oops, PS on Pathfinder Inc

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at SPAMbellsouth.net
Sat Nov 11 21:51:54 MST 2000


It is, as always, a pleasure to thrash things out with you.

One last point, and then let this rest for, say, another year...

It could well be that you are right about the character of the group in New
Zealand. And as a political matter, I agree that the SWP as it existed
through the 70s, despite what I now view as many problems then, is gone
forever. This does not however mean that the SWP as it exists in the U.S. is
identical to its NZ counterpart.

I believe there are still a significant number of basically okay comrades in
and around the SWP, mostly around, i.e., in their periphery, and the
political situation in the U.S. over the past 25 years, and especially in
the 90s, has been such that the nature of a poltical line which would, as a
matter of course, have exposed itself as sectarian to the core if there were
significant and sustained mass movement activity still remains unclear to
these people.


PS: Yes, I know about prices and Value. But first, I think you're carving
too narrow a niche with "academic books," I spoke more generally in terms of
specialized and technical books; and second, I think you're viewing as
distortions of price within one market or commodity (books, or tade
paperbacks, in  general) a phenomena that should more correctly be viewed as
different markets, different commodities. My inclination is to view the
"intellectual" labor that goes into these books as value producing labor
and, moreover, "complex" labor to which a multiplier applies when compared
to simple, average, abstract human labor.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Philip Ferguson" <plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2000 8:46 PM
Subject: oops, PS on Pathfinder Inc

Jose says:

>Now, instead of admitting you were wrong, your factional and sectarian
>attitude towards the SWP leads you instead to move the goal posts.
>Pathfinder charging what would generally be considered the going price for
>the kinds of books it publishes is no longer good enough; now you insist it
>is under a moral obligation to sell its books below their value:

My good friend,
nowehre did I suggest they sell their books below their value.  Once again,
you are confusing price and value.

>I never met WebMaster Lenenstein. Never even heard of him.

Well, his letter was posted on the Marxism List.

So perhaps before veering off into tirades of abuse against me, you should
check out what even some ex-Barnesites are saying.  This is a book-selling
venture now, more than a political movement.

>Now on to your assertion that the SWP isn't part of the worker's movement.

I said that it is a book-selling venture not a political movement.  I think
a number of people without any special axe to grind recognise this.  You
simply refuse to deal with reality on the issue.

>Just who died and left you God? Gerry Healy? Where do you get off deciding
>that a group that traces its direct lineage back to Eugene Debs's Socialist
>Party and the IWW is no longer part of the workers movement? The SWP has a
>much stronger claim on being part of the workers movement than just about
>every other Trotskyist sect out there.

You can maintain this fiction only by ignoring the fact that the SWP, as a
historic group, doesn't really exist any more.  It is an insult to Debs,
Cannon and many others to try to link the small cult around Barnes to these
earlier working class fighters.

The simple reality, which you refuse to face up to, is that Barnes
destroyed the SWP.  The historic cadre, which linked back to that earlier
period were largely purged in the 1980s.  The rest are now dead.

People like Barnes and Waters have *no connection at all* to the working
class.  They are middle class stuff-ups, who have spent virtually their
entire adult life sitting in offices in New York issuing orders to
underlings and purging people.  If you imagine that this represents some
link to the workers' movement, you have a very strange idea of what the
term 'workers movement' means.

On the left in NZ, the Barnesites are just regarded as space cadets,  run
by remote control from 8,000 miles away in New York.  No-one treats them as
a serious political group.  Jose, you are in a time warp.


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