SCIENTISTS dedicated to
vigorous SOCIAL and POLITICAL ACTION
Over the past 25 years the scientific community
has grown very large in
numbers and in resources, but we have become complacent with our prestige and
have failed to face the responsibilities created for us by our very material
achievements. While we now see that many of the products of science and techno-
logy have become more a menace than a boon to the interests of human society,
the dominant professional associations - such as the APS - have deliberately
remained aloof from the desperate problems facing mankind today; and those few
individual spokesmen and groups of scientists who do concern themselves with
questions of government policy have failed to provide the bold leadership which
is so badly needed. As scientists have become more and more dependent on the
government for research funds and for their very livelihood, speaking out on
public issues has been done more and more cautiously. We must therefore strive
to regain our full intellectual and political freedom; and the very existence
of this proposed organization will help strengthen each scientist's resolve.
An essential task is one of self-identification.
We reject the old credo
that "research means progress and progress is good." Reliance on such simplistic
ethical codes has led to mistaken or even perverted uses of our scientific
talents. (Consider the channeling of young scientists into weapons development
work by the present complex of federal policies on education, funding and the
draft.) As an antidote we shall establish a forum where all concerned scient-
ists - and especially students and younger members of the profession - may
explore the questions, Why are we scientists? For whose benefit do we work?
What is the full measure of our moral and social responsibility?
As an ongoing organization we shall seek new
and radical solutions for long
range problems and immediate issues, and we shall press for effective political
action. We shall work for change within our present affiliations (professional
society, university, laboratory), but foremost we shall strive to present our
opinions as an independent body of socially aware scientists free from the
inhibitions which abound in the established institutions we now serve. We shall
also seek to relate our activities to those of similar groups (radical caucuses)
now forming in other professions.
Our initial meeting - open to all those interested
in participating - will
be held during the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the
New York Hilton Hotel, February 3-6,1969, at a time and place to be announced
there. Our primary business will be the formation of action groups committed
to press forward on specific issues which this organization will attack.
We particularly emphasize the need for participation by the younger members.
Any offerings of ideas, labor and funds to aid this program will be appreciated,
but must come second to the need for a sincere dedication on the part of many
individuals to what will be a long and difficult enterprise.
Michael Goldhaber Martin Perl
Rockefeller Univ. Stanford Univ. Univ. of Michigan Univ. of California
New York, N.Y. Stanford, Cal. Ann Arbor, Mich. Berkleley, Cal.