On “foreign monsters” and the people’s war that persists

An Interview with Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines

Commissioned by the kites Editorial Committee

Original Release: October 2022 / Re-Edited: Late December 2022

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

Editorial Introduction

In September 2022, kites had the pleasure of interviewing Jose Maria Sison, the Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), just over three months before he passed away on December 16, 2022. The CPP was founded in December 1968, and went on to found and lead the New People’s Army in the people’s war that was launched in March 1969. In 1974, Sison was captured by the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and faced years of torture and solitary confinement before being released in 1986 after the overthrow of Marcos. In 1988, Sison was forced to seek asylum in the Netherlands after the Philippine reactionary government canceled his passport while he was abroad on a speaking tour.

Sison obtained recognition as a political refugee from the Dutch Council of State in 1992. Since then, he was protected under international law by the principle of non-refoulement under the Geneva Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, thus preventing his deportation to the Philippines or any third country.

While the people’s war continued and its underlying causes worsened, Sison faced repeated attempts at legal harassment and repression during his forced exile: he battled and defeated in the Dutch court system trumped up charges of multiple murders that were filed against him in 2007—charges that were instigated by the US-Arroyo regime in the Philippines. Sison later won a separate case before the European Court of Justice to have his name removed from the EU terrorist list, where it was placed in 2009.

As Sison told kites in preparation for this interview, “I am legally clean and there is no hindrance to my freedom of thought and expression.” In defiance of the many attempts to suppress his political activity, Sison served in the capacity of Chief Political Consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and remained highly active as a public intellectual against imperialism and in defense of the socialist cause until the very end of his life, as this interview attests to. Sison lived in Utrecht, Netherlands, his place of forced exile, with his comrade-in-arms and long-life partner Julie de Lima, surrounded by a community of supporters and friends of the Philippine national democratic movement.

This interview has been further edited since its original release in October 2022 to bring it more in line with the video interview (being released imminently), which diverts from and adds very slightly in a couple places from the original interview text we received. We made the choice that the final publication should reflect more closely to the video interview given rather than the written transcript we received. The added benefit of these new edits is that this interview transcript is now much closer to verbatim what was spoken in the video, thereby making the video a strong accompaniment to listen along with while reading this interview.

Continue reading On “foreign monsters” and the people’s war that persists

Key Words: Communist vs. Leftist and Postmodernist Conceptions

Click through the article cover image above for a PDF version of this piece.

Today, when people in North America join protests against injustice, try to understand what’s behind all the oppression in the world, and look for strategies to end it, they soon encounter Leftist and postmodernist politics, especially on social media, and are quickly inculcated in Leftist and postmodernist world outlooks.1 Since Leftist and postmodernist politics and world outlooks are impediments to the development of revolutionary politics and prevent people from acting towards the revolutionary transformation of society, kites has been consistently polemicizing against them. Even with these polemics, many kites readers still have trouble distinguishing between genuine communism, on the one hand, and the paltry visions of the Left and postmodernism, on the other—a consequence of the lack of socialist states since the 1976 counterrevolutionary coup in China and the lack of communist vanguard parties in the US and Canada today.

This impasse is in part a consequence of Leftists using communist terminology but with a whole different conception of that terminology that is diametrically opposed to revolution. So we thought it might be helpful to contrast communist conceptions of some “key words” with those of Leftists and postmodernists. We hope this “compare and contrast” exercise can spark some debate and help would-be revolutionaries distinguish between the communist world outlook from ways of viewing the world that pose as radical but in fact can never serve the revolutionary transformation of society.

Continue reading Key Words: Communist vs. Leftist and Postmodernist Conceptions

Seven Theses on Imperialism and the Drug War

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

by Aiyanas Ormond

kites received the following submission from Aiyanas Ormond, a leading activist within the International League of People’s Struggles chapter in Canada who also has considerable experience and knowledge on the question of the bourgeoisie’s drug war, gained in part through eleven years of work in the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. Beyond their specific analysis of the drug war, these theses also provide a model for making specific class analysis—defining who are our friends and who are our enemies—and outlining a program for class struggle based on that analysis.

1. The criminalized drug industry is fully integrated into the global monopoly capitalist economy (imperialism).

Profits from the illicit drug trade are stashed in big banks and financial institutions. It is an open secret that this money is laundered through the big banks. US bank Wachovia—now a part of Wells Fargo—recently paid authorities $160 million for its role in laundering money from the criminalized drug industry. In 2012, UK bank HSBC paid almost $2 billion in fines for stashing drug money.1 The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has stated that during the 2008–9 financial crisis, drug profits constituted a key source of liquidity (cash available for investment) for the big banks, and that, as a result, $352 billion in drug profits were “absorbed” into the economy.2

Continue reading Seven Theses on Imperialism and the Drug War

The Psychosis of Imperialism

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

kites Issue #7 Editorial

by the kites Editorial Committee

As the crisis of the world capitalist-imperialist system deepens and the bourgeoisie has no resolution, and in the absence of an international communist movement posing a revolutionary alternative, not just individuals but whole classes are losing their damn minds. The COVID-19 pandemic—not so much the virus itself, but the accompanying social instability, failed government policies, and mass discontent fueling conspiracy theories—pushed things over the edge, and the psychosis of imperialism is setting in.1

Continue reading “The Psychosis of Imperialism”

Contested Nation

Ukraine and the Present War Amidst a History of Great Power Politics and Inter-Imperialist Rivalries

by F.O. Marthoz (July 2022)

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


How the imperialists fight each other while blaming another

Europe is at war once again, for the third time in a little over a century: the specter of communism, we are told, is haunting its battlefields. A strange and most unholy alliance is once more attempting to exorcise this specter. Old Man Marx opened the founding document of our movement by pointing out that “Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot,1 French Radicals and German police-spies” were all leagued against an ever-elusive communism. Now, a century and a half later, we can say that Joe Biden and Vlad Putin, CNN and Alex Jones, Ukrainian compradors and Russian police spies have reinstated this unholy alliance, even as their rifles, war planes and nuclear arsenals are with a laser focus pointed at each other.

For instance, Fox News gleefully quotes America’s creepy uncle (and president) Joe Biden, as saying: “[Putin] has much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about.”2 They go on speculating about the Russian president’s next targets on his alleged quest to rebuild the USSR.

Was there ever a time when Putin and Russia weren’t alleged to be the source of so many of the West’s problems? It was just a few years ago that hundreds of millions of people were being subjected to the daily barrage of Western propaganda alleging that Russia manipulated US votes and brought Trump to power.

This is not, in fact, a new talking point for the mouthpieces of the Anglo-American Imperialist Alliance (AAIA).3 For example, Google and Facebook—who would have you believe that the BBC is the “British public broadcaster” (and not “funded by the British regime”) while RT, Redfish, and Telesur are operations of Russia and Venezuela, respectively—have been peddling this line since as early as 2014.4 If one decides to subject themselves to the uniquely unpleasant experience of reading Western ruling-class publications of this kind, one can hardly go a day without hearing about Putin’s alleged Soviet ambitions.

Continue reading “Contested Nation”

War in the enemy’s camp

An investigation into the “Freedom Convoy” movement

Click through this image for a PDF of this article.

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

Continue reading War in the enemy’s camp

“It is only in participating in the revolution that women can work for their liberation.”

An interview with Coni Ledesma of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

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

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.

Continue reading ““It is only in participating in the revolution that women can work for their liberation.””

Tin Man Maoism

A Summation of the MRP by Tyler and an exchange with Kenny Lake

Click through the image above for a PDF version of this exchange.

In response to our call for summations,1 kites 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.

Continue reading “Tin Man Maoism”

Between Gilead and OnlyFans: Notes on the Oppression of Women in 21st-Century Capitalism-Imperialism

All of the images that accompany this editorial are original submissions from comrade Ruby Lois.

By the kites Editorial Committee, March 2022.

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

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.

Continue reading Between Gilead and OnlyFans: Notes on the Oppression of Women in 21st-Century Capitalism-Imperialism

“Banish Pessimism and Defeatism”

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.

Continue reading ““Banish Pessimism and Defeatism””