Reply to Pathfinder Critics

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Sat Nov 4 17:15:15 MST 2000

<<Absolutely...but does this justify the hiking of $5.00 books to
> seventy while calling them collectors? To hell with that...
> is an ultra capitalist org if I ever saw one.>>
>  -- Macdonald
> I assume the reference is to the alleged purchase (rescue) by
Pathfinder of some
> stock from Moscow's Progress Publishers, for later sale by
> Keep in mind that Progress Publishers' output was heavily
subsidized, for all
> the good reasons cited by a number of subscribers to this list: i.e.
> availability to working people around the world. But that's the
> between having or not having state power. Pathfinder simply does not
have the
> resources that were available to Progress Publishers under Soviet

I'm afraid this doesn't wash. It was a Barnesite comrade in the flesh
that explained how that process worked. They "rescued" these books
from the pulper in the USSR itself. They got them, in Rubles circa the
death of the USSR, for even less than they were being sold there,
which was less than they cost here! First, the explanation for the
price hike was told to me, as I said, because they are now "collectors
items". When I disputed that on both the numbers of the original print
run and the politics of Lenin being "collected", I was then given a
whole new explanation: They had to pay shipping costs to bring them
back to (England/Canada/US/fill in the blank). This could account for
prices of up to 2, maybe even three times the cost that the old CP's
charge (in the stores they still run that used to be on the dist list
for Progress pub.). It does not account for a $6.00 book going to the
price of $75!

They also cannot find a way to keep their paper under 2 bucks, when
the Sparts (not a mass org with a huge bank vault, I don't think
anyone will dispute) keep their paper, the same approximate size, at
50 cents.

There is a lot of legitimate reasons to say they cannot afford to make
things ultra-cheap. But their prices are astronomical in comparison to
what they are actually worth. You can never see them as a party
anywhere without a table covered in their $20.00 books! They travel
with this stuff. Almost all the parties that are active in Vancouver
here sell books, but only they always, without fail, hawk them. It is
their only source of revenue and they are targetting the (relatively)
well-off workers and middle-class students. It keeps them going. If it
wasn't their only source of revenue, why would they care about
copyright? they have a market to protect! :-)


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