Juan Fajardo fajardos at
Fri Nov 3 23:16:05 MST 2000

Philip Ferguson wrote:
> 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.

Well, actually it was a bit more involved than that.  Pathfinder and the
SWP found out that when Progress switched over to pulp fiction, they
sold the entire stock of M-E and Lenin to a foreign paper company.  The
transfer was to be made not of books, but in the form of paper pulp.  It
was also learned that the as yet whole stock had been piled, literally
piled, in a warehouse from which it was scooped up by bits and taken to
the pulper.

Several party members were chosen to go to Moscow and try to negotiate
for the as many books as they could.  Once there, however, it wasn't a
simple matter of "snapping them up."  First they found no one to talk to
due to the economic problems widespread in Russia--Progress was still a
state agency but the state was in utter financial chaos so many workers
worked only on paper and actually did other work to make a living.  Then
they had a hard time finding anyone who felt able to make a decision on
the matter.  Then, they found what seemed the competent authority, but
that person was unsure whether the books belonged to Progress until they
were pulped and so could be disposed of, or whether they belonged
already to the paper company.

Eventually it was arranged that the buyers could, cheaply, have a
certain amount of time to piece together as many sets as they could and
take them away.  Getting them out of Russia, proved to be another
weeks-long process.

Now, we may not like the prices that Pathfinder charges, but that was
literally a rescue mission without which the only source of these titles
would be the leftover and incomplete stock of International Publishers,
which don't sell much cheaper when you can even find them.

- Juan

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