Committee for the Future

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Committee for the Future

"The new pro-space movement that emerged in the mid and late-1970s was woven together from many threads. One was first expressed in organizational terms by a small, idealistic group called the Committee for the Future (CFF). While it never had much direct influence, the CFF enunciated many of the themes taken up later by other pro-space individuals and organizations.

"The CFF originated from conversations in the 1960s between artist-philosopher Earl Hubbard and his wife Barbara Marx Hubbard (an heiress to the Marx toy-making fortune) and from Ms. Hubbard's own search for meaning, described in her book The Hunger of Eve [3]. Just as she started her scan through literature, looking for the crucial self-image of humanity, John Glenn was fired into space from Cape Canaveral.

"Barbara and Earl became passionate advocates of the idea that the Space Age was the birth of a new era. While some humans would be attracted to nurturing and bringing harmony to the Earth, she wrote later, others would go beyond the Earth to build new worlds and to be transformed into new beings...

"In September 1969, the Hubbards discovered a fellow believer in Colonel John Whiteside, then the chief US Air Force Information Officer in New York City. By 1970 they had decided to try and get a Presidential candidate in the 1976 campaign to endorse the goal of building the first "space community."

"The Hubbards, Whiteside, and a small group of friends met in June 1970 at the Hubbard home in Lakeville, Connecticut to found the Committee for the Future. There they produced the "Lakeville Charter," which said in part, Earth-bound history has ended. Universal history has begun...

"In the fall of 1970, Los Angeles film producer George van Valkenberg pointed out to the Hubbards that two Saturn V rockets would be left over from the Apollo program. The CFF leaders came up with the idea of the first "citizen-sponsored lunar expedition," which could pay for itself through the sale of lunar materials and television and story rights; there could be a general subscription to let the public participate in financing the project. This came to be known as Project Harvest Moon.

"The CFF formed the New Worlds Company in January 1971 with the help of $25,000 from Barbara's father. The purpose was to rally support for the next great goal: a lunar community. This would help generate popular pressure for the funding of the necessary intermediate steps such as the Space Shuttle. Through the offering of shares in the lunar enterprise to millions of people, a constituency with a vested interest in the development of the Moon and outer space activities would be created...

"Meanwhile, the CFF had begun holding future-oriented conferences called SYNCONs for Synergestic Convergence. One participant recalls that this enterprise attracted "space groupies" who followed SYNCON around the country [8]. However, the CFF gradually de-emphasized the space theme, giving more time to other future-oriented issues.

"In September 1973, the CFF moved its headquarters to a mansion in Washington known as "Greystone" and called it the New Worlds Training and Education Center. A number of volunteers lived there in a sort of commune, receiving room, board, and a small stipend. Barbara's dinners and cocktail parties there provided a kind of "salon" for many people interested in the future and in space and may have facilitated some of the connections which brought about the new space movement and the spread of its ideas.

"Meanwhile, Earl Hubbard separated from Barbara and dropped out of the CFF, though he published another book called The Need for New Worlds. Colonel Whiteside passed away. But Barbara remained intermittently active in the pro-space cause, among other things providing financial assistance to a new group called the L5 Society. She also helped organize support for a pro-High Frontier resolution in the House of Representatives in 1977. In 1984, she was leading a group called the Campaign for a Positive Future and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Vice Presidential nomination." [1]

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  1. The Beginnings of the New Space Movement, National Space Society, accessed January 19, 2009.