[OPE-L:5880] URPE circular letter about Andrew Kliman

From: Alan Freeman (a.freeman@greenwich.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Jul 12 2001 - 14:43:01 EDT

Dear Friend,

I am writing to you because I'm concerned about what I consider to be a
serious injustice being committed by URPE, the Union for Radical Political
Economics, which publishes the Review of Radical Political Economics (RRPE).
I believe fundamental issues of principle are involved: pluralism, freedom
of speech, the intellectual integrity of the left, and the quality of its
theoretical output.

You may recently have received, or learned about, URPE's solicitations for
funds to fight a lawsuit brought by Andrew Kliman.  I am convinced that
these solicitations misrepresent what the case is about -- defamation of
Andrew by an employee of URPE.  Within constraints that arise in any legal
action, I would like to inform you of the real nature of the case and other
facts which impressed themselves on me, which I think you should be aware

URPE brought the lawsuit, and its expenses, on itself. Andrew repeatedly
tried to settle the case, both before and after he was compelled to bring
the suit. The sole reason this dispute goes on is that URPE refuses to
accept his settlement offers. The best advice URPE's friends can urge on it
is to respond seriously to Andrew's attempt to settle.

The case began when the managing editor of the RRPE, Hazel Dayton Gunn,
falsely accused Andrew of unethical professional conduct. She and the RRPE
ed board used this accusation as a reason for a ban against ever publishing
anything by him in that journal.

After learning about the accusation and ban in May, 2000, Andrew denied the
accusation and asked the managing editor to retract it. She responded,
instead, by publicizing the false accusation further.

For legal reasons, Andrew cannot divulge the substance of the accusation.  I
can report that the RRPE editorial board characterized it as "a serious
violation of professional ethics." Indeed, the accusation is so serious that
its dissemination threatened Andrew's professional reputation and gravely
jeopardized his ability to earn a living in academia.

It is because -- and only because -- URPE and its agents refused to retract
this accusation and lift the ban imposed against him that Andrew was
compelled to seek relief in court.

Although they refuse to retract the accusation, it is -- I repeat -- false.
Hazel Dayton Gunn admitted in papers filed with the court that Andrew did
not engage in the behaviour of which she
accused him. This is in the public record.

So the case is not, as URPE alleges, that a disgruntled author sued because
the RRPE rejected a paper of his -- they say the case is about "a paper
submitted to RRPE and rejected for publication." Andrew is not suing to get
a paper published, nor to receive compensation for its rejection. Were that
the case, his suit would undoubtedly have been thrown out. Nor is he
interested in the money -- he has informed me he will donate to good causes
all money in excess of expenses that he receives in compensation.

Andrew repeatedly tried to settle the case. In October of last year, he
offered to waive all claims for monetary compensation, asking only for a
public retraction and a lifting of the
publishing ban.  URPE and its agents consistently rebuffed these offers of
settlement.  That is why URPE incurred, and continues to incur, its legal
expenses, and that is why it may have to pay

Prior to this case, Andrew and many others (myself included) criticized RRPE
policy and called for a renewal of its one-time commitment to theoretical
pluralism. The fact that URPE's
leadership has responded by trumping up a damaging charge, and by banning
him from ever publishing in its journal, shows that pluralism and freedom of
expression are indeed the fundamental issues at stake in this case.  There
are more comradely and principled ways of conducting theoretical and
political disputes than trying to stifle dissent and injure one’s critics.

Please ensure both sides of this story are heard, and do not hesitate to
contact me to discuss how you can help Andrew clear his name.

Yours truly,

Alan Freeman

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