In this panel Ivette Perfecto, Minna Barrett, Dave Culver, and Dianne Rocheleau talked about their experiences with Science for the People around the world, not just in the Untied States. Together, they presented an idea of Science for the People as a global movement.
Ivette was the first to present, documenting the collaboration between SftP and Nicaragua. While the Sandinista’s were in power during the 1980’s, SftP members in Nicaragua worked to improve infrastructure, provide education and do research, and build solidarity with the revolutionary movement.
Next, Minna gave a presentation about Science for the People’s famous trip to China in the 1970’s. The group, invited by the Chinese Academy of Science, went to China to learn about what they saw as a brand new type of social organization. While there, the main ideology they encountered was one of challenging traditional cultural relations; they found open universities where Western science and traditional knowledge were integrated, mass literacy campaigns, and a public health care system.
Dave Culver came up next to discuss the Science for Vietnam project, which aimed to help the Vietnamese people with the ravages of the war. he recalled how the main inspiration for the project was Dick Levins, who went to Vietnam and returned with the idea for Science for Vietnam. Operating during the war, the project was a demonstration of the radical nature of SftP, and their desire to push boundaries. The project was able to provide real aid through medicinal, agricultural, and technological science while also building a strong relationship with people who the majority of Americans viewed as enemies.
Dianne was the last to present. Rather than focus on the past actions by SftP, she focused her discussion on the future. She discussed what she called “rooted networks,” which are the networks we acquire through our homes and habits. By establishing solidarity with those with different rooted networks, alternatives can be formed and different perspectives come to light, providing a force for change.
In all, this was a very interesting panel that both documented the international efforts of Science for the People and established new alternatives for future activism.