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.

Mid-month update

by PIRAO chief, April 15, 2004

I. Prisons and mass line
II. Web page backlog

I. Prisons and mass line
I don't know if we are always going to do these mid-month updates, but this month I have to make self-criticism.

Here at MIM, I'm in charge of what we call infrastructural things, some nitty-gritty stuff. I'm also given a mandate to describe some things that the party does numerically-speaking; even though we always warn people that "ideological and political line is decisive" as Mao said. It's a tricky job, because we don't want to encourage "pragmatism," which is the philosophy saying do whatever gets numbers, because then we'd be handing out pizza and beer as our sole activity. It's also a problem, because we do not want to compromise security.

Because of the specific responsibilities that I have, I have to make a big self-criticism for a problem in our prisons work so far in 2004. It's my fault that prisoners have not received enough MIM Notes, because I am in charge of some aspects of that work which failed. We have only just made some progress in correcting this problem.

Despite my ideological weakness in prisons work, the mass line as practiced by MIM and its circles goes forward in prison work at all times. There has yet to be a moment where all of MIM's prison work went backwards. It's almost too good to be true dialectically-speaking. On a continuous basis, the Prison Ministry interacts with prisoners and practices a mass line with them, because they are what Lenin and Mao referred to as "masses." There are millions of prisoners and ex-prisoners and we at MIM are far from able to do all the work necessary to communicate with prisoners, expose the prison conditions, expose the fact that imperialism cannot solve the crime and false imprisonment problem and bring outside protests and legal help to bear.

The bourgeois opportunists always tell us that there's "nothing to do" if we don't dedicate ourselves to getting double digit raises for the Amerikan petty-bourgeoisie. The Black Panther Party already proved in the 1960s that there is no need to cater to the labor aristocracy and still it is possible to do more work and get more done toward the goal of ending exploitation than the Democrats, social-democrats and social-imperialists catering to the white "working" class. The Black Panthers had a prison outreach program and this is something that we at MIM also have. It's not like MIM is adopting a practice with an unproven track record.

The numbers connected to MIM's Prison Ministry demonstrate what Lenin referred to by "masses." Less than a year ago in April 2003, the number of visitors to our prisons agitation web section alone was 1668. In March 2004, it was already 2902, up 74% in less than a year. Though we are going up fast in this department, there is no shortage of work to be done and if we dedicated our whole party and had all other parties inside u.$. borders calling themselves "Marxist" work on this question alone, we still wouldn't be doing enough.

When I foul up the MIM Notes, it breaks one chain link in the mass line interaction, but as this case demonstrates, where there is a mass line, one comrade cannot really break it. Marx, Lenin, Mao and MIM Theory books always go into the prisons year-round thanks to the Prison Ministry. Prisoners have also always gone to great lengths to circulate MIM Notes, even when a half year went between publications (inside and outside the walls), so there was always a sense in which MIM could not screw up. The prisoners would not let it happen. That's what we mean by "masses." There has to be some interest there in revolutionary politics. It is not possible to practice "mass line" with a group of the population that is going to absorb what you say and only chew on it or scoff. It has to be more interactive than that and genuine communists will never be able to get something good going on an interactive basis consistently with exploiters. The mass line breaks down and trying to implement it with exploiters only corrupts the line of those so-called communists attempting it. Representing exploiters also makes it impossible to carry out the mass line, and that is why MIM has long had the best prison outreach program inside u.$. borders, putting more famous organizations like Amnesty International to shame. There is no where else that one can get an overall report on censorship in Amerikan prisons but the Maoist Internationalist Movement Prison Ministry.

II. Web page backlog

Contrary to the bourgeois opportunist line that representing the interests of the international proletariat in our line is suicidal or crazy, MIM actually does not have any problem getting input from the masses. Quite the contrary, we cannot keep up, so we do have profound problems, but it's not what the hardened bourgeois democrats would think. Although the Amerikan "left" thinks we are among the most "far" out, the question is always removed from, isolated or distant from whom. Our constant initiative and aggressive drive attracts a response from the public that we cannot keep up with--contrary to those who see the mass line as an excuse to wait for fascists, police and white workers to wake up.

Right now, we have people sending us music and video arts that are backlogged and not appearing on the web page. Part of the problem is a security problem. MIM email addresses are being spoofed hundreds of thousands of times by hostile reactionaries trying to anger the people at MIM. It is not just MIM either. Ralph Nader has reported the same thing and has recommended a website to understand this problem.

As a result, for most people, it is not a good idea to download anything but an .html or text file of some kind. The .pif and .scr files are the worst for viruses. One of our comrade organizations internationally just had a computer out of action for a long bit thanks to viruses passed. So the enemy is succeeding somewhat in slowing down our technical work. We actually are not in a position at the moment to handle the music and video files we receive confidently. We will, but not yet.

The interesting thing about this being a security problem and the enemy's extensive and hard-working attack is that again, it proves that the problem is not that MIM's line is "too hard." We would also be putting up everything on the web page if we had the technical people resources at the party center to figure out how to counter all the attacks on our security, our readers' security and public opinion propagation. People are contributing to what we are doing, but it is the party, the initiative of the communists including the technological experts and intellectuals that is at fault for why we do not have an instant solution for some of these attacks.

MIM is also failing our French-speaking comrades at the moment, because Notes Rouges is not coming out as fast as it should. Work on the next issue of Notes Rouges has already commenced. MIM has already proved that it's possible to take an uncompromising line with respect to class, nation and gender questions and still have our hands full.

I hope that by this report to have apologized for ideological shortcomings in prisons work and also to have explained in a publicly accountable way what is really going on in the relationship between initiative and leadership in the party.