April 22 March FOR Science vs. Trump/Pence Regime Attacks AGAINST Science

April 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The Trump/Pence regime is carrying out attacks on science as a key part of their fascist agenda. In an important response, many thousands of scientists and others are marching on April 22 to defend science and scientists, and the integrity of the scientific process itself. Along with a major march in Washington, DC, more than 400 satellite marches will take place across the U.S. and around the world.

Marches planned across the U.S. as of March 27. Map: March for Science

The Trump/Pence regime’s attacks are widespread and targeted, driven by and in service of an ideological and political agenda. Here are just some of these attacks:

» Trump signed an executive order that calls for eliminating what small measures the U.S. had in place to limit the emission of greenhouse gases, the main cause of the global climate change that is driving the planet toward environmental catastrophe.

» Soon after the inauguration, the Trump transition staff asked for lists of employees and contractors of the Energy Department who had attended meetings on climate change. This had all the signs of gathering names for a witch hunt.

» The regime—headed by and stuffed with those who deny the scientific reality of climate change—has initiated official muzzling of government scientists. Even while the disproportionate share of the impact of a warming planet will be felt by the masses of humanity in the Third World, a significant part of the research on this has been funded by and performed in the U.S.

» The regime reissued permits for the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL oil pipelines—both of which had shaped up to be major battle lines around the protection of the environment and the planet.

» However limited the 2015 Paris accord on global warming was in restricting and reducing the contributing factors to global warming, this regime is threatening to back out of it, leading to uncertainty and a possible collapse of the whole climate treaty and framework.

» Trump/Pence also aim to drastically cut budgets for other major scientific and public health institutions, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other scientific research agencies not directly involved in weapons production.

» This regime’s profoundly anti-scientific bent points to further censorship of findings, suppression of funding, and restricting the role of science in public policy where it conflicts with their agenda or corporate interests.

» The Muslim ban and attacks on immigrants have also affected the scientific community, which in the U.S. is made up disproportionately of people who are foreign-born.

Along with attacks on science in realms such as public health and the environment, the dominance of the extremely anti-scientific Christian fascist ideological agenda is profoundly dangerous. One of the main lines of their attack on science is on the fact of evolution—which shows all life on planet Earth evolved from common ancestors over at least 3.5 billion years—because it runs directly up against the Christian fascists’ literalist reading of the Bible. They have waged well-funded and deceptive campaigns to undermine and even ban the teaching of evolution in schools—even though evolution is one of the most well-established and proven facts in the history of science—and to rally political forces to introduce biblical creationism as science. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s secretary of education, is a Christian fascist, and has been deeply committed to imposing this worldview on society. Now, with their hands on the levers of education, these forces can do great harm, denying generations of children the science of evolution and the scientific method.

Why is this significant and important, not only for scientific education but for the emancipation of humanity? Everyone needs to understand the basic facts of evolution as well as the essentials of the scientific method. Ardea Skybreak captures this in her book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters:

When people are deprived of a scientific approach to reality as a whole, they are robbed of both a full appreciation of the beauty and richness of the natural world and the means to understand the dynamics of change not only in nature but in human society as well.

This regime’s attacks on science are occurring in the larger context of a wholesale assault on the very notion of truth. Trump has become infamous for just making up shit, alleging things that serve his interests and agenda when it suits him. He has branded as “fake news” any reality or facts opposed to his agenda or critical of him, and his minions, like Kellyanne Conway, have branded their fiction and narratives as “alternative facts.” NO! This is, by definition, an oxymoron. This wholesale assault on reality and truth has precedents in the fascist trajectory and social base represented by the Republicans, with media like Fox News or the previous Republican administration of George W. Bush. But Trump represents a qualitative leap beyond anything before.


All of this forms the backdrop, context, target, and compelling factor for the March for Science on April 22. The mission of the march says April 22 is a “celebration of science” and promotes breaking down barriers for people to do science and access science. And it has a definite call to act:

In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?

People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.

This is very positive—and although the mission statement does not explicitly mention the Trump/Pence regime, everybody knows what this march is about. This is similar to the Women’s March the day after the Trump inauguration. The mission of the march also has an overall sharp focus on scientific epistemology (how people acquire knowledge and how they know whether something is true, and the scientific method needed to do so). And it proceeds in basic terms from the standpoint of the world and the public domain of human knowledge, rather than narrow national U.S. interest of “making America great.” The mission of this march, now global, ends with, “We must take science out of the labs and journals and share it with the world.” (emphasis added)

The interview with Ardea Skybreak, Science and Revolution, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, demystifies and brings alive the import of science, showing why science applies to all of reality, natural and social. In the interview, Skybreak states that science is “...a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is.... Science is an evidence-based process.... Science allows you to confront and identify problems, to recognize problems and figure out how to solve them, rather than run away from them.... Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.

In short, science matters! On April 22, we must defend it.

Go here for a more extensive discussion of the March for Science—including on how it started and the lessons to take from it; how the march relates to the crucial battle to oust the fascist regime and bring about a better world; and the real need, relevance, and opportunity to introduce the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA) to a section of people being thrust into political life.


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