Books by SWP leaders draw interest at Tehran book fair

By Catharina Tirsén
July 23, 2018
Books by SWP leaders draw interest at Tehran book fair
Visitors browse books at May 2-12 Tehran International Book Fair, Iran’s largest yearly cultural event. Pathfinder Press and Talaye Porsoo were among hundreds of exhibitors.

TEHRAN, Iran — The 31st Tehran International Book Fair — held under the slogan “No to Not Reading Books” — took place here in May. The annual event was held at the Imam Khomeini Mosalla, an enormous mosque in the heart of the city.

Over 2,000 Iranian publishers and representatives of 300 foreign publishing houses had stands. Surrounding the book fair are food stands, loudspeakers with music, walkways and parks for the hundreds of thousands of visitors, giving the event a festival atmosphere.

For the 27th time Pathfinder Books in the United Kingdom participated. This year the booth featured three books on the conditions and struggles of working people in the United States: Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege and Learning under Capitalism and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People, both by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party in the U.S., as well as Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? A Necessary Debate by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters. Visitors were interested in what working people face in the U.S. The three titles were the best sellers, with 85 copies sold altogether.

Is Biology Woman’s Destiny? by Evelyn Reed drew a lot of attention from customers looking for an explanation of the origins of women’s oppression. Reed explains that women’s second-class status emerged historically with the rise of private property, and she presents a working-class road to emancipation.

“I never thought I’d be interested in anything political,” said a woman who had bought Reed’s Problems of Women’s Liberation two years ago. “But I learned so much from that book.” This year she got Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?

Pathfinder volunteers sold a total of 423 books at the stand.

Several stands carried Farsi translations of Pathfinder titles produced by Talaye Porsoo publishing house. (Farsi is the most widely spoken language in Iran.) These books were displayed by the Association of Women Publishers as well as at Talaye Porsoo’s own booth. Staff from the Association of Women Publishers returned several times to replenish their Talaye Porsoo stock. Between the two stands, 807 of these books were sold.

One book newly published by Talaye Porsoo was Lenin’s Final Fight, about the Bolshevik leader’s battle against reversal of the revolution’s working-class course by growing bureaucratic layers in the state apparatus. Fifty-two copies were sold.

In April Talaye Porsoo volunteers also took their titles to a book fair at Kabul University in Afghanistan. (Farsi, often called Dari, is widely read in Afghanistan.) They sold out of several titles the first day, including Socialism and Man in Cuba by Che Guevara and How Far We Slaves Have Come! which contains speeches by Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro about the impact of Cuba’s internationalist course in bringing down the white supremacist regime in South Africa. As other titles got low in stock, among them books on the fight for women’s emancipation, the Talaye Porsoo representatives had several reprinted right there in Kabul!

By the end of the book fair Talaye Porsoo had sold 486 books.