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

Properly assessing the importance of migrants and their scientific communist role:

Migrants in communist history

*See MIM's article on the theory of the productive forces as it applies in the imperialist countries
*Read a discussion on the adverse effect of Trotskyism on the migrant question

Student, peasant and worker migration to the united $tates continually sets new records, if not in percentage of the population inside u.$. borders, then by absolute numbers. The number of foreign students in graduate schools recently declined but only slightly: "New foreign-student enrollment in U.S. graduate student programs dropped this fall, according to two recent reports.

"The decline is sure to fuel heated debates about the role of international students in U.S. graduate programs, whether a technology talent shortage looms and how to preserve the country's long-term technological leadership. Foreign students make up a large chunk of the students in U.S. graduate programs in technology-related fields." (1)

Despite hype about foreign students being the basis of terrorism in the united $tates, the U.$. government has not had a drastic cutback: "The number of foreign students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions during the 2004- 2005 academic year remained fairly steady at 565,039, down 1.3 percent from the previous year's totals, according to the Institute of International Education's (IIE) 2005 report on international academic mobility." (2) As with free trade and free labor movement, free academic movement leads to advantages for imperialism that it cannot easily give up.

While students and academics from abroad inside u.$. borders surpass half a million, the number of migrant workers is in the several millions. Together, they are not enough to overthrow the government of the united $tates from within, but MIM develops below why that is the wrong way, a non-internationalist way of looking at the question.

The left-wing of the white nationalist movement often asks MIM, what could possibly be the point of an imperialist country movement without white nationalists. Some believe it is somehow tactically smart to ignore the flow of surplus-value, the class structure--in other words, the very question of exploitation itself-- simply because telling the truth about the extent of exploiters in the imperialist countries would mean alienating the majority of the population.

The white nationalists fail to see that the Third World is the vast majority of the global population. The influence of Western communists on Third World communists is also the largest part of Western communist influence. That is unfortunate in many regards, but it is a fact, because Western communists have little influence on Western so-called workers in 2006.

In this short article, we re-examine the history of the communist movement since 1917 with a focus on understanding the impact of going to the West on communist leaders. By remembering a few exceptional individuals who received communist influence in the West at a young age, we can see that even just a handful of individuals ended up being more important to the communist movement than all the combined class struggles of the oppressor nation petty-bourgeoisie.

Our own teachers

Marx, Engels and Lenin are all known to have travelled and lived in various places in Western Europe. Contrariwise, Stalin and Mao were revolutionary individuals without direct Western exposure. Hence, if we only think about Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, we may make an error and fail to perceive the importance of migrants, unless we count Lenin as a migrant or exile.

On the whole, the idea that migrants do not play a role in communist revolution is wrong. Much of the leadership of communist and anti-imperialist movements has come from people who directly lived in the West before going back to their countries.


Enver Hoxha first learned of the Bolshevik Revolution in a French high school in Albania. He studied briefly in France and subsequently worked in Brussels. His first communist lessons and his own first articles on Albania came with the French Communist Party. He ended up spending six years in France and Belgium.(3) Hoxha led a revolution in Albania and established socialism there before going into a revisionst direction. Hoxha was nonetheless an example of the success of our movement and gives us an idea of what kind of influence it is possible to have in the West.


A Western academic named Scalapino has recognized that there was something important about direct Western exposure to the background of communist leaders in the Chinese Revolution of 1949. Like a large chunk of Amerikan area studies experts, Scalapino cut his teeth for military intelligence. His April 1964 work on Zhou Enlai in Africa was with funding from the U.S. Air Force through a Rand corporation contract. Scalapino went on to teach at Berkeley.

What may surprise readers is that Deng Xiaoping's daughter acknowledged the questions Scalapino was interested in. Deng Maomao quoted Mao from "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship," "Chinese who then sought progress would read any book containing the new knowledge from the West. The number of students sent to Japan, Britain, the United States, France and Germany was amazing."(4)

Deng Maomao went on to explain that the revolution against the monarchy at the bourgeois stage of revolution in China came from Zou Rong, Qiu Jin, Chen Tianhua, Huang Xing and Dr. Sun Yat-sen. All of these people either studied or lived in Japan. That was 20,000 students at the time.(5)

After the Revolution of 1911 which signalled the downfall of the empire, the next wave of migrants produced a large part of the future of China. The people Deng Maomao mentions among the 378 students in France by 1920 is a virtual "Who's Who." Chen Yi, Nie Rongzhen and Deng Xiaoping all went to France in that time period. Chen Yi became foreign minister and Nie was a marshall who lived next door to Deng. Inseparable from Mao in the public's eyes in the early years of the Chinese revolution, military leader Zhu De studied in Germany and worked with Zhou Enlai. Anyone who denigrated the idea of capturing the minds of just 378 students would have missed out on Chen Yi, Deng Xiaoping, Nie Rongzhen etc.

Zhou Enlai made it to France in December 1920. He was the elder of the bunch and one of the few who knew he wanted to study communism even before he arrived in France. For the most part Deng Maomao says the youth who went were "progressive," not even beginning communists yet.

Zhou Enlai groomed Deng Xiaoping to be his successor in the 1970s just as he had in France in the 1920s. Deng Xiaoping assisted Zhou Enlai as a professional revolutionary starting in 1923. Deng became a communist in France.

What we need to understand about a large share of the leaders who helped Mao to liberate China in 1949 is that they learned their communism from French communists. The French communists themselves, the people who made Marxism available did not have as much impact in France as the few Chinese they worked with did in China. The Comintern-loyal Communist Party of France has a good case for being one of the most influential communist parties in history.

Ghana and Zanzibar

Scalapino identified for Amerikan intelligence that there was an opportunity in Ghana, Mali and Guinea; even though in 1964 Nkrumah was in his hey day: " Much of the culture of societies like Ghana, Mali and Guinea is still Western derived, and many of the elite are Western in their educational backgrounds, in some of their ways of life, modes of expression and so forth. It is, I think, very false to assume that Nkrumah is Ghana. Despite the fact that he runs Ghana --a not inconsiderable fact--there are large numbers of the Ghanian elite who are much more moderate politically, much more oriented toward the West."(6) Scalapino even picked up on the idea that China saw Nkrumah as not a scientific socialist, but an independent progressive. Of course, Scalapino turned out correct as Nkrumah ended up sidelined from his country and he had to make self-criticism for lacking sufficient negative energy to keep his country on course.

Nkrumah had gone to both the United $tates and England and like many other important people was part of the Pan-African Congress and W.E.B DuBois's circles.

Scalapino also met Babu before he came to power in revolution in Zanzibar. Babu admitted to receiving money from Mao's government. Yet even Scalapino did not find himself overly focussed on that: "He didn't come to Marxism via Peking but rather through the London School of Economics, like many other Afro-Asian intellectuals." A generation later, MIM later met Babu and gave him a book on the restoration of capitalism in China, which he agreed with. For a period of time, Babu held government offices and influence in Africa.


In Japan's first Bolshevik movement, Western comrades played an influential role. Nosaka Sanzo (mark over the "o"), wrote that IWW publications and Edward Bellamy got him started on the communist road. He went to England and joined the British Communist Party the year it started in 1920.(7)

While China had it's May 4th Movement, Japan of the same period had no comparable mainstream of intellectuals. According to Scalapino, "the Japanese Marxist movement itself was an overseas movement to a substantial extent. It's main adherents were overseas students or refugees."(7) Katayama was the name of a Japanese Marxist-Leninist who found his way through San Francisco and New York. He met Trotsky, Bukharin and Kollantai. He was there when the Communist Party of America started in 1919.(7) Scalapino refers to him as the leading communist of all Asia at that time. In 1921, he became chairman of the Far Eastern People's Congress set up by Lenin.


The same exact concerns as Chinese had drove Vietnamese out of Vietnam to seek answers in the West. MIM has already covered how Ho Chi Minh as a youth seemed to be everywhere--at Comintern meetings and Marcus Garvey meetings in Harlem. Anyone who reads about Ho and cannot see the possibility for influence from the West has to be crazy.


It's hard not to notice that the Chinese who went to France formed a revisionist cabal later in life. They all played great roles assisting Mao in the revolution of 1949. Then they started to put the brakes on socialism after 1956. With Mao gone, Zhou Enlai's old comrades from France days restored capitalism.

Some of the things about the West that create an impression MIM cannot do anything about. According to his daughter, Deng Xiaoping was quite impressed with the ship that took him to France in 1920 and he used it against Mao's wife Jiang Qing and told the story "more than once": "'They [the so-called Gang of Four] bragged so much about a ship with a tonnage of 10,000 tons. I told them that there was no need to brag. As early as 1920, when I went to France, the ship I took weighed several times more than that!"(5) Deng Maomao says explicitly that Deng looked down on Jiang Qing for that.

So was Jiang Qing just some hick from the backwaters of China who does not know that there are boats bigger than 10,000 tons or are Western communists going to have something to say about that. That is the real significance of MIM.

We cannot do anything about the fact that Deng Xiaoping rode on a boat bigger than anything China built by a certain year. However, we hold it against his Marxist training that he could not process that fact in another way. We Marxists needed to get to him at an early age with the correct scientific explanations of economic development.

The training that people from oppressed and exploited countries need is not to become admirers of the Western labor aristocracy and its living standard. That is false internationalism based on an un-Marxist idea of economic development and it's key that we understand this little incongruity within Marxism. An easy-going and thoughtless internationalism says there is a white proletariat, but what we really need is for the Deng Xiaopings to go back to their countries and be more nationalist than they were when they first arrived in the West. We should in no way trust Third World leaders who do not ask for the proper level of reparations. These are likely the ones who later will be saying we can just copy the West to develop in the Third World, as if every country should empty a continent of slaves, kill off the indigenous people and import sub-minimum wage migrant coolies and other workers.

Specifically it is MIM's challenge that these Third World comrades go back understanding the full extent of reparations due to the Third World. The lack of economic development in the Third World is not from not copying French ships and culture as Deng Xiaoping believed. The lack of economic development in Marxism is tied into the labor theory of value--the imperialist exploitation of the Third World and imperialism's support for backward institutions.

The whole theory of the productive forces criticized by Mao and put forward by Zhou Enlai's cabal originated in the West. It finds easy and unconscious acceptance by those Western workers seeking to justify higher wages. The labor aristocracy imagines that it is possible under capitalism to increase labor productivity ad infinitum, because unconsciously the exploiter classes have bought into what Marx (not Mao) called the theory of the productive forces.

It's easy to see that in France, there was a vibrant communist movement at that time compared with today. At the same time, we can well imagine that the quality was not necessarily high, especially given the quantity. There is a real possibility that had someone struggled with Zhou and Deng in France, they may have had a different future. For example, had the French class struggle gone differently and if at least a theoretician had exposed what Marx called the theory of productive forces, as it existed in the French class struggle, then Zhou and Deng could have turned out differently. As it was, Zhou and Deng had to learn French and work part-time. Then they had to explain totally new concepts to Chinese people. Although the Chinese directly assisted in struggles in France and also Germany, their main impact was to be in China--and thus the main thing they took with them from France was theory.

What Western communists should not give to future Ho Chi Minhs

Today most Third World peoples can teach other Third World people Marxism. Translations have been done and spread.

Nonetheless, while they are abroad, Chinese and other Third World people are open to influence. It is not necessarily the case that we track down migrants and have face-to-face influence. Nor will migrants necessarily spend much time thinking about Western communists. Probably most influences are indirect. It is important to avoid mechanical sociology that leads directly to identity politics and other maladies. The MIM line is already designed coherently to deal with the future Ho Chi Minhs. It only needs to be taken out and spread.

The role MIM can play has both domestic and international components. With regard to domestic politics, MIM comrades with real Amerikan background can say with confidence, "no there is nothing there in those Amerikan issues. There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Amerikans do not have profound reasons for making gun control and abortion their two perennial time-wasters." Otherwise, intellectually open comrades may really wonder if there is something cultural they do not understand going on there. So it is important that born-and-raised Amerikans spell out what is decadence, a bourgeois diversion and just not all that important. What the Amerikan or other imperialist population majority cares about has to be put far on the back-burner and only explained relative to the question of international exploitation.

Internationally, we demonstrate that people of any background can understand scientific communism. More importantly, we bring imperialist country knowledge to bear on how much exploitation of the Third World goes on.

Brain Drain

The student who went abroad and returned home out of patriotic fervor is not necessarily the most common. We also have the "brain drain," in which rich countries allow poor countries to pay for secondary education and then gain all the benefits of that persyn's life. Migrant workers also set up their own businesses in the imperialist countries.

Today, many of the migrants we talk to will end up settling down in the imperialist countries. Some will end up with no progressive ideas and seek only to live higher living standards than they would in the Third World. A minority will believe that they will be aiding a revolution that starts in the West as Trotsky and most Western parties encourage them to believe. A small minority will go back to the Third World and have a profound effect. That small minority is still easily worth more to MIM than the entire white so-called worker struggle.


Marxism is not one huge disjunction between theory and strategy. Telling tactical white lies to flatter the Archie Bunkers only confuses the new Ho Chi Minhs within our reach.

There has been no oppressor nation socialist revolution in the most advanced countries. There has been no successful revolution against either imperialist bourgeois democracy or imperialist fascism. There was only a revolution against the weakest imperialist, Russia, and it was a monarchy that destroyed itself in a world war. There have been revolutions in Albania, China, Vietnam, Korea, Ghana etc. and from the biographies of its leaders, we should not underestimate the importance of MIM's work in the imperialist countries and in particular the importance of quality as opposed to quantity. The quantity exists in the Third World.

1. 5447691.html
3. ;
5. Deng MaoMao, My Father: Deng Xiaoping, pp. 42- 7, 57.
6. Robert A. Scalapino, "On the Trail of Chou En-Lai in Africa," Rand Corporation, RM-4061-PR, April 1964, p. 7. Scalapino reported to the U.$. government what Zhou Enlai's activities were, what literature they were distributing and what the Yugoslavs were saying in Africa against Zhou. He also gave the inside poop on how Zhou's friends in Africa censored his speechs that attacked the U.$. imperialist role in Panama for example.
7. Robert A. Scalapino, The Japanese Communist Movement, 1920-1966 (Berkeley: U. of CA, 1967), p. 5-7.