Encyclopedia of Marxism Bylaws

Ratified by MIA on May 4, 2002

Publishing a Definition:

1. Structure of a Definition:

a. In any definition, the opening sentence should contain a succinct dictionary-style definition of the word.
b. All definitions should be rich in factual material and well-researched to ensure we never publish factually incorrect material. We consider this the body of the definition.
c. Marxist analysis is used to put together and present the facts in a way which allows the reader to surmise the significance of the facts, without imposing interpretation.
d. If there are non-Marxist variations of understanding this word relevant to understanding society/history (i.e. a bourgeois conception of a word: see Bourgeois Democracy for example), they should be contained at the bottom of the definition in a concise overview and clearly labeled with the tag span class="term" (see: Being for an example).
e. References. "Further Reading" is used to denote materials outside of the encyclopedia, often material in the Marxist writers or reference archives, that can broaden understanding of the word. If how this material would assist the reader is not clear, a sentence explaining the content of the material is helpful, and always denote the author of the work. "See Also" is used for other words that are within the encyclopedia that will be helpful to an understanding of the word.

2. Definitions should make every effort to include an explanation of the social and historical development of the thing itself and the word (i.e. the word equality was created at a certain point, but actual existing equality has not yet been achieved). Furthermore, definitions should be guided by an understanding of dialectics.

3. We believe that the best definitions are the outcome of the "dialectic of debate" between opposing Marxist views. Writers should welcome debate and constructive amendment and offer it in return.

4. Quotes should be interwoven into the text, and links should to relevant material in the Archives be made. Quotes and links should be diverse in nature, pointing to contradicting views on the subject, without putting any one Marxist over any other.

5. No sectarianism! Analysis should always positively present the whole range of marxist views on a subject in a way that allows the reader to make an informed judgment.

6. Avoid dogmatism. Always write in a way which leaves room for alternative views and interpretation. Furthermore, do not use an adjective or a political position summed up in a single word to wholly describe a person or event (example: the Centrist Kautsky, the Butcher Stalin, the Menshevik conference of reformists, etc.). If cutting these descriptions out means having no description at all, then so be it. It is much better for us not to have information than for us to give misinformation.

7. Everything published in the Encyclopedia must be accepted by one of the editors, and an announcement must be made to the editorial board when it is published.

8. All material submitted to the Encyclopedia is considered copyleft, protected under the Creative Commons (Attribution/Share alike) license. No material submitted can be under any other license or have any other restrictions whatever.

Amendments, Friendly:

1. Amendments must be sent to the editorial board, and are considered friendly if they meet both the agreement of the original writer(s) of the definition and have the board's approval.

Amendments, Debated:

1. Any MIA volunteer may call a definition into debate, while reader's objections are dealt with at the digression of the EB. Published definitions may remain published while under debate unless at least one editor requests it's withdrawal until the debate has been resolved.

2. There are two distinct and important stages in dispute resolution.

a. First is a debate over the facts of the word, establishing and critiquing the facts that have been put forward. It is always better to cut out rather than keep in material that cannot be definitely proved as factual.
b. Secondly, there is the effort to find and agree on a basic, fundamental, and common denominator Marxist analysis.

3. If the original writer(s) does not consent to proposed amendments by editor(s), they have the right to withdraw the definition.

4. If a MIA volunteer, after one month of thorough debate with the editors on a term, are not satisfied with the progress being made, they can take the issue to the MIA steering committee, who can decide how they want to handle the issue.

5. For a definition that has been in active dispute for one month, the writer(s) of the definition and the EB will vote on if:

a. There is a good chance a consensus can be reached with time, then there should generally be a "cooling off period" of 12 months before revisiting the definition, or
b. If a basic common analysis is untenable, analysis can be dropped completely unless all concerned feel it is imperative for an understanding the word. In this case, separate basic Marxist analysis for the definition will be published, on as equal footing as possible, distinctly marked from one another (and none can make claim to being "the right way", or the "only true Marxist way"); that describe in unbiased and fair terms how that side approaches the issue. This is what we mean by non-sectarian writing and a democratic process of making definitions.

6. For any term that has already gone through this "Amendments, Debated" section once in the past, the editorial board reserves the right to delay a new discussion on that term for a period of up to 18 months by a majority vote.

Editorial Board & Associate Editors:

The Editorial board are the general editors of the Encyclopedia of Marxism. An Associate Editor is considered a specialist on a certain area, and has the same responsibilities as an Editor on a specific topic of the Encyclopedia; they participate in debate and writing definitions in that area, but they have no special responsibilities or privileges in other parts of the encyclopedia.

1. As at 01/04/02, the Editorial Board (EB) of the Encyclopedia is Andy Blunden and Brian Baggins. At present there are no Associate Editors.

2. Anyone may volunteer or be invited to join the EB or become an Associate Editor:

a. Subject to unanimous agreement of the Board or by decision of the MIA/SC in the event of a failure of the EB to agree, and
b. A member of the EB is expected to have contributed at least 150 kb (while the amount for an Associate Editor is 30 kb) of published material in the Encyclopedia in the year prior to joining;

3. For a member of the EB, failure to produce or edit at least one definition a month is taken as resignation, while an Associate Editor must maintain the level of at least 30kb of published material in the Encyclopedia every year.

Associate Editors:

1. Specialty topics may overlap where two or more associate editors (AE) could reasonably claim responsibility over a given word (ex. Trotskyst AE's and Soviet AE's). In this case, the AE's involved have equal responsibilities and privileges.

2. If the AE's involved are in dispute over who has legitimate claim, the matter will be resolved by the editorial board in discussion with the relevant associate editors.

Contact the Marxists Internet Archive Admin Committee for further information