Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Mu - Mz   —

Unit of area measure commonly used in China through the Mao era, and equal to about 1/6 acre. It is now more precisely defined as 666 2/3 square meters (which is roughly equivalent to 797.3 square yards or 0.1647 acres).

See also:

“In 1931, in what came to be called the Mukden Incident, the members of the [Japanese] Kwantung Army, which was the epicenter of armed Japanese nationalism, blew up some railroad tracks on the Southern Manchurian Railway near Mukden, blamed the Chinese for the sabotage, and then used the incident to seize control of all the northeastern Chinese provinces that made up Manchuria. A few months later, they persuaded the last emperor of the overthrown Qing dynasty, Henry Pu-yi, to become the puppet leader of a new, supposedly independent country called Manchukuo.”
         —Richard Bernstein, China 1945 (2014), p. 53. [Bernstein is a bourgeois American historian. The technique used by the Japanese imperialists here—namely staging a phony incident and then using it as a pretext to go to war—has been used over and over again. The U.S. imperialists have used this same technique many times, such as with the imaginary so-called “Tonkin Gulf” incident off of Vietnam on August 4, 1964, which President Lyndon Johnson and the U.S. Congress used as a totally phony excuse to expand the U.S. imperialist War Against Vietnam and extend it to North Vietnam. —Ed.]

MULLAH   [Arabic]
1. A Muslim religious teacher.
2. An honorific term within Islam for an educated person who is trained in traditional religious law and doctrine, and who usually holds an official post.

[Often without the hyphen.] A corporation which, though usually based in one imperialist country, operates not only in that country but in many other countries as well. Also called a transnational corporation (or TNC).

Many people in contemporary capitalist society find it necessary to simultaneously hold down more than one job. If, for example, one miserable-paying job doesn’t provide them with enough income to make ends meet, they find it necessary to also get a second job. (And sometimes even a third job, if not all of these jobs are full time.) The graph at the right shows the percentage of non-farm workers in the United States over the past quarter century who have more than one job. (The actual percentages are probably somewhat larger than shown here, since many “second jobs” are “off the books” in one way or another.) The percentage of workers with multiple jobs falls (because of layoffs) during recessions such as in 2001 and 2008, and also fell drastically during the Covid-19 pandemic because of job suspensions or losses. But the numbers are increasing again now. The short-term ups and downs are due to seasonal factors with regard to job availability.

“Three in 10 young adults in America hold two or more jobs, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.” —New York Times, National Edition, “Gen Z’s Debt Spending Could Derail the Future”, Oct. 1, 2023.

ECONOMIC CRISES—Simultaneous Multiple Crises,   POLYCRISIS

Political parties represent the political and economic interests of specific social
classes, and therefore each class requires its own party. But sometimes a single class will have more than one political party to represent its interests, such as the Democrats and the Republicans in the U.S. which both represent the ruling bourgeoisie. However, in these cases those separate parties virtually always come together for “bi-partisan” action when their basic class interests are being threatened by other classes or by other countries. However, the proletarian revolution requires a very high degree of unity within the working class, and having two or more separate working class parties could only negatively impact the chances for its success. Moreover, the way the revolutionary party leads the masses, through the method of “from the masses, to the masses”, pretty much requires the existence of just one primary center of political leadership for the class. For these reasons, the revolutionary working class very much needs a single political party to guide it.
        See also the essay: “On the Question of Multiple Revolutionary Parties” [by S.H.], online at: https://www.massline.org/Politics/ScottH/MultPart.htm

“Within the working class, there is no basic clash of interests. Under the proletarian dictatorship, the working class has absolutely no reason to split into two hostile factional organizations.” —Mao, Sept. 14, 1967; SW 9:419.

“The Chinese Communist Party is the core of leadership of the whole Chinese people. Without this core, the cause of socialism cannot be victorious.” —Mao, May 25, 1957; Quotations from Mao Tse-tung, 1st edition, (Peking: 1966), p. 2.

“It is only through the unity of the Communist Party that the unity of the whole class and the whole nation can be achieved, and it is only through the unity of the whole class and the whole nation that the enemy can be defeated and the national and democratic revolution accomplished.” —Mao, Quotations from Mao Tse-tung, ibid., p. 251. From “Win the Masses in Their Millions for the Anti-Japanese National United Front” (May 7, 1937), SW 1:292. (Slightly different translation there.)

Multitasking can mean either attempting to do more than one thing at the very same moment (which is often unwise or even counter-productive, with none of the tasks being done well); or it can mean doing several different things during one more extended time period but usually concentrating on just one of them at any given moment. This second sort of thing is of course required of all us in not only our daily lives, but also in our revolutionary political work.
        See also:

“Learn to ‘play the piano’. In playing the piano, all ten fingers are in motion; it will not do to move some fingers only and not others. However, if all ten fingers press down at once, there is no melody. To produce good music, the ten fingers should move rhythmically and in co-ordination. A Party committee should keep a firm grasp on its central task and at the same time, around the central task, it should unfold the work in other fields. At present, we have to take care of many fields; we must look after the work in all the areas, armed units and departments, and not give all our attention to a few problems, to the exclusion of others. Wherever there is a problem, we must put our finger on it, and this is a method we must master. Some play the piano well and some badly, and there is a great difference in the melodies they produce. Members of Party committees must learn to ‘play the piano’ well.” —Mao, Quotations From Chairman Mao Tsetung, (Peking: FLP, 1st ed., 1966), pp. 110-1. Original source: “Methods of Work in Party Committees” (March 13, 1949), SW4:379.

The so-called “multiverse” is the set of all the “universes” in cosmological theories which wildly speculate that there may be more than one universe!
        The universe has been traditionally defined as “everything that exists”. Under this definition there can only be one universe. However, adherents of the
Big Bang Theory claim that “our universe” (i.e., everything we can detect or see even with our largest telescopes) only came into existence around 13.8 billion years ago. The more religious proponents of this theory claim that this was the absolute beginning of “everything”—except for God, “of course”, who they claim has always existed and who after a period of time stretching infinitely into the past finally got around to creating the material world. But some other proponents of the Big Bang Theory have tried to conjecture as to what caused this hypothesized Big Bang. The leading nutty supposition is that it was merely a spontaneous “quantum fluctuation” within the empty space of some “other universe”. According to these totally bizarre fantasies there may also be many, many other universes, perhaps even an infinite number of them. (Moreover, they add as a bonus, the laws of nature might be completely different in these other universes! If you’re going to tell an entertaining science fiction story, you might as well make it a really good one.) Since, according to this fantastic tale, there are many universes, these high priests of contemporary cosmology see the need for the term “multiverse” to once again mean “everything that exists”.
        There is no actual evidence whatsoever that “other universes” or the “multiverse” exist. This is all just absurd metaphysical speculation taking place under the falsely appropriated name of science. —S.H.

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL   (1954-   )
An Afro-American political prisoner who was wrongly convicted of murdering a policeman in 1981 in what was clearly a grossly unfair trail. He has been on death row in Pennsylvania since then awaiting execution, while attempting to win a new (and fair) trial through the legal appeal process. There have been both temporary legal victories and serious legal setbacks for him, but he has remained on death row for nearly three decades now. However, Mumia also has widespread mass support in the U.S., and perhaps even more so in Europe and other parts of the world. Most of the world considers the death penalty barbaric and uncivilized, and chooses to support Mumia on that basis whether or not he is guilty of the crime he is charged with.
        Mumia was born Wesley Cook in 1954, and during the period of Black Liberation Struggle and revolutionary upsurge during the 1960s he became a member of the
Black Panther Party. In later years he was a political activist, journalist, broadcaster and part-time cab driver. Since his imprisonment he has written several books and broadcast a series of powerful news commentaries under the title “Live from Death Row”.
        Mumia’s case has generated enormous controversy, with reactionaries rabidly determined to execute him for a whole variety of reasons: to set an example for all those who kill cops (as they insist Mumia did despite the unfair trial); to show that even killing a cop in self-defense is unacceptable (as some suspect may have been the situation here); to stop protests about unfair trials (no matter how unfair they really are); for racist reasons (because Mumia is Black); and for political reasons (because Mumia is and remains a revolutionary). Because we Marxists are absolutely opposed to all these excuses to kill Mumia, we must continue to firmly work in support of him, and insistently call for his freedom.


“[The agreement] signed in Munich in September 1938 by British Prime Minister Chamberlain and French Premier Daladier with the German and Italian fascist chieftains Hitler and Mussolini.
        “On the eve of World War II, the insatiable German fascists openly threatened to gobble up Czechoslovakia, a small country in Europe, shortly after they had annexed Austria. On the pretext that part of the German people were living in the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, Hitler, massing a large number of troops on the border, threatened to invade the country. Britain, France and the other imperialist countries had the illusion that they could save themselves at the expense of Czechoslovakia and push the German fascists eastward to attack the Soviet Union, which was a socialist country at that time. It was against this background that the Munich agreement was concluded.
        “The agreement consisted of eight articles. The main stipulations were that Czechoslovakia should, within a fixed period of time, cede to Germany the Sudetenland and the southern parts bordering on Austria and transfer its military installations, industrial and mining enterprises and means of transport in these areas to Germany without compensation, and that its remaining territory would be ‘guaranteed’ by Britain, France, Germany and Italy against any further invasion.
        “Instead of reducing the danger of war, the British and French policy of appeasement served only to inflate the German fascists’ arrogance and whet their appetite for aggression. Following their occupation of the Sudetenland in November 1938, the German fascists invaded and occupied all of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. And in September that year they attacked Poland, which had a treaty of alliance with Britain and France, thus triggering off World War II.” —Note in Peking Review, #45, Nov. 4, 1977, p. 43.

The morally unjustified killing of another person. If the killing is truly justified, as in self-defense or in the course of a genuinely just war or political struggle in the real interests of the people, and where there is no other reasonable course of action, then this is not murder.
        However, bourgeois dictionaries frequently define ‘murder’ in a legalistic (rather than moralistic) way: “[Murder is] the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought” [Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. (1993).] By this “legal” standard, the killing of millions of Jews, communists, Slavs, Roma (“Gypsies”), crippled people, and many others, by the Nazi regime in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s was “not murder” since it was not illegal for the authorities to do so under that horrible fascist regime. This is obviously ridiculous. The fact is that all capitalist-imperialist countries commit many actual murders which are legal according to their de facto judicial systems.

“In one of the declassified documents [in 1997, about the CIA overthrow of the democratically-elected Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954], an unnamed CIA official expressed his confidence on the eve of the Guatemala coup that ‘the elimination of those in high positions of the [Arbenz] government would bring about its collapse.’ Another document—a chillingly detailed, nineteen-page CIA killing manual titled ‘A Study of Assassination’—offered the most efficient ways to butcher Guatemala’s leadership. ‘The simplest tools are often the most efficient means of assassination,’ the manual helpfully suggested. ‘A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice.’ The manual also advised assassins which parts of the body to strike for the most lethal effect, noting that ‘puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached.... Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region.’ The authors of the manual did make a passing reference to the morality of killing elected leaders of a sovereign nation. ‘Murder is not morally justified,’ the manual briefly acknowledged. ‘Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.’” —David Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), p. 263. [There is no shortage of agents of the bourgeoisie who are in no way “morally squeamish”, and who even fail to understand what morality actually is. —Ed.]

“Keep them in the dark and feed them shit.” [This is basically how commercial mushrooms are grown.] This is a slogan popular within the U.S. government bureaucracy, especially within its intelligence agencies (such as the CIA and NSA), with regard to both the supposed Executive Branch and Congressional Branch oversight, and even more so with regard to investigations by newspaper reporters and anybody outside of the government.

MUSK, Elon   (1971-   )
Notorious billionaire capitalist businessman, head of Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, and various other corporations, and who is probably the richest person in the world at the present time (July 2023). For a general discussion of his business and financial dealings, see the

“Sometimes I forget that Elon Musk has always been a privileged rich kid & Elon Musk’s daddy owned an emerald mine & Elon Musk walked around with jewels in his pockets & Elon Musk didn’t start Tesla, he just ousted the founders & Elon Musk has never invented anything... Sometimes.”   —Michael Harriot, ordinary guy, in a comment on the Internet.

A reactionary nationalist party, formed in 1912, of the landlords and bourgeoisie in Azerbaijan.

MUSSOLINI, Benito   (1883-1945)
fascist dictator. Until World War I Mussolini was a socialist, but after participating in the war he led a fascist nationalist party in opposition to socialism. In October 1922 his “Blackshirts” marched on Rome and through violence and outright murder Mussolini established himself as “Il Duce”, the dictator of the country. Fascist-imperialist Italy then aided the Franco fascists in Spain and conquered and annexed Abyssinia [Ethiopia] in 1936 and Albania in 1939. Italian participation on the side of Nazi Germany in World War II was a complete disaster, however, not only for the masses but also for Mussolini personally. In 1943 most of his followers abandoned him and he resigned his office and was arrested. However, German parachutists rescued him and restored him to nominal power with German military support. Then on April 28, 1945, Italian partisans captured Mussolini, and after a people’s trial he was shot and his body was hung up by his heels in the plaza where crowds came to spit on his corpse. A fitting end.

“In the end, Mussolini found no mercy. He and his mistress, Claretta Petacci, who insisted on sharing his fate, were machine-gunned and their bodies were put on display in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto. Mussolini’s body was subjected to particular abuse by the large, frantic crowd in the square; one woman fired five shots into Il Duce’s head—one for each of her five dead sons. The bodies were then strung up by their feet from the overhanging girders of a garage roof, where they were subjected to further indignities. When he heard about Mussolini’s grotesque finale, Hitler—who, near the end, had told the Duce that he was ‘perhaps the only friend I have in the world’—ordered that his own body be burned after he killed himself.” —David Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), p. 76.

MUSTAFA KEMAL   [Known as: “ATATÜRK”]   (1881-1938)
A Turkish army officer in the Ottoman Empire who led a bourgeois revolution and became the first President of the Turkish Republic. His adopted name, “Atatürk”, means “Father of the Turks”, and was granted to him in 1934 by the Turkish parliament and was a name forbidden to any other person. The parliament was controlled by his own “Republican People’s Party”, the only legal party while Mustafa Kemal was alive and in control. So, in other words, since his party made no major move that he did not authorize, he actually gave this name to himself.
        After the defeat of Germany and its ally the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the victorious imperialist powers (i.e., primarily Britain and France in this case) began to carve up the Ottoman Empire. At this time they arbitrarily sliced up the Arab regions into their own colonies of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. But there were also attempts to further carve up what remained, and by Greece to take over western Anatolia. Moreover, the victorious imperialists tried to directly control Turkey on a permanent basis. Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish national movement in its “War of Independence”, and in resistance to further territorial losses. He promised national rights to the large Kurdish population in order to win their support. But then turned strongly against their desires for autonomy or independence when his situation became more secure.
        Mustafa Kemal did partially implement a proclaimed program of political, economic and cultural “reforms” with the goal of transforming the old Ottoman Turkey into a modern Westernized bourgeois secular nation state. Religious schools and courts were abolished, and secular institutions were set up in their place, largely based on European models (especially those of Mussolini’s fascist Italy!). Polygamy was outlawed, and civil marriage begun. Women were even granted the right to vote (in 1934), though this meant even less than it normally does in bourgeois society (since there were not even partially free elections). Democracy was proclaimed as a goal, but not even any essentially phony
bourgeois democracy with multiparty elections was instituted until after Mustafa’s death. However, taxation on peasants is said to have been reduced, and there were a number of cultural reforms or changes, such as replacing the Arabic alphabet for the Turkish language with a modified Latin alphabet.
        The principles of Mustafa Kemal’s program of “reforms”, upon which Turkey has largely been ruled up to the present time, are referred to as “Kemalism”. Open criticism of or disrespect toward Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk” or Kemalism in Turkey is still viewed as a serious crime—which shows again that Turkey under this ideology is not actually a democratic country, nor even one which allows genuine freedom of speech.

“In order to gain power the Turkish comprador bourgeoisie under the leader, Mustafa Kemal ‘Atatürk’, had promised national rights to the Kurds. He had agreed to recognize civil liberties for all the people and to redistribute land to the smallholder and landless peasants.
        “However, when the Kemalists came to power, in order to protect their alliance with the imperialists they began reactionary and barbaric methods to control the people. Using the Italian fascist penal code as a model the newly-made Turkish constitution of 1924 was effectively drawn up so that even the most basic of human rights was withdrawn. Freedom of speech and the freedom of the press were suppressed. It became illegal to hold meetings or to go on strike. Indeed any criticism of the state, whether written or verbal, in the press or through the arts, was forbidden.
        “The state had needed the support of the Kurds during the ‘war of liberation,’ hence its promises to the Kurds of national rights. But the Kurds’ support was expendable to the Kemalists after they gained power, as the 1925 massacre of the Kurds during the Shikh Said uprising very clearly illustrated. The second uprising lasted from 1927 to 1939, and the third, known as the Dersim Uprising (between 1936-39) left thousands of Kurds dead.”
         —From “Historical Background of Turkey”, in a collection of articles published by the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist circa 2002.


The most notorious massacre of unarmed civilians, mostly women and children, by mad-dog U.S. imperialist troops during the Vietnam War. The massacre occurred on March 16, 1968, but the U.S. government tried very hard to suppress any word about it, and it did not come to light until well over a year later.
        There were actually a great many other U.S. massacres of civilians in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during that war, including many far worse even than the hundreds murdered at My Lai. But the majority of these horrible massacres were done by bombings from the air, rather than face-to-face by soldiers on the ground. However, the directness of this massacre, and its animalistic brutality, had a much greater impact than the routine massacres from the air which could more easily be dismissed as “unfortunate mistakes.” The actual fact of the matter is that virtually all wars by the imperialists inherently involve mass murders and massacres, typically on a scale that can only be considered as outright genocide.
        See also:
VIETNAM WAR—U.S. War Crimes In

“On March 16, 1968, two platoons of American soldiers arrived at the hamlet of My Lai, in the district known as Son My in what was then South Vietnam. The men were from Charlie Company of the First Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division, and they were on a search-and-destroy mission. They entered the village around 8 in the morning. Several hours later, between 300 and 500 villagers lay dead.
         “Just how the massacre started has never been precisely determined, but the details were horrific. Eyewitnesses described bayonetings, clubbings, and close-range shootings, all without a single shot being fired at the Americans. Many of the dead were women, children, and the elderly. Some were killed while kneeling in prayer. Some were found with ‘C Company’ carved into their flesh. The men of Charlie Company had been in Vietnam all of three months.
        “The My Lai massacre is commonly called a turning point in American support for the war. It wasn’t. By the time journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story in the fall of 1969, the military investigation was well underway. The only individual actually convicted was Lt. William Calley, who commanded the men of Charlie Company. At home his conviction was unpopular. Private White House polling discovered that four out of five Americans wanted him released.
        “Support for the war, as John E. Mueller points out in his 1973 book, War, Presidents and Public Opinion, had already begun to drop a bit, especially among the less educated. After the massacre became known, public support actually increased. At the time of the massacre, American ground forces had been in Vietnam for three years. The killings at Kent State, which would galvanize antiwar forces, were still to come.” —Stephen L. Carter, “My Lai Revisited After Afghanistan Massacre”, Newsweek, March 26 & April 2, 2012, p. 19.
        [Carter, a liberal journalist, claims that massacres such as My Lai and more recent ones in Iraq and Afghanistan do not typify U.S. wars; he even absurdly claims that “Nearly all of our military forces serve with enormous honor and courage”. But the fact that U.S. imperialist troops perform such massacres at all speaks for itself. And the “support” for such massacres on the part of the American public—to the extent they actually do support it—also shows the horrifying hold of ruling class imperialist ideas on the masses in the U.S. And although Lt. Calley was given a sentence of life imprisonment, he was actually released from house arrest after three and a half years, and was never sent to prison at all. —S.H.]

Any religious philosophy which accepts the possibility of mystical experiences, divine intuitions, and “direct experiences of God”. Most mystics believe they can achieve an experience of some deep reality through the temporary union of their
“soul” with God, and hold that “true reality” can only be known in this way. Materialists dismiss all this as the fantastical misinterpretation of confused internal mental states which miseducated people are prone to.

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