Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Mi - Mn   —

MICHURIN, Ivan Vladimirovich   (1855-1935)
Russian horticulturalist whose theory of cross-breeding was based on the idea that acquired characteristics of plants and animals could be inherited. Unfortunately, this largely erroneous theory was adopted by
Trofim Lysenko and became for a long while the official doctrine of the Soviet Union during the years of Stalin and Khrushchev. This led to considerable damage to Soviet genetic research and Soviet agriculture.

A term used especiallly in recent American society for commonplace repeated verbal or behavioral slights, whether intentional or unintentional, conscious or unconscious, that tend to communicate hostile, derogatory, negative or discriminatory attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups. In some cases there may be racist, anti-ethnic, sexist, or gender-hostility attitudes behind such slights or discrimination; in other cases the explanation may be more personal or even due to political hostility.
        Unfortunately, this sort of uncomradely behavior may also occur at times within revolutionary or MLM organizations. It has, for example, been known to be used as a way of partially shunning or turning a cold shoulder against those, who should be considered comrades, simply because they hold minority views on some political issues. As such, this is a form of bourgeois anti-democratic behavior within our own ranks, which itself should be struggled against in a principled way.
        However, we should also mention that many people in this present bourgeois society are opposed to any form of political struggle, no matter how principled and respectful, and view even the mildest and most appropriate disagreements and criticisms as some sort of “microaggression”. This is simply nonsense, and one of the many things that we must seriously work to change in society. (See Mao’s work
“Combat Liberalism”.)

The microorganisms in a particular environment. The precise assemblage of specific bacteria and viruses found in a particular place, even perhaps in and on a particular person or animal. The collective weight of all the many billions of microscopic organisms in or on a single normal, healthy adult human being (including in the gut) can be as much as five pounds.

“Every city has been found to have its own unique ‘fingerprint’ of viruses and bacteria that researchers say can probably be used by authorities to determine where someone is from with about a 90% accuracy. A team led by Cornell genomics expert Christopher Mason asked colleagues around the world to collect swabs from urban transport systems and conducted a genetic analysis on each. Besides finding that the larger the city, the more complex its diverse microbial life, they also discovered 10,928 viruses and 748 bacteria that were previously unknown to science.” —Steve Newman, “Urban Microbiomes”, in “Earthweek: a diary of the planet”, for the week ending Friday, June 4, 2021; San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2021.

A term used (mostly in bourgeois economics) to refer to studies or descriptions of small and semi-isolated parts of the economy, such as how individual firms or households typically function from an economic perspective. Compare with
macroeconomics which studies the overall operation of the economy.

The period of about 1,000 years, from the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire at around 500 C.E. (“A.D.”) to about 1500 C.E. In other words, roughly the period of
feudalism in Europe.

[Referring to the Middle Ages:] “The thousand years of barbarism and religion.” —Edward Gibbon

        1. [Obsolete, but still sometimes used in bourgeois academic writing:] The capitalist class or
bourgeoisie, which was originally the “middle” class between the feudal nobility and the lower laboring classes (peasantry, serfs, craftsmen and workers).
        2. [In common bourgeois usage:] A vague sort of class category, which is occasionally more precisely defined on the basis of arbitrary family income ranges, such as “families which have an income of more than $20,000 per year and less than $500,000 per year”. As this example shows, the “middle class” in current U.S. establishment parlance is assumed to include the greatest part of the American population.
        While bourgeois writers prefer not to talk about social classes at all, they are sometimes forced to do so. But when they do, they never use Marxist class terms which are defined on the basis of definite relationships of groups of people to the means of production. Instead, vaguely or arbitrarily defined “classes” are referred to, such as the middle class or the “poor” or the “underclass” (which is usually racist code for “poor or unemployed Black people”). As the term is currently used, the “middle class” actually consists mostly of the better-off and somewhat more secure strata of the working class (proletariat), though it also includes the entire petty bourgeoisie. In contemporary American society the dominant political attitudes of the “middle class” are generally those which are characteristic of the petty bourgeoisie.
        However, the “middle class” is not stable in its size, composition or attitudes. Individuals in the middle class can move up into the bourgeoisie or (far more commonly) be pushed down into the lower strata of the working class. During the long period of the rise of American imperialism in the 20th century the American middle class hugely expanded—as a portion of the wealth extracted by the imperialist ruling class from the rest of the world was allowed to go to the upper and better organized sections of the U.S. working class. This was done in order to keep the peace and allow better social stability at home when it became necessary for the rulers to engage in almost constant imperialist wars abroad.
        The 1950s and 1960s were the peek period for the relative size and real wealth of the U.S. “middle class”. Around 1973 the post-World War II boom in the U.S. economy ended, and we entered the period we now call the “Long Slowdown”. During this period the ruling class found it necessary to take more and more of its growing economic problems out on the backs of the working class, especially on the lower strata but also on those better-off strata in the “middle class”. Neoliberalist policies of cutting back on the welfare state, destroying unions, driving down real wages, and eliminating more and more worker’s benefits were put in place and were gradually intensified. If it were not for the fact that many more women were able to find jobs, and thus turn most families into two paycheck homes, many more people would have already been pushed out of the middle class entirely. In the 21st century the economy has already shown signs of taking even more serious turns for the worse, as the Long Slowdown has turned into a period of in-and-out-of-recessions with only very short and shallow “recoveries” in between them. A number of Marxists predict that the U.S. and world economy are now poised to soon take an even worse turn into a protracted period of outright depression.
        In any case, the “middle class” along with the lower strata of the working class are now clearly under ever-intensifying attack. More people are losing their jobs or being forced to take worse jobs with much lower pay and fewer (if any) benefits. The adult children of middle class parents are now very often worse off than their parents, and often unable to afford homes of their own. (See: AMERICAN DREAM) And the fraction of the population which even has jobs at all is dropping rapidly (though with smaller ups and downs within the powerful overall trend). This is due not only to the still developing overproduction crisis, but also to the fact that the rapid development of technology is automating more and more jobs out of existence, now in the “white-collar” and “knowledge-worker” spheres as well as in the “blue-collar” sphere.
        This heavy and sustained attack on the middle class, and the consequent decline of that “class”, is forcing some major changes in the political attitudes prevalent in it and among people who were once part of the middle class but who have been driven out of it. (See the entry below on the Changing Attitudes Within the Middle Class)

“MIDDLE CLASS” — Bourgeois Ideology Of
As mentioned in the primary entry on the “middle class” above, the dominant ideology of the American middle class is that of the
petty bourgeoisie. However, it is also true that the ideology of the petty bourgeoisie itself is largely that of the big bourgeoisie, but somewhat modified because of their inability to hire and exploit large numbers of workers at home or around the world. Thus, in fact, the usual ideology of the so-called middle class is still substantially that of the ruling capitalist class too. On the other hand, in times of crisis, the ideology of the middle class can sometimes be transformed in major ways, for better or for worse. (See next entry.)

“A survey by Prince & Associates found that two-thirds of the middle-class women and half the men polled said that they would marry for money. The average base price was $1.5 million. ‘I’m a little shocked at the numbers,’ said University of Michigan sociologist Pamela Smock. ‘It’s kind of against the notion of love and soul mates.’” —Wall Street Journal report, quoted in The Week, Dec. 28, 2007-Jan. 11, 2008, p. 56.

“MIDDLE CLASS” — Changing Attitudes Within
As mentioned in the primary entry above, and because the “middle class” is now under serious attack and is being driven down, the political ideas and attitudes prevalent within that so-called “class” are now changing quite noticeably and quite rapidly in historical terms. They are still basically that of the
petty bourgeoisie, but the strong trend is toward further growing disgruntlement and outright anger.
        In particular, there is now growing hostility towards politicians in general and towards the government, especially the U.S. Federal government in Washington, D.C., which people recognize ever more clearly simply does not serve their interests. For example, negative public opinion about the U.S. Congress is now at its most severe level ever, with only a 7% approval rating.
        Another illustration of this growing anger is the advent of the Tea Party movement. Although this amorphous movement has largely been co-opted by conservatives within the Republican Party, it nevertheless still has a strong undercurrent of hostility towards Wall Street and Big Business (giant corporations). Liberal Democrats generally find the Tea Party movement horrifying, because liberals have a continuing faith in government under the capitalist system, though even some of them are starting to waver. (An illustration of this is the growing credibility Democrats give to what the media calls “socialism”, and to social-democratic politicians like Bernie Sanders.) However, most liberals just do not understand why the Tea Party movement has arisen, or why it—in one form or another—will continue and grow stronger. (One exception to this is Robert Reich, the bourgeois liberal former Secretary of Labor whose comments are quoted below.)
        While this growing middle-class disgruntlement and anger at corporations and their government is certainly justified and welcome, there are obviously also some serious problems here. The level of political understanding of the U.S. middle class, and the American masses in general, is still extremely low. Political ignorance is rampant. The number of people who have any genuine class consciousness in the Marxist sense is extremely low. And mixed in with this growing anger against Wall Street, the corporations and their politicians and government, are some very dangerous and worrisome views, such as rampant racism, scapegoating immigrants and even outright xenophobia, and widespread support for U.S. imperialist wars—especially if the proclaimed enemy are Muslims. The Tea Party movement and other sorts of spontaneous anger developing among the middle class is fairly easily manipulated by demogogues such as Donald Trump. And this same increasingly victimized middle class is the potential social base for the likely development at some point of full-scale fascism in the U.S.
        See also: PRECARIOUSNESS OF THE PROLETARIAT (especially quote by Carolyn O’Hara about the growing “middle class” precariousness).

“The great American middle class has become an anxious class—and it’s in revolt. Before I explain how that revolt is playing out, you need to understand the sources of the anxiety.
        “Start with the fact that the middle class is shrinking, according to the Pew Research Center.
        “The odds of falling into poverty are frighteningly high, especially for the majority of the population who lack college degrees.
        “Two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most could lose their jobs at any time. Many are part of a burgeoning ‘on-demand’ workforce—employed as needed, paid whatever they can get whenever they can get it. Yet if they don’t keep up with rent or mortgage payments, or can’t pay for groceries or utilities, they’ll lose their footing.
        “Overwhelming sense of fragility
        “The stress is taking a toll. For the first time in history, the life spans of middle-class whites are dropping. According to research by Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton and his co-researcher Anne Case, middle-aged white men and women in the United States have been dying earlier. They’re poisoning themselves with drugs and alcohol or committing suicide.
        “The odds of being gunned-down in America by a jihadist are far smaller than the odds of such self-inflicted deaths, but the recent tragedy in San Bernardino [where a number of people were murdered in an attack by a pair of religious fanatics] only heightens an overwhelming sense of arbitrariness and fragility.
        “The anxious class feels vulnerable to forces over which they have no control. Terrible things happen for no reason. Yet government can’t be counted on to protect them.
        “[Social] safety nets are full of holes. Most people who lose their jobs don’t even qualify for unemployment insurance. Government won’t protect their jobs from being outsourced to Asia or being taken by a worker here illegally.
        “Government can’t even protect them from evil people with guns or bombs. Which is why the anxious class is arming itself, buying guns at a record rate.
        “They view government as not so much incompetent as not giving a damn. It’s working for the big guys and fat cats—the crony capitalists who bankroll candidates and get special favors in return.
        “When I visited so-called ‘red states’ [conservative Republican states] this fall, I kept hearing angry complaints that government is run by Wall Street bankers who get bailed out after wreaking havoc on the economy, corporate titans who get cheap labor and billionaires who get tax loopholes.
        “Last year, two highly respected political scientists, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, took a close look at 1,799 policy decisions Congress made over the course of more than 20 years, and who influenced those decisions. Their conclusion: ‘The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically insignificant impact upon public policy.’
        “It was only a matter of time before the anxious class would revolt. They’d support a strongman like Donald Trump who’d promise to protect them from all the chaos....
        “World slowly unraveling
        “For years I’ve heard the rumbles of the anxious class. I’ve listened to their growing anger—in union halls and bars, in coal mines and beauty parlors, on the Main Street and byways of the washed-out backwaters of America.
        “I’ve heard their complaints and cynicism, their conspiracy theories and their outrage. Most are good people, not bigots or racists. They work hard and have a strong sense of fairness. But their world has been slowly coming apart. And they’re scared and fed up.
        “Now someone comes along who’s even more of a bully than those who for years have bullied them economically, politically and even violently. The attraction is understandable, even though misguided.
        “If not Donald Trump, then it will be someone else posing as a strongman. If not this election cycle, it will be the next one. The revolt of the anxious class has just begun.”
         —Robert Reich, former U.S Secretary of Labor during the Clinton Administration, “What America’s anxious middle class sees in Trump”, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 20, 2015, p. D8. [Well, of course, a mere electoral “revolt” is not a real revolt, and the liberal perspective here is also off in other ways. For example, Reich also does not face up to the real danger of fascist tendencies in the U.S. middle class in the decades ahead. And racism is a much bigger problem than he suggests. But in many ways this article does reflect the angry attitudes which have developed, and which will inevitably develop much further, in the U.S. “middle class”. —Ed.]

“The U.S. middle class has done poorly—dropping from 60 percent of all households in the early 1980s to 50 percent in the mid-2010s.” —Steven Pressman, The Washington Spectator (a liberal publication), Aug. 1, 2018, p. 1.
         [The percentage of the population that is counted as “middle class” is of course rather arbitrary, since the term itself is arbitrarily defined—when it is explicitly defined at all. But for any specific arbitrary definition of the “middle class” it is true that the percentage of the population in it has declined significantly over the past quarter century. Moreover, even many of those who still remain in the middle class under that particular definition, are nevertheless considerably worse off economically and socially than in the past. And of course it is for reasons like these that the attitudes within the middle class, and within the larger population, are now becoming more hostile towards those who they see as running society. —Ed.]

“We have known since Aristotle that stable constitutional democracy rests on a large, self-confident middle class.” —Bill Galston, Brookings Institution, quoted in The Economist, Aug. 1, 2015, p. 30.
         [This is why the continuing, and ever-more-rapid decline of the size, stability and confidence of the American “middle class” is so very alarming to liberal bourgeois ideologists. They correctly fear that if this trend continues and further intensifies, American society as it has existed for more than two centuries will not be able to survive. What will replace it? Perhaps initially some form of outright fascism, of the sort Trump’s Republican Party has been giving us a hint of. But then maybe something even worse, such as a major inter-imperialist war with China. The alternative of socialist revolution will first require an unparallelled and relatively rapid re-education and new militant organization of the American working class and masses. —Ed.]

[To be added...]
        See also:

MIDDLE EAST — Oil Resources

“It was on the back of a napkin, historians tell us, that Franklin Roosevelt established the claim to American primacy in Saudi Arabia. ‘Persian oil is yours,’ FDR’s 1944 scribble told Britain’s ambassador. ‘We share the oil of Iraq and Kuwait. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it is ours.’”
         —“Terror Targets the Claim FDR Staked”, U.S. News & World Report, July 8, 1996, p. 14. [We rarely see such an open and revealing admission of imperialist logic. Ed.]

“What’s our oil doing under their sands?!
         —Deliberately ironic slogan of the U.S. anti-war movement, as the U.S. imperialists were about to launch their war in Iraq, March 2003.

1. [In China before collectivization in the 1950s:] A peasant (farmer) who owned enough land, work animals and farm equipment, so that he and his family could survive by working their own land. Middle peasants (most of the time) neither hired other peasants to work for them, nor themselves worked for
rich peasants or landlords.
2. People in a similar situation at other times and places.
        See also: CHINA—Class Analysis Before 1949

The Soviet military aircraft design bureau which designed many sophisticated jet fighter planes. It was established in 1939 and named after its two founding and leading designers, Artem Mikoyan (an Academician and Air Force General, and youngest brother of the well-known politician Anastas Mikoyan) and Mikhail Gurevich.
        After the fall of the Soviet Union, MiG became a private company (still building military aircraft for Russia) and later merged with other Russian aircraft companies.

The movement of people from one country or region to another. This is most often done for economic reasons, though in some cases it is done to escape ethnic, religious or political persecution. Migration is an increasingly important aspect of the globalized world economy. As of 2010 almost 3% of the world’s population (nearly 200 million people) live and work outside their native country. [Data from the Economic and Social Research Council, an organization funded by the British government.] Migrant workers and their families are very frequently subject to much increased exploitation, and to racism and mistreatment.

MIKHAILOVSKY, N. K.   (1842-1904)
Russian sociologist, political writer and literary critic who was a prominent ideologist of the liberal
Narodniks. Lenin extensively criticized Mikhailovsky’s views in his early work “What the ‘Friends of the People’ Are” (1894) [LCW 1:129ff].
        Mikhailovsky was widely and appropriatedly viewed as a subjective sociologist because of his opposition to what he considered to be “Marxist determinism”. He founded an influential journal Russkoe Bogatstvo [“Russian Wealth”] which published a number of studies of the rural situation in Russia from a Norodnik perspective. These materials later served as a major part of the foundation for the theory and policies of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party (founded in 1902).


        1) The heavy emphasis upon building up military power and using it (what bourgeois experts term “power projection”) to solve problems confronted by imperialism. This program is typically tied to maintaining control of a strategically important region of the world. Militarism is one avenue by which the bourgeoisie might seek to resolve such problems; others including diplomacy, bribery to foreign compradors, sponsoring coups and destabilization in the targeted country, economic strangulation, and other means short of outright war. At various times and for various reasons, different sectors of the bourgeoisie may favor militarism over these alternatives. This could be because of a convergence of the interests of particular capitalists and their representatives and allies in the state apparatus who favor war for their own parochial interests (for example, because they are close to the arms industry or the military, either financially or ideologically), or because the actions that do not deploy overt military force are failing and there is no real choice left but to use it (from the point of view of imperialism’s interests, though of course the capitalist state, when it does pursue war, will always try to portray its actions as being in the interests of “the people”, both at home and in the targeted country).
        In the current capitalist-imperialist era, militarism is a particularly important feature of American foreign policy, and has come to define and characterize it more and more. The United States spends roughly as much as the rest of the world combined on its military; even “in spite” of the end of the Cold War, US military spending has continued to rise. The United States is also the world’s leading exporter of arms and military training, much of which goes to repressive “Third World” dictatorships and other troubled regions.
        2) An ideological framework in which the military is bestowed with almost divine status and adulation by political, media and cultural pundits, who also seek to imbue the masses with the view of a sacrosanct military. This is typically a feature of fascist regimes who want to regiment the population and turn them into mindless foot-soldiers who are ready to die without question. It is also, arguably, a feature of creeping fascism of the sort that some see taking shape in the United States. —L.C.
        See also:



One of the most outrageously criminal aspects of the contemporary capitalist world is that the bourgeoisie of virtually every country spends enormous sums on building and maintaining its military forces. Why do they all do this? First, as a powerful force kept in reserve to maintain their rule over their own people, and to put down any mass revolts. And second, for wars or preparations for wars with other countries to steal their wealth.
        Of course it is the imperialist countries which today spend the most enormous sums for wars and war preparations. And the world’s top two imperialist superpowers, the United States and China, which of course top the list by a very wide margin. In 2009 the U.S. spent almost as much as the rest of the nations of the world combined, and has continued increasing its military expenditures overall. In 2009, for example, U.S. military expenditures grew by another 7.7%. (Most of the statistics in this entry come from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, especially their summary “Recent trends in military expenditure” at:
        Today the U.S. is engaged in multiple imperialist wars, in Ukraine, the Middle East, North Africa including the Horn of Africa, Asia, etc., and is frantically preparing for the really big showdown coming at some point in an inter-imperialist war with China. And China is preparing for that war too. The U.S. spent trillions of dollars in its wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In 2010 alone, the U.S. spent more in its wars (even in inflation adjusted terms) than its entire expenditures for the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined! [Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, Dec. 25, 2010.]
        World military expenditures in 2009 were estimated to be more than $1.53 trillion! That was an increase of 49% over 2000 (in real terms). All the world’s capitalist-imperialists are preparing for even more wars, and even more expensive wars, in the future. The chart below shows the military expenditures of the top 12 countries in 2009. The updated graph at the right shows the percentage of world military expenditures by the top 15 countries in 2022.

The 12 Highest Countries in 2009

(In U.S. dollars at current prices and exchange rates.)
Rank Country Military
Change from
per capita
Share of
GDP (2008)
1   USA 661     75.8      2,100     4.3      43     U.S. expenditures nearly match all
the rest of the world combined!
2   China 100*   217      74.6*   2.0*    6.6*   Fastest growing military
expenditures of major countries.
3   France 63.9     7.4      1,026     2.3      4.2    
4   UK 58.3     28.1      946     2.5      3.8    
5   Russia 53.3*   105      378*   3.5*    3.5*  
6   Japan 51.0     -1.3      401     0.9      3.3    
7   Germany 45.6     -6.7      555     1.3      3.0    
8   Saudi Arabia** 41.2     66.9      1,603     8.2      2.7    
9   India 36.3     67.3      30.4     2.6      2.4    
10   Italy 35.8     -13.3      598     1.7      2.3    
11   Brazil 26.1     38.7      135     1.5      1.7    
12   South Korea 24.1     48.2      499     2.8      1.6    
      * Estimates.
      ** Figures for Saudi Arabia include expenditures for public order (police, etc.).
      Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, at:
      http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/milex/resultoutput/milex_15   [12/26/10]

Government budget deficits which are occasioned specifically by large military expenditures. Capitalist governments are usually very reluctant to spend money on public works or the health and welfare of the working class, even if the main purpose in doing so is to boost the overall economy through
Keynesian deficit spending. But capitalist governments are willing to spend much more freely on expanding their military might, and are therefore much more willing to create “fiscal deficits” to boost the economy that way.
        For example, most capitalist countries were not able to even temporarily suspend the Great Depression of the 1930s through large deficit-causing public works programs and other social expenditures; the best that most of them, including the U.S., could do along those lines was to slightly mitigate the effects of that extremely severe overproduction crisis through rather small government deficits. But all these countries were quite willing to run truly colossal deficits for war production just before and during World War II. That military Keynesianism suspended the Depression until the massive destruction of productive capital during the war ended it completely.

“The economic benefits [of large military expenditures] ... were discussed in the business press in interesting ways in the early post-World War II period. They understood that massive government spending had rescued the country from the Depression, and there was much concern that if it were curtailed, the country would sink back into depression. One informative discussion, in Business Week (February 12, 1949), recognized that social spending could have the same ‘pump-priming’ effect as military spending, but pointed out that for businessmen, ‘there’s a tremendous social and economic difference between welfare pump-priming and military pump-priming.’ The latter ‘doesn’t really alter the structure of the economy.’ For the businessman, it’s just another order. But welfare and public works spending ‘does alter the economy. It makes new channels of its own. It creates new institutions. It redistributes income.’ And we can add more. Military spending scarcely involves the public, but social spending does, and has a democratizing effect. For reasons like these, military spending is much preferred [by the capitalists].” —Noam Chomsky, Optimism Over Despair: On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change (2017), pp. 22-23.
         [How much truth is there to these comments? Some, of course, but there is also a lot of error and confusion here. Chomsky has always only had a Keynesian liberal bourgeois understanding of economics, and never a truly Marxist understanding, and that shows very clearly here.
         So first, it is not true that “massive government spending” rescued the country from the Depression. The Depression was indeed interrupted by the massive Keynesian deficit spending during the war, but it was only the massive destruction of productive capital during the war, especially in Europe and Asia, which truly ended the Depression by clearing the ground for a new world capitalist boom. Secondly, even massive government spending (of any kind) won’t interrupt an overproduction crisis if it is financed by taxes; only if it is deficit spending (financed either by borrowing or by simply printing money) is it even capable of interrupting the crisis. Thirdly, “pump priming” only works in very special and limited circumstances, and cannot work to resolve a capitalist overproduction crisis. Fourth, as far as interrupting an overproduction crisis goes, deficit spending on military items (“military Keynesianism”) works every bit as well as deficit spending on anything else. Keynes himself correctly pointed out that even paying workers to dig useless holes and fill them up again would work just as well; the whole point is to get money into the hands of those who will spend it (and to not at the same time also take it away from them in taxes). There is also only some limited truth to the notion that “social spending” transforms a capitalist economy in a better way than does military spending. Both are effective in (temporarily) improving the economy only because they increase debt by putting money into the hands of consumers who will spend it. Of course it is true that social programs are vastly better for the welfare of the people than are preparing for and engaging in imperialist wars! Social programs do redistribute income in society, but this is not something that capitalists want to do in any major way. After all, capitalism absolutely requires that the working class remain forever sufficiently poor so that they continue to be desperate for jobs, no matter how low paying and otherwise miserable those jobs are. The capitalists therefore find social programs ideologically disgusting and tend to strongly oppose them, while they support military spending and wars because those wars are carried out to secure capitalist imperialist control of the resources of the world and of foreign markets. These things explain why the bourgeoisie likes military Keynesianism so much better than Keynesian deficit spending for social programs like Social Security, health care, unemployment insurance, and so forth. —S.H.]

MILL, James   (1773-1836)
British economist and philosopher, who vularized the political economy of
Ricardo. James Mill was a close friend of Jeremy Bentham and the father of John Stuart Mill.

MILL, John Stuart   (1806-1873)
British economist and positivist philosopher. Following in the footsteps of his father, James Mill (see above), and his godfather
Jeremy Bentham, he became the most famous proponent of utilitarianism, in the hedonistic form that Bentham gave to it.
        Also following in the footsteps of Bentham and his father, he became the most prominent vulgarizer of classical political economy in the 19th century. He advocated conciliation between the interests of the bourgeoisie and the interests of the working class, and thought that the contradictions of capitalism could be overcome by reforming the methods of distribution into some vague bourgeois version of “socialism”.

“I am not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that [of] the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other’s heels.” —John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848), p. 334. [This is the sort of common reality of life under capitalism that offended even a bourgeois ideologist like Mill, and led him to see the need for some sort of socialist society. —Ed.]

MILLERAND, Alexandre Etienne   (1859-1943)
A reactionary French politician. Though a socialist in the 1890s, in 1899 he betrayed socialism and accepted a ministerial role in the French bourgeois government. He was roundly condemned by Lenin for this betrayal in numerous articles.

“If Bernstein’s theoretical criticism [of Marxism] and [his] political yearnings were still unclear to anyone, the French took the trouble strikingly to demonstrate the ‘new method’.... The French socialists have begun, not to theorize, but to act. The democratically more highly developed political conditions in France have permitted them to put ‘Bernsteinism into practice’ immediately, with all its consequences. Millerand has furnished an excellent example of practical Bernsteinism; not without reason did Bernstein and Vollmar rush so zelously to defend and laud him. Indeed, if Social-Democracy, in essence, is merely a party of reform and must be bold enough to admit this openly, then not only has a socialist the right to join a bourgois cabinet, but he must always strive to do so. If democracy, in essence, means the abolition of class domination, then why should not a socialist minister charm the whole bourgeois world by orations on class collaboration? Why should he not remain in the cabinet even after the shooting-down of workers by gendarmes has exposed, for the hundredth and thousandth time, the real nature of the democratic collaboration of classes? Why should he not personally take part in greeting the tsar, for whom the French socialists now have no other name than hero of the gallows, knout, and exile...? And the reward for this utter humiliation and self-degradation of socialism in the face of the whole world, for the corruption of the socialist consciousness of the working masses—the reward for this is pompous projects for miserable reforms, so miserable in fact that much more has been obtained from bourgeois governments!” —Lenin, What Is To Be done? (Feb. 1902), LCW 5:354.

An opportunist trend in Western European socialist parties at the beginning of the 20th century wherein nominally proletarian revolutionary parties struck bargains and agreements with the ruling class which allowed them some participation in bourgeois governments. Also known as
“ministerialism”. Millerandism is a term used by Lenin in his 1908 article “Marxism and Revisionism” and elsewhere, and is named after the French “socialist” leader Alexandre Millerand who in 1899 became part of the reactionary French government and helped the bourgeoisie carry out imperialist policies.

A millionaire, in today’s parlance, is a person who has at least one million dollars in investible assets, not including the value of their home. (In this era of housing bubbles an ordinary home in the U.S. can now by itself be valued at a large fraction of $1 million!) Because of the growing polarization of wealth, the number of millionaires, or “high net-worth individuals”, is growing in almost all countries—at the same time as the number of poor and destitute people is becoming ever more vast.
        As of 2012 there were about 12 million millionaires in the world, about half of them in the U.S., Japan and Germany. The U.S. alone had 3.4 million millionaires, or about one-quarter of the total. This is a little more than 1% of the U.S. total population, so the famous “1%” that the Occupy Movement talked about were all at least millionaires! The combined wealth of these 3.4 million people was $46.2 trillion! Despite the continuing recession for the working class and ordinary people, the number of U.S. millionaires increased by 12% from 2011. In China, the number of millionaires increased at an even faster rate, by 14.3%.
        See also:

MILLS, C. Wright   (1916-62)
A radical but non-Marxist American sociologist most famous for his 1956 book The Power Elite. Although he rejected the concept of social class based on the relationship of people to the means of production, he recognized that America is ruled by an “elite” which controls the “strategic command posts” of society, by which he meant the big corporations, the government machinery and the military. He felt that these powerful elites had a strong stake in the “permanent war economy” of the U.S., which united them politically. Of course there is considerable truth to this, but the conception can only be improved and deepened by thinking of these “elites” as forming the leadership of the capitalist class, the bourgeoisie. It is said that both Fidel Castro and
Che Guevara studied and were influenced by this book, as was Tom Hayden in his Port Huron Statement which led to the New Left and the formation of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). It is interesting that SDS—which became much more Marxist as time went on—started off not by reading Marx, Lenin and Mao, but rather by reading left-bourgeois works of the sort by C. Wright Mills. Mills himself was still something of an outcast from respectable bourgeois academia, however, which brooks little criticism even from within its general perspective.
        See also: CAPITALIST STATE—Partial Merger With Private Corporations [C. Wright Mills quote],   ELITE THEORY

A set of ways of looking at the brain at work. In other words, a set of aspects, characteristics or functions of the brains of advanced animals (especially humans of course). Thus thinking is a high-level characterization of one sort of operation that a brain carries out, while a thought is a high-level characterization of the results of that brain process in a specific situation. Awareness, concern, boredom, worrying, happiness and all the countless other such mental states, are abstract characterizations of the physical states of the brain (which, if they could be described in purely neurophysiological terms would be incomprehensibly complex compilations of the states of neural networks and of millions or billions of individual neuronal states). The mind is not “identical to” the brain; it is rather the collection of all the high-level abstract views which we must necessarily have about how our brain is functioning.
        See also below, and:
FUNCTIONALISM,   IDENTITY THEORY   and philosophical doggerel about mind and matter.

The most basic question of philosophy: what is the nature of the relationship between mind and body (or between mind and brain, or mind and matter). The two big schools of thought are
materialism (that matter is primary and mind is a set of characteristics or functions of certain highly complex organizations of matter such as brains) and idealism (that mind or “spirit” is primary and that matter—if it really exists at all—is somehow a creation or outgrowth of mind). Dualism, the view that mind and matter are completely independent, is often considered a third option, though to materialists it just seems to be a variety of idealism since it denies that mind is a function or characteristic of certain complicated organizations of matter (brains).
        Although most educated people today understand that mental phenomena, such as ideas, memories and attitudes, are somehow the result of the functioning of the brain, it still seems very mysterious to many of them how this can possibly be the case. They fail to understand that mental phenomena such as having an idea or a memory are simply high level internal summations of very complicated organizations of many thousands or millions of neurons in the brain, their precise interconnections and the strength of those various interconnections. Since we have no conscious knowledge of the exact neurons and neural interconnections associated with a particular thought or memory, those mental phenomena can seem to us to be an entirely independent realm from the physical brain and its structures. This is the primary reason that idealist theories of the mind have arisen.

The Mind-Brain Problem. The problem of the relationship between mental and neurophysiological processes involves considerable difficulties. However, its analysis may be instrumental in elucidating some essential characteristics of the mind vis-a-vis the brain. If mental activity were lacking specificity, psychology would not be entitled to the status of an independent science and would have to be identified with the physiology of the nervous system.
        “Though mental activity is contingent upon and results from neurophysiological processes, the specificity of the mind is hard to define as the brain processes are in fact not represented in mental phenomena even in the ‘masked’ form. Mental processes reflect the characteristics of external objects (their shape, size, interaction), and not of internal, physiological process whereby this specificity of the mind, i.e., the reflection, representation of the outer world in the conditions of a bodily system is realized and brought out.
        “The main difficulty in the investigation of mental phenomena was the elusiveness of neurophysiological processes which were not represented in the content and structure of the mind. For this reason mental phenomena appeared ‘incorporeal’, ethereal, devoid of any substratum which gave the idealists cause to affirm the existence of an immaterial soul and construct various theories in support of this view. On the other hand, for this very reason the desire to adhere to the materialist principles in the investigation of mental phenomena sometimes led the researchers to the other extreme, the identification of the mental with the physiological, resulting in attempts to eliminate psychology in favor of physiology.” —Student’s Library: Psychology, (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1986), p. 32.

A legally mandated lowest wage rate allowed. In the United States the Federal government sets a national minimum wage for most kinds of work, but states and local governments often set their own minimum wage level (which must be higher than the Federal minimum). As of June 1920, the Federal minimum wage was $7.25 per hour and had not increased since 2009 (despite rising prices of goods in general). Ohio’s minimum was $8.70/hour; New York State’s minimum was $11.80/hour; and San Francisco’s minimum was $15.59/hour (because San Francisco is such an expensive city to live in).

“Two new studies show that giving pay raises to low-wage workers is good for consumers, too.
        “That finding could add momentum to efforts to help grocery store clerks, nursing home workers and delivery drivers who are being paid a minimum wage despite their efforts being so essential during the current pandemic.
        “The new research shows that raising the minimum wage improves workers’ productivity, which translates into businesses offering higher-quality service....
        “The two new studies, one focused on nursing homes and the other on department stores, looked at the effects of minimum wage changes made at various levels of government.... The nursing home study, by the economist Krista Ruffini, a visiting scholar at the Minnesota Federal Reserve, has direct implications in the current pandemic. The improvements in quality it found may be a very big deal. They imply fewer medical complications and, perhaps, a longer life for patients.
        “Ms. Ruffini analyzed hundreds of increases in the minimum wage across the United States from 1990 to 2017. In each case, she compared employment in neighboring counties that suddenly had different minimum wage levels....
        “Ms. Ruffini’s most startling finding was that higher minimum wages reduced mortality significantly among nursing home residents. Her research suggests that if every county increased its minimum wage by 10 percent, there could be 15,000 fewer deaths in nursing homes each year, or about a 3 percent reduction.
        “How did pay increases translate into better patient health and longer lives? It appears that with better pay, jobs in nursing homes became more attractive, so employee turnover decreased. Patients benefited from more continuity in their care.
        “In addition, the better paid employees may have simply worked harder, perhaps because they cared more about holding onto their jobs. Economists say they have been paid an ‘efficiency wage’: Employees become more productive when their wages are higher.
        “The higher wage may also have attracted more skilled or industrious people to the job, but this seems to account for at most a small portion of the improvement in patient health....
        “Supporters of raising the minimum wage usually make their case based on fairness and equity. That rationale is important, but the central finding of these studies—that a higher minimum wage can boost work force productivity and save lives—is a powerful one, too.”
         —Seema Jayachandran, “A Raise for Workers Can Be a Win for All”, New York Times, June 21, 2020.

A form of political opportunism wherein a once-revolutionary party (or particular leaders of it) settle instead for ministerial positions within a bourgeois government rather than continuing to fight for complete political power for the proletariat.
        See also:

MINSKY, Hyman   (1919-96)
American bourgeois economist of the Keynesian or “Post-Keynesian” school. He was the son of Menshevik emmigrants from Belarus, and sort of reflected that type of thinking within the more openly bourgeois American context. He received his Ph.D. at Harvard where he was influenced by
Joseph Schumpeter and Wassily Leontief. He taught at Brown University, the University of California—Berkeley, and then Washington University in St. Louis from 1965 until his retirement in 1990.
        Along with Keynes and almost all other economists strongly influenced by Keynes, Minsky did not understand that economic crises are inherent to the capitalist mode of production. He did not at all understand how crises derive ultimately from the very extraction of surplus value from the working class. But he did recognize that financial crises are inherent in at least the highly financialized form of capitalism as it now occurs in modern America:

“The normal functioning of our economy leads to financial trauma and crises, inflation, currency depreciations, unemployment and poverty in the midst of what could be virtually universal affluence—in short ... financially complex capitalism is inherently flawed.” —Hyman Minsky, Stabilizing an Unstable Economy (NY: 2008), p. 320. [Of course his claim here that capitalism, correctly organized and managed, could provide “virtually universal affluence” is totally ridiculous!]

“Capitalism is a flawed system in that, if its development is not constrained, it will lead to periodic deep depressions and the perpetuation of poverty.” —Hyman Minsky, quoted in John Bellamy Foster & Fred Magdoff, The Great Financial Crisis (2009), p. 17. [Foster & Magdoff go on to point out, however, that Minsky did not believe that capitalism would necessarily lead to deep depressions. Instead, he thought that capitalist development could be “constrained”, and major crises could be avoided. In other words, he still had a bourgeois conception of the deepest reasons for capitalist economic crises.]

Minsky correctly viewed speculative investment bubbles as being “endogenous” in (internal to or inherent in) capitalist financial markets. But he attributed this to an inevitable “speculative euphoria” that develops during economic booms. This speculation he viewed as leading to massive debt accumulation, to the point where borrowers are not able to pay off their debts from their regular incoming revenues. Precisely why all this has to be the case, however, he was unable to clearly explain.
        If (a big if!) the workers actually were somehow able to buy all the goods that they collectively produce, then there would be no need for them to go into debt. Moreover, the capitalists could soon accumulate the additional new capital from their profits to expand production and keep the economy booming. Thus there would be no need for ever-larger debt in the economy at all. But, contrary to the conception of Minsky and other bourgeois economists, the workers cannot possibly buy back all that they produce because the value of their wages must always be significantly less than the value of the goods that they produce. Thus everything produced can only be sold if the workers are granted extensive and ever-growing credit. This credit (debt) constantly accumulates until it gets obviously excessive and its further expansion has to be limited more and more. Since the ability of the working class to buy all they produce must be curtailed by eventually restricting credit to them, there comes a time when it no longer makes sense to build more factories to further expand production. So what then are the capitalists to do with all the surplus value they have extracted? More and more they just create means for financial speculation. This is the true explanation for why the capitalists generate such “speculative euphorias” especially towards the end of boom periods, and why financialized capitalism itself inevitably develops. Thus Minsky’s notion that modern financialized capitalism can be controlled, regulated, or returned to a form of capitalism where crises do not develop is total bourgeois nonsense.
        Minsky stressed the importance of the central bank (the Federal Reserve in the U.S.) as the “lender of last resort” during an economic crisis. That, however, seems pretty obvious today. His “Financial Instability Hypothesis” model of the credit system was based on ideas of other bourgeois economists going back as far as Alfred Marshall and even John Stuart Mill. But because he had at least a partial understanding of the instability of modern financial capitalism he opposed the moves of the neo-liberal ideologists of the 1980s to deregulate the economy and predicted that this would eventually lead to intensified problems in the economy—as in fact it has done. But his theory that proper regulation, central bank operations and other government policies would be able to prevent capitalist economic and financial crises is totally erroneous.
        Nevertheless, because Minsky viewed modern financial capitalism, as it actually exists, as unstable and prone to crisis, his views are anathema to most bourgeois economists and the economics profession as a whole. With the outbreak of the major new financial crisis in 2008, however, some bourgeois economists are now giving his theories a more sympathetic look. Many of Minsky’s ideas have also been accepted and promoted by some semi-Marxist, semi-Keynesian political economists, such as those connected with the Monthly Review school.

“Minsky’s proposed solution to financial crisis was state intervention on two fronts: the government should run a big budget deficit and the central bank should pump money into the economy. It will be noted, despite Minsky’s pariah status in economics, that his remedy is exactly what has been adopted [in the current crisis]—in the US, the UK, the eurozone and much of the developed world. The problem is, it has not so far worked. Trillions of dollars of ready money, tax cuts and state spending were shovelled into the world economy to stop the credit crunch producing another Great Depression. Yet all these trillions are up against a powerful backwash of collapse within the real economy.” —Paul Mason, Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed, 2009, p. 156.

A “moment” or turning point when what appeared to be a solid and stable capitalist economy and financial system is either on the verge of developing into a serious financial crisis, or actually begins to do so. The term, which is used mostly by bourgeois economists in the Keynesian tradition, honors the bourgeois economist Hyman Minsky (see entry above) who gave a partial (and somewhat confused) explanation for why financial crises arise in a financialized capitalist economy rife with debt. The gist of Minsky’s theory is that asset and investment bubbles inevitably arise in such a capitalist economy, and when the bubbles collapse many lenders are forced to suddenly reduce their exposure to bad debt, which in effect turns many of them into Ponzi-like schemes trying to keep their head above water by suckering in new investors. Sometimes the term “Minsky moment” is used to describe that immediate pre-crisis situation, and sometimes it is used to refer to the period when a full-fledged financial crisis actually begins.
        Minsky was, however, unable to adequately explain why this massive debt develops in the first place, or why capitalism is forced to become more and more financialized. He thus imagined that what his followers now call “Minsky moments” could be avoided, and severe capitalist crises could themselves be permanently avoided if the capitalist system were properly managed and regulated. This is utter nonsense.

Latin phrase which can be translated as: “Miracles without doctrine are worthless”. Blaise Pascal in his theological essay, “Thoughts on Miracles”, seems to take this view, that religious miracles (which he took seriously!) and church doctrine supposedly tend to illuminate each other.
        However, leaving such silliness aside, the Latin phrase can much more rationally be translated as “Miracles without explanation are worthless” or “Wonders without science are useless.” The American bourgeois philosopher
Paul Ziff used the Latin phrase as the frontis quotation in his 1960 book Semantic Analysis, the whole thrust of which was to lead up to the final chapter (which he had already written) and justify the method he used there to correctly determine the meaning of the word ‘good’. The “miracle” was the correct definition, but the method used to arrive at that result needed to be explained and justified scientifically (which at least in rough outline Ziff accomplished).
        More generally: It is not enough to have a view or opinion you are sure is correct; you must be able to scientifically demonstrate that it is correct.

It frequently happens that a policy or principle or technique must be adjusted somewhat when it is applied or implemented in somewhat different circumstances. In political work, for example, a basic program or general policy will often need to be adjusted slightly under somewhat different conditions. This requires that comrades not be doctrinaire lackies who blindly follow instructions from the center, regardless of local circumstances. They must also investigate local conditions and think for themselves!
        We will try to emphasize this point with a historical example from ancient Rome where a harness designed for oxen was then commonly misused on horses (see illustration). Notice that the harness was quite cleverly and appropriately designed so that the ox pulled its cart or other load from its strongest point, the hump on its back. However a horse is shaped differently, without a big back hump, so using the same type of harness on a horse has the effect of choking the animal’s neck when it pulls a heavy load. Amazingly enough, this problem seems not to have been commonly noticed in ancient Rome! How important was this? It was not just a matter of some poor horses suffering. For industry to prosper and develop there needs to be efficient means of moving fairly heavy loads from place to place, and in a timely fashion. But in ancient Rome the choices were reduced to painfully slow movement by ox carts, or else with very much smaller loads transported faster by horse carts. Neither was very satisfactory, and thus the slow and poor transport of goods was much more of a negative factor in the economy of the Roman Empire than it needed to be. This harness problem also greatly reduced the efficiency of horse-powered waterwheels.
        [This example, along with the graphic, is taken from A. Trevor Hodge, “A Roman Factory”, Scientific American, Nov. 1990, pp. 106-111. Hodge is attempting to rebut or downplay the actually correct idea that the inefficiency of slave society was the basic reason that Roman society failed to develop the technology of mechanized production. But it is true that there were indeed additional factors, including even the misuse of oxen harnesses on horses! He also points out that horses at that time were unshod, which may have also impaired their effectiveness as draft animals.]


MISCONCEPTIONS — Promoting in Tactics against the Enemy


“The boundless greed after riches, this passionate chase after exchange-value, is common to the capitalist and the miser; but while the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, the capitalist is a rational miser. The never-ending augmentation of exchange-value, which the miser strives after, by seeking to save his money from circulation, is attained by the more acute capitalist, by constantly throwing it afresh into circulation [in the form of further investment].” —Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Part II, Ch. 4: (International ed., p. 153; Penguin ed., pp. 254-5.)

A rough indicator of the economic misery in a country at a particular time, which is defined as the sum of the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation. Thus if the official unemployment rate is 5.5% and the rate of inflation for consumer goods is officially 3.8%, the “misery index” would be 9.3%.
        As of December 2009, with the continuing development of the current economic crisis, the U.S. misery index reached 11.8%. The highest the U.S. index ever reached was 22% in 1980, during a period of both recession and very high inflation. But over the next few years, we should expect to see that record broken as the U.S. and world economy continue to move toward the Second Great Depression. Unemployment figures have already nearly equaled the 1980 level, and inflation will zoom up at some point as the government perpetually tries to pump up the economy with additional trillions of deficit dollars.
        Though popular with bourgeois journalists writing on economics, the misery index is pretty phony in a number of ways. The true rate of unemployment, for example, is much higher than the official rate, and the official rate of inflation is always more than they claim as far as the basic working class is concerned. (The price of expensive luxury goods doesn’t much concern us!) In addition, the standards used by the government to measure unemployment and inflation are not constant; in general, as time goes by the government more and more tries to hide the true situation by systematically distorting the real statistics. Moreover, unemployment and inflation are not equally bad (as the misery index tacitly assumes). For those who are actually unemployed, unemployment is far more serious. Still, it might be said that the changes in the misery index are somewhat useful in showing the current trends in the economy. And that trend at the present time is not at all good.

The gaps that appear in the fossil record for intermediate species between the species that are represented in that record. It should be noted that when any “missing link” fossil is actually found, that merely creates two more somewhat smaller gaps on either side of it! So-called missing links in no way serve to discredit evolutionary science.

“Evolutionary theory makes a simple prediction. Complex traits arise via a series of small steps, each new step offering a small advantage over the last. Selection of the best-adapted traits means loss of the less well-adapted traits, so selection continuously eliminates intermediates. Over time, traits will tend to scale the peaks of an adaptive landscape, so we see the apparent perfection of eyes, but not the less perfect intermediate steps en route to their evolution. In The Origin of Species Darwin made the point that natural selection actually predicts that intermediates should be lost.” —Nick Lane, The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life, (NY: W.W. Norton, 2015), p. 45.
         [It should also be noted that the
punctuated equilibrium theory, which modifies the traditional total gradualism of previous evolutionary theory, only increases the tendency for there to be many, and fairly large gaps in the fossil record. —Ed.]


“In the past few decades, mission work has soared. The number of American Christian missionaries going overseas has increased to around 130,000 today, from 57,000 in 1970, said Gina A. Zurio, a research fellow at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs in Boston. The reasons, scholars say, are the rise of evangelicalism; an increase in the number of independent churches organizing their own missions; and the ease of travel.” —Jeffrey Gettleman, et al., “A Reality Far Harsher Than He Was Prepared For”, New York Times, Dec. 1, 2018. This article talks about how the natives in the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean killed an American missionary who was repeatedly warned not to go to their island but illegally went there anyway.

“What would you say if I sent bonzes and lamas to preach in your country?” —Chinese emperor Ch’ien Lung. Quoted in William Hinton, Fanshen (1966), p. 58. Bonzes and lamas are English terms for Buddhist monks.

MISTAKES — Attitude Towards
        See also:

“Communists should not be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes have a dual character. On the one hand mistakes harm the Party and the people; on the other they serve as good teachers, giving both the Party and the people a good education, and this benefits the revolution. Failure is the mother of success. If there is nothing good about failure, how can it be the mother of success? When too many mistakes are made, there is bound to be a turn-about. That is Marxism. ‘Things turn into their opposites when they reach the extreme’; when mistakes pile up, light is not far off.” —Mao, “Some Experiences in Our Party’s History” (Sept. 25, 1956), SW 5:329.

The large group of small and medium size companies in Germany, which play an important role in the German economy. As of 2012 they accounted for about 60% of German employment.

MKULTRA   (Usually pronounced: em-kay-ul-tra)
The code name for a secret
CIA mind control program to try to learn how to “brainwash” people, i.e., to control them and get them to do things against their will. It was initiated in April 1953 by CIA director Allen Dulles, and was initially overseen by Richard Helms, who in later years became CIA director himself. The program employed all sorts of horrifying and totally unethical experiments on American psychiatric patients and even soldiers and government employees. It included the use of extreme electrical shocks, sensory deprivation, and powerful and very dangerous hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. It never really learned how to effectively brainwash anybody, but it did destroy a great number of human lives.

“[Allen] Dulles knew that U.S. military and intelligence agencies had been working for several years on their own brain warfare programs. This secret experimentation would balloon under the CIA’s MKULTRA program. Launched by Dulles with a $300,000 budget, this ‘Manhattan Project of the Mind’ would grow into a multimillion-dollar program, operating for a quarter of a century, and enlisting dozens of leading universities and hospitals as well as hundreds of prominent researchers in studies that often violated ethical standards and treated their human subjects as ‘expendables.’ ...
        “Many of the MKULTRA projects involved the use of experimental drugs, particularly LSD, which Helms saw as a potential ‘A-bomb of the mind.’ The goal was to bend a subject’s mind to the agency’s will.
        “Most undercover recruits in the spy trade were sketchy, undependable characters who were motivated by greed, blackmail, revenge, lust, or other less than honorable impulses. But the CIA’s spymasters dreamed of taking their craft to a new technological level, one that flirted with the imaginative extremes of science fiction. They wanted to create human machines who would act on command, even against their own conscience. Dulles was particularly keen on finding out if LSD could be used to program zombielike saboteurs or assassins. He kept grilling Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA’s top drug expert, asking him if the psychedelic compound could be used to make ‘selected individuals commit acts of substantial sabotage or acts of violence, including murder,’ recalled the scientist.
        “The Manchurian Candidate, the 1959 bestselling thriller by Richard Condon that was later adapted for the screen, dramatized this concept of a flesh-and-blood robot, a man so deeply programmed that he could be turned into a cold-blooded assassin.” —David Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), pp. 288-9. [See also the entry “Manchurian Candidate” for more on this monstrous scheme. —Ed.]

1. An abbreviation in various states in India for “Member of the Legislative Assembly”. In other words an assemblyman, or member of the legislature at the state level.
2. The Modern Language Association, an influential organization of academic professionals engaged in the teaching and study of language and literature. Though founded and pretty much centered in the U.S. it has a worldwide membership and scope.


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