Prof. Abraham Edel
Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace
Abraham Edel was a sponsor of the Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace which ran from March 25 - 27, 1949 in New York City. It was arranged by a Communist Party USA front organization known as the National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions. The conference was a follow-up to a similar gathering, the strongly anti-America, pro-Soviet World Congress of Intellectuals which was held in Poland, August 25 - 28, 1948.
Science & Society
Science & Society is a quarterly journal of Marxist thought and analysis. Published without interruption since its inception in 1936. With a press run of about 2,500 copies, the journal reaches 565 individual subscribers, of whom 475 are in the United States and 90 reside in other countries. S&S also has 800 library and other institutional subscribers, both in the United States and abroad.
In its early years, Science & Society played a unique role in providing a home for scholarship in the Marxist tradition. It attracted contributors from many countries, and was a major site of interaction among Marxist researchers in capitalist countries and those working in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The British "social relations of science" movement was well represented, including some of that school's leading figures, such as J. B. S. Haldane, Hyman Levy and J. D. Bernal. Also from Britain, political economists such asMaurice Dobb, and historians such as Eric Hobsbawn and Christopher Hill, contributed regularly; in this way, S&S played a role in the early development of the British Marxist Historians school. In the United States, leading figures in history, literature and the social sciences, such as Joyce Adler, Herbert Aptheker, M. F. Ashley Montagu, W. E. B. DuBois, Abraham Edel, Lewis S. Feuer, Philip S. Foner, Margaret George, Alvin W. Gouldner, Irving Louis Horowitz, Corliss Lamont, Eleanor Burke Leacock, Robert S. Lynd, Robert K. Merton, June Nash, Joan Robinson, and William Appleman Williams, among many others, wrote articles and reviews for the journal.
Science & Society was founded, after a developmental period of several years that involved two main centers: one group in Boston, led by the MIT mathematician Dirk Struik, and another in New York, with significant participation from faculty members at New York University. Founding editor Margaret Schlauch, the distinguished linguist and medievalist, was a member of the English Department at New York University, as was Edwin Berry Burgum, another S&S founding editor. Dr. Annette T. Rubinstein, who was not a founding editor but joined the Editorial Board in the 1960s and was active with the journal until her death in 2007 at age 97, also taught briefly at NYU, where there was a concentration of S&S activism in the first period of the journal's existence.
One particularly influential contribution arose as a result of Paul Sweezy's 1950 essay on Maurice Dobb's Studies in the Development of Capitalism, which developed into a full-fledged controversy involving, in addition to Dobb and Sweezy, Rodney Hilton, H. K. Takahashi, and Christopher Hill, subsequently published in book form as The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, under the editorship of Hilton. This "first round" debate in the theory of social transformation set the stage for the later "Brenner Debate" on the transition to capitalism, and has often been revisited in recent years in S&S.
In the early decades, Science & Society had a strong base in the non-academic political left, in a time when "ordinary" working people felt comfortable studying political economy, reading critiques of the leading mainstream intellectual figures of the time, or debating the "situation in the biological sciences" (S&S was an early critic of T. D. Lysenko). There were "friends of Science & Society" clubs in various cities throughout the United States, and the journal also achieved an international reputation. It should be noted that, while S&S was in (what could be called, in that period) the Marxist mainstream, and some of its authors were aligned with or sympathetic to the Communist parties, the journal has always been organizationally independent, never affiliated with or funded by any political party or institution.
- Review of the Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace by the Committee on Un-American Activities, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., April 19, 1949