The most important radical science movement in US history, SftP arose in 1969 out of the anti-war movement and lasted until 1989. With a Marxist analysis and non-hierarchical governing structure, SftP tackled, among many issues: militarization of scientific research, corporate control of research agenda, political implications of sociobiology and other scientific theories, environmental consequences of energy policy, inequalities in health care, etc. Its members opposed racism, sexism, and classism in science and above all sought to mobilize people working in scientific fields to become active in agitating for science, technology, and medicine that would serve social needs.
Through research, writing, protest, and grassroots organizing, SftP sought to demystify scientific knowledge and embolden “the people” to take science and technology into their own hands. SftP’s numerous publications played a formative role in the field of science and technology studies, challenging mainstream understandings of science as “neutral” and instead showing it to be inherently political. Its members organized in universities and communities, published a magazine offering sharp political analysis, and sought meaningful scientific exchange internationally in Vietnam, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other countries.
Some of the issues we face today have changed in important ways, but fundamental questions of capital, power, ideology, and democracy in science remain.
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