reply to Pathfinder critics

Les Schaffer godzilla at
Mon Oct 30 18:38:52 MST 2000

[bounced from unsubbed "Alewitz, Mike (Art)" <ALEWITZM at>]

In his recent post Jose Perez states:

"Mike Alewitz suggests that Pathfinder is no longer publishing many new
books, and therefore the income stream from the old books is being diverted
elsewhere. "

I suggested no such thing.  That is not my belief.  You are out of line to
make such an irresponsible and provocative remark, as well as the other
conclusions you draw from it.

I do not often post to this list - and when I do my contributions are
straightforward.  I do not have the time for verboseness.  The points I made
were clear.  I will restate them for Jose:

1.  The writings of working-class leaders belong to the revolutionary
movement and working class as whole.  Use of copyright laws to suppress
distribution of these writings, whether by commercial or working-call
publishers, is an attack on intellectual and artistic freedom.

2.  Pathfinder, in it's various forms - and however you characterize them -
is a multi-million dollar enterprise whose employees deserve to be treated
decently and whose rights should be defended.

3.  The use of corporate lawyers to go after others on the left - using
those lawyers to destroy the artistic and intellectual efforts of others -
is reactionary.

4.  The political direction of the SWP - their undemocratic assaults on
others, their characterizations of everyone else on the left as
non-revolutionary, their abstention from important social movements, their
dropping of programmatic support for a labor party, their attacks on the
Seattle protestors, their opposition to the freeing of Elian - make them
particularly unfit to be trusted to protect the intellectual capital of our

In you voluminous post you chose not to answer any of these points.  That is
your privilege - but don't demean yourself with false attributions to

I really do not care what Pathfinder does or how it operates.  They are
quite irrelevant the living struggle - one of many organizations built and
discarded by our class.  But I do care about what we have won over the past
decades.  Thousands of individuals and organizations are responsible for
making the writings of revolutionaries available for use around the world.
We continue to have a responsibility to keep those works alive.

Department of Art
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT  06050

Phone: 860.832.2359

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