Welcome to Splitsvillle. Population: Every Leftist Organization of the Last Decade—A Call for Summations, not Subtweet Rrecriminations

The past decade has seen a rapid growth in new and a few previously existing Leftist organizations across North America, matched almost tit for tat by splits within and the dissolution of said Leftist organizations. A number of the larger, crusty old Leftist organizations have fallen apart after decades of doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. In other and overlapping cases, their ideological rot was exposed after their leadership tried to cover up rape within their organizations. To them, we say good riddance to your organizations and to the rancid revisionist ideology behind them. To the handful of crusty old Leftist organizations who managed to rebrand themselves and garner new recruits by appealing to postmodernism and dogmatic internet “communism,” we say your days are numbered. Sooner or later your new membership will by and large burn out from the same old routine or realize that they have joined opPortuniSt manipuLators who don’t tell new recruits that they’re Trotskyists.

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Picking the Ripest Fruit for Harvesting a Revolutionary People

by Kenny Lake (Written in 2015)

Picking the Ripest Fruit for Harvesting a Revolutionary People is the fourth and final part in the series The Specter that Still Haunts: Locating a Revolutionary Class Within Contemporary Capitalism-Imperialism, and will appear in print in kites #4. Originally written in 2015 and published at revolutionary-initiative.com, this piece was written during the second term of the Obama administration, after the rebellions in Ferguson and Baltimore but prior to the emergence of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. As such, it does not reflect some of the radical shifts that have taken place since then. However, its analysis of who constitutes the proletariat in the US remains accurate.

* * *

Having laid a theoretical foundation for understanding the proletariat as a concept in part one, drawn a broad outline of changes in the capitalist-imperialist system in part two, and extracted lessons from the successes in forging a revolutionary people in recent communist people’s wars in part three, here we turn our attention to understanding who constitutes the proletariat in the United States and especially its most potentially revolutionary sections. Given the lack of any real communist pole in the US (and in most of the world), it will be crucial for those seeking to build communist organization to do so by picking the ripest fruit for harvesting a revolutionary people. Since, as argued throughout this series, it is in the processes of dispossession and proletarianization and in the social antagonisms created by the anarchic movements of capital that those most prone to revolutionary possibilities can be found, communist practice requires a keen analysis of just who those people are to be most effective.

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The Tinderbox and the Tourniquet

Voices from Baltimore in the Wake of the 2015 Rebellion and Bourgeois State Intervention

by Kilmor

In the summer of 2018, a mixture of communists and those interested in walking the revolutionary road traveled from a handful of cities across North America to meet in downtown Baltimore, Maryland for an intensive three-day social investigation into the concrete conditions of the Black proletarian masses of West Baltimore in the aftermath of the 2015 rebellion. The rebellion—a culmination of festering frustration and rage due to the dispossession that accompanies deindustrialization,1 explicit and implicit racism, the occupation of residential areas by police known for their brutality and corruption,2 a rampant drug economy, and regular violence—was sparked by the murder of 25-year-old Freddie Gray by members of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

Freddie Gray in an undated family photo.
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A call for communist social investigation a year after the summer of rebellion

Issue #4 Editorial

By the kites Editorial Committee (April 2021)

Opportunities missed, claimed, and coming

Over the past year and change, a rapid succession of crises have gripped North America. The pandemic has brought premature death to over half a million people and the agonizing pain of losing loved ones to so many more. All the while, people have been forced to bear the additional hardships of social isolation, unemployment, evictions, and the despair of facing an uncertain future in which there may be no return to a state of “normal” for many. George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police was the spark that ignited protests and rebellions all across North America, as the righteous anger at a system whose police routinely murder Black proletarians and other oppressed people boiled over after nothing has changed despite so many killings caught on camera and so much talk of reform.

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From Postmodernist Nonsense to Plain Proletarian English: A Translation Guide

For a printable PDF of this article, click the cover image above.

Some readers of kites, particularly class-conscious proletarians in North America and our international audience, may be confused when they encounter the terminology and slogans used by postmodernist activists and academics in the US and Canada that are alien to their life experience and to common sense. In order to assist such readers in making sense of the nonsensical language trafficked by postmodernists and develop their ability to contend with postmodernist ideology and politics from a communist perspective, kites has come up with the following translation guide. The terminology and slogans popular with postmodernists are translated into what Fred Hampton called plain proletarian English, guided by a Dave Chappelle-inspired insistence to “say what you mean.” We believe it is appropriate to mock people who claim to be about ending oppression but insist on using alienating grad school language that seems to serve the purposes of separating postmodernists from the masses, policing people for the words they use, and mistaking the use of convoluted terminology for intelligence. “Performative wokeness” (to use postmodernist language against postmodernists) has nothing to do with real liberation.

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Against the Tide of Counter-Revolution

An Interview with Comrade Kiran (Mohan Baidya), General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist)

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist), Mohan Baidya (Comrade Kiran), speaking at a program in Kathmandu on 21 June 2016.

The following interview will appear in kites #4, which is due out sometime in late spring of 2021.

Editorial Introduction

In the 1990s, when the ruling classes were proclaiming the permanent victory of capitalism-imperialism in all corners of the globe, a small cadre of revolutionaries in remote, landlocked Nepal dared to prove them wrong and waged 10 years of revolutionary people’s war that shocked local and international observers and inspired a generation of rebels around the world. Led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN (M)), this people’s war was able to mobilize the masses in the largely agrarian country against forms of oppression both archaic (caste and national oppression, mass landlessness, and semi-feudal agriculture) and horrifically modern (labor export, including the widespread sex trade of girls and women) as well as against a ruling system that reflected those contradictions: a parliamentary monarchy.

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“Like we’re fighting for our lives…”

An Interview by Kersplebedeb with Kenny Lake and Amil K. from the kites Editorial Committee

KERSPLEBEDEB: What is kites? Who produces it?

Kenny Lake: kites published its first issue in January 2020, aiming to fill the need for communist theory and strategy for revolution in North America, and to do so in a way that wasn’t full of the same old dogmatism. Two organizations, Revolutionary Initiative (RI) in Canada and the Organization of Communist Revolutionaries in the US, took the initiative to start it. An editorial committee, consisting of comrades in the US and Canada, was formed in 2019 to take responsibility for producing kites. We published our second issue in October 2020 and our third is being released now in February 2021.

Amil K.: I’d like to elaborate on what kites is by discussing dogmatism versus the practice of developing revolutionary theory.

To start us off, I think dogmatism is a trap. I see Left dogma serving much of the same function as the “opiate” of religious dogma: it can be a real salve to the conscience for any and all trying to cope with the daily assaults and alienation of bourgeois society. And that’s what makes it a trap. It’s a safe and predictable retreat. I think this is where the tendency towards “book worship” springs from. The problem, however, is that deep within that comfort zone of “theory” disconnected from practical activity the dogmatist is still wading in the nihilistic rot of bourgeois society, with no real faith that proletarian revolution is possible.

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Drawing Blood: A Guide to Communist Agitation

Click on cover image for printable PDF of this manual from OCR.

During his struggle with the economists (those Marxists who restricted their political work to struggles over the immediate conditions of exploitation at the factory), Lenin, in his seminal work What Is to Be Done?, wrote:

A basic condition for the necessary expansion of political agitation is the organization of comprehensive political exposure. In no way except by means of such exposures can the masses be trained in political consciousness and revolutionary activity.

This manual will serve as a political and technical guide to communist agitation. Agitation is the process by which communists systematically lay bare the instances of oppression and exploitation that the masses face on a daily basis and point to their source in the system of capitalism-imperialism. Communists distinguish agitation from propaganda, the latter being a lengthier examination of an issue or question in an all-around way, paying attention to the history as well as the motion and development of a contradiction. (This communist definition of propaganda differs from the more general and usually negative usage of the term propaganda as any political text or art that aims to persuade or manipulate its audience.)

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Looking Back to Face Forward

The Role of Summation in the Revolutionary Process

For a printable PDF of this article, click the cover image above.

The great helmsman of the Chinese Communist Revolution, Mao Zedong, elaborated a four-step method for guiding revolutionary practice:

1. Make a plan.
2. Carry out the plan.
3. Sum up the experience.
4. Make a new plan.

This didn’t just spring from the grand intellect of Mao, but was forged through the tremendous sacrifice of millions of Chinese peasants in revolutionary struggle. It’s what communists lived by when they were engaged in revolutionary warfare against feudal warlords, the Japanese imperialists, and the Guomindang comprador-bourgeoisie for two decades. It’s a crucial part of what made the Chinese revolution victorious.

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A Revolutionary People Requires a Revolutionary Literature

kites is a theoretical and strategic collaboration among communist revolutionary organizations and individuals throughout North America. This journal unites us in the project of cultivating a revolutionary people across North America that sees the urgency of overthrowing capitalism-imperialism and in struggling for a communist future. To all those who share this fundamental aspiration with us, we say: let’s get serious about orchestrating the conditions of possibility to make this happen.

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