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.
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

March 2005, Central Task Report

by PIRAO Chief, April 2, 2005

  • See previous Central Task reports
  • See also overall situation of prison censorship and prison struggle

    MIM's central task: "to create public opinion and the independent institutions of the oppressed to seize power."

    Summary statistics comparing March 2004 and March 2005

    Statistic March 2004 March 2005 % change (except where otherwise indicated)
    Number of different computers MIM served*** 51399 70046 +36%
    Avg. MIM pages served per day*** 4435 4729 +7%
    MIM data transferred 143 megabytes/day 320 megabytes/day +124%
    MIM Notes (English) printed copies compared with pre-911=100 222 222
    All language newspapers printed copies compared with pre-911=100 222 222
    Number of top 53 cites of U.$/Kanada receiving at least 1000 MIM Notes** 8 7
    MIM prison circulation averaged over two months Jan 2002=100 0 103
    Number of Art page users 16665 13532 -19%
    Number of different MIM web page files actively chosen from 4859 5661 +17%
    *This report excludes all art, and most robots and developer hits.
    **Top 50 U.$. cities plus Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto
    ***Excluding any IP address that takes more than 1000 MIM documents; even though this will wrongly exclude dedicated users and networks/proxies.

    Two dogmas of dogmatic reformism and dogmatic opportunism

    This month I would like to use the statistics in this report to handle two common dogmas without a basis of fact thrown at MIM. The first that we often hear is that we "preach to the converted," which means that we write and speak in such a way with such an extremism that the only people paying attention are the ones who already agree with us. It's called "preaching to the choir." Recently a blogger in Japan criticized MIM along these lines, but that kind of incorrect criticism has been going on since the early 1980s.

    The predecessors to MIM formed their organization largely thanks to this one criticism that it heard in bourgeois circles used to cover up bourgeois opportunism and outright careerism. This is the excuse of the fearful and career-oriented who need to explain why they are not effective the way Ward Churchill is.

    Anyone following these central task reports has to handle some basic fact. If MIM only preaches to the "converted," then the converted grow by leaps and bounds each year. However, for the ranks of the "converted" to grow, one has to draw from un-converted people. Thus, we can safely say that the central task report rebuts conclusively with general factual information the dogma that revolutionaries only "preach to the converted." This is especially true since MIM Internet readership grows faster than corporate readership growth.

    On the other side, to justify opportunism, there are those critics calling themselves Marxist who say MIM "writes off" people. This criticism is actually very similar to the dogma of opportunism that paints everything political as if it were from the
    Political Machine
    video game in which the goal is for a presidential candidate to get elected by pandering to what people already think. It's important to understand the paradox of dogmatic opportunism: Amerikans have managed to raise opportunism to a principle that can be expressed in video game form with underlying mathematical/programming precision.

    In truth, for party-building purposes, MIM does "write off" people in a sweeping manner. People who do not have a correct line on capitalist restoration or the difference between exploiters and exploited have to be written off for party-building purposes--and as Lenin said, ever more forcefully in the imperialist countries. However, as MIM has said for many years now, our central task is not party-building. As we have said before, there is nothing stopping anyone from reading and studying the MIM website and freely offered newspapers. Anyone can also order our theory magazines from Amazon. So, even people who degenerate or people who MIM purge can participate in MIM's central task. In that sense, there is never anyone written off. The task of defending Marxism against revisionist trash and the task of public opinion building overlap, but they are not exactly the same thing.

    Technical issues in estimating MIM readership

    This month I was preparing the technical means for keeping this report conservative when a few interesting points jumped out. In fact, this month I changed the definition of our report yet again but in line with keeping the focus on our primary goal for the Five Year Plan--number of readers.

    At MIM we have always warned people not to generalize based on persynal subjective experiences. There is no way to accurately do that. We can only generalize about others when we have sufficient experience to justify doing so. A persyn here and a persyn there is no way to draw a generalization.

    The flip-side of the same error of coming to conclusions on the basis of persynal experience with a few individuals is denigrating statistical knowledge as in this report. The truth is that I come up with programming guidelines to make this report conservative. We do not track down every individual and ask each what s/he was really intending when they used the MIM website. It's not possible. However, it's important not to use that as an excuse to go back to subjectivist experience as the touchstone.

    This month, I prepared a further crackdown on possible exaggeration in the MIM report. As a result, our files taken per day have taken a big dive without changing the number of users nearly as decisively. This month, I realized I should show readers of this report a little of how we go through these numbers.

    Our main report excludes graphics and arts users. After we have excluded those people, we have people taking 13,214 files per day. However, I only report 4,729 files per day. The most important reason is that we exclude hundreds of the most heavy users of our website--the most famous of which are Google and Yahoo. This month I took another 112 users out of our report in addition to the users already excluded based on prior programming.

    We do not want to count users such as Google in our statistics; even though Google is obviously very important, because Google usage is not exactly what we mean by our central task. It's not that the professionals at Google sit there and read MIM material; although they could be and certainly do to at least a limited extent for their business.

    Unfortunately, with programming and the general difficulty of numerical knowledge, I exclude Google but also some legitimate users as well. The most troublesome along these lines are certain networks. For example, I exclude Stanford University. A computer drawing files for many users is not going to show up in the MIM report. One such user for Asia alone was our most significant user newly excluded in this report, accounting for over 20% of MIM website megabytes taken. An example where this would happen and that we have seen is where a class of hundreds meeting in Taiwan uses the MIM website.

    It may be that my crackdown on exaggeration disproportionately affects the group-oriented Asian users on networks. This month there were at least 8 Chinese websites involving at least hundreds of readers each which used and referred to the MIM website. There were many smaller ones as well.

    For the first time, I stumbled across a means of estimating how much my programming crackdown on exaggeration may be throwing out legitimate users. The restrictions I added for this month reduced the number of times people took the "Some People Push Back" essay by Ward Churchill from over 900 to over 600. There could be two interpretations of that statistic: 1) I excluded networks/proxies amounting to 300 users; 2) I found ten new imitations of Google putting Ward Churchill's speech in hard drive storage each of 30 days in the month.

    Because previous programs from previous central task reports excluded news-oriented robots sent from Google and the like, I was skeptical of explanation number two. On the other hand, because Ward Churchill is in the news so much lately, one might think that his words are drawing more attention from robots than usual.

    The next fact I stumbled on tends to support that my programming is underestimating MIM readership by over a third. On our FAQ page is an essay titled "All sex is rape" that loses over 40% of its traffic when we add the new restrictions. Since that essay is old and we have not had much new activity with the FAQ page, and since Google robots dedicated to news would not touch that page for example, it seems likely to me that that 40% loss is from network/proxy users that I have to exclude in order to exclude others like Google. (This is not the same "issue" as the fact that some networks store copies of our pages and then serve them to many other computers.)

    An important lesson from all this is that just because I do not track down all our users across the world we are not helpless. We all need to get used to dealing with general numerical knowledge instead of relying on concrete individual knowledge. The statistics within the report are not all the same thing, so we can use them to confirm or deny various hypotheses about what is happening--based on the internal consistency and logic of the report.

    All along we have told people that there are drawbacks to our primary measurement goal for the central task: some computers serve more than one persyn and some computers store our material not for the consumption of the computer's owner, as in cases like Google. Combined with the numbers on files taken though, we can use the number of computers statistic with more insight. Although we do not report it, it seems probable to me that we crossed the 100,000 users a month threshold this spring. When we prepare the programming for this report, we see the world getting more and more complex with more networks and more challengers to Yahoo/Google etc. and we get an idea how our decisions could be underestimating or overestimating readers.

    On the possibilities of underestimating our readership, the number of files taken would tend to imply that MIM readership could be three times greater than I present in the table above without making much use of the cache argument involving networks. That latter technical fact makes the risk of underestimating readers theoretically infinite. That sort of cache problem cannot be resolved to my knowledge within the knowledge of this report or anyone else's report using the same data. We could only catch on to something like that if the number of people buying our magazines started exceeding the number of website readers for example--just as a hypothetical example of how we could use outside knowledge to confirm or deny the central tenets of this report.

    On the other hand, in terms of overestimating our readers, we know that Google will alone take more than 6500 files from the website each month. That latter problem is why I have devised the conservative programming techniques that we use excluding all the heaviest users in a month. The same approach to a problem can result in both overestimation and underestimation of readers and that's the sort of quandary that we hope our scientifically-minded party circles get used to living with.