Marxists Caught in a Web

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Issue: 
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On behalf of the volunteers running the Marxists' Internet Archive I would like to thank Martin Empson and 'Socialist Review' for the friendly review of the archive in the Martin's Web column (April SR). However, I would like to correct one impression created by the article.

Martin says that 'the MIA is very eclectic in its choice of Marxists to be archived. So Stalin and Mao's work sit uneasily beside that of Marx, Engels, Trotsky and Lenin.' This is not strictly true. In the introduction to the archive we state our criteria for categorising writers: 'If any of the following criteria apply the MIA Collective may decide to place the writer in the Reference Archive... (iii) their work is practically and theoretically unconnected or hostile toward the workers' movement...' A footnote makes clear what this means: 'In line with these criteria Stalin and Mao have been placed in the Reference Archive as a result of previous decisions taken by the MIA Collective.'

I think this makes clear that we don't place Stalin or Mao on the same plane as Marx, Engels, Lenin or Trotsky. We have included them because of their negative influence on the socialist movement and because it is difficult to understand the development of the movement if we exclude them. We also include Eduard Bernstein for the same reasons.

I would also draw attention to the James Connolly Internet Archive, the largest collection of his writings available anywhere. This can be found at www.marxists.org.uk. And we also have a selection of articles by Tony Cliff at www.marxists.org.uk

If any readers would like to support our work a CD of the contents of the archive is available for $30 (details at www.marxists.org). We also welcome volunteers (www.marxists.org) who are prepared to provide us with texts or to do mark-up.

Einde O'Callaghan
Germany