Marxists Internet Archive: Introduction: History: 2002

History of the Marxists Internet Archive

The growth of visitors to MIA continued a now well established trend. In the month of August, MIA had 173,314 visitors -- trouncing all previous records, beating even the phenomenal growth seen in the previous year after September 11. Yet such growth was just the begining, by October 294,614 people came to MIA -- versus the former record of 108,609 people from 2001 — an increase of 270%!

Archives that saw particular focus and growth this year included the Lenin, Trotsky and Luxemburg archives. Additionally, the German and Polish languages saw great expansion, as did the Women and Marxism section.

The internal democracy of MIA kept humming along, with an average of 7 messages per day on our internal mailing list. We resolved Charter point 7, on the definition of a Marxist Writer, which was a fairly difficult task, not meet with great enthusiasum, but certainly with ample opinion. Another difficult and tenacious internal debate was resolved (and not for the last time!) on how the History Archive should be run. MIA decided History needs to remain the domain of primary sources, and that the relatively new Subject archive should contain histories centered around collections of secondary and teritiary sources.

Among other house keeping tasks, the Marxist Writers index was redesigned to show a brief biography of each writer. Following this, an abortive attempt was made to create a Marxist Writers index organized by historical currents, but consensus could not be achieved (though this would eventually happen three years later, in 2005). As a result of difficult battles over placing a writer into the "Marxist" section of the site, a new bylaw was created ensuring that if a writer stayed in that section for 4 years, they could not therafter be moved out. Meanwhile, in a move to handle an ever increasing server load in visits while reducing costs, MIA was moved to the California Co-location Community Project (CCCP).

Another big debate came in August and September, based around editting archival texts. Some volunteers felt gender biased texts ought to be revised (e.g. humankind instead of mankind, etc), while others felt the sanctity of the texts, warts and all, must be preserved. This latter view prevailed. In other matters, link checking became more systematic and the overall quality of links in MIA raised dramaticaly, and has remained at that consistently high level ever since.

by Brian Baggins (November, 2005)