Pathfinder

Philip Ferguson plf13 at SPAMit.canterbury.ac.nz
Fri Nov 3 19:20:55 MST 2000


Dick Fidler responded to Macdonald Stainsby:

>The fact is, the views of Pathfinder's owners notwithstanding, the capitalists
>won the Cold War. So if old Progress books are now selling at much higher
>prices, view it as yet another price we pay for an historic defeat. I doubt
>Pathfinder is profiteering from these titles; in any event, to prove that you
>need to know what they paid for them.


A Barnesite cult member, and ex-best friend of mine, told me they got them
for virtually nothing.  Some Barnesites were holidaying in the "Russian
workers state" in the early 90s and found that the whole Progress stock of
Marx, Engels, Lenin were being pulped (just what you would expect in a
"workers state", obviously), so the Barnesites *snapped them up* and posted
them back to New York.

Now, in relation to my friend Jose's sterling defence of Pathfinder.  Just
briefly!!

When I said the Barnesite branches provided a free distribution for
Pathfinder I was not talking about the sales in the Barnesites' own
bookshops (has anyone ever seen customers in these spooky places?); I was
talking about how local cult members visit libraries and bookshops in their
cities and all over the country (indeed all over the world) and get them to
buy stuff from the Pathfinder catalogue.  This costs Pathfinder nothing,
whereas other publishers have to pay substantial fees to distributors.
Judging from the reports in the 'Militant' itself a lot of Pathfinder
titles are placed in this way.

Secondly, Mike Alewitz mentioned that about 80 percent of the work in the
printshop was commercial work for Wall Street.  I assume this is quite
lucrative and agree fully with Mike that the people whose labour-power is
being used deserve decent treatment, even if they are cult volunteers.  I
just wish someone would go down there and try to unionise the place.

Thirdly, Jose's point about printing being 'capital-intensive' is
irrelevant in relation to Pathfinder.  They simply browbeat the cult
members into forking over huge amounts of money to pay for this stuff.  So
their costs are much less than that of an ordinary capitalist printshop,
which would have to borrow all the money and pay bank interest rates.

I certainly found it interesting that when the cult tops were trying to
raise $US250,000 a few years ago, they called this their 'Capital Fund' and
ran it separate from other fundraising drives they were having at the same
time.  It must be one of the few things they've gotten right in years.  It
*really was* a 'Capital Fund' precisely because the money raised was being
used as capital, ie a value which 'self-expands' through the exploitation
of labour-power.

For a miniscule organisation, the Barnesite operation turns over a huge
amount of money.  Moreover, since the colonial outposts (aka a scattering
of cult temples in Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and
Iceland) aren't allowed their own publications and have virtually no
full-timers, New York receives a lot of funds from colonial plunder as well.

It would be interesting to see what would happen to any member of the cult
who asked for the books to be opened to the membership.  Call me
mischevious if you like, but I suspect they would be out on their arse
quicker than you could say 'Opening Guns of World War Three'.

Impishly,
Philip Ferguson














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