This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

What is freedom?

*See also, the reason why capitalism cannot bring freedom

by Web Minister, January 11, 2002

"Freedom" is the absence of restraints according to the most common usage of the word in the United $tates and Europe (the West). We communists emphasize more the ability to accomplish something made possible through cooperation. Western "freedom" emphasizes choices of the individual, but communists emphasize the choices of the individual made possible through cooperation.

In practice, it does not matter which of the above definitions one uses. The facts regarding "freedom" are not what we commonly hear from the press and government in the West.

If you are like most people of the industrialized countries of the "West," such as the United $tates, England, France, Germany, Canada, Switzerland etc. then you have bought into a twisted idea of "freedom." The present author is no exception in originally believing that the "democracies" were "free" countries and that communist countries did everything through absolute control known as "totalitarianism." To even contemplate another opinion is a fearful matter, so wretched and unsubstantiated is the brainwashing of the West.

Ask yourself these questions about your idea of "freedom." Then ask yourself whether you really have gone into this question deeply enough.

1. Were you aware that

the United $tates is the leader in the world in imprisonment per capita?

See the facts here if you have not seen them already. It means that the United $tates is the world's leading prison-state, with a higher percentage imprisoned than any other country.

2. Were you aware that our newspaper

"MIM Notes" is censored

across the country when we attempt to send it into prisons? That public and publicly-funded colleges refuse our right to distribute our paper as do many other meeting places inviting the public for political discussion? See the summary here on prison. See the prison officials in their own words on why they censor MIM here.

3. Are you aware that the United $tates does more to arm and train fascists in the Third World than any other country? How does giving "freedom" to the rich of the West tally with support for death-squad military regimes across the globe? Does the relative freedom of the rich minority count more than the repression of the poor majority?

What you don't believe it? You better go see

CIA officers admit on videotape what they did to elected governments in Angola, Iran and Chile.


4. Do you generally believe what people say when they have their arms twisted behind their backs? Is a battered womyn really "free" to say that she still "loves" her batterer? What does it mean? We communists do not put much stock in that statement of "love" except relative to previous times in history such as "feudal society," when humyn relations had an even more coercive nature generally speaking.

Do you believe what a country other than the United $tates says in an election when the choice is a pro-Yankee candidate and an anti-Yankee candidate? Do you still believe it after the United $tates invades the country, as in the Dominican Republic in 1965? Do you believe it after the United $tates funds murderous thugs such as the contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s? We communists do not believe it. We do not believe things people say with guns to their heads. The twisted and predominant opinion in the West is exactly that --just on a large scale: believing what people say with guns to their heads and putting an emphasis on that instead of the coercive conditions.

5. Have you ever asked yourself about what communists have been saying about the relationship of freedom to exploitation? Were you aware that Stalin and Mao are both responsible for leading their societies into doubling the life expectancy of their peoples--yes including all their violent repression? Did you really believe China got to be a billion people with Mao shooting every other persyn the way the reactionaries make out? Do you believe any free people or persyn dies before his or her time by choice? How often? Sure, sometimes people take the chance to die in war, sometimes in heroic duty, sometimes even while driving a race car. These are chances a minority of the population likes to take.

How often do you think it happens, because if you think it happens often your idea of humyns is more "altruistic" and "idealistic" than ours. However, widespread death occurs in countries that are supposedly "free." These "free" countries have historically done poorly with life expectancy from a lack of a decent environment, proper education, proper public healthcare, food, shelter and clothing. The only "free" countries that do relatively well in these areas are those that are robbing the rest of the world.

The rich touting their kind of "freedom" would tell us that the world's poor die because they are the equivalent of race-car drivers--taking risks from choice, a kind of "freedom." They put a glorious spin on their exploitation leading to death, by telling us exploitation and freedom are separate issues.

We communists ain't buying it. People do not die ahead of their times voluntarily, but they do in the tens of millions each year. Hundreds of millions of people have died from the improper and coercive organization of society, something that Stalin and Mao did much to fix in their countries. The life expectancy statistic is an excellent measure of the coercion in a society-- the freedom or lack thereof in that society. People are forced into dying from a lack of food. They do not starve to death in conditions of freedom. Of course there are drawbacks to the life expectancy statistic, but those excuses are not a reason to live without insistence on measurement of freedom and coercion.

It's funny that the leisured society such as the United $tates long ago accepted that sports have to have rules and final ways to measure who won or lost. Yes referees definitely make mistakes. How far should the home-run fence be in baseball? Should there be three points allowed for long-range shooting in basketball and where should the line be? All these questions exist and many more, but people are scientific enough that they agree how to measure something and decide who won or lost. What would be the equivalent in sports of having the highest imprisonment rate and then still claiming to be the "champion" of "freedom"? Would denouncing Stalin and Mao be like saying Michael Jordan did not deserve any of his six championships?

We should not make the perfect of our minds the enemy of the good. We suggest that at this time in history there is no better single statistic to measure the coercion level within society than the life expectancy statistic; although of course it should also be used with an understanding of history. The biggest drawback of the life expectancy statistic is not exclusion within a particular country: it's biggest drawback is that high life expectancy countries may do well themselves while being the main prop of repression in the rest of the world. The United $tates is the main political force behind all types of coercion in the world today.

When the history of the 20th century comes up for examination hundreds of years from now-- if the humyn species survives capitalist militarism and environmental degradation--historians will record that Stalin and Mao did more than any other leaders in the 20th century to advance freedom. It will be horrible to recall how they had to repress and go to war with those who stood opposed to basic health care, food, clothing and shelter rights. Yet as inevitable as that horror will be for future citizens of a more civilized future to recall the 20th century, it will be inevitable that these citizens will be able to see that Stalin and Mao cleared the way through selective violence for a vast improvement of freedom, the opposite of coercion. We are confident that the boasting, rhetorical quibbles and subjectivism of the current bourgeois opinion will not last. The scientific-minded people of the future will insist on measurement of coercion. When civilized citizens of the future do look back, it is inevitable that those proclaiming "freedom" the most loudly now, and with the willing help of the spineless capitalist media regurgitating their every word, are those who will be seen as the most backward, hypocritical and lying leaders of the 20th century.