Forwarded from David Walters (Pathfinder/MIA: update)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Nov 7 06:04:01 MST 2000

Hello Louis,

Thought your readers would be interested in this. Michael Smith, a former
SWPer and laywer for the Fort Jackson 8 in the 60s has agreed to represent
the Marxists Internet Archive in dealings with Pathfinder Press...should we
need his services. Our correspondence with Pathfinder will proceed through
his office...unfortunate but necessary, we'd much rather deal with
Pathfinder directly but they failed to return our calls.

Secondly, we've replaced ONE of the proscribed texts from Pathfinder's list
of copyrighted texts: Trotsky's 1916 piece from Novo Slovo "On the Events
in Dublin". We were able to get another translation of this short piece
from a New Park Publications edition. This is of course, a loss to
Pathfinder because we would more than gladly of given them credit and
linked to their on-line catalogue. Oh well. We are following up with the
other works, as well, to obtain non-Pathfinder translations. Additionally,
we are researching the legality of some of the copyrights, like the
documents from the Founding of the Socialist Workers Party, made up of
articles from New International and Socialist Appeal.

What follows is my opinion only, not necessarily that of the MIA. The MIA
was setup to afford people those people with Internet access the ability to
read these classics of Marxism...for free. On our CD we have the motto
printed on the bottom "Copyleft--all rights reversed!". We will always
stand by this. Pathfinder charges prices, in my personal opinion, more or
less what other publishers of high quality paper backs charge. Of course
the political impact of such higher prices is raises the
important question of the ability to publish cheaper less high quality
books and pamphlets. I think this is a fair question to ask.

These prices charged by Pathfinder, in anyevent, have been fairly stable. I
think, to a certain degree, Jose makes a good point about comparable
prices, but I think he might be looking at things rather statically.
Pathfinder upped their prices VERY high in the early 80s, when many people
on this list, myself included, were in the SWP. Pathfinder bookstores
received stickers to place over the older, cheaper prices. I'm sure Jose
remembers this. I believe many on this list remember this sticker shock and
haven't forgotten it. Today their prices are not that far out of line from
several university and commercial houses. But 20 years ago, if a price
comparison could be made, you would find Pathfinder's prices SHARPLY
increasing in one year and way over the competition. I think to a certain
extent we're projecting forward this sticker shop and Jose is projecting
backward the current comparible prices.

On the Russian save Jose mentions. The SWP is rightly proud of this.
However, two local SF SWPers mentioned to me that they were not sent back
in small parcels but in one big container, received in the NY-NJ harbour on
a freighter. Go figure? The irony, however, is that around this same period
that the SWP was saving the English language remnents of Lenin and Marx
from the pulping companies, they, the SWP, was had just finished the
process of dumping several tons of books, some original Pioneer editions,
of Cannon and Trotsky's writings in their dumpster on Charles Lane. This
horrendous act was discovered by some local Trotskyoids, of the Spartacist
ravariety and the ISO. Apparently both groups put aside their differences,
often physical at times, to co-operate in saving THESE writings from a
similiar pulping operation. Again...go figure?

Pathfinder started commercial printing decades ago. I don't know when. The
80% figure mentioned here is something I've heard about as well, from two
seperate former Pathfinder Print shop volunteers who left the SWP in the
past decade. In fact, much of this is for Wall Street financial companies.
I don't know how relevant this is to any really important discussion on
Pathfinder's dispute with us at the MIA, however. We still hope Pathfinder
comes around to a mutually beneficial arrangement with the MIA.

David Walters,
Marxists Internet Archive

Louis Proyect
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