Marxists Internet Archive: Bylaws

Bylaws of the
Marxists Internet Archive (MIA)

§ 1. Contributors:

A. Volunteers: MIA volunteers are people who have, in the most recent six-month period, made at least three separate contributions over a period of three weeks to six months, and who have agreed to abide by the MIA Charter and Bylaws.(1) Volunteers can add supporting information (historical context, editorial footnotes, etc.) where necessary.(2) Volunteers can work under any section and transcribe works for any author we currently have. If the section of interest does not have an administrator or the volunteer would like to add a new author, the volunteer is welcome to administrate that archive. The responsibility of every MIA volunteer is to:

1. Safeguard material from any modifications or alterations from the original text, and repair any typos in the text.
2. Ensure material is not under copyright, or secure permission from the owner of the copyright to republish the material on the Marxists Internet Archive indefinitely. Ensure this permission is documented with the published material.
3. Vigilantly follow the MIA Charter and Bylaws at all times.
4. [Optional Voting Condition:] In order to have voting rights, volunteers must inform MIA about their political party or coalition membership. This ensures that section 5 of the MIA Charter, regarding the political independence of MIA, can be audited and monitored through internal transparency.(3)

B. Administrators: Administrators are volunteers who assume additional responsibilities over certain section(s) of MIA. They have direct SFTP access to their sections and a MIA e-mail address. Becoming an administrator usually requires consistent volunteer work in the preceding three months. Archives may have more than one administrator, who share in the responsibilities of directing the archive. The responsibilities of every MIA administrator for their sections are:

1. Help and Coordinate volunteers in their transcription/markup efforts.
2. Collect material from volunteers, upload it to the archive, and set the appropriate links and indexes. An administrator can never refuse to upload original materials of that archive. (4)
3. Reply to mail regarding the archive in a reasonable amount of time.
4. Maintain the archive: ensure HTML and links are working.
5. Continue the same responsibilities of every MIA volunteer (see the Volunteers section)

For further details on these responsibilities, see the Administrator's Guidelines


§ 2. Steering Committee:

A. General: The Steering Committee is the legislative body of the Marxists Internet Archive, upholding the MIA Charter and Bylaws at all times. The Committee decides issues such as the categorization of writers, modifications to these bylaws (3/4 majority required), financial issues of all kinds, and similar matters. The Steering Committee also contains many task-forces that have no real power, but are groupings of volunteers who dedicate themselves to working on particular administrative tasks.

1. All MIA administrators and volunteers are on the Steering Committee.
2. All administrators and volunteers have one vote per issue.
3. Any administrator or volunteer can raise an issue for consensus.
4. No administrator or volunteer can raise more than four issues for concensus on in a year.
5. The decisions and debates of the Steering Committee are completely open to public viewing; votes are by secret ballot. (see /www/scripts/

B. Consensus Decision Making: Consensus decision making is the objective of the Steering Committee.

1. A volunteer can initiate the consensus process when the Committee has no issues currently in discussion; otherwise a place on the agenda may be utilized for this purpose. The only exception to this rule are proposals for the placement of a writer, which can occur one at a time while a consensus process is underway.
2. The consensus process is initiated with a subject that begins: [Proposal]
    A. When 6 volunteers (10 for Bylaws ammendments) of the Committee expresses support for the proposal and no dissent occurs, a new mail will be sent with the subject [Consensus].
    B. Volunteers will have one week (two weeks for Bylaws ammendments) after the posting of [Consensus] to express dissent before the proposal is adopted.
    C. Any volunteer may raise dissent. Dissent may also be raised on behalf of volunteers not present, when appropriate. When dissent is expressed, a process should begin to establish a midddle ground -- a proposal that all sides can mutually agree to. When mutual agreement occurs, the consensus process begins again.
3. The consensus process cannot last longer than 6 contiguous weeks. Whenever the consensus process is time consuming and appears to be at an impasse, the best option is often for the Committee to move forward on the agenda, and for the main volunteers involved in both the proposal and dissent to talk off-list and work out a new proposal. When this is done, a space may be reserved on the agenda to renew the process again.
4. In extremely rare cases, after many failed efforts and months to find a mutually acceptable proposal, when both dissenters and proposers refuse to scuttle their irreconcilable efforts, a voting process will begin.

C. Voting Process:

1. An issue raised for vote is discussed on the Steering Committee mailing list ( by all administrators and volunteers who wish to participate, for a period of at least one week up to around 3 weeks.
2. The Secretary calls a vote (with the clear subject header of VOTE) if the issue has not been amicably resolved.
3. Administrators and volunteers have one week to send in their vote.
4. The outcome of the vote is determined by majority rule. (In the case of a tie the vote will be held a month later with a three week intermission) (the only exception is a modification of the bylaws or Charter, which require a majority of 75%)
5. Any consensus decision or vote cannot be re-discussed in the forum of the Steering Committee or vote overturned for a period of 18 months. Any writer who has been in the Marxist section for over 4 years can never be removed (Placement of a writer's work in a subject/history section for any length of time does not help or hinder that writer's placement in Marxist v. Reference Archives).

For more details on this process, see § 4: Secretarial Committee

D. “Library” and “Marxist Writers”

1. Article 6 of the MIA Charter specifically lists among the archives maintained on the MIA a “Marxist Writers” archive. “Reference” writers are also mentioned, and the procedure for differetiating these from “Marxist” writers is set forth in Article 7, but there is no specific mention of a “Reference” writers archive or index. Given the preceding, we conclude that a “Reference Writers” index is not specifically mandated by the Charter, whereas a “Marxist Writers” index is mandated.

2. Language sections of the MIA can satisfy the Charter requirement that there be a “Marxist Writers” index by either of two means:

a. The maintenance of an index of all writers who have been listed as “Marxist” by the MIA for whom there are works archived in the given language.

b. An index of “Selected Marxist Writers.”

3. In order to serve students and workers by presenting content in a way that makes sense without presuming a prior level of knowledge among our readers (in accordance with Article 7 of the Charter), all language sections of the MIA are to move from the binary presentation of a “Marxists” and “Reference” index, to a unified “Library” style of index, similar to that established for the English language section by the September 2007 decision and following the same categorization scheme.

E. Selected Marxist Writers:

1. A “Selected Marxist Writers” Index may be used by any language section of the MIA to satisfy the MIA Charter (Article 6) requirement that there be a “Marxist Writers” index.

2. All language sections are free to opt for any selection of writers whom their administrators and volunteers choose with the aim of educating and guiding our readers as to the key theoretical and practical points of our movement, provided that the following are adhered to:

a. Any writer selected must have been classed as “Marxist” by the MIA collective.

b. While limited in size – no more than 25 authors – the list should be wide-ranging in scope, include writers that made significant contributions in the given language or region, and, so far as possible, reflect ethnic and gender balance.

c. The list must include only writers for whom we have an archive of a reasonable size in the given language. Simply linking to archives in another language when a writer is not available in the given language is not satisfactory.

d. Any selected writer’s archive must at minimum include works that reflect that writer’s significance to Marxism and the reasons she has been selected.

e. Any selected writer must not have been the iconic leader of any currently existing and active tendency or party. (Of course, members or founders of very general or wide-ranging currents are permissible.)


§ 3. Administrative Committee:

A. Responsibilities: These administrators have shown through consistent and dedicated work on MIA that they are capable of carrying out these necessary tasks. Each of these administrators has the ability to make changes to anywhere on the archive because this is necessary for them to do administrative work for MIA effectively. Among some of the many tasks that individuals in this committee engage in: ensuring the server runs smoothly without problems, keeping the technology of the server up to date and providing better tools to make volunteer's work easier, ensuring administrators have SFTP access, answering general mails sent to the archive through the mia-admins list, carrying out and representing the MIA charter and bylaws, giving assistance to administrators/volunteers when necessary, encouraging new volunteers and enlisting new administrators, management of the budget and all other financial matters, distributing the MIA Hard Drive, ensuring we meet legal matters, and similar activities.

B. Eligibility: Anyone who shows themselves capable of fufilling the necessary duties and has consistently and thoroughly contributed to MIA for over one year is welcome into this committee. In the event of a clear and consistent or intentional dereliction of responsibility, a majority vote of 3/4 or greater is required to remove a member of this committee.

Members: Mike Bessler, Andy Blunden, Juan Fajardo, Jonas Holmgren, Einde O'Callaghan, Adam Pal, Graham Seaman and David Walters.


§ 4: Secretarial Committee:

A. Responsibilities: (5)

1. To keep track of all discussions on the Steering Committee mailing list (

2. To maintain that only one formal debate and vote happen at a time (there may be more than one sub-issue as a part of a debate), thus ensuring that the Steering Committee can focus its full attention on the current legislation.

3. If necessary, to maintain an agenda for issues to debate and vote. Issues are generally organized by the order they were raised, however the secretary can exercise reasonable discretion. Issues are added to the agenda generally under the following conditions:

a.) if a member of the Steering Committee motions that the issue be put directly on the agenda;
b.) if another issue has the attention of the Steering Committee;

4. The phrasing of the questions up for vote are decided and amended by one representative from either side of the debate (chosen by the Secretary if necessary). If neither side can agree on the phrasing of the questions up for vote, the Secretary can resolve the issue with her discretion.

5. After a full week of voting the Secretary will send a mail to mia-list with the subject heading "VOTE RESOLVED:", followed by the issue that was resolved. The Secretary will then ensure the vote tally is publicly archived.

B. Election: Elections are held once every year for the positions of the Secretarial Committee. Any person can serve in the position, but we encourage people to server who are not current officers of MIA (i.e. members of the Administrative committee). The Secretary must be elected by a majority of the Steering Committee, and multiple secretaries may be elected.

Members: Andy Blunden

(1) In other words, the earliest a person can become a volunteer is after three weeks of contributions. Volunteer status begins once the third contribution has been submitted, and from that date lasts for six months. This is the principle that so long as a person works on the archive, they have a right to vote on the archive.

(2) Volunteers must strive to transcribe factual information, not opinion. It is the discretion of the administrator of the archive to make editorial corrections if needed; if the volunteer disagrees she can appeal to the MIA Steering Committee.

(3) It is not compulsory for volunteers to provide any information, but in order to be registered to vote a volunteer must submit their current political affiliation. The affiliation of all voting members is kept on a secure, privatefile accessible only to MIA members.

(4) For example, if administrating the Lenin archive and a volunteer submits a document written by Lenin, it MUST be uploaded so long as the copyright is secured (e.g. we can legally publish this material). A volunteer and administrator are free to put on the archive what they choose to work on, but the administrator has the added responsibility that when a volunteer does work for the archive, that work must be uploaded (assuming it meets the legal criteria).

(5) Time periods expressed here are not definititive and can be modified in different circumstances by the Secretary, but all such changes should not be inconsistent with the clear intention of the stated time periods, which recognize the need to keep legislative activity to a bare minimum, and seek to ensure that every member of the Steering Committee has more than ample time to read and fully participate in any official debate and vote.

The first bylaws were ratified by consensus agreement of MIA on 21 March 2000.
§ 4 of the bylaws resolved by the Steering Committee on 9 January 2001, by a unanimous vote.
Amendment 2.C(6) was resolved by the Steering Committee on 23 September 2002, by 10 to 2 vote.
An overall revision
(made to clean up language and remove obsolete practices) to the bylaws was resolved by consensus agreement of the Steering Committee on 22 November 2002.
§ 2.B added by the Steering Committee on 10/2/2004, by concensus agreement.
§ 2.D added by the Steering Committee on 22 December 2005
§ 1.A.4 added by consensus of the Steering Committee 16 September 2006
§ 2.E added by consensus of the Steering Committee on 3 September 2007
§ 2.D & 2.E replaced by consensus of the Steering Committee on 18 November 2007

See Also:

MIA Charter
Encyclopedia of Marxism Bylaws
MIA Articles of Incorporation
Bourgeois Legal Disclaimer
Secretarial Pages (MIA Voting records)
For a pre-history of the Charter & Bylaws, see: A History of MIA Voting Practices

Contact the Marxists Internet Archive Admin Committee for further information