A scurrilous attack on Pathfinder and the SWP

Les Schaffer godzilla at SPAMnetmeg.net
Fri Oct 20 11:33:54 MDT 2000

[bounced from unsubbed Michael Gavin <michaelgavin at planet-interkom.de>

I showed Jose G. Perez's message to a colleague and he asked me to post
the following on his behalf:

Without getting too much into particulars, I feel the overwhelming
need--lest somebody be swayed by his argument--to say that Mr. Perez is
wrong.  Very very wrong.

He is probably correct in saying that IWC is yet another little left
communist grouping with few real members.  However, that's beside the
point (lets not forget that at times the Bolsheviks were nearly reduced
a party in name only).  The nature of the group, positive or negative,
doesn't affect the validity of their arguments (though it may indicate
where to look for weaknesses).

In brief:

.  I seem to recall that New Park's books are printed by union
   labor (as proudly noted on the inside cover).  I'm at work now,
   so I can't check for sure, but that's what I recall.

.  To say "we live in a bourgeois society governed by bourgeois
   laws and thus it is expected and not an all inappropriate for
   Pathfinder to run their enterprise along capitalist lines" is,
   simply put, stupid.  What if they were publishing in antebellum
   USA.  Would they be justified in using slave labor to print
   their books?  What if their booksellers or printers came to the
   conclusion that their working conditions were unsafe or
   somesuch.  Would they be correct in locking them out or firing
   them?  Maybe 408 should float stock.

.  His demand that workers just cut out a few movies or disconnect
   their cable TV to buy books sounds shockingly similar to
   remarks from right wing pundits about health care, retirement
   savings, etc.  The problem with working class people is
   obviously that they are weak and can't harden themselves and
   deny themselves small indulgences in order to afford the
   important things.

.  Pathfinder's prices are in line with those of the publishing
   arm of the ICFI/SEP which, to my knowledge, has no such "side
   business" making money and has even fewer members than the SWP.

All the defenses of the SWP basically seem to come down to this:
defending their legal control over Trotsky's works, the SWP would be
robbed of a valuable source of income which would do serious damage to

This is a weird inversion of marxist politics.  The history, theory, and
application of marxism apparently exist to support the party machine of
the SWP/USA rather than the other way around.  Furthermore, increased
access to and interest in those works would somehow reduce the influence
and/or membership and/or capability of the party claiming to be their
ideological offspring.


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