DIALECTICAL MARXISM
The Writings of Bertell Ollman
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Program Statement as Candidate for President < DIALECTICAL MARXISM: The Writings of Bertell Ollman
Program Statement as Candidate for President
of the American Political Science Association (1978)

What does one say to members of a profession 2/3 of whom "agree" or "strongly agree"—according to a 1964 survey—that much of their own scholarship is "superficial and trivial" and that a lot of concept formation and development is "a little more than hair splitting and jargon?"* How little things have changed can be seen in the fact that in a recent five year period, over 60% of the articles in the APSR used election statistics as their basic data. So...What Is To Be Done?

I don't believe in the possibility of socialism in one country, and even less in the possibility of socialism in one academic discipline. Hence, my program for the APSA is more modest than my far off goals for America. As convinced democrat (small "d"), I favor a great debate in all the forums open to us to take stock of what political science has accomplished and what remains to be done. Those who believe that the preferred methods, usually quantitative (misnamed "scientific"), should determine what we study, and those who are willing to leave such decisions to government bureaus and foundation grant committees should have their say, but so should the rest of us—traditionalist, Marxist and others. Whenever a theory of the state underlies a person's choice of subject matter, it should be made explicit and publicly defended. The academic freedom of those involved in this discussion to teach, publish (even in the APSR) and administer as their talents merit must not only be respected but vigorously defended by everybody. Our integrity as professional political scientists demands no less.

But we are not only professionals. As people who work for employers (however bureaucratically disguised) and who receive salaries, we are also workers. Having a Ph. D. doesn't change these facts, though it does make it harder for some people to recognize them. And, as workers, we are rightly concerned about salaries, conditions of work and decision making power on the job. The domination of APSA offices by professors from rich and comfortable universities has led to a neglect of these questions. Without becoming a trade union, APSA must become more of a pressure group within departments, universities, state legislatures, the national Government and among the public at large on behalf of our members' needs both as professionals and workers.

Finally, if you want to be on the winning side in this election be sure to vote for my opponent. But if you want the APSA establishment to give more attention to the views expressed in this program, a vote for me will not be wasted.

*Albert Somit and Joseph Tanenhaus, American Political Science: A Profile of a Discipline. New York: 1964, p.14.

^ No one will be surprised that I lost, but I did receive 27.5% of the vote.