[Marxism] reply from SOCIALISM & DEMOCRACY to J. Bustelo
ZENDIVE at aol.com
ZENDIVE at aol.com
Sat Dec 27 09:17:15 MST 2008
Reply to Joaquín Bustelo
By Victor Wallis, managing editor, Socialism and Democracy
Socialism and Democracy has put out a call for short essays relevant to the
present conjuncture and aimed at contributing to the development of a popular
anticapitalist movement (see S&D's home page at www.sdonline.org). Joaquín
Bustelo has argued against participation in our project on the grounds that our
publisher (Routledge Journals) is a capitalist enterprise which charges high
prices (he fails to note exactly who these prices apply to, which is not all its
customers). He characterizes our arrangement as "apartheid publishing" and c
alls for free availability of information.
His description of S&D's diffusion is misleading on a number of counts.
Largely submerged in his attack is the fact that the "membership"
subscription rate ($30 for three 200-page issues) is available to any individual
("membership" is only a subscription category; there is no charge for it, and it
entails no obligations). Even more important are some facts about the journal's
availability that he does not mention:
** S&D is free to prisoners. We correspond with our prison readers and some
of them write for the journal
** Electronic access is available independent of our publishers. All articles
at least one year old are available for free on our own website. The files of
more recent articles are also sent out on request by the editorial office
(info at sdonline.org) without charge. In sum, the accusation that only those with
money can use our resources is unfounded.
** The highest quoted charges refer to fully subscribing libraries, of which
there are fewer than 100. However, approximately 5000 libraries around the
world have electronic access and indexing of our articles at much lower prices,
with preferential rates for low-income institutions.
It is important to specify, further, that Routledge in no way interferes with
or questions our substantive editorial policies and practices. We urge you to
judge us on the basis of what our writers actually say rather than on the
basis of preconceptions grounded in an incomplete account of our channels of
We do not deny the potential general relevance of the problem that Bustelo
raises. We contend, however, that the challenge of working simultaneously within
and in opposition to the status quo cannot but present dilemmas and
contradictions which must be addressed on a case-by-case basis, recognizing among other
things that some of the established institutions may themselves have been
affected and altered by the presence of counter-hegemonic forces in the society.
For Left projects not to take advantage of the resulting openings (provided of
course that they entail no compromise of our positions) would be to cut
ourselves off from many of the Left's natural constituencies.
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