79th session of Executive Council

Paris, April 15th and 16th, 2010

Were present: Messaoud AMARNA, Jean-Pierre BAZIN, FRANÇOIS BLUMENTAL, Frederico CARVALHO, André JAEGLE, Pascal JANOTS, Denis JOUAN, Shreesh JUYAL, JEAN KISTER, Jean-Paul LAINÉ, Elies MOLINS, Cheikhou SYLLA, and Vyacheslav VDOVIN.

Excused: the representative of ABIC was not indicated, João CUNHA SERRA, Mamadou DIOUF, Annick KIEFFER, ZHAO ZHONGXIAN, Arnoldo VENTURA, Seiji YUASA. Guests: Djamal BOUKHEDDIMI, Roger DITTMANN. Interpreters: Christine DAUSSE, Tim LEVINSON. Frederico CARVALHO : chairman of this Executive Council session. Reason of absences: delay for dispatching invitations. C. Sylla explains that a day so called “Sénégambie” was organized by trade unions; So Mr Diouf was prevented to be present. V. Vdovin points out that colleagues of Ukraine and Belarus were interested but had no time to acquire visas. This confirms the necessity to inform faster.

Adoption of reports of the previous Executive Council and General meeting.

A. JAEGLÉ: explains why these reports were not written. In fact, the secretary’s office of WFSW is in period of transition. (Our functioning is essentially based on voluntary services). This explains perhaps the too long delay of broadcasting, compared with the needs of certain colleagues’ convocations. Our resources do not allow us to work in another way. They are dedicated in most cases to trips of the President or other representatives of the federation (Belem, Montreal), as well as in the logistics, interpretation… So, we did not succeed in fulfilling a certain number of tasks as, for instance, the writing of the report of the previous meeting of Executive Council or publication of the letter with envisaged rhythm.

Opening speech of the President

After some comments on the context of worldwide situation, the President, brushes a panorama of the activity of WFSW since the last general meeting and notably our participation following the first worldwide Forum Science and Democracy (WFSD) as well as efforts of the secretary’s office to publish a regular Letter. Following this report, the members of the Council express a certain number of observations:

J.P. BAZIN: point out the paper of Jean gay summed up in the Letter n°2 on the crash of a plane Airbus A330. The bureaucratization of scientific research systems could drive to disasters.

J. KISTER: gives a positive evaluation on the two first Letters. The affiliated organizations may have a responsibility in feeding the letter.

A. JAEGLÉ: point out that, in addition to the Executive Council members, the letter is addressed to a wider list of personalities or organizations.

F. CARVALHO: it is necessary to send the Letter to trade unions and to be relayed by them, not only towards scientists’ organizations. What is normally qualified as democracy is far from reality is rather close to a plutocracy that discards citizens. It is necessary to create conditions so that the citizens are aware of it and are able of applying scientific method to the analysis of reality. These imply a strong investment in training.

In the USA, DARPA objective of which is to develop military interest projects, also finances works of free research in chosen domains which, according to its opinion, could drive to useful results in followed objective by allocating research grants to skilled scientists.

S. JUYAL: the circulation of the Letter via Internet is very useful. It is possible to send it in dozens addresses.

P. JANOTS: with the Letter, we adopted a new way to introduce things. We have to go on. On the one hand we attend a capitalist restructuring of science, and on the other hand becomes apparent the requirement of a democratization of science. The participants in this movement are merging: associations, labour unions, scientists’ lists, … New approaches, at the same time social and scientific take shape. WFSW can contribute to the development of this activity. Regarding the summit of Copenhagen, GIEC was subject to controversy. Science might be an object of a domination of economic force.

C. SYLLA: according to factors determining present scientific policies, as recalled by the President in his introduction, what should be the role of WFSW? An expression of the Federation on those scientific questions is needed. What the way of acting to develop science? What kind of proposition? For the regions of the South, these are very important questions.

J.-P. LAINÉ: there was the regional social Forum in Bamako. We must base our actions on the local affiliated organizations. The European social Forum is going to be held in Turkey; there is a compromise between civil and military powers, but it is not sure that participants will have the possibility to get in. The worldwide social Forum and the worldwide Science forum and democracy have to remain linked. WFSD gives us contacts with Indian, Canadian, Brazilians. WFSW have to show its role. There are many tasks to be taken in hand: science and youth; FMTS regional meetings.

We work with INES. Tomorrow afternoon INES will participate in our seminary on the question of energy. On June 30th there is a day of the UNESCO in Dakar.

It would be necessary to obtain that every executive member of the Council takes care of at least one subject. This job being done more continuously.

Report of the General secretary on the functioning of WFSW.

For reasons pointed out before by A. JAEGLÉ there is not report of the general secretary.

Report of the Treasurer

F. Blumental introduces the count of year 2009. Financial standing is healthy. The net assets on December 31st came to 41.254 Euros.

General Debate

Debate is focused on two questions:

  • a. The context of social planetary crisis, social and environmental.
  • b. Science, research, scientists and crisis. Debate will allow to assess activities and the point of jobs, objectives and plans of action, notably:
    • a. the condition of the scientists,
    • b. science and democracy,
    • c. disarmament,
    • d. bioethics,
    • e. youngs and science,
    • f. the brain drain,
    • g. research and public service,
    • h. the question of energy (needs and sources)

V. VDOVINE: informs that Marina Kargalova suggest to discuss about the post crisis world. It would be necessary to be able to exchange our ideas on this subject, (text of Marina Kargalova in French l’article). Then, he gives information on the situation of science in Russia and on the action of labour unions in front of institutions. Allocations are deficient. The budget was reduced by 15 % in 2009 and by 11 % this year. It is necessary that we persuade the political leaders of the usefulness of science. Alone the scientists can show the way to go out of crisis. Vyacheslav calls to an international support for their demonstrations.

C. SYLLA: ways proposed by the President must be specified. It is necessary to bring acute answers to put down questions. A day of scientific revival will take place in Dakar, on June 30th, 2010. Is also envisaged days so called “Young Science”: purpose is to diagnose what does not go. There is a general ambience of loss of fondness of the young persons in relation to science. Why, while social development asks for scientific development? A program “Emergency Mathematics” with “mathematics Olympiad” was thrown. It is a necessity, while the teachers are in deficient number. So, we ask WFSW for taking into account for our will to promote this activity and support our activity in that domain.

J. KISTER: What is exactly meant by the affirmation “ Science is the solution to go out of crisis “ (speech held by Obama, Sarkozy, Medvedev)? Is it about research made in public institutions instead of firms? Policies want to develop science as source of market. Firms want to subcontract their research. That causes the explosion of precarious financings by less expensive R&D contracts and grants. WFSW should settle three objectives:

a. exchange of experiment.

b. Work towards the young persons.

c. Discuss with citizens.

J.-P. BAZIN: Thorough problem is not circumscribed in science. The question is “which Science for which type of society”. An example is “green science” for durable economy and ecology.

F. CARVALHO: The planet and mankind are confronted to serious problems. The majority of the population are not aware of it. We come back to 19th century capitalism structure . Scientific culture is necessary. WFSW could play a role in the definition of problems. Solutions could be sketched. WFSW can also have a role of persuasion to governments. There are several possible ways. We could give press conferences. But Science cannot alone, manage to resolve all problems. It is necessary to change behaviours and to open the way to a new paradigm of development.

JUYAL: What WFSW can make? It is not a government but a group of advocacy. For justice, against abusive exploitation. Making a press conferences? In a general way, we should be more involved into public relations.

A. JAEGLÉ: There are international problems on whom WFSW can act. Other questions depend on our affiliated organizations. We exist by our affiliated organizations. They do not relieve sufficiently our initiatives. They do not make link between their domestic action and what makes FMTS. The problems on which we decide to catch have to concern them. Here it is two examples:

-  Climatic changes: it is necessary to think about what we can say and make and where we can express ourselves: the Letter, the UNESCO, WFSD. It is not only about scientific but also about economic problems. Some people recommend economic decrease as a solution. Science can, but not everything a lot! We have to be rather inventive to persuade our affiliated organizations that they have also to seize themselves of the question.

-  The brain drain: how do we react to information given by the labour union of the Academy of sciences of Russia? Are we in a position capable of formulating claims? What are our interlocutors? How to use the working paper provided by Jean-Pierre Bazin:(l’article)?

F. CARVALHO: Any particular problem (for instance that of decrease), must be subjected to each of the affiliated organizations.

J.-P. BAZIN: declares itself less pessimistic than A. Jaeglé, It is necessary to give a status on each of the documents which we produced and broadcast. There are several levels: document of discussion, working papers, WFSW official documents …

J.-P. LAINÉ: What do they expect from WFSW?

Djamel BOUKHEDDIMI: The whole Africa is impacted by brain drain. Decrease of economy penalizes the poor countries. Thirty years ago it was said that developing countries were more concerned with intermediate technologies. Now, these technologies are obsolete. Problems on the basis of which WFSW developed since 1946 remain more heavy today. WFSW must take into account this situation. Developing countries do not become only consumer countries. There is also the question of visas. It is necessary to make easier the access of the scientists.

D. JOUAN: we are confronted to a dictatorship of numerical indicators. The campus of Saclay is an Operation Sarkozy. Deep restructuring of research, – more and more reduced job security. It is necessary to construct African higher education, but the stake of the transformation of the system is present. The notion of public service is abandoned. Creation of an association for the defence of political economics. Job mobility has an abstract value. It can be harassment,…

6 Adoption of documents:

The following documents were adopted:

  • a Declaration of WFSW: “After the conference of Copenhagen, that to make / which role for scientist?” l’article,
  • b Resolution of executive Council “nuclear Demobilization and peace” [l’article> 118] ,
  • c “Brain drain: flux of skill from poor countries towards the rich countries”. The document was adopted in its principle. Vyacheslav Vdovin and Cheikhou Sylla are charged to finalize it (motion in the course of finalization),
  • d Plan of action for year 2010-2011 (not communicated)
  • e The Next meeting of executive Council: May 27th and 28th, 2011.
  • f Various Questions: From memory.

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