MIM calls itself a "collection of existing or emerging Maoist internationalist parties in the English-speaking imperialist countries and their English-speaking internal semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging Maoist Internationalist parties in Belgium, France and Quebec and the existing or emerging Spanish-speaking Maoist Internationalist parties of Aztlan, Puerto Rico and other territories of the U.$. Empire[sic]."
MIM was originally founded as the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in 1983 from a group called RADACADS (for "RADical ACADemics") at Harvard/Radcliffe University., Before it became MIM, RADACADS worked with some of the new communist movement organizations that had formed out of the 1969 breakup of Students for a Democratic Society.
The group changed its name from Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) to Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) in 1984 after another Maoist organization, the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA), adopted the name "Revolutionary Internationalist Movement" for its own international organization. In a document titled "MIM History, How It All Began", published by MIM in May 1994 on the occasion of MIM's 10th anniversary, MIM states, "The origins of MIM are inextricably bound up with the phenomenon of the RCP, USA." But at the same time they state that, "MIM's members were never members of the RCP, USA." According to the MIM statement, "Ideological, political and organizational riddles solved themselves simultaneously when a comrade close to the RCP, USA used our document 'Manifesto on the International Situation and Revolution' as an application for membership in the RCP, USA. The comrade explained that if the RCP accepted the comrade on the basis of this document - then the other comrades would also commit to joining. The RCP, USA rejected the application and a decisive break ensued. The issues entailed the nature of vanguard parties, Maoism versus Trotskyism and many smaller matters." According to this MIM statement, it is at this point that MIM formed and began to consider itself the vanguard party in the U.S.
MIM claims that when they were founded, they were composed of a "majority of national minorities and a majority of women."
MIM lists its cardinal principles as:
1. MIM holds that after the proletariat seizes power in socialist revolution, the potential exists for capitalist restoration under the leadership of a new bourgeoisie within the communist party itself. In the case of the USSR, the bourgeoisie seized power after the death of Stalin in 1953; in China, it was after Mao's death and the overthrow of the "Gang of Four" in 1976.
2. MIM upholds the Chinese Cultural Revolution as the farthest advance of socialism in human history.
3. According to MIM, imperialism's extraction of super-profits from the Third World allows oppressor nations to buy off a large portion of their labouring population, which MIM does not view as a 'working class' in the strict sense. MIM argues that these 'workers' bought off by imperialism form a new petty-bourgeoisie called the labor aristocracy. These classes are not the principal vehicles to advance Maoism within those countries because their standards of living depend on imperialism. At this time, according to MIM, imperialist super-profits create this situation in Canada, Quebec, the United States, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Israel, Sweden and Denmark.
It is through MIM's unique analysis of the labor aristocracy that MIM differentiates itself from other leftist parties in what it terms the imperialist countries. The labor aristocracy today, MIM argues, is that class of workers in imperialist countries that receive more than the value of their labor by sharing in the superprofits extracted from the Third World. MIM sees the principal contradiction in society to be that between imperialism and the oppressed nations and upholds the right to self-determination for oppressed nations. Although it allows that there are "scattered" white proletarians, MIM considers most white workers in the U.S. to be members of a labor aristocracy, meaning that that they benefit so much from the system of imperialism that they are bought off, thus having no revolutionary potential. MIM developed this analysis in part from the book Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat by J. Sakai. MIM thus believes that revolution is impossible in the U.S. without external help of oppressed nations.
MIM states that it serves to build public opinion in favor of anti-imperialist and national liberation struggle.
MIM's newspaper, MIM Notes, is anonymously written; authors do not sign their names to articles. Instead, MIM Notes writers may use the moniker MCX (MIM Comrade X), where X is a number. This is reputedly to prevent their members and supporters from being known by the state. This also functions to keep the focus on theoretical line and arguments as opposed to personalities.
MIM is known for its unusual spellings of many common words, such as womyn (and plural wimmin), persyn, I$rael, Kanada, and united $nakes of ameriKKKa, which reflects MIM's approach to language questions.
MIM also holds the unusual position that all sex under patriarchy is rape due to power relations in patriarchal society. They have drawn on the theoretical works of feminist author Catharine MacKinnon in coming to this analysis.
MIM publishes a biweekly newspaper, MIM Notes. They previously published a theory journal titled MIM Theory. There were 14 editions published, but no new editions have appeared since 2001. MIM previously published Maoist Sojourner, 'a monthly publication by and for Third World Maoist exiles,' which according to the MIM website, "died as a publication thanks in part to internal sabotage and quitters. MIM also has an occasional Spanish-language publication, Notas Rojas.
MIM leads a 'mass organization of anti-imperialists' called the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL). MIM leads the People's Internationalist Rear-Area Organization (PIRAO), which MIM claims is the group that builds infrastructural support for MIM. MIM also created the MIM Supporters Group (MSG), "an organization of committed people that works with MIM. MIM recognizes MSG chapters or members in certain situations where there are thorough differences of opinion that would prevent such a member from being a party member.
A post on the MIM website titled "Where we are at the end", dated February 15, 2008, appears to announce the end of MIM. The post states that there will be no further posts on the MIM website, and announces a postmortem website, MIM Lite. According to the 2/15/2008 post on the MIM website, "There will be no new content here, no more stepping on toes and no defense of political gains if any. 'MIM Lite' will take up the few leftover tasks." While it is not said explicitly that MIM no longer exists as an organization, this is strongly implied and there appears to be no new activity subsequent to the 2/15/2008 post. In May 2008 it was announced that MIM Lite would be retired. In August a new blog was announced, called MIM Defense, with the stated purpose to "defend the leaders of ex-MIM, the Maoist Internationalist Movement, people who continue on the course of the anti-war and anti-imperialist struggles.