The book, Pathfinder's newest publication, contains five speeches by SWP national secretary Jack Barnes, reflecting the experiences and discussions of the party, and of workers and farmers more broadly, over the past turbulent decade.
They provide the reader with a powerful tool in understanding the disorder of the international capitalist system, and in linking up with the many and varied struggles of working people that are laying the foundations of a movement against that system.
Bailey told the Militant that the Trade Union Committee is moving quickly toward proposing national goals for the campaign, and needs information from those who are participating in it. "We have requested figures on the numbers of the book sold and placed since the campaign started through September 30," she said, "and figures on the number of bookstore and library visits that have occurred. Any goals adopted, too, and details of participation."
Pathfinder Press's business manager, Sara Lobman, reports that contact with stores and libraries is bringing results. Following these visits, some outlets ordered 39 copies of Capitalism's World Disorder during September, and nine in the first 11 days of October. More reports are coming into the Militant as well. Space restrictions mean that several reports, including one from a successful trip to Scotland, will be published in coming issues.
Sales team places Pathfinder titles in Georgia stores
BY GLADYS WILLIAMS
QUITMAN, Georgia — On October 5–6, I had the privilege of having three friends from Pathfinder bookstore and the Militant newspaper—Arlene and Paul from Atlanta, and Jeanne from Birmingham — come for a short visit.
They arrived around 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. and we took off for a library in the area to see what books they have about Cuba, and try to place a Pathfinder order there. I am referring to recent books about Cuba, because the ones this library has are outdated. The person we needed to see was busy trying to update their computer and the young man Jeanne spoke to had no authority to place an order.
From there we journeyed to several other towns in the area. Our first stop was a record store. This was our second visit there. The owner informed us that the people who patronize his business are not "readers." We had taken it upon ourselves at an earlier date to leave some book covers which might have increased someone's curiosity about Cuba, Malcolm X, Capitalism's World Disorder, and other Pathfinder titles, but none of the covers were visible.
Our next stop was a barber shop. The person who runs the shop was busy with a customer but he seemed very interested so we left him a catalogue to look through and the promise to return the next day.
On the way to our next stop, we saw a couple of houses with a few Latinos, and I suggested we turn around to talk with them and to try to make a sale. I approached with my famous "Hola" and asked if anyone spoke English. One worker came forward and it was on then. One person on our team spoke Spanish, and that helped too.
It was a good conversation and we all communicated very well about them being called trash and other expletives that we all have been called at one time or another. We sold him The Communist Manifesto, The Action Program, and a copy of Perspectiva Mundial, and exchanged phone numbers because this worker is waiting for Capitalism's World Disorder to come out in Spanish. We were all thrilled about our new friendship and our sale.
On our way to get something to eat, we passed a shop called Roots. I told my friends that they had printed T-shirts for the People's Tribunal, an organization formed to create and develop racial equality that will enhance political justice, economic education, and spiritual growth. The focus of the People's Tribunal right now is the Lowndes County jail, where Kevin Farmer, a policeman, is accused of killing Willie James Williams, a Black worker.
Two Pathfinder supporters from Atlanta had participated in a September 4 march for justice against police brutality in Valdosta and after the march visited Roots. We were following up on their conversation. We made an appointment for the next day at noon. At dinner, we ate a lot, dessert and all, and went back to my house for a while.
A farmer from Savannah called to inquire about a lady from a newspaper that had called him but he didn't have a number or a name and thought maybe I could help him as to who that might have been. As it turned out Arlene was who he was looking for. They talked and got things straight about a visit to Savannah for Thursday.
We left shortly after to go to the farm of a farmer involved in the People's Tribunal who is one of those fighting against the loss of land suffered by farmers who are Black. The next morning I got my grandchildren ready to be dropped off for school, and took 'Tadpole,' a friend of mine, out to the farm to help take the tobacco out of the bulk barn.
At 11:00 a.m. my three friends and I went back to Roots and talked extensively to the owner and placed an order, including a copy of Capitalism's World Disorder and took a picture.
We thanked her graciously and left. Our next stop was the barber shop, where the owner had already chosen his books from the catalogue and made an order for his shop. He said that they have classes there sometimes and told us that we were welcome. He ordered Pathfinder titles by W.E.B. Dubois, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, and Farmers Face the Crisis of the 1990s by Doug Jenness.
From there we drove to a sewing factory that employs 1,800 for a plant-gate sale. The huge plant is a separately incorporated town and almost completely fenced in with a lot of signs with "Don'ts" — so we didn't. We didn't park in their restricted areas, we didn't generate any sales, we didn't get to talk to a lot of people and we didn't have a lot of time, but it was quite an experience. We'll be back.
That night we had a good, informative class on the first agrarian reform in Cuba based on a speech by Fidel Castro that was in the Militant. As we were all tired from our day's activities, and my three friends' journey to Savannah began at 6:00 a.m., we said goodnight at 11:00 p.m. As I drove home I felt good about our accomplishments. Good job, good time, and good luck to Pathfinder.
Co-workers' suggestions of stores prove helpful
BY TOM HEADLEY
WASHINGTON, DC — The suggestions and participation of co-workers has proved helpful in placing copies of Capitalism's World Disorder and other Pathfinder books in non-Pathfinder outlets here recently. Six copies of the book have been placed in bookstores suggested by fellow workers at Amtrak — two at each of three different stores. One store placed an order for 16 other Pathfinder titles.
I began by telling co-workers that I wanted to make Pathfinder books more available to more people, and that I would appreciate any advice they had to offer. I asked if they could suggest any places where they or their friends buy or borrow books that could be worth approaching.
A laborer suggested one store, an engineer another, and a conductor yet another. In two of these three stores, the worker who suggested the store visited it before I did and told them about having suggested that I go there. One co-worker brought me a business card from a store he had visited with the name of the store's book buyer on it. When I went to the store to talk to the buyer, I pulled out the business card and said "One of your customers gave me this and suggested that you might want to carry some Pathfinder books." That seemed to help start the discussion off on a solid footing.
In all cases, I started by saying that a customer of theirs had suggested that I visit their store, and immediately showed them the Pathfinder catalog, beginning with the sections advertising books whose subject matter was similar to that of books on their shelves, saying, "If your customers are interested in the subjects represented on your shelves, they would probably also be interested in some of the books shown in the catalog dealing with the same subject. After that brief introduction, I would pull out a copy of Capitalism's World Disorder and say something like:
"This is our most recently published book. I am authorized to leave you a couple of copies of this book right now if you'd like. Books with 'millennium' titles have been selling well lately, for obvious reasons. This book has the word 'disorder' in its title, but it doesn't limit itself to just talking about the horrors of life in today's world. It makes the case that there is a basis for hope in the future. It discusses a lot of issues that are being hotly debated in society today, and that will attract readers."
Then I hold a copy of Capitalism's World Disorder up by a single page and say "Pathfinder books are very well constructed. They won't fall apart when your customers browse through them or shortly after they buy them." I have never seen a Pathfinder book fail this test, and when we do it confidently, book buyers realize there must be some basis for our confidence.
At this point, the discussion depends on the response. Buyers will have their own concerns and preferences. One took two copies of Capitalism's World Disorder on the spot and filled out an order form for two other titles, but wanted to take a little more time to review the catalog to see if he wanted to order others. We agreed that I would visit again in two weeks.
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