This article is nothing but a personal recount about one of the ironies (and for a change it is not a historical irony in terms of Lebanese power-struggle politics) that I encountered. I went to Virgin Megastore to buy some books. In 99% of the cases, I boycott those multi-national institutions, and to go one step further, I promote their dangers as an example of class struggle, with one perspective at least required for this post (there are several dimensions to that story, I recommend corpwatch to read), whereby the big corporations oust the smaller businesses with their gigantic budget, international links, and gain monopoly on the access of information. In a sense, to be seen in Virgin Megastore, I find that rather embarrassing, or rather subdue to the system. Most of my ideological readings have been on the Marxist Internet Archives; however, not everything is available to the public for free.
The story goes that I go with a fellow comrade to buy a book for Isaac Deutcher. As I enter the store, I bump to a fellow Comrade of mine, who probably in my own honest opinion, is the most powerful academic (and a Marxist with a little bit of Arab nationalist affiliations). That man was Fawwaz Traboulsi. The story took place four years ago. I meet up with him and as always, ask him a zillion questions on life, work, activism, academics, what to read, ...etc. I told him that my purpose to this place was to buy a book written by Isaac Deutcher. Other than the fact he knew his wife, the man never seized to surprise me. I always hear him on TV, and read his articles, and his book "A History of Modern Lebanon" has become almost a bible to be read on daily basis.
I told him: "I came here to buy a book by Deutcher"
Traboulsi: "It is interesting that they import a lot of books on the Soviet Union, and Soviet characters."
Me : "Indeed, that is true"
Traboulsi: "But I find it strange to see books on Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, and others but not a single book written by those authors."
Well, it is true. After a brief moment of debate, we went our separate ways.
Now, here we were, couple of Comrades, at Virgin Megastore, whereas some of them were going to buy books on Communism. Now of course, to answer Traboulsi's complaint, those who can access the Marxist Internet Archives, they can access them, or try to print them out for future photocopies. Almost 95% of what all of the previous mentioned Communist intellects have their writings present in those earlier Marxist archives (even minutes of meetings).
Moving around the story of Mr. Deutcher. The book cost me a bundle, and unlike several "Communists", cash flow is a problem for me. Amen for internationalism within the Marxist doctrines, whereby comrades are not bounded by borders. So I contacted two comrades in the US who were on their way to Beirut, and I got the final required original copy for Isaac Deutcher. When I wanted to pay for it, my comrade replies: "No need comrade, I got almost for free." In a stunned manner, I look at him and answer back: "But the book is an original and new", and my comrade replied: "I got it at a second shop."
Now you have to understand, when several comrades meet, and they originate from different borders, a zillion question pops up. Luckily for us, we entered the debate on "Access of Information" while having a quick 8 shots of Vodka (four of them were on the house). He asked:
Comrade: "Where did you get the book?"
Me : "Don't laugh, from Virgin Megastore"
Comrade: "For real, they actually sell our stuff at Virgin Megastore?"
Me : "Don't Laugh, I couldn't find the Isaac Deutcher series except in Virgin Megastore"
Comrade: "Interesting, over here they never sell anything Communist or Anarchist"
Well, from that perspective, it was interesting. Whereas I felt being a slave forced to buy a book that I needed for different reasons, but I couldn't attain it anywhere but Virgin Megastore. Damned Capitalists!