Spread the word! Pathfinder’s latest title, The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward, is now available at www.bookshare.org for workers and others who are blind or face other barriers to reading print books.
This book by SWP leaders Jack Barnes, Mary-Alice Waters and Steve Clark draws from the trade union and broad political work of party members and others who look to the Socialist Workers Party, highlighting opportunities ahead for class-conscious workers. It sets the course of action needed to forge a labor party built on the unions, and a mass proletarian vanguard able to lead the struggle to end capitalist rule, opening a future for humanity.
Maurice Peret, from Baltimore, tells the Militant he has just finished reading The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us in Braille with a file downloaded from Bookshare. “Having the book under my fingers most closely replicates the reading experience of a sighted person reading words on a printed page. Reading Braille I have the fewest distractions. I can pause, think about something, back up and run my fingers over the text again and again.”
He also reads Pathfinder books on a portable audio reader using DAISY files from Bookshare. “I have a whole library of Pathfinder books in my pocket. This technology really helps reading and studying these books with others.”
“It is extremely beneficial to have Pathfinder books available at Bookshare,” says Dave Perry, a factory worker and union activist from Cincinnati, who is blind. “The information in Pathfinder books is so important, especially for working people. I can download a book and read it on my phone any time or any place.”
There are an estimated 7.5 million people with blindness or limited vision in the U.S. Millions of others have dyslexia and other learning or physical challenges that make it difficult for them to read and study print books. So do many millions more around the world. Making Pathfinder titles available in accessible form provides tools to help draw broader layers of working people into discussion, study, social and political protests, and revolutionary working-class activity.
Nine other Pathfinder titles are now available as fully-accessible e-books at Bookshare: The Turn to Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party; Tribunes of the People and the Trade Unions; The Communist Manifesto; Labor, Nature, and the Evolution of Humanity; Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?; Cuba and the Coming American Revolution; Teamster Rebellion; Socialism and Man in Cuba; and Cosmetics, Fashions, and the Exploitation of Women. An additional 30 titles are available in a text-only format.
Bookshare is an online library that makes e-books available to people around the world who, for whatever reason, have trouble reading books and other material in print. These books can be read or listened to on a computer, tablet, smart phone or specialized reading devices. Readers can increase the type size, change the typeface or change the background color — whatever makes it easier to read. They can hear the text read out loud on their computer or phone while they follow it on screen.
These books are also available to download for electronic devices that produce refreshable Braille displays (BRF files), DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) “talking book” files, MP3 audio books and other formats.
A team of volunteers is converting more Pathfinder print books into accessible e-book files. The volunteers write descriptions of each photograph, map, graph or other image. They add coding so screen reader and other specialized software can help the reader understand the structure and find their way around in the book. Pagination encoded in the e-book matches the pagination of the print book, to facilitate discussion between those who have either the e-book or the print book.
Anyone in the world who needs this service can sign up at www.bookshare.org. There is a small annual fee for most users, with no charge to download individual books. The reader will need to provide Bookshare with certification of the condition that requires access to these books.
Readers in some other countries can sign up with local organizations that partner with Bookshare to access books. These include the Royal National Institute of Blind People (rnib.org.uk) in the United Kingdom; CELA — Centre for Equitable Library Access (celalibrary.ca) in Canada; and Vision Australia (visionaustralia.org).