Science for the People
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Session 5: Sunday, June 3rd: 10:00 - 11:50am
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Science for the People is a reinvigoration of the original organization, which arose out of the 1969 anti-war movement and lasted until 1989. We stand in the tradition of the original organization and have a radical analysis and non-hierarchical governing structure. Our members tackle the militarization of scientific research, the corporate control of research agendas, the political implications of sociobiology and other scientific theories, the environmental consequences of energy policy, inequalities in health care, and many other issues. We oppose racism, sexism, and classism in science and above all seek to mobilize people working in scientific fields to become active in agitating for science, technology, and medicine that would serve social needs rather than military and corporate interests.

We understand that there is a “dual nature” to science- what Richard Levins noted as scientism and antiscience. Science can be utilized to further corporate agendas and exercise private gain in the interest of profit, or it can be utilized in the name of the interests of the vast majority, in the name of the people. Regardless of which way science is used, we must make it clear that science is not neutral- the methodology and outcome of scientific inquiry is impacted by the interests and funding behind any given scientific project. This panel will attempt to draw out the dual nature of science, grappling with science as it is used to promote militarism, deny women the right to reproductive justice, and most recently as the underpinnings for renewed arguments about “biological determinism” that hearken back to debates throughout the 20th century about eugenics.

We will argue that scientists can and should be organizing politically. Science is not an abstraction removed from society. Science is produced by our labor. But the conditions of this production and the use of science are controlled by the wealthy and powerful. We must fight for a science that serves all people, organizing wherever science is produced or applied alongside all those fighting for justice.