The original Science for the People arose in 1969 out of the anti-war movement and lasted until 1989. With radical analysis and non-hierarchical governing structure, Science for the People tackled 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.
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 rather than military and corporate interests. They 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 power, ideology, and democracy in science remain. The time is ripe to revitalize Science for the People and to organize scientists, activists, students, and scholars to face these issues head-on in research institutions, universities, and communities. Since 2015, SftP veterans have collaborated with a new generation of SftP members to explore the history of radical science and to rebuild the movement for today.