Marxists Internet Archive
(also known as
) is a
volunteer based non-profit organization that maintains a
multi-lingual Internet archive
writers and other similar authors (socialists
etc.). Established in 1990, the archive is currently among the
largest producers of digital texts by Marxist authors in the
The forerunner of Marxists Internet
archive was the Marx-Engels Archive, established in 1993.
The archive was created in 1990 when a worker — known only by his
Internet nickname, Zodiac — started archiving Marxism by
transcribing the works of Marx
1993 the accumulated text was posted on a website for the first
time. Volunteers joined and helped spread and mirror the main
archive. However, the main website and its mirrors were hosted on
academic servers and by the end of 1995 almost all had been shut
By 1996 the website, Marx.org, was hosted on a commercial internet service provider
was followed by an increased activity from the volunteers. In the
following years, however, a conflict developed between the
volunteers working on the website and Zodiac, who retained control
of the project. As the scope of the archive expanded, Zodiac feared
that the opening toward diverse currents of Marxism
was a "slippery slope" toward sectarianism.
The volunteers who had been doing the work of transcribing texts
resented having little say in how the archive was organized and
run. In early 1998 Zodiac decided that Marx.org would return to its
roots and that all writers other than Marx and Engels would be
In July 1998 the present form of the Marxists Internet Archive
(marxists.org) was created by volunteers transferring files and
archives from Marx.org. This led to a further increase in activity
and an enlargement of the scope of the archive. As for Marx.org,
Zodiac closed it down in 1999, and in 2002 he gave up the domain
name, which was purchased by the MIA.
The website, and the group of volunteers working on it, has
dramatically changed since its early beginnings. By 2007 it had
grown to encompass 62 volunteers in 33 different countries, and
held over 50,000 items in 45 languages covering the works of some
600 authors. Today the Marxists Internet Archive is a recognized
for both Marxist
and non-Marxist writers. It is listed in the OCLC
WorldCat catalog, and has been selected for
archiving by institutions such as the British Library and Ireland's University College Cork.
As with many politically-oriented internet sites, MIA has had it
share of problems with malicious external attacks. Beginning in
November 2006, the Marxists Internet Archive faced a number of
, attempting to exploit a misconfiguration in server's
operating system. By January 2007 the attacks had crippled much of
the archive, and left volunteers with CPU
issues. That the majority of systems involved in the
attack were either in China or belonging to Chinese institutions
led to speculation that the attacks may have been politically
motivated and directed by the People's Republic of China.
The seriousness of the attack, coupled with
other hosting issues, led to the closure of the Marxists Internet
Archive's main server and several of its mirrors for a number of
weeks in February and March 2007. The problem has subsequently been
The MIA is controlled by a steering committee
. The committee decides issues such as
the categorization of writers, modifications to the bylaws
(by 3/4 majority), financial issues of all
kinds, and similar matters. Administrators are unpaid volunteers
who assume additional responsibilities over certain section(s) of
The MIA is
incorporated in the U.S. state of California and registered with the U.S. tax service as a
According to the MIA charter
, its content
will always be offered 100% free. All the material stored in the
archives is either public domain
under the GNU Free
, or used with the copyright holders'
permission. Any work created by MIA volunteers is under the
share-alike 2.0 license.
website is primarily served from a server in California, and five mirrors
exist, two of them in the USA (Texas, and
Virginia), two in
Europe (France, and
Germany), and a further one in Australia.
archive (containing the material on the website) is
also sold, although many copies are distributed every year free of
charge to individuals and groups in developing and underdeveloped
countries. Also, local distribution networks for the
CD version of the archives have been established
in areas of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and South America in
which Internet access is scarce or prohibitively
These measures are not only meant to allow easy access to the
material in the archive, but also as a way of ensuring the
continuity of the archive. As they put it: "If the Archive is shut
down by a publishing conglomerate or the government, having this
information widely dispersed around the world, essentially
untraceable, with the content entirely intact, is a great
MIA as a book publisher
In addition to distribution of its CD/DVD archives, in 2008 the MIA
launched Marxist Internet Archive Publications, which has, as of
August 2009, published five titles in philosophy
, and Soviet psychology and pedagogy, which it
distributes through Erythrós Press.
Most of material on the website is formatted in HTML
, and the style of the documents is determined with
is sometimes used, especially for languages which don't yet have
or OCR software
and style of the archive
varies from one section to the other, depending on the volunteers
who work there, but all are built on a common basic document
archive includes section dedicated to specific historical topics,
such as the history of the Soviet Union and the Paris Commune
as well as broader subject topics, such as philosophy.
It also includes a reference
section called the "Encyclopedia of Marxism," containing
definitions of Marxist terms, short biographies, and historical
The MIA is also divided into a number of non-English language
sections. As of mid-January, 2006, the MIA website included content
in 45 languages. Although each of the non-English sections is
intended over time to replicate the basic structure of the main
(English-language) section, in practice these vary widely in size
and scope. Some of these archives have only a few documents by Marx
and Engels, while others are more extensive — for example, the
section has the complete
collected works of Marx
, and Lenin
- History of MIA, Marxists Internet Archive,
accessed 06 Sept, 2009.
- Nathan Newman, "Marx/Engels WWW Archive - REMOVED (fwd)",
message to PKT Mailing List, 20 Jun 1995 08:07:52 -0700; PKT Mailing List archives, retrieved 6 September
- Martin Empson, "Marxism on the Web", International Socialism
journal no.105 (Jan. 2005)
- Introduction, Marxists Internet Archive, accessed 06
- Mills Kelly, 2003, "Marxists Internet Archive", a review on the World
History Sources website of George Mason University's Center for
History and New Media (Fairfax County, Virginia, USA).
- Stefan Sullivan, Marx for a Post-Communist Era,
Routledge, 2002, p. 173.
- Nestor Kohan and Pier Brito, Marxismo para principiantes:
Leer a Marx desde el Siglo XXI, Era Naciente, Buenos Aires,
2007, p. 191
- Departamento de Filosofía, Universidad de Granada (Spain),
Los mejores portales de filosofía
contemporánea, 20 January, 2009.
- Marxists Internet Archive listing, Online Computer Library
Center (OCLC) Online Union Catalog, added 20 August, 2003;
entry retrieved 7 September, 2009.
- UK Web Archive, British Library, 2005- .
- Archived copy of MIA hosted by University
College Cork's College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social
- Attack Log, Marxists Internet Archive, January
2007. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
- Noam Cohen, "Online Marxist archive blames China for electronic
attacks", International Herald Tribune, February 5,
- Bylaws of MIA, Marxists Internet Archive,
ratified 21 March 2000, amended 18 November 2007.
- Letter from U.S. Internal Revenue Service to Marxists
Internet Archive, 1 October 2003.
- Charter of the MIA, Marxists Internet Archive,
ratified July 2000, amended 6 December 2004.
- Mirrors of the MIA, Marxists Internet Archive,
retrieved 6 September 2009.
- Marxists.org on DVD, Marxists Internet Archive,
retrieved 6 September 2009.