[Marxism] Spiked online update

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 4 10:44:19 MST 2005

First, a little background. www.spiked-online.com is the website of a group 
of ex-Marxists in England who are also involved with a number of innocuous 
sounding think-tanks like "Institute for Ideas", etc. I should add that 
there is one member who still maintains Marxist pretensions, namely Jim 
Heartfield. You can find him posting occasionally on Doug Henwood's list 
but he is not the ubiquitous figure on Internet mailing lists he once was.

The reach of this group is quite remarkable. Despite their shady 
connections with outfits like the PR firm Hill and Knowlton, they still 
manage to con people like Norman Solomon into speaking at their confabs. 
Last year he participated in "Communicating the War on Terror" at Kings 
College. The main organizer for this was a character named Bill Durodie, 
who--like the rest of them--was in the Revolutionary Communist Party at one 
time. Another organizer was the Center for Defense Studies which is funded 
by the UK Ministry of Defense.

Even when these characters were nominally Marxist, they were distinguished 
by their hostility to environmentalism. Using a bowdlerized version of some 
sections of the Communist Manifesto, they had convinced themselves (and 
some unsuspecting souls) that advocating nuclear power and genetically 
modified food was practically the same thing as erecting barricades during 
the Paris Commune.

This tradition, stripped of Marxist pretensions, continues unabated in 
spiked-online. You can find articles on almost a daily basis filled with 
skepticism about global warming, arguing that GM food is good for you, etc. 
In today's edition, there's something on the Kyoto accords that states, 
"The rush to cut emissions was thoroughly irrational." The author is Rob 
Lyons who is the IT director for spiked. He also is the webmaster for a 
pro-GM lobby group called "Sense about Science."

The director of "Sense About Science" is one Tracey Brown, another spiked 
online regular. Before assuming the directorship of "Sense About Science," 
she was a senior analyst for the PR firm Regester Larkin. Sourcewatch.org, 
who keeps an eye on their shenanigans, informs us:

"Their clients are nearly all pharmaceutical, oil, or biotechnology 
companies, including BioIndustry Association, Shell Chemicals, TOTAL, 
Bayer, Pfizer, Aventis CropScience, and gas company BG Group.

"It is probable that Brown fell under the influence of LM group godfather 
Frank Furedi while working as a Research Associate in the Sociology Dept. 
at the University of Kent, Canterbury, where Furedi is a professor. She 
went on to co-author 'Complaining Britain,' Society Vol.36 No.4 with Furedi."

For 5000 pounds a day, Regester Larkin advises its clients how to fend off 
environmental assaults on Frankenfood.

There's also an article in today's spiked-online titled "Science Goes Down 
the River" by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan which assures us New Yorkers:  "EPA 
maintains that PCBs, particularly in Hudson River fish, pose a cancer 
hazard - but there is no evidence that such a risk exists. The stark truth 
is that there is no benefit to public health in mandating that traces of 
PCBs be removed from the river. There are, however, big costs - all of 
which will be borne by consumers."


Whelan is president of the American Council on Health and Science 
(<http://www.acsh.org/>http://www.acsh.org/), an outfit she founded after 
accepting a freelance writing assignment with the pharmaceutical company 
Pfizer. It seems that they wanted a background paper on "the Delaney 
Clause" -- which Dr. Whelan had never heard of.

She "was soon to learn that the Delaney Clause was part of the 1958 Food 
Additive Amendment, and it banned any food additive that caused cancer in 
laboratory animals." Apparently this capricious measure was so offensive to 
her that she went through a transformation akin to Paul's on the road to 
Damascus. Henceforth she would devote herself to Better Living Through 

On the Council on Health and Science home page, you can find links to 
articles on the National Review website and other sordid material.

Someday a scholar will write an authoritative history on the defection of 
large sections of the radical movement over the past 10 years into the 
enemy camp. There certainly will be a chapter on this peculiar subspecies 
of Marxism gone wrong.



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