[jm_collective] Just Mathematics Collective Newsletter, No. 3

Just Mathematics Collective newsletter jm_collective at inventati.org
Mon Jan 30 23:30:32 CET 2023

Welcome to the Just Mathematics Collective newsletter.  This is our 
(roughly) monthly round-up of news about our campaigns and activities, 
suggestions for how you can help, and reading we've found useful 

As you may have heard, the Just Mathematics Collective, in collaboration 
with the Muslim Justice League, (https://muslimjusticeleague.org/) 
pulled off a direct action at the Joint Math Meetings in 
Boston: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/math-minus-militarism-us-mathematicians-disrupt-nsa-sponsored-math-convention

We held space at the career fair with our "MATH MINUS MILITARISM" banner 
in protest of the NSA's presence and we canvassed around the conference, 
making connections with dozens of principled mathematicians who have 
joined our campaign by taking some of our pledges. Eventually, we were 
kicked out by conference organizers.

We need your help to show the AMS that mathematicians are committed to 
building a community beyond secrecy, surveillance, and racist 

We cannot do this without you and the action steps below are extremely 
easy to execute---the highest priority action step will take less than 2 
minutes of your time:

Action Step 1 (highest priority): Email the AMS president, president 
elect, secretary, and chairs of the Committee on the Profession and the 
Committee on Professional Ethics. Script and email addresses included at 
the end of this message---all you need to do is copy/paste it, and send 
to the email addresses provided below!

Action step 2: If you haven't done so already, check out our campaign 
statement (https://www.justmathematicscollective.net/nsa_statement.html) 
and push yourself to take any of the pledges you haven't already 
taken: https://form.jotform.com/211376874485063

Script for emails:

Send to 

Ruth Charney (AMS president): charney at brandeis.edu
Bryna Kra (AMS president elect): kra at math.northwestern.edu
Boris Hasselblatt (AMS secretary): secretary at ams.org
Gail R. Letzter (Chair of the Committee on the Profession): 
gletzter at verizon.net
Robert E. Megginson (Chair of the Committee on Professional Ethics) 
meggin at umich.edu
Suggested subject: "Ethical policy on recruitment: no to the NSA"

Dear AMS leadership,

I'm writing to call on the American Mathematical Society to craft 
policies that are compatible with its own stated commitments to equity 
and diversity. I was dismayed and disappointed to hear that the AMS 
ejected activists and mathematicians from the Joint Mathematics Meetings 
in Boston (all of whom registered and paid to attend) for passing out 
literature and holding up a banner in protest of the NSA's presence at 
the career fair, especially given the AMS Council's statement that "In 
all its activities, the AMS seeks to foster an atmosphere that 
encourages the free expression and exchange of ideas."

As a mathematician whose interests the AMS purportedly represents:

I ask that the AMS craft a concrete policy on what sorts of 
organizations are allowed to recruit at their events and how this policy 
falls in line with the society's commitments to equity and anti-racism.

This policy should explicitly disallow agencies like the NSA---an 
integral part of the infrastructure of violence and oppression 
targeting Black and Brown communities all over the world---from 
participating in AMS events.

Along the way to crafting concrete policy, I ask that the AMS expound 
publicly on a message sent from the AMS president to concerned community 
members in 2021, which stated that the AMS welcomes "any potential 
employer of mathematicians to engage with our community". Is any 
attention paid to the larger social effects of those employers' 
activities? For example, would the AMS offer a recruitment booth to a 
company known to engage in unethical labor practices affecting its 
non-mathematician employees? Or would it grant space to a white 
nationalist organization so long as they're looking to employ 
mathematicians? How would they respond if an intelligence-gathering 
organization that operates legally but is considered to act against the 
interests of the US government and/or its allies asked to rent a table 
and do recruitment at an AMS job fair?

More generally, I call on the AMS to articulate an ethical stance on the 
relationship between the mathematics community on the one hand, and 
intelligence agencies and other parts of the military-industrial complex 
on the other.

This stance should be based on an honest and historically informed 
accounting of (1) how the US military/security apparatus facilitates the 
systematic oppression of people worldwide and (2) the role 
mathematicians have played in this via our relationships with the 
security state. This should be the result of some sort of consensus 
process and should take steps towards honoring the referendum passed 
almost 30 years ago in 1988, which states that the AMS should "direct 
their efforts toward increasing the fraction of non-military funding for 
mathematics research as well as towards increasing total research 

I implore you to take this very seriously. In larger and larger numbers, 
mathematicians are beginning to reckon with their social and 
ethical responsibilities. No longer can we treat as normal the unhealthy 
partnerships between our community and the military-industrial complex.



Ongoing JMC campaigns/how you can help:

1. Cut ties between mathematicians and the NSA: 
https://www.justmathematicscollective.net/nsa_statement.html.  Please 
sign the statement and take the pledges if you haven't already, and 
share with your colleagues.

2. Support the USACBI academic boycott of Israeli institutions: 
https://www.justmathematicscollective.net/USACBI_statement.html.  Please 
register your pledge.


As always, please feel free to contact us at 
justmathematicscollective at inventati.org with any questions, comments, or 
suggestions, including materials and campaigns for us to consider 
including in next month's newsletter.

- JMC newsletter team

Just Mathematics Collective

More information about the jm_collective mailing list