Contents page of Suppression Stories
Brian Martin's publications on suppression
Brian Martin's website
Throughout history, dissidents have often come under attack. They have encountered censorship, harassment, slander, dismissal, banishment, even prison, torture and execution. In liberal democracies today, intellectual freedom is celebrated. Yet it remains dangerous to disagree with conventional wisdom. Inside corporations and government departments, most employees know it is not wise to criticise official policies or the boss - at least not openly. Those who speak out are often victimised. Suppression of dissent is commonplace. Yet this suppression receives little attention.
My aim in this book is not to document the methods or extent of suppression. There is plenty of information already available about that. Rather, my aim is to describe some of the experiences and insights that I've had in more than 15 years of research and action against suppression. In many of the following chapters I draw on my own studies and experiences even though there are others who have a deeper understanding and more extensive experience. I do this because, when I know the case personally, I'm more confident about the insights. It's easy to be seduced by someone else's account of a case in some other country.
The first five chapters deal with the problem of suppression: a detailed case study in chapter 1, a range of illustrative cases in chapter 2, patterns of suppression in chapter 3 and the roles of the law and peer review in chapters 4 and 5. The final five chapters deal with responses to suppression. Chapter 6 argues that official procedures for dealing with suppression seldom work. Chapter 7 treats the complex role of the media. Chapter 8 gives examples of the challenges facing someone trying to publish accounts of suppression. Chapter 9 describes some of the sorts of people who take action against suppression. Finally, chapter 10 summarises what a person under attack can do to respond.
Out of the many cases I've come across over the years, only some are mentioned here, and not much detail is given for any particular one. To give a detailed account of a single suppression case can easily require a book, and there are quite a few books that do this. I've used cases to provide insights about opposing suppression. I hope those who are not mentioned here will realise that this is not due to lack of interest.
Memories can be deceptive. I've relied throughout on my detailed written records and previously published accounts.
In studying suppression, I have accumulated more than the usual number of intellectual debts. I thank all those who have contributed information, insights and inspiration over the years. Mark Diesendorf, Peter Drahos, Don Eldridge, Isla MacGregor, Wes Shrum and Wendy Varney gave helpful comments on the entire manuscript. For comments on individual chapters or points I thank Tim Anderson, Eric Bachelard, Ann Baker, Penelope Canan, Tom Curtis, Bill De Maria, Tim Doyle, Jeremy Evans, Ned Groth, Carolyn Hayes, Ed Herman, David Hess, Bernadette Hince, John Hookey, Ian Hughes, Jo Kamminga, Jean Lennane, Clyde Manwell, Brian O'Brien, Louis Pascal, Mel Reuber, Alan Roberts, Dhirenda Sharma, Mike Spautz and Richard Sylvan. Sharon Beder provided valuable technical advice.