In the imperialist countries it's possible to waste a lot of time with infiltrators and wannabes without skills or determination. A persyn with determination can always help the revolutionary movement. For example, say you want to distribute MIM Notes in London. There are two ways: one is to imagine that the Party Center can arrange it all for you, so you write to the Party Center and complain that X is not being done. Another way is to find someone to fund it yourself, download our .pdf files and print and hand them out yourselves. (Anyone wanting to do this: we can send you the most up-to-date .pdf on request.)
The Web Ministry receives tens of thousands of messages in a year. Happily, many of the questions of a FAQ nature have gone away, answered on our web page. On the other hand, the more MIM expands, the more questions we will get. We hope that people can appreciate the nature of this difficulty and what it means given our leadership shortage.
People who want to put something on the MIM web page are best off just sending the whole document in .html or whatever it is they are working with. For example, much of the art work and animations you see from mousnonya on our Art Page arrived in the Web Ministry mailbox, completely done. It's not that MIM ignores people: we simply do not have the leaders to be able to interact with everyone properly. The simple fact is that the more supervision or even communication a persyn requires, the less likely MIM is going to be able to work together. To catch MIM's attention to work together for the long haul, start and complete something.
MIM always offers translators in new languages to look at what we have on our web page and then decide for themselves what they would like to see translated. Comrades should decide for themselves what is effective and therefore what is a priority for translation. MIM will also make suggestions, but will probably not interact as much as some people writing to us would like. Comrades in several different languages simply send in documents fully translated to [email protected]
We are working with a Palestinian comrade translating the works of Mao into Arabic. An example of what it's really like: the comrade asked us the word for "revisionism" in Arabic, and the Web Minister and International Minister simply do not know. Anyone having a fantasy about some 9-5 MIM staff with tons of money and all skills will be sadly disappointed. On the plus side, we waste no money on staff and hence we do not need money so badly that we will compromise with a trade union or some such organization to get it. MIM has proved that it is possible to put out the "hard-line" and expand influence dramatically. Our success depends on the fighting initiative of communists who make sure they get their work into the MIM center.
If you ever wondered how all those language documents got up there on the web page, don't credit the party center except for a little coordination, occasional editing and technical aid. Those documents get there because people decide the world cannot live without them and they send them in fully translated. MIM party leaders do not walk translators through it step-by-step.
MIM receives much mail from people who do not read our web page. Directions for ordering MIM Theory are clearly indicated on the MIM Theory web pages. Yet every month we receive messages from people asking information that is already on the web page.
MIM Notes has had a distribution policy up on the web page since at least November 19, 2002. But even now in late March we find that some of our own comrades never read it. MIM Notes distribution policy
We also have a bookstore for more literature. People should not ask for individual attention to receive a book and as we say where our old catalog used to be: don't ask for a catalog either!
When MIM receives money, MIM sends papers out. People who distribute MIM Notes tend to have their act together. They send money AND we see results from their work. In some cases of course we have to feel badly for people who do not have money, but that then is another task obviously necessary to the movement, a task that can become foremost--finding someone to fund MIM Notes distribution in a locality. The question is never an individual question, but from the point of view of a class. A comrade in London may have no money, but that is not an answer to what needs to be done. The conclusion should not be to give up until the Party Center send the papers but to find someone who will fund the papers. The comrade without money in London needs to realize that the principal obstacle s/he faces is political, man-made and needs to be confronted as a foremost political task.
In this Iraq War, it's natural that the MIM must step up its efforts to influence the anti-war movement. We have set new records for MIM Notes distribution.
Yet some of our comrades do not send in money on time or at all after promising it. In times like these, it's not surprising that that results in a breakdown somewhere. Delivering promised funds is not a question of having a 9-5 bureaucrat calling you every time. We ask our comrades to get in the money without making it another task for the party center to hunt you down.
This is another thing where the "what if everyone did that" question comes up. If everyone needing to send in dues or distribute papers created an individual headache for the Party Center, we would not get much done. We'd have to send out form letters.
Most people in the imperialist countries are used to seeking numbers for electoral battles. As a result, polite unity has come at the cost of effectiveness in many movements for peace and justice.
From necessity, MIM has to have people who are effective on a per-comrade basis. There won't be any other choice--at least until this current anti-war movement ferments and creates new comrades. That means that MIM seeks to influence the most people possible per comrade. We don't have time for kissing babies and such opportunism. As a result, we design our policies to anticipate certain problems with the masses and to solve them in the least time. It's a matter of generalizing from practice and having some foresight.
The MIM line on imperialist countries would not be correct in oppressed nations where the party's numerical influence is greater. In many places there are enough comrades to address people's questions face-to-face. That's not our situation here in North America where spaces are large and communists few. We are making up the large spaces disadvantage with the Internet: the answers to people's questions on line, history and even how to organize are all there on our web page, all two gigabytes worth.
From the point-of-view of outsiders, we often see a hobbling fear of being "taken" by MIM, a volunteer organization paying for its own newspapers and leaflets. Usually this betrays a lower-middle-class line ready to jump out as anarchism of the leaders-exploit-us variety--even in a volunteer party with no paid positions and no subscriptions paying for papers.
We've got people who have to send us 5 messages to receive one magazine. Others ask us for information to see if we are real despite the huge quantity of material on the web page obviously generated by someone. (It's about 2 gigabytes.) Other people withhold their $50 in fear that MIM does not really exist or something like that. Yet, effective work is not $50 one time. It is every week or month for a lifetime. People need to take that risk to get something started with MIM. People serious about commitment realize that sending $50 to a completely non-existent organization is nothing compared with the risk of missing the boat. The real estate banker/mortgage lender has that figured out too. They'll give out "free closings" for the long term benefit of receiving interest. Hence people who do not risk something up front are also revealing something about themselves. They either do not value their own long-term contributions or they are not serious.