslavia that I sketched at the
beginning of this report. They

may also, it must be acknowledged,
become irreconciliable with the
future political reality of Yugoslavia. For, although the kinds
of trends that I have categorized
as being, hopefully, ‘abberant’

would be similarly described by
the present national leadership,
at the same time much pressure is
being brought to bear, in many
sectors of the national life, to
increase conformity of thought. l
It is in the context of this
campaign that the attacks upon
some of the Yugoslavian philosophers must be understood. These
individuals were, in fact, among
the first to articulate the nowwidespread concern about antisocialist trends within their
country.

But they did,so within
an intellectual framework in which
the maintenance of an independent
critical stance and the maintenance of a commitment to building
socialist were considered compatible. Now, that entire framework
has once more been put into question. The ultimate socio-political
import of the 1973 Korcula Summer
School lay in its continued and
principled adherence to the old
framework in the conduct of its
affairs.

~

However, the ‘affairs’ of the
Korcula Summer School are by definition primarily tHeoretical.

Most of the participants discussed, and a few lectured on,
political philosophy and related
forms of th~ory. Far more than
any APA gathering ever could, the
Korcula Summer School provided
abundant material for re-examining
the question, ‘What is (or could
be, or should be) philosophy, from
a radical perspective?’

For the record, the general
topic of the 1973 sessions was
‘The Bourgeois World and Social-ism’. This, of course, provided
few, if any, guidelines for speakers. Among some of the bestknown Yugoslavian philosophers
who lectured, a preoccupation
with clarifying basic principles
of social organization whereby to
judge the success of a socialist
program in any country, but most
immediately in Yugoslavia itself,
was more than usually evident.

This was understandable, particularly in light of the educational aspect of the school’s
mission: despite subtle social
pressures against their attending
(and no doubt even against their
continuing their studies in the
field), Yugoslavian students of
philosophy still constituted probably the largest single bloc of
participants. Among some of the
non-Marxist Westerners who spoke,
the usual proliferation of exotic
technical terms was to be discerned.

Most surprising of all to me,
at first, was the occurrence of
at least two or three lectures
and comments of a pronouncedly
non-Marxist cast by some of the

less internationally well-known
Yugoslavians.

(By ‘non-Marxist’,
I mean of a sort that concerned
itself with problems of interest
to Marx (i.e. not symbolic logic
or similar matters that were more
or less irrelevant to him) and
yet failed even to take account of
his approach; I do not mean simply
uses of Marxist theory that I
would consider mistaken or misguided).

I recall in particular
a discussion of aesthetics that
went along these lines. My
original inclination was to think
that this type of, approach was
based on a comparative ignorance
of Marx on the speakers’ parts
and hence to harbour doubts about
the current level of philosophical
education in Yugoslavia, particularly among some of the younger
faculty and graduate students and
at universities other than Belgrade
and Zagreb. But later, while I
was still on the island, I came
across an article in Praxis,
written by an individual whose
comments (implying that Marx was
irrelevant for certain contemporary issues concerning revolutionary
change) had particularly irked me
and had elicited some countercomments from me, which showed
him to have a very sophisticated
familiarity with Marx’s writings.

Then I understood.

If one wishes
to continue a philosophical
career in a country in which
Marxism is supposed to enjoy some
special pride of place, but in
which a trend towards harassing
those of one’s colleagues who are
best known for attempting to do
creating work in a Marxian framework appears to have set in, then
,it is probably safer for one to
avoid alluding to Marx altogether.

The sense of despair accompanying
this practical conclusion seemed
as yet to be confined to a small
minority of the Yugoslavian participants at Korcula, but, it was
detectable.

should it gain ground,
then indeed radical philosophers
elsewhere would have good reason
to turn their backs on Yugoslavian
philosophy, as some have unfortunately done for the wrong
reasons in the past, for then
Yugoslavian philosophy would have
ceased to be of any interest.

On the whole, the 1973 Korcula
plenary sessions failed to inspire
great enthusiasm, even though, for
the first time, they benefited from
a simultaneous translation arrangement (as opposed to the mixture of
German, English, French, and a
smattering of Serbo-Croatian with
which the participants, who
usually were at least somewhat bilingual, managed to get along at
other times), and even though some
of the papers were of quite high
quality. As usual, it was the
informal, private contacts that
proved most fruitful for most of
us.

But I should mention two
working groups, one planned an~
the other spontaneously organized,
that were widely regarded as great

successes – the former on Western
working class strategy, presided
over on most occasions by Franz
Marek, and the other on the problems of women. The latter group
could truly be said to have been
planned by ‘no one in particular’,
but its first meeting drew a
crowd of totally unexpected proportions. The Yugoslavs were
dramatically underrepresented in
that group, although there were
a few noteworthy exceptions; from
some hasty remarks, however, there
emerged a picture of a decline in
the importance accorded to women
in the more public aspects of
Yugoslavian society since the
immediate post-war period, and of
a concomitant increase in the
pressures and the blandishments
offered them to redefine themselves in their traditional roles
as homemakers. (These claims were
not supported by statistics, other
than some recent newspaper articles
and letters to editors concerning
proposed changes in statements
about the rights of women in
drafts of a forthcoming new
national constitution, but they
sounded all too plausible to most
of us.)
The intellectual level
of the first and subsequent
sessions of this working group
was generally extremely high and
informed, even though it was not
difficult to find, even among the
school’s organizers, those who
would shake their heads upon being
told this and would declare that
such sorts of problems did not
lend themselves to genui~e theoretical discussions.

The same was never said, at
Korcula, about the sessions on
working class strate~y;2 such
sessions had received official ~/
sanction in advance.

I think it
was more a function of the times
than a happy accident of planning
that provoked the widespread en.thusiasm felt for this series of
meetings. Most of those in attendance had long since emerged from
the fly-bottle of artificially
generated, purely theoretical
puzzlements about the nature of
the universe and had familiarized
themselves, to at least some
degree, with the complex economic
and political mechanisms whereby
structures of dominance and subordination are maintained and intensified under modern capitalism,
as well as under certain forms of
state socialism.

But to be content with understanding these
mechanisms is in one sense to
remain within a theoretical
bottle, albeit a much larger one
than the first.

Small wonder,
then, that, during a period of
general retrenchment and loss of
hope, those who have reached a
certain level of awareness about
their social world would cast
about eagerly for any clues concerning the possibility of bringing theory into practice. A long
series of recent events has
served to refocus attention on the
working classes of the advanced

45

Western nations as potential
agents of future progress.

If
some professional philosophers
deem such interests ‘impure’ and
unworthy of their consideration,
then so much the worse for professional philosophy.

It is precisely the constant insistence, on the part of some
leading Yugoslavian philosophers,
that we face up to the existence
of close links between social
theory and social practice – links
that can be concealed by a theory
or politics of mystification, but
that continue to exist nevertheless – that may be the most basic
cause of their present difficulties. One of the most frequentlyheard charges against the journal
Praxis is that it has permitted
articles in the nature of political
criticism (especially on the
nationalities issue) to be published under the guise of theory. 3
But if one takes seriously the
totalistic Marxian conception of
the social world, how can one
possibly draw a rigid line
between the two types of activity, political criticism and
theoretical analysis? One may be
likely, if one is a philosopher,
to concentrate more of one’s
energies on analysis at a higher,
rather than a lower, level of
generalization, but in this
r ~radition it is impossible sys”;
tematically to shut out all consideration of salient features of
the everyday world on one’s own
era, and still to do worthwhile
philosophizing.

My friends in Yugoslavia thus
stand accused, in some powerful
quarters, of doing precisely what
they ought to have been doing,
and of doing it with some effectiveness. They also stand accused,
at least some of them, of being
left deviationists and even
anarchists in their teaching,
potentially dangerous to the
morals and the politics of those
under their tutelage.

(I have
not, unfortunately, invented this
language). Finally, some of
them are alleged to have solicited
the support of foreign antiCommunist elements who have
invited them to teach abroad,
it is said, not because of their
theoretical acumen, but because
of their potential usefulness to
the cause of reaction. 4
A diverse, important, and highly
fruitful movement of radical philosophy, which has hitherto been too
little understood or appreciated
in this country, now stands in
mortal danger, as does the future
of a nation that once furnished a
great deal of hope, in spirit if
never completely in practice, for
the development of a non-statist
model of socialism.

It is tragic
hat some of the highest political
authorites of that nation have
failed to appreciate their
philosophers’ positiv~ contributions to augmenting the esteem in
which that model has come to be

46

held by so many informed and sympathetic non-Yugoslavians.

Work
needs to be done to try to avert
still greater tragedy.

Bill Mc Bride
Purdue University
NOTES
1

2

4

See, e.g., Le Monde, J~nuary
20-21, 1974, ‘Le marxisme fait
un ret~ur {sic!) en force en
Yougoslavie’, ppl and 9.

By way of comparison, however,
amazingly similar arguments
were invoked at the recent
Atlanta APA meetings in an
effort to defeat the Radical
Caucus’ very modest proposal
to include, on future APA programs, one session concerning
alternative possibilities for
collective bargaining for
college teachers.

Such
matters were said to be nontheoretical, and their
official recognition to be a
profanation of philosophical
professionalism.

See, e.g., a report of a
meeting of the party members of
the editorial board of Praxis,
in the Suddeutsche Zeitung,
January 7, 1974.

See Le Monde, January 8, 1974,
p8.

Hiring philosophers
in IheUS
If any group can be expected to
hire its faculty according to
‘standards of excellence’, it
should be the philosophers. Do
not philosophers, far from petty
concerns, seek Truth, Beauty,
and the Good? But the fact is
that hiring practices in philosophy are similar to those described in us vs Local 46, Lathe
Workers where the court found a
‘deep-rooted and pervasive practice’ in the lathe workers union
of giving out jobs through their
own network ‘on the basis .. ,
generally [of] “pull”.’

As with the lathe workers, so
with the logicians. The philosophy hiring network is revealed
in a document issued by the
officers of the American Philosophical Association:

[we] have for some time been
ashamed of the way in which we
force young philosophers to …

encounter ••. the profession
Candidates for junior
positions, no matter how able,
can ..• probably expect …

serious consideration from only
a few departments, •.. in a great
many cases, departments having
some special tie with [their]
own. These conditions, together
with the spectacle of the annual
smoker ••. [where job interviews
occur] can hardly ..• instill •..

pride in our profession.

[APA Bullegin #4, February 1971,
emphasis added]

ThlS ‘special tie’ is known in
every profession as the ‘old boy’

or the ‘buddy’ system.

Paul
Seabury’s claim that American
administrators seek ‘the best the
world of scholarship could offer’

is misleading. (Commentary, Feb
1972). Typically, a department
chairman asks his former graduate
professor to recommend a candidate. For example, colleges in
New York City employ a large
number of Columbia PhOs. Did
New York college administrators
just happen to find the best
available candidates from ‘the
world of scholarShip’ studying
right in their own neighbourhood?

The fact is that a local phone
call often fills the job. This
‘old boy’ system tends to exclude
talented people outside the closed
circuit.

Seabury does offer one fact about
academic hiring practices. The
hiring ‘skill pool’ used by ‘top
universities’ is ‘the top 5 per
cent of graduate students in the
top ten universities.’

But hiring
among top institutions itself
exemplifies the ‘old boy’ system.

A bright gradUate student who
didn’t attend! top university is
usually barred from a place on
their faculties.

In a merit
system, such institutions would
reasonably recruit, in good
measure, from top universities;
but no candidate would be denied
a chance merely because of the
status of his or her graduate
school. The fact is, however,
that a student’s choiqe of
graduate school (often made
naively or ignorantly or because
of family obligations) ‘has a
determining effect on where he
ends up. ‘

Just as a person’s eventual
position in society depends on
the class he was born into as
well as on his own talent, so
his eventual position in higher
education depends on the standing
of … his PhD institution … as
well as on his capabilities .. .

[R. Berelson, Graduate Education
in the US, McGraw-Hill, 1960,
ppl09-1l3].

The ‘halo effect’ conferred by
a PhD degree from a high-status
school is an advantage regardless
of merit.

But that halo does not
brighten a mediocre PhD’s om
classroom, where generations of
students may languish under incompetent instruction.

In today’s
tight academic market, medio-”
cri ties with high-status PhDs can
still expect decent jobs, while
bright, lively candidates from
minor universities may worry
whether they will ever get to
teach a cla~s. As the APA
document reports, job candidates
have a ‘desperate sense that one
could find out where the jobs are
if one could only be introduced
to’ the right people.’

A resolution by young philosophers
describes hiring procedures:

~

Someth.ing must be done about
the degrading and humiliating
process of [conventional] interviewing … the inhuman rush for
jobs and candidates … How are
we to take philosophy as a
great enterprise of the human
spirit, when it becomes a scene
of speedy uncaring encounters
w}th recruiters and a race from
interview to interview.

(APA Bulletin #4]
Philosophers refer to the APA
Convention, where ‘degrading and
humiliating’ job interviews
occur, as ‘the slave market’.

Gertrude Ezorsky
[from ‘Fight over University. Wome!l’l
Reprinted with permission from the
New York Review of Books (16.5.74}
Copyright © 1974 Nyrev, Inc.

LampeterRPO

~

St Davin’s University College,
Lampeter, was once described in
the ‘i.’imes Hi~her Education
Supplement as a typical Oxford
Colleqe, t.ucken cosily away
amidst the rolling hills and
valleys of mid-Wales. The RPG
w~s fortunate in being able to
contrihute to the shattering of
this Tory nrawing-hoard illusion, and eagerly awaits the
next ~isit of the above Rag
~ag’s hlue-eyed cub reporter.

The RPG has been running for
six months, and in that time
we’ve held sElveral successful
meetings, useful discussion
groups and managed to ‘modify’

the examination structure of
the philosonhy department, only
failing to achieve our full
demands in this last venture
due to the qod-fearing gentlemen of the University of Wales
Examination Board, who seeing a
dangerous precedent viz staffstudent agreement on demands,
decided that this kind of
definition of ‘democracy’ was
unacceptable.

During the coming academic
year we are planning to hold
reGular meetings 0~e’d appreciate more group members coming
here to speak) and weekly discussion groups wilere we encourage students from other
departments to take an active
part, especially important at
Lampeter Ivhere the differences
in departmental policies are
very pronounceo.

tl;’O c1epartments qualifvinq for a grammar
school lower sixth title!

In
the near future it is hoped
that an RPG will be set up in
Aberystwyth, where Professor
laron and the ‘~Hnd ‘1ob’ have a
clear field.

This will benefit
LA.mneter and Wales as a vhole,
giving the Group a far wider
scope for the dissemination of
radical views and providing a
linkun with Bangor and Cardiff.

John Coggins

REPORTS

————————————————————————-

Radical Totality
The name ‘Radical Totality’ may
be silly but seems likely to
stick.

It refers to the cooperation between various
‘intellectual liberation armies’

which began at a meeting organised by the Radical Philosophy
Group at the end of June. Apart
from RPG, the Conference of
Socialist Economists, the Women’s
studies Group, and groups producing the magazines Critique of

Anthropology, Radical Science
Journal and Radical Education
are all involved.

The groups differ considerably,
and so do the aims of their
publications. Radical Philosoph~
concentrates on students, especially philosophy students,
though it also aims at a wider
audience of left intellectuals.

Critique of Anthropology and
the CSE Bulletin aim at a smaller
and more specialised, basically
academic, audience; Radical
Education is for teachers; and
the Women’s Studies Group is for
women in education. Radical
Science Journal tries to get
outside all these academic/intellectual/middle class audiences
and reach scientific workers in
industry. But what all the
groups have in common – and
perhaps what is historically
most interesting about them is that each of them has a very
definite target audience – they
do not try to address themselves
to ‘the working class’ or ‘the
intelligent layman’.

All of the groups seemed to experience some tension between
process and product. RSJ attached
great importance to finding new
ways of working together. RPG,
in contrast, were willing to subordinate the exploration of new
ways of working to getting the
magazine out.

Several concrete proposals
emerged. The only things to
be settled at once were that the
groups would pUblicise each
others’ activities and publications, and that they should meet
regularly. Arrangements for a
Radical Totality conference on
the divisions between academic
disciplines, and for co-operation on printing and administration were placed on the agenda
for another meeting, to be held
in London on 5 October.

Information from Richard Norman,
Keynes College, University of
Kent, Canterbury.

Open meeting
The ‘Radical Totality’ meeting
described above ate into the
time allotted for the last RPG
Open Meeting, which therefore
could not complete its agenda.

The meeting had time to con-

sider a worrying report on the
financial situation, prepared
by Noel Parker, and to approve
raising the price of the magazine. The suggestion that
~
reliable (i.e. paid) secretarial/
clerical help could improve the
financial situation, by increasing our efficiency in reaching
new readers and in recovering
money owed for sold copies was
sympathetically discussed; but
it was agreed that in the
present situation such a step
would be far too risky. The next
Open Meeting will be held on
Saturday 11 November at 11 am
at 53 Spencer Rise, London NW5
(near Tufnell Park tube) .

RP daycon,ferences
1

Sexism and Academicism

This was an informal and smallish
group meeting which discussed both
the institutional and ideological
aspect~Jr sexism in higher education.

Ve looked, in particular,
at figures from Cambridge University
where only 6.8% of total university
appointments are held by women, and
only 2.6% of total university
appointments are held hy married
women!

Reference was made to the
causes of this as including the
lack of ambition, or low expectation~, of many women and the unconscious devaluation of women’s
work, as well as the traditional
social expectation that women will
forfeit careers for marriage.

Answers suggested at the insti tu,”*’ j
tional level included tight~r legal
requirements on sex ratios. We
discussed the legal situation in
the USA where management can he
required actually to go out and
find enough female employees to
satisfy sex ratio quotas.

Tt was
suggested that laws of this kind
at least usefully extend and delimit the considerations normally
entering into the debate.

An underlying current of much of
the discussion concerned the possibility of there being critical
differences between men and women
either in the experiencing of the
stuffy/repressive aspects of
academic institutions, or in the
talents which either could bring to
further academic liberation.

I had
the impression that this was an
area involving some deep disagreement which was never fully discussed.

From a slightly different viewpoint,
we also discussed the problems
encountered in academic studies of
women. The problem of sources was
raised with relation to Ancient
History. And problems were indicated in Anthropology both of talkinq
to women who will not tA.lk freely to
men and, relatedly, whether women
anthropologists can most fruitfully
appear as honorary men (the usual,
undesigned, effect), so losing any

47

special relationship with women, or
as ‘women’ possibly hampering them
in other respects without being a
fully effective camouflage.

Psychoanalysis and the Left
This meeting was very well attended
and seemed to attract people with
a variety of backgrounds and
interests, and rather diverse
expectations as to what the meeting
would be about. There were people
with a mainly theoretical interest
in the exploitability of psychoanalytic theory in the explanation
of various socio-ideological problems, including sexism and false
consciousness; peoDle who came for
a (theoretical?) discussion of ongoing radical psycho-therapeutic
practices, such as co-counselling;
women active in consciousness raising groups; people merely interested
in psychoanalysis; psychoanalysts
who hoped for a radical vindication
of their trade, and radicals who
hoped for a ~uick demolition trick
to be played on psychoanalysis.

This mix of people seemed to lead
to what was best and what was worst
about the meeting. Because it had
not been expected that so many
people would turn up, it had been
hoped to keep everything very
informal and only a very loose
p.rogramme hi1.d been arranged, vi th
rPiople agreeing to open discussion
rather than give papers.

But in
the event, probably very few people
discussed anything that they had
come along hoping to discuss.

The most recurrent theme was
group discussion, but even that
really just floundered round the
inability of advocates of various
institutionalised groups, such as
‘encounter groups’, to see much
difference in what they were doinG
and the activities of grouns whose
existence implies at least a minimal
social criticism, such as women’s
grouns.

JV

RPO
THE BUREAUCRACY OF RADICAL
PHILOSOPHY
OVer the last two years we have
evolved procedures for running
the magazine, most of which has
been discussed and agreed at
editorial and open meetings.

This paper is a summary of the
resulting situation as I understand it.

1 The ultimate responsibility for
the magazine lies with the Open
Meetings of the Radical Philosophy Group. They can alter
the administrative machinery
or the personnel. They hand
over the work to an editorial
group whose responsibili~ies
are detailed below.

2 In order to allow people who
cannot involve themselves in
production to take some editorial responsibility, production
is to a large extent separated
from editorial work, but as a
rule members of the production

48

group are also members of the
editorial group. The production
group is responsible for everything from marking up articles
accepted for pUblication,
getting them typeset, pasting
up, and negotiating with the
printer, to getting the finished
magazines to the person responsible for distribution.

Distribution is the responsibility of one or two members
of the editorial group.

4 Finance is the responsibility
of a member of the editorial
group.

Advertising, both in and of the
magazine, is the responsibility
of a member of the editorial
group.

G Fditorial decjsions are taken
by the editorial group as a
whole at an editorial meeting,
of which there is normally one
for each issue.

(Not all meetings of the editors are editorial meetings, of course). But
some decisions, particularly
concerning small pieces and space
fillers and late news have of
necessity to be left to the
production group which gets to
work after the editorial meeting.

The procedure for reaching
editorial decisions as as
follows:

G.l The co-ordinator receives
every incoming article, acknowledges it, files it, and
sends a copy to a member of the
editorial group, who acts as
editor (see 6.3) for that
article. The co-ordinator
circulates a list of editors,
authors, and articles to members
of the editorial group, in time
for the editorial meeting.

6.2 The review editor has
responsibility for getting books
for review and getting reviewers
for them, for compiling a
‘Books Received’ list and for
sending complimentary copies of
reviews to publishers.

6.3 An editor – a member of the
editorial group – sends each
article for which he is responsible to several referees
(see 6.4); deals with all
further correspondence with the
author, and, where appropriate,
does picture research and subediting. At the editorial
meeting, he presents a report
on the basis of which the meeting can reach a decision about
the article.

6.4 Referees, from whom an
editor gathers opinions of the
articles he i~ responsible for,
are normally selected by indi·vidual editors and are not
necessarily members of the
editorial group.

7 These procedures, it seems to
me, distribute responsibilities
in a fairly definite manner
without centralising them, and

i1.re sufficiently firm to allow
new people to be absorbed, or
old people to fade away, without the machinery itself being
threatened. They allow a fairly
large number to be involved in
various ways and degrees in
running the magazine.

I do not
think we could have a more democratic system.

Jonathan Ree

Letter to readers
Radical Philosophy is not supported by any wealthy well-wishers,
by an academic body, or bv a
publisher. Financially, we
depend directly and entirely on
our readers, and all the money
we get from sales goes straight
into the production and distribution of the magazine. Up to now,
we have managed to keep more or
less out of debt; but, with
rising print, paper and postal
costs, and with the increased
number of pages, we are finding
it harder and harder to keep this
up.

(The printers’ bill has gone
up nearly 2~ times between RPG
and RP8). That is why with this
issue the price is back to its
original £0.35, instead of the
£0.25 we kept it to between nos.

3 and 8: This still makes RP
quite cheap, but we would like
it to be cheaper.

How can we keep the price down?

The main thing is to increase
our sales – which, of course, we
want to do anyway. out immediate
sales have been stationary at
about 2,000 for a year or so,
though the steady stream of
requests for back numbers makes
it reasonable for us now to have
a print order of 2,800.

We know that there are plenty
of possible customers we don’t
reach – including many who have
never heard of RP. For instance,
we sent some spies to the Joint
Session of the Mind Association
and the Aristotelian Society in
Lancaster in July, and their
seventy copies of RP8 were sold
out in no time, and, apparently,
avidly read by those whose minds
were not already rotted by the
boredom of the Session. We can only
reach new customers with the help
of our supporters. Why not
become a local seller, or, if
you are one already, see if you
can’t sell a few more. And if
you are a seller, please send us
the money you get as soon as
possible (some sellers still owe
us for No.l). Also send back
your unsold copies; we need the
backnumbers. You could also make
sure that your library has a subscription and that your bookshop
makes a regular order.

If you
are already a subscriber, you
might consider getting an extra
copy to sell to a friend; and
please make sure you renew your
subscription when it is due.

If
you are rich, then perhaps you
could add £0.50 to your cheque

or postal order when you subscribe? And if you do not have
one already, please take out a
subscription: this way, we are
sure of the sales, and we get the
money in advance, instead of a
year or two late.

Meanwhile, we, the editors, are
trying to make our own procedures
more efficient. The paper by
Jonathan Ree on our bureaucracy,
printed above, represents our
first attempt to actually fix the
way we operate in a written description. As regards distribution and exchange, the magnification of the task as a result of
having backnumbers to deal with
– and of having (temporarily)
run out of several of the earlier
issues – took us rather by surprise. If you are still waiting
for a reply to a letter of a few
months ago, please be patient:

we are cleari~g up the backlog
now. OVer the last few months,
Noel Parker has valiantly imposed
some order on our distribution
system. He is ‘now leaving ln
order to teach in France. His work
will be done jointly by Michael
Erben in London and by the
Brighton collective. Correspondance about distribution should,
as before, be sent to us at our
printer’s London office (Radical
Philosophy, Larcular Ltd, 30 City
Road, London EC 1). And we would
be very glad if, when you write,
you add a note about who you are,
how you heard of the magazine,
what you think of it, and how it
could be improved.

“.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”..”.”.”.

We have also had problems ~bout
despatching issues of Radical
Philosophy. Our printers tried
using a carrier who counts in
years rather than days; and our
attempts to get large orders
properly packed have failed
repeatedly, with the result that
the packets have burst open in
the post, that hundreds of copies
have gone astray or been damaged
or been desperately delayed. We
really won’t let this happen
again. If possible, one of us
will drive round the country.

personally delivering the large
orders.

“.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.

The physical production of the
magazine uses up an incredible
amount of our time, and, in the
case of the last two issues, it
took a few weeks longer than we
expected – which meant that the
magazine was not available at the
beginning of the academic term,
which hit Ou! sa~es ra~ner nard.

This time we have decided to go
and live with the job for a week
or two until it is done; so we
hope to get this issue out
quicker. And starting with the
next issue, we will allow longer
than our customary five weeks
between the editorial meeting and

the target publication date.

This means that our deadline for
the next issue is soon: November
15: and if you could send any
material before that, it would
make our life much much easier.

*********************
We are very concerned to improve
the appearance of the magazine.

Anyone who can help – by doing
drawings for us, or making
suggestions about design, or by
helping with the paste-up – would
be fantastically we+come.

***************~*****

We have heard some bad news about
freedom of speech. Ideology,
Social Science and Freedom of
Speech edited by John Mepham,
the book about the Huntington
affair at Sussex, was due to
come out about now. Harvester
Press has advertised it widely
(‘What every academic needs to
know’), and extracts have
appeared in the Times Higher
Educational SUpplement as well
as in Radical Philosophy. The
book was to unmask liberal lies
about freedom of speech; but
Harvester have accepted their
lawyers’ advice that they should
not publish.

*******************
worrying allegations have reached
us about the Radical Philosophers
on the East Coast of the us. A
correspondent tells us he has
‘encountered a very snotty attitude from them, to the point of
their claiming that it would not
have been appropriate for me and
my political comrades to attend
their conference in Phila last
fall, since we were not philosophers. Fuck them. Let them
keep their goddam “philosophy”.

We hope these allegations are
unfounded.

*********************
Iin the current issue of Philosophy
Pro:t’essor Anthonv Fle_W’ de.fends
himself against criticisms
by 0 A Ladimeji, complaining that
they are ‘in ~e authentic accents
of Radical Philosophy – those of
a People’s Prosecutor in a purge
trial’ .

– Well, Edith, if he’s a university lecturer he must be a very
responsible person, and I don’t
suppose he’d let his personal
opinions influence what he said
to the students.

– Oh! •••
– NN at Oxford lectures in politics and he’s a conservative MP,
so the students hear both sides
••• and I think most students
hear both sides and settle down
somewhere in the middle ••. which
is what we all want, isn’t it?

– Yes •.• I suppose.

~ How’s that, then? ..• Anyway
it’s not on the syllabus at LBC.

– Oh … good!

– OK ••. Let’s, .have the next call
please.

With a few notable exceptions,
local Radical Philosophy Groups
are not what they used to be.

Is this a temporary lull? Or
have they outlived their usefulness? Are there not still plenty
of people who need the help of
such groups in order to get out
of the dreadful hole which is
academic philosophy, or in order
to work out some alternative?

please write to us (c/o Richard
Norman, Darwin College, University
of Kent, Canterbury) if you want
help or advice about setting up
a group.

*********************
Contributors to this issue
include: Alfred Gell, an anthropologist at the University of
Sussex, who is at present back
in New Guinea doing fieldwork.

Andrew Collier teaches philosophy
in Bangor and is struggling to ;;”
complete a book on R D Laing.·
D A Wilson, who reviews Wincott’s
account of the Invergordon mutiny,
is a life long militant. He got
to know Wincott when Wincott came
to support a local strike
immediately after the Invergordon
affair. They renewed their
friendship on Wincott’s recent
visit. Grahame White is a second
year student in Art History and
Theory at the university of
Sussex.

J

“.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.”.

*********************
Heard on a late-night radio
phone-in programme:

– Hello, who am I talking to?

– Edith.

– And what would you li~e to talk
about, Edith?

– Marxism.

– … Oh well, I don’t know much
about that, but .• ‘ fire away.

– I was wondering how you felt
about having someone very near
and dear to you who went to
university and got his degree and
his PhD and .•. well, he’s very
clever •.. and now he lectures in
international relations .•. I
don’t think I should say the name
of the university … and, well,
he’s a marxist .•• and I was
wondering .••

Printed by LARCULAR LIMITED

49

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