Living Marxism

SeeMichael Fitzpatrick  Sense about Science

[GM Watch profile]

[Jan 2007] Article by Zac Goldsmith

SAS is often described as an aggressively pro-GM lobby group. But it's much, much more than that. It is born of a bizarre political network that began life as the ultra-left Revolutionary Communist Party and switched over to extreme corporate libertarianism when it launched Living Marxism magazine in the late eighties. LM advocated lifting restrictions on child pornography, it opposed banning tobacco advertising, supported human cloning and so on.  In as much as it has a central philosophy, it is a fierce opposition to the state attempting to protect citizens from the excesses of big business.  But its real goal, and the reason for its political zigzagging, may stem from a long-held hatred of any kind of positive reform that might risk prolonging the system they hate. They call it "revolutionary defeatism". By helping to accelerate the contradictions of capitalism they believe they are hastening the move to the 'next stage' of human development.
    During the nineties, Living Marxism was successful at influencing the British media coverage of science and environment issues, particularly relating to GM food. But in 2000, it was sued for claiming that ITN had falsified evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims, and was forced to close. It soon reinvented itself as the Institute of ideas, and the on-line magazine Spiked.
    At each step in its evolution, it has been largely the same people who have given life to this strange movement and painstaking research by Jonathan Matthews of shows it is many of the same people who now put themselves forward as the faces of respectable, and trustworthy science.
    It's a dizzying network. The director of Sense About Science, Tracey Brown, for instance has written for both Living Marxism and Spiked and has even published a book with the Institute of Ideas. Both she, and her Programme Director, Ellen Raphael studied under Frank Furedi at the University of Kent, before working for a PR firm that defends companies against consumer and environmental campaigners.
    Raphael meanwhile was the contact person for Global Futures, a publishing house that until recently shared a phone number with SAS. One of Global Futures' trustees is former Revolutionary Communist Party activist and LM contributor, Phil Mullan, and despite being a publishing house, Global Futures seems only to have published two papers - one of them by Frank Furedi, the long-term figurehead of the LM movement. [Jan 2007] Article by Zac Goldsmith