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.
Maoist Internationalist Movement

Definition of Liberalism & What is the difference between Liberalism and Communism?

See also, "How to tell if you're a Liberal"
See also, "What is the difference between socialism and communism?"
See also, Mao "Combat Liberalism" (1937)

According to the New Columbia Encyclopedia of 1975, Liberalism is a "philosophy or movement that has as its aim the development of individual freedoms." The same reference book counterposes Liberalism to conservatism, which is a philosophy opposing social change and supporting the maintenance of the status quo.

MIM does not agree with this simplification, so we speak of both "Liberalism" and "liberalism." There are many conservatives in the world who are "Liberals," but none are "liberals." For example, Liberalism being in favor of individual rights may attack the state and other organizations claiming privileges higher than individual rights. The doctrine of "laissez-faire" economics belongs in Liberalism, which is one reason that many conservatives are also Liberals, if they live in societies where they believe they have a "free market" worth defending. The individual right to trade and conduct business without state interference is common to much conservatism and Liberalism. Many other people believe they have individual "free speech" rights that they want to maintain as part of the status quo. Hence, we say there can be conservative Liberals and liberal Liberals.

The belief in reforms of the system to improve individual rights is "liberalism"--of the FDR, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone variety. These "liberals" may attack laissez-faire economics and encourage use of the state to create a better situation of individual rights. Government-sponsored affirmative action programs or consumer protection agencies set out to improve an existing situation, where liberals see injustice that prevents the existence of individual rights.

This advertisement for a shopping mall is a general statement of Liberal principles--whether it be shopping, abortion or the romance culture. This bull is shopping for a mate among a herd of females. The ad reads: "Knowing he could choose only one did not diminish Mr. Wendell's satisfaction in making that choice."

Often times crude conservatives or reactionaries disguised as conservatives attack liberals as being indistinguishable from socialists and communists. The accusations are almost always false, but there are some circumstances in which liberals, socialists and communists share some similarities. 1) All three derive from the Enlightenment and a belief that humyn-beings can improve, make progress. Conservatives think that such efforts backfire. 2) All three of the liberals, socialists and communists have some notion of the people's interests or popular input as being higher than that of a particular authority. 3) All three are likely to look at causes of humyn behavior as the Enlightenment taught. Communists look at systems that cannot change by individual initiative while liberals tend to see problems caused by incorrect policies or lifestyles in good systems.

Those lumping together liberalism and communism are often big trouble with crazy political assumptions. Real conservative Liberals in an imperialist country would not lump together liberalism and communism. Historically, the first to lump these ideas together would be the monarchists and the papists (Pope-followers.) Of course for many monarchists (supporters of government by kings) and Pope-followers, following their leader comes before individual rights, so they distrust Liberalism. In Spain, this fact became very relevant as a rough alliance of Liberals, socialists and communists had to fight a pope-backed fascist named Franco in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1938.

Since the rule of kings has generally decreased over time, we call those who want to go back to following kings "reactionary." A reactionary is someone who wants to go backward in time to a supposedly better organization of society in the past. Often times, a reactionary is willing to sacrifice individual rights to be rid of anti-social behavior-- crime for example. "Innocent till proven guilty" is a Liberal idea that reactionaries do not accept.

The most extreme reactionaries are fascists. Fascists do not believe policies, lifestyles or economic systems are the real problem. For fascists, ridding the world of various people instead of social causes of problems is the solution. At various times, fascists have suggested wiping out Jews, Blacks and all non-Aryan peoples. According to Mussolini, fascism holds that war is the highest essence of the humyn species. Hence according to fascism, purifying racial violence, repression and war are what make the humyn great.

Reactionaries usually see no evil in starvation, homelessness and poor medical care, but they do chafe against divorce, crime and pornography. Communists also have little tolerance for the causes of crime or pornography; hence, "ultra-conservatives" or reactionaries who want to ban pornography may have something in common with communists, because communists do not put the individual right to have pornography above the right to live without its influence. It's a question of intolerance, which is a synonym for being illiberal.

Liberals and communists disagree, because communists want to overthrow the economic system causing social problems while liberal Liberals want to reform the economic system. Liberals are also tolerant of oppression from our Maoist point of view. Even liberal Liberals tend to believe that they should alternate in power with conservatives and reactionaries. Together they try to save the capitalist system from inevitable doom.

Since Marx, we communists have often said that political Liberalism cannot come about in the conditions of capitalism. When we see the "Patriot Act" and record imprisonment rates, we have to realize that they come about through fear-mongering by politicians incapable of solving the underlying social problems. The reason fascists and other reactionaries succeed in their attacks on individual rights in this year 2003 is that the conditions for political Liberalism do not exist yet. Currently the rhetoric of individual rights only masks the existence of group oppressions--by class, nation and gender.

The U.S. Civil War was organized violence, very repressive--but it created conditions for eliminating one kind of oppression. Like the abolitionists in their day, we communists are intolerant of political beliefs which call for sacrificing survival rights--food, shelter, clothing and basic medicine. Once the people become sufficiently intolerant of starvation, homelessness and disease, they can create "the dictatorship of the proletariat." After a period of such repression in the dictatorship of the proletariat, it may become unthinkable to profit from starvation just as it became unthinkable to have slaves. When violation of minority survival rights is intolerable in practice, we practice socialism. When hunger, homelessness etc. become unthinkable, then we can have communism and political Liberalism, because no one would think of using individual rights to squelch someone else's survival rights.