An investigation into the “Freedom Convoy” movement
by Jorge, Paul, and Arthur
The world of the ruling class is in flames, the internal war in the enemy camp is exacerbated, and the masses are increasingly pushed to resist in a thousand ways. In this context, our task as communists is and will always be to take on the legitimate discontent among those social bases which the reactionary social groups leverage. We must mobilize these social bases more effectively and more radically than the bourgeoisie.
-kites interview with Italy’s CARC Party (May 2020)1
For nearly a month in the opening weeks of 2022, the “Freedom Convoy” movement laid political siege to the Federal government in Canada to an extent unsurpassed in half a century, perhaps since the very different events of the “October Crisis” in 1970.2
Despite what many a leftist and liberal had feared, this siege did not take the form of a chaotic, January 6-style putsch on the capital (though this seems to be what some elements in the convoy movement had hoped for, as we’ll see). To the contrary, it was a far better organized and arguably far more popular confrontation with the Federal government: the moves and counter-moves between the Trudeau government and the convoy movement looked more like a chess match or a season of Money Heist than what Trump, the far-Right, and the QAnon crowd in the US managed to cook up on January 6, 2021. In its few weeks of existence, the “Freedom Convoy” mobilized in the low tens of thousands of people3 to descend on Ottawa and establish an occupation, with hundreds of long-haul trucks and many more people hunkering down for three weeks in the freezing cold. After setting in, blockades followed at US-Canada border crossings in Manitoba, in Alberta, and at North America’s busiest border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario. This sequence of political actions amounted to a real shot taken at the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, a shot that anywhere between a fifth and 40% of the population (depending on who was doing the counting and how the questions are asked) seemed to sympathize with.4
An interview with Coni Ledesma of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Editorial Introduction from kites
The Philippine revolution has an exemplary record of women’s leadership and participation. In 53 years of protracted people’s war, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army have swam against the tide of semi-feudal social relations to involve women at every level of the revolution and the building of new forms of political power. As part of our responsibility to increase the level of debate and discussion on the oppression of women and communist revolution, and to popularize and learn from the most advanced experiences of our class, kites conducted an interview with Coni Ledesma in March of 2022.
Coni Ledesma is a former Catholic nun and a veteran revolutionary. She is currently the international representative of the revolutionary women’s organization Makibaka1 and a member of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), representing the revolutionary movement in peace negotiations. In her decades of service to the Filipino people and the international proletariat, she has been a sharp spokesperson for the Philippine revolution, and the concerns of Filipino women and children. kites is proud to present this interview with comrade Coni Ledesma.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity, and the pictures and captions have been selected and prepared by kites and approved by the NDFP.
A Summation of the MRP by Tyler and an exchange with Kenny Lake
In response to our call for summations,1kites received a summation of the “Maoist Revolutionary Party” (MRP), a short-lived organization in Philadelphia in 2019–20, from Tyler. While this summation offers some insights into the arrogance and lack of revolutionary principles that led to the MRP’s demise, we wanted to dig deeper into the fundamental questions of ideological and political line at the heart of the matter. For this reason, we assigned Kenny Lake to write a reply to Tyler’s summation. While the MRP was not significant in its own right, it is through this particular summation that we hope to illuminate some of the more general political problems among the crop of people who started calling themselves “Maoists” in North America in the last decade, in hopes that some may come out of that morass of dogmatism and arrogance and become real communists. We thank Tyler for being down to engage in a dialogue that is not short on criticism and struggle, but hopefully productive.
International Women’s Day on March 8th was initiated by the international communist movement over a century ago as a recognition of the centrality of women’s liberation to communist revolution. In contrast to the patriarchy, violence, and degradation women face under capitalism-imperialism, where the proletariat, under the leadership of communist parties, has seized power and embarked on the socialist transition to communism, tremendous advances have been made in overcoming the oppression of women.1 In 2022, with no socialist states in existence and with the bourgeoisie having fortified an effective regime of preventive counterrevolution, archaic forms of patriarchy persist while new forms of women’s oppression have been constructed, aided and abetted by the new technologies of the Silicon Valley bourgeoisie. A substantial reconfiguration of the oppression of women has been underway in North America for the last several decades. Drawing on discussion, study, and experience with many comrades, the kites editorial committee presents these notes on the oppression of women in 21st-century capitalism-imperialism, focused on North America. Our contribution is written in hopes of fostering greater debate and discussion that can more fully theorize the contours of women’s oppression in the present and inspire strategic thinking on how this oppression can be resisted and ultimately overcome through revolution. We welcome further contributions analyzing the oppression of women to our journal from comrades inside and outside our ranks.
An Interview with Umberto Corti of the Central Committee of the (new) Italian Communist Party
Part 2 of On Granite Conviction: Revolutionary Communism in Italy Today
Editorial Introduction from kites
In April 2021, the kites Editorial Committee conducted this interview with comrade Umberto Corti of the (new) Italian Communist Party ((n)PCI). The (n)PCI was established in 2004 after five years of clandestine preparatory work that stood upon two decades of political and theoretical activity that critically evaluated the errors, summed up the experience, and built upon the contributions of the Marxist-Leninist currents and armed communist organizations of the 1960s and ‘70s. Though tagged as new “Red Brigades” by its enemies in the ruling class, the (n)PCI upholds a strategy of “protracted revolutionary people’s war” which is entirely distinct not only from the communist parties in Italy that precede it, but also from those of other imperialist countries. As far as the kites Editorial Committee is concerned, any communist party in an imperialist country making serious claims to have broken new ground in theorizing proletarian revolution for the imperialist countries merits close scrutiny and consideration. And so, in the interest and urgency of bringing deeper insight and sharper clarity to the tasks of communist revolutionaries in the imperialist countries, the kites Editorial Committee is pleased to bring forward the second and final part of our series On Granite Conviction: Revolutionary Communism in Italy Today (the first of which was an interview with the (n)PCI’s fraternal CARC Party and appeared in kites #4 and is available at kites-journal.org).
The pictures and captions in this interview have been selected and prepared by the kites Editorial Committee, but reviewed and approved by the (n)PCI.
kites received the following from a reader in Southern California whose previous submission,“Catching Fire: Participant Reflections on the Summer of Protest and Rebellion,” appeared in kites #3.1
As an introduction to the culture by way of personal experience, when I was coming of age in the mid-late ’90s, skateboarding was a refuge for outcasts and rebels. It occupied a hazy overlap between otherwise more distinct sub- and countercultures, namely hip-hop and punk, that I had already been straddling. The mechanics of skating also appealed to my appreciation of science—in particular, physics—because tricks require either an explicit or implicit knowledge of how to manipulate the board in order for it to concretely perform how you abstractly conceptualized. Physics are fundamental to all sports, of course, but they feel more overt and pronounced in skating: grinds and slides produce friction, requiring you to wax surfaces; the board is not attached to the body, requiring you to scoop, slide, and stomp with precision in order for it to move with you over gaps, obstacles, and sets; and skating isn’t shy about reminding you of Newton’s third law—when you bail and hit the ground, the ground hits back.
kites received the following submission, which is based on interviews with healthcare workers in a hospital setting during the COVID-19 pandemic, from a reader in a major US city. While this piece is the result of an initial investigation, it gives more than a sense of the possibilities for communists to integrate with the massive concentrations of proletarians in the lower rung of the healthcare industry.
Many people inside and outside of Canada see this northern country as a society and a state which—while in many ways similar to the US—is friendlier, more progressive, and maybe even a bit socialist in comparison, given its system of socialized emergency services and basic medical care. This report calls bullshit on all that. Through the last two years of global health crisis, uprisings against police violence, the catastrophic destruction of climate change-induced extreme weather events, and a deeply-divided, faltering economy, it’s never been more apparent that a tiny fraction of society continues to amass obscene wealth to itself while a growing majority of the people are being pushed down into endless struggle for their livelihoods and lives. Furthermore, among the many struggling there is emerging a growing portion becoming completely dispossessed and denied any right to exist. What follows are the chronicles of these struggling and dispossessed—testimonies on the other side of Canada.
This special double-issue of kites contains the results of social investigations carried out by kites readers in the summer of 2021 in a few regions across the US and a dozen cities and regions across Canada. While these results are only initial, they cover a wide swath of the proletariat and other popular classes, from one coast to the other, from a housing project in New York City to homeless encampments in Minneapolis, from skate parks to hospitals, from regions choked by heat and fire to those where hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who were victims of the Indian residential school system have been identified. Taken collectively, they present a number of important initial findings for those of us who hate this system and love the masses.
kites received the following submission from a group of readers who undertook a social investigation project this summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This report is drawn from those conversations and interviews, which took place in the time period following the murder of Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center and the conviction of killer cop Derek Chauvin but before the partial eviction of George Floyd Square and the killing of Winston Smith.
In front of a housing project, a young sister who had participated in the uprising told us that the people were like ants getting together to take down an elephant. Speaking both to the actual events of the rebellion and the larger context of the oppression of Black people and proletarian life in Minneapolis, she told us that the people were out protesting the murder of George Floyd and didn’t want to start fires until they were pushed up against a wall. Once they finally pushed back, they proved to the police that they were more powerful.