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UK Science Media Centre, RCP, and press silence on XMRV

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Dx Revision Watch, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I have changed my earlier post to "alleged" because I can't find a reliable source for this claim, although google throws up many references to it in a variety of places and I've seen it claimed repeatedly. I do find it an especially extraordinary claim in his case, as a military man - I wonder who vetted him?! But I think the very least one can say is that all these individuals seem to have very close ties with each other and are well-connected to members of this "ex-RCP cadre", even if not provably former RCP members themselves.

    (As an aside, I have always found it rather extraordinary the way that the hard left in Britan literally seemed to melt away into the shadows in the 90s, and I've long wondered whether they really had disappeared completely...so I would have to say this looks like the answer to that question...)

    However I did also find along the way a couple of online books by Martin J Walker that look quite superb to me from a brief scan, at least one of which discusses ME/CFS, Prof Simon Wessely, and the involvement of a cadre of ex-RCP members in and around British medicine.

    "Brave New World of Zero Risk - Covert strategy in British Science Policy"
    http://www.satori-5.co.uk/downloads/dlf_168.pdf

    "Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism - Ben Goldacre, Quackbusting and Corporate Science"
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/8401751/C...n-Goldacre-Quackbusting-and-Corporate-Science
  2. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    Am from U.S. and am curious about the way you talk about "commies" in the UK....the stereotype I had from my studies in college would be that communism/socialism would be about helping the underdog....I am confused why the people who may be communists would be into stomping on the man? That seems more like corporate ideology to me, make a buck at the expense of the best interest of the individual. I could see however that w/socialized healthcare in UK that trying to contain costs because govmt pays for it would be reason to suppress disease etiology and treatment, but the same goes for private capitalistic ins. co.s in the U.S., i.e. WPS (private ins. co. like bluecross) denied reimbursing my VIP CFS test last year because my new doc put CFS diagnosis in there and also testing NK cells etc is still considered "experimental" thanks to CDC perhaps. When we put in diagnoses that are accepted like GERD or spinal stenosis payment goes much better. Cheney had told me that the reason i had survived in the medical system for the last 20 years was because my docs had used other diagnoses besides CFS in their reports most of the time, the most trouble I had with payment was when my newer doc who believes in CFS actually used that dx and also the term "MCS" to try to help me get payment in a followup letter to the ins. co., terms that are the kiss of death with getting paid I now realize.
  3. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    Well, the basis I work on is that if the original source (however "trusted") does not provide a reliable reference, then I can't rely on the assertion. Simple as that. I can't afford to work any other way.

    Suzy
  4. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    Mark wrote:


    So who has "alleged" it and where, please?

    I see all kinds of rubbish on message boards and forums and Facebook claimed repeatedly.

    It just amazes me how lax folk can be about providing sources for the claims they make.

    Suzy
  5. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman dxrevisionwatch.com

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    Well, I'm on page 2 of Google and I've yet to find a reference (apart from the unreferenced digitalspy posting).

    So can you list some links for us please, Mark, and bullybeef, with the pertinent quotes - not just the Google listings?

    Suzy
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I've always thought they were trying to help us poor deluded under-dogs.

    There's often a rather patronising and authoritarian paternalism to be found in certain strands of left-wing politics (bad Oxbridge!), and I think it is this that has gone terribly astray in the case of CFS research. They, the informed elites, are able to recognise the false consciousness that has been foisted upon us by the merciless social pressures of the societies in which we live and they alone are able to free us so that we can become functional and productive members of society again. They know our minds better than we do and need to manipulate us in order to set us truly free.

    Who really knows what's going on though?

    @ Suzy: Good to have us all fact checking each other. It's easy to end up absorbing claims because they fit your prior beliefs rather than because their is really clear evidence for it.
  7. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    It's a very good question xrayspex. My experience of the world of student politics in the 80s was that the people who got involved in the factionalised left-wing groups that fought for control of student unions, were people defined by their ego and ambition more than anything else. They were far less interested in their education than in positioning themselves for future political careers on the left - and being a "hard left" activist as a student was as much a convenience and a posture in order to get elected: the loudest and most distinctive voices won out in what was in reality a "practice game" for the real thing. This is after all a politics that was divorced from the reality of ordinary people's lives; a game with ideology but with little real-world consequence.

    The people who were really motivated by concern for real people - rather than ideas - were far more likely to be found doing real, practical work alongside real people at the bottom of society, amongst the new wave of anarchists, greens, and special-interest campaigns - although even many of those groups were often disrupted and subverted by the odd one or two greedy and ambitious political types who seemed to have little genuine interest in the grassroots purposes of those organisations.

    The more remarkable feature of the modern British 'soft' left though is their willingness and even enthusiasm to engage with corporate interests in "mixed" private-public models. Since, post-Thatcher, it is uniformly assumed that financial reality dictates the need to engage with those who have the money, all parties are obliged to assume a "mixed economy" that gives equal role to the public and private, and therefore it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between them. New Labour was defined - for me - by its measures to strengthen state control, so strong as to cause Brown to be labelled as a "Stalin" - strong, stable government seems to be what is believed in more than anything else. Any enlightened social policies had to take place in the background, and were undermined by incompetence, bureaucracy, and the inevitable intrusion of private interests. This was an allegedly left wing government that drove through measures to enable stealthy privatisation of health and education - the establishment of privately-financed elite academies and single faith schools, for example. The public-private partnership model was understandable given the need to access cash in order to realise grand ambitions without the taxation that was deemed political and economic suicide - but it fatally undermined the vision.

    There's a more general point that I'd make though, which is that the confusion over what constitutes an "extreme left" and "extreme right" philosophy is a universal problem. The right wing and popular dissenting movements in America often seem to those in Europe to have a complete misunderstanding of politics, having the whole thing upside-down, calling everyone "commies" and even claiming Hitler as a communist! That supposed total misunderstanding and lack of comprehension of politics is best illustrated by the phrase "National Socialism" - a strange one to British-educated ears but almost never questioned, because the Nazis were of course extreme right wing not extreme left wing, weren't they? Yet you find crazy American pro-freedom right-wingers citing them as socialists! They just don't understand anything - no education you see!

    Well, I would argue that this is best understood by perceiving the spectrum of politics as a circle rather than as a straight line. There comes a point where if you go far out to the left or right, you find yourself in the territory of the opposition, and discover that you have more in common with them than you had suspected - most notably, a desire for purity, control, and dominance. A good social definition of fascism is the division of the population into two distinct halves - the favoured and the oppressed, and a good economic definition of fascism is the unification of the state and corporate interests. These two factors are as good a definition as any as far as I can see - and note that in these terms both the US and UK today can very easily be seen as being at the very least on a path to a neo-fascist reality, if indeed they are not both in reality fascist already. Witness the 50-50 splits in US elections, the division of the US into an uneducated rural right-wing base and an educated urban left-wing elite, the goal in the UK of 50% of the population attending university, the ever-growing corruption and intrusion of private financial interests into the heart of government.

    The left/right distinction therefore becomes meaningless under extreme conditions. When the unification of state and corporate interests is approached from a right-wing perspective, this means encouraging and increasing private enterprise, which inevitably leads to an effective monopoly closely allied to the state. If approached from the left wing, it means increasing the size and strength of the public sector, but those public structures all involve money and the bigger they get, the more the begin to resemble corporations themselves. From both approaches, there comes a point where state and industry merge and become one - totalitarianism, which behaves in the same vicious ways towards the general population whether it is supposedly "right-wing" or "left-wing".

    From an anarchist perspective, the left and right are both the same - as dark, controlling and anti-human in their essence as each other - and totalitarianism is simply a natural and inevitable extension of capitalism under emergency conditions.

    Alongside the 'circular' model, another alternative model to consider when assessing somebody's politics is to consider at least one more dimension. As well as the horizontal 'left-right' distinction between equalised, socialistic and collaborative models vs free-market, free-enterprise 'survival of the fittest/richest' models, it's also useful to think about the vertical dimension: the distinction between a desire to control policy strongly and firmly from the centre, and a desire to liberate and enable individuals and small local groups. Brownite New Labour may have been strongly pro-social policy, but it was even more strongly interested in central control and in establishing an ever-stronger and more dominant state. In that sense it was deeply regressive and undemocratic, but sustained by the automatic assumption that since it was Labour, it was always acting purely in the interests of fairness towards the poorest in society - even as it abandoned large sections of an "underclass" which turned away to the far right.

    So that's the short answer xrayspex! :D The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and those interested in power may be communists or corporatists, but stomping on the man is what they all do best. The only solution I can offer is to turn away from all of them, to start from yourself and work outwards, to focus on community, grassroots, genuinely independent solutions, and above all, people.

    Here's a song about it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV0-biHAtNY
  8. bullybeef

    bullybeef Senior Member

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    Hi guys, sorry I have only just posted. Been roughness again today, which is becoming consistent in spite of my meds.

    I've been trawling my PC, flash drives, and I cannot find where I read that SW was an ex-member of the RCP. It's driving me crazy!!! I haven't a clue where I read it now, but it was sometime last year when the XMRV/ME link was first announced. It's doing my head in now!! I'm absolutely exhausted, and in agony (it's usually my nap time now).

    I have found the following, which I am sure you guys already have. It doesn't look familiar (with my memory, it's anyones guess), but it does read like some very noticeable people are connected to the RCP:

    See: http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...nary communist party&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    Obviously, if someone does find something, could you please pm me, in case I miss the post.

    Thanks in advance.

    BB
  9. Wildcat

    Wildcat Senior Member

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    The Science Media Centre, Sense about Science and the Institute of Ideas are run by central people from the former Revolutionary Communist Party, a far left group apparently gone far right – extreme libertarianism. Fiona Fox (SMC), Claire Fox, GP Michael Fitzpatrick and others…..

    Invasion of the Entryists
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2003/dec/09/highereducation.uk2
    How did a cultish political network become the public face of the scientific establishment
    ‘One of strangest aspects of modern politics is the dominance of former left-wingers who have swung to the right.’


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) – then Living Marxism magazine (LM) – Spiked magazine (online mag)
    http://rcpwatch.wordpress.com/



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Science Media Centre Fiona Fox (Foster)




    GP Dr Michael Fitzpatrick in the Guardian 2002
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2002/feb/07/medicalscience.healthandwellbeing

    The making of a new disease
    Thursday 7 February 2002 16.24 GMT

    Michael Fitzpatrick on why the medical profession's latest ruling on ME (or chronic fatigue syndrome) is nothing short of disastrous
    ‘ME is usually (in my surgery, always) a self-diagnosis: somebody comes in, sits down and says: "I think I've got ME, doc." This is what we in general practice call a "heartsink" encounter. Once a patient has accepted the ME label, it seems to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it is very difficult to deflect them from a course of prolonged incapacity, with all its adverse consequences.’



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    GP Dr Michael Fitzpatrick in Spiked magazine 2006:
    http://www.spiked-online.com/articles/0000000CAF5A.htm

    ‘The second leading cause of sickness absence is back pain; again numbers have increased steadily over recent decades - among non-manual workers as much as among manual workers. As it is often impossible to correlate complaints of pain and stiffness with the results of X-rays or other imaging techniques, the key judgement is the patient's - if they do not feel well enough to work, then they are eligible for benefits. Other claimants suffer from a range of 'unexplained physical symptoms', such as joint pains, fatigue, abdominal discomfort and distension. These may be described as 'fibromyalgia', 'chronic fatigue syndrome/ME' or 'irritable bowel syndrome' but these labels merely provide medical legitimacy for the experience of illness: they offer neither rational diagnosis nor effective treatment.’




    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Living_Marxism

    Living Marxism
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,181819,00.html

    Genocide? What genocide?
    Serbian atrocities were not the only ones Living Marxism tried to deny. They targeted Rwanda too

    Chris McGreal Monday 20 March 2000

    The Guardian

    Genocide is such a hard crime to deny that those who insist on doing so usually put themselves on the outer fringes of historical debate. How many people had heard of Living Marxism (LM) before the ITN reporters decided to prove the magazine lied about the camps in Bosnia?
    Obscuring the truth about Bosnia was not LM's only bid to rewrite history in favour of the murderers. It has also conducted a long campaign to deny there was a genocide in Rwanda. But while the magazine is of no great consequence, it is articulating a lie perpetuated by a host of more powerful interests, from the Catholic church to European politicians.
  10. Sam Carter

    Sam Carter Guest

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    Human RNA “Rumor” Viruses: the Search for Novel Human Retroviruses in Chronic Disease

    Ccile Voisset, Robin A. Weiss, and David J. Griffiths


    Novel Endogenous Retrovirus in Rabbits Previously Reported as Human Retrovirus


    David J. Griffiths, Ccile Voisset, Patrick J. W. Venables, and Robin A. Weiss


    ie. Weiss' scepticism can be explained by reference to his scientific work; it isn't necessary, or helpful, to go looking for links to the "Wessely School" or the Revolutionary Communist Party.
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Senior Member

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  12. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Likewise!

    For my part, when Bullybeef mentioned it, I recalled having heard that claim before, and (I think) also the claim that Wessely and Goldacre were at university together. And like Bullybeef, some months later I can't remember where.

    The digitalspy comment was one of the references I found through google, and probably the only one that was explicit. There are a few results that talk about the same subject, again on forum boards, and all seem to refer back to Martin J Walker's book as source - such as this one:

    http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112611

    My guess is that the close proximity of Wessely's name to mentions of the RCP may be the origin of this rumour, and that it may well not be accurate, since we can't appear to source it.

    When posting this above I was partly hoping that somebody would pop up to explain it all, and point us all towards something definitive on the subject - I rather expected that since this network of individuals have played such a central role, and since the RCP connection seems reliable, being stated on wikipedia for Fiona Fox at least, then this subject would have been thoroughly investigated by now and much more detailed information about the RCP group and the chain of connections would pop up pretty quickly. But not so far I'm afraid.

    I admit to being one of those many who isn't naturally accustomed to sourcing and referencing everything I say, Suzy. It's just not a big part of my background, like a lot of people I'm sure, and I can't imagine how I'd function if I researched and referenced every 'fact' before speaking - I tend to think more in patterns and generalities and assume that anybody listening or reading won't believe me on matters of detail anyway without independently verifying matters themselves. I can see how frustrating it is for you. As with so much, I'm learning as I go along I'm afraid, I'm sure many of us here are in the same situation and I'll bear this in mind for the future (normally I try to say "I think I read somewhere..." since my memory for that sort of thing has always been poor - I remember the general ideas but not where they came from). My model has been that in this forum we navigate together towards the truth of the matter, and I do personally tend to go a lot by believing those people I trust rather than official sources in any case, since you clearly can't believe what you read in the papers and the most important information is most likely unavailable through such routes.

    The key point I think is that this group deserves extremely close scrutiny and I'm hoping that someone out there either has done or will be able to do that important job and report some more about all this.
  13. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    David Icke's forum probably isn't the most reliable source anyway!

    I've been recently trying to dig out sources for some things I half remember. It's surprising how often you can end up putting you own spin on these things without meaning to. It is all rather a chore though.
  15. Sam Carter

    Sam Carter Guest

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    I genuinely don't get the hostility directed at Ben Goldacre. What has he written (specific examples, please) that merits this kind of enmity?
  16. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Thanks Sam, I was only asking... :Retro smile:

    If it's unhelpful in this case to look for RCP or Wessely connections, the involvement of the RCP in the founding and current management of the SMC still seems very significant to me, and a mapping of this RCP group and of Wessely's close associates must surely be relevant to identifying the interests involved. Remembering of course that the question we have been exploring is why the UK seems to be one of the only countries in the world whose press has not reported Dr Alter's study.

    But I would agree, judging from this, that Weiss' research background is quite sufficient to explain his scepticism - from the first reference you cited:

    So clearly the default position with respect to reports such as the WPI's has been an increasingly sceptical one, which does explain a lot. That first paper by Weiss looks like an excellent introduction to the problems and issues.
  17. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I'm not quite sure specifically what hostility you're referring to Sam. The discussion above has only been trying to examine his connections to Simon Wessely and get to the truth about the reports of a network of people controlling areas of UK medical science relating to environmental illness and industry-linked threats to human health - I don't think I've seen anything hostile on this thread, and personally I've merely queried his connections to Wessely and the RCP network we've been discussing.

    If you've seen resentment elsewhere, I think it relates to two factors:

    Goldacre's "quackwatch" website Bad Science where members are encouraged to "have fun with bad science" by tracking down and exposing unconventional or "alternative" science - most recently their involvement led to the suspension of Dr Myhill's licence to prescribe medicine, causing huge resentment amongst many former patients with ME/CFS and MCS who have been helped by her. Aggressive groups like Bad Science seem to take great delight in nailing practitioners who offer therapies and treatments not sanctioned by the authorities, and while the goal of protecting the public from unscientific charlatanism seems laudable, the effect on the freedom of patients and clinicians to explore outside the mainstream and the assumption of the right of established and sanctioned science to a monopoly over healthcare seems very dangerous to me. By definition their approach tends to prey on the vulnerable and those already under such pressure that they are unable to defend themselves proportionately to the vigour with which they are pursued, which leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy and a legacy of damage of which self-styled 'quackbusters' seem quite unaware. The other notable feature of this movement seems to be the selectivity of their preferred targets based on their own prejudices and bias and their uncritical attitude to authority - I don't think I would have had a problem with them were it not for their treatment of Dr Myhill, the nastiness of their approach during the attack on her earlier this year, and most importantly of all their apparent lack of criticism of Prof Simon Wessely's work and that of the psychiatric approach to ME/CFS generally, which seems to me to be a prima facie case of "bad science".

    The other key factor is Goldacre's involvement in the Guardian health section, where his blog has frequently caused offence to ME/CFS patients, and where ME/CFS appears to be regarded as a psychosomatic condition. My post #5 here explored the most positive report I've heard of regarding ME/CFS coverage in the Guardian - I wasn't personally very impressed:
    http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/showthread.php?5132
    I'm not personally aware of any of Goldacre's writing specifically covering ME/CFS, nor do I know what his precise role at the Guardian is, but I think these are the main factors behind any hostility you've seen. The overall key point to me seems to be that such hardline and aggressive approaches in defence of science cause immense harm when the established science is fundamentally flawed, as with the pseudoscientific psychological approach to ME/CFS.

    It's a deep tragedy that the shameful history of the treatment of ME by the NHS, and the continuing insistence by NICE on CBT and GET as the only permissable advice or treatment for ME/CFS patients, has forced us to look outside the state provision for alternative solutions, where we are now further pursued by the very same authorities who have nothing but insult and harmful treatments to offer us - and that having thus been driven outside the mainstream, we and our practitioners are then labelled as irrational and unscientific. Once again we are percieved as being characterised by personality traits and psychological flaws by people unable to see that their own attitudes towards us are precisely what is responsible for any such tendencies.
  18. bullybeef

    bullybeef Senior Member

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    I have searched for links to SW and the RCP, but all we have, is what we've posted so far. I hope Suzy has better luck if she‘s still looking, and yes Suzy, I've been cursing myself all day for not remembering.

    I've been racking my brains, trying to remember where I first saw it last year, and you know, it could have been somewhere as tenuous as Wikipedia. Unfortunately, if it was there then, it isn't now, and I cannot recall if there was citation either. I remember now thinking at the time, if SW was a former member, it must be common knowledge, which is why I haven't really mentioned it in case I was constantly stating the obvious.

    All we know is SW has been in the company of ex-RCP members, so maybe someone will trip over a connection. My guess is, if he was an ex member, any evidence will be in will be in internet heaven by now.
  19. bullybeef

    bullybeef Senior Member

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    Just found this interesting quote here: http://www.satori-5.co.uk/word_articles/me_cfs/prof_hooper_3.html

  20. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Living Marxism Today

    The LobbyWatch page on Living Marxism is most illuminating:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20041224235208/www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=78

    My emphasis in red:


    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]The RCP has spawned a[/FONT] network of political extremists who eulogise technologies like genetic engineering and reproductive cloning and are extremely hostile to their critics, who they brand as Nazis. What is particularly disturbing is that it is a network which engages in infiltration of media organisations and science-related lobby groups in order to promote its agenda.
    It is[FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif] represented, often in very senior positions, in a series of organisations which lobby on issues related to biotechnology, eg the Science Media Centre (director: Fiona Fox), Sense About Science (director: Tracey Brown; her assistant: Ellen Raphael), Genetic Interest Group (policy director: John Gillott), Progress Educational Trust (director: Juliet Tizzard), and the Scientific Alliance (advisor: Bill Durodi). [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Both Tracey Brown and[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif] Bill Durodi were also brought in in an advisory capacity in relation to the strands of the UK government's official GM Public Debate. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]History[/FONT]

    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]1970s -[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif] Trotskyist faction ejected from International Socialists, further splinters into the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]late-80s - RCP establishes Living Marxism [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]early-90s - RCP begins infiltration of academic and media circles [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]mid-90s - Living Marxism title changed to LM [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]2000 - LM forced to close after it loses libel case [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]2000 - LM's ex-editor launches Spiked website [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]2000 - LM's co-publisher, Claire Fox, launches Institute of Ideas [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]2001 - Long-time LM contributor, and Claire Fox's sister, becomes Director of the Science Media Centre [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]2002 - LM/Spiked/Institute of Ideas contributor becomes Director of Sense About Science [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]The background [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]The Revolutionary Communist Party was born out of Trotskyist faction-fighting in Britain in the 1970s. Supporters stood in the 1987 general election campaign as the Red Front, boldly proclaiming that the RCP was about to 'replace' the Labour Party, but the candidates all lost their deposits. Around this time the RCP launched its monthly review Living Marxism. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]In the early 90s the RCP underwent a drastic ideological transformation. Its leaders turned their back on seeking mass working class action. The real contradiction in society now lay, they seemed to argue, between those who believed in the increased human domination of nature and those who did not. They declared a 'total war of ideas' on the enemies of human progress.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]One of the group's then supporters [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]explains their thinking, [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]'In England, it is as if the Tories lost their nerve, lost faith in their own project. They could no longer unabashedly support roadbuilding for example. Where is this 14 lane M25 they at one time promised us? ...The trouble is that nowadays if you say: Build roads, use genetically modified crop strains, dump the oil platforms in the North Sea, experiment into xenotransplantation and human cloning, there is an anti-progress alliance from left to right on all this. In fact if you say these things, people can't really tell if you are right or left or just out of it!' (LM and Russia) [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]In reality, the RCP's new vision, which sought to champion 'progress' by opposing all restrictions on science, technology (especially biotechnology) and business, bore startling resemblances to that of the libertarian Right. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]An obvious similarity lay in the RCP's strong antipathy towards the environmental movement. It was as if environmentalists had now replaced the old 'class enemy' for the RCP. The concerns environmentalists raised about the abuse of science, technology and corporate power were 'scaremongering', the RCP now argued, which undermined 'progress' and the emergence of a 'confident individualism' unafraid of risk and experimentation. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Post-modernism and the New Left were also viewed as enemies of 'science', 'progress' and 'the Enlightenment', all of which the RCP defended in a curiously uncritical fashion. Other inhibitants to progress were 'victim culture' and the 'culture of safety' which gave rise to 'risk-aversion' and 'moral panics'. One should pay the least regard, the RCP now argued, to the views of victims or their relatives, whether one was dealing with gun crime, road accidents, Bhopal, BSE, AIDS or whatever, as it only encouraged a culture of fear and caution and so inhibited freedom and progress. [/FONT]
    'Invasion of the body snatchers'
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]While intellectually the RCP was now singing from the same hymn sheet as elements on the far Right, tactically it drew from elements on the far Left. One tactic practiced by some Trotskyists is 'entryism'. Traditionally this has involved infiltrating a trade union or a political party in order to try and exert a disproportionate influence over its direction. To forward its new war of ideas, the RCP initiated a new style of entryism. Suddenly its members were sharp suited and organising seminars. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]'Its call in the early 1990s to "return to the suburbs" saw it embark on a project of infiltrating academic and media circles in a style reminiscent of Invasion of the body snatchers,' commented a rival Marxist publication, The Weekly Worker. 'To give praise where it is due, our upwardly mobile executive "Marxists" have managed to worm their way into the appropriate dinner parties, seminars, and conferences.' [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]As part of this process, Living Marxism changed its name in the mid-1990s to LM, while the Party itself was formally liquidated. One member complained, 'In recent times, people like myself have had to stand back and watch as the organisation, its discussions and activities, have been closed down and party leaders have switched from calling themselves die-hard communists to espousing the virtues of the free market. While Mick Hume, Claire Fox and others at the top were building up a coterie of followers in the academic and media world, we were being told: "Our aim is social revolution." Yet within a short time the party was declared finished and anyone who expressed any vaguely leftwing sympathies were ridiculed as being old-fashioned "liberals", "Trotskyists" and sometimes even both.' [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]But the core of the party had not been liquidated. The new glossier looking LM was still the vehicle of those who had been the party's leadership. The editor, as of the RCP's monthly review, was Mick Hume. LM's star columnist was the RCP's chief theoretician, the sociologist Frank Furedi (aka Frank Richards). LM's regular contributors continued to be made up by other leading lights of the RCP. And they and their closest supporters continued to meet to discuss tactics and ideology. The difference was that such meetings were now by invitation only. [/FONT]
    Against Nature - the war zone
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]In the late 1990's LM's 'most spectacular coup', according to The Weekly Worker, 'was the three hours of prime-time television, in the form of Channel Four's anti-green Against Nature. Frank Furedi was the star of the show.' Against Nature targeted environmentalists, presenting them as 'the new enemy of science' and comparable to the Nazis. They were responsible, the programmes argued, for the deprivation and death of millions in the Third World. (Crimes against Nature[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif], The Revolution Has Been Televised) [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Channel Four had to broadcast a prime-time apology after Against Nature drew the wrath of the Independent Television Commission which ruled, 'Comparison of the unedited and edited transcripts confirmed that the editing of the interviews with [the environmentalists who contributed] had indeed distorted or misrepresented their known views. It was also found that the production company had misled them... as to the format, subject matter and purpose of these programs.'[FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif](See [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]CHANNEL 4 SAVAGED BY TELEVISION WATCHDOG[/FONT] [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]) [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Against Nature provided a platform not only for LM columnists like Furedi, John Gillott (aka John Gibson) and Juliet Tizzard, all of whom were billed by the programme makers as independent experts, but for a whole string of contributors from the far Right. Extreme [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]advocates of free-market capitalism were also increasingly to be found expounding their views in the pages of LM. The magazine published pieces, for instance, by the Executive Vice President of the Centre for the Defense of Free Enterprise, Ron Arnold. Arnold's mission was their mission, 'This is a war zone. Our goal is to destroy, to eradicate the environmental movement'.[FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif] ([/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Far Left or Far Right? [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Living Marxism's interesting allegiances[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif])[/FONT] [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]According to Frank Furedi, such alliances are all part of LM's regrouping of 'all those who believe human beings should play for high stakes' (LM 100). LM loyalist [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]Adam Hibbert [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]admits that working with the far Right, 'might appear duplicitous and fraught with the danger of assimilation', but asserts that as long as the activist is alert to these dangers, 'much more progress is possible: and that is our overriding duty, if we're serious.' (Re: For Hibbert: LM and Russia)
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]
    [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica,sans-serif]............


    So there you have it. This tiny minority group of hard left activists - an extremely small subset of the population - reacted during the 90s against the threat posed to their marxist model of class war by the emerging environmental movement - and came therefore to define themselves as "Against Nature" and in favour instead of human progress through unfettered science and technology.

    I well remember the hatred of the hard left in general towards the increasingly popular green movement, and their frustration with "single-issue" politics (feminism, environmentalism, gay liberation etc), complaining that these movements lacked any "class consciousness". What clearly goaded them about these new political (yet in their terms apolitical) movements was that they were undermining their recruitment efforts by appealing to their potential activists - and worse, these new movements had a broader appeal than they did, because they did not distinguish by class, nor did they emphasise conflict, but instead focused on specific aims and objectives.

    And so in response to the challenge of Greens, these leftists became "Anti-Greens", and embarked on a mission to destroy the environmental movement. They melted away into the shadows, putting their entryist tactics into effect in the media and scientific arenas, where they would lobby for a 'total war' in favour of human domination of nature.

    The individual human victims of unfettered scientific experimentation, therefore, had to be sacrificed, disregarded, and kept in the shadows, to prevent public fears over the consequences of the new science and technology from slowing the pace of scientific progress.

    And having smartened themselves up after leaving university, donned suits and ties, and learned the techniques of information manipulation from the masters, they found natural allies in their new environment amongst the libertarian right and the super-rich - who were also keen to promote an agenda of scientific freedom in order to exploit the commercial opportunities it presented. Those rich and powerful business networks of the right were no doubt delighted to encourage these former malcontents in their new philosophy, and so left and right wings merged, and the old left became the new voices of science and progress - and damn those who were left behind, whatever class they may hail from.

    Martin J Walker's description of them as "failed revolutionaries" could not be more appropriate!

    So now, when these anti-nature, pro-science forces encounter any threat to their dominance, anything that threatens to expose the tragic human costs of their frankensteinism, they unite and mobilise, using all the underhand techniques of both lefitsm and corporate control to attack anyone who protests or tries to inform the public about their plight - and when they do so, they label these ordinary people as "unscientific" and as "enemies of science", and they suppress any attempt to bring the truth of the consequences of new science into the light of day.

    Yes indeed - it all sounds awfully, depressingly familiar...


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