Over 30,000 people from around the world have gathered in Washington, DC, for the 19th International AIDS Conference, “Turning the Tide Together.”
To really turn the tide, PLP’ers in the AIDS movement declare that an anti-racist, communist workers’ revolution is required that includes and unites all parts of the global working class. The capitalist system continually reinforces and reproduces the conditions that cause AIDS and must be destroyed to secure a final victory against AIDS.
HIV And Racism
HIV disproportionately affects poor working class people around the globe, hitting hardest those oppressed by racism, sexism, poverty, and stigma because of sexual orientation and gender identities. In Washington, DC, 12 percent of African-American women live with HIV, and nearly half of young black gay men have HIV.
Many rank-and-file people, scientists and organizations have mobilized against HIV. PLP’ers have fought side by side with masses of people for prevention programs, affordable housing, needle exchanges, testing and treatment for all, and an end to discrimination against, and prosecutions of, drug users and women forced to sell their bodies. Yet the epidemic grows.
We invite you to join the PLP in smashing capitalism and its state and help create a new society without AIDS based on co-operation, equality and collective ownership and sharing of the world’s resources.
Communism Can End the AIDS Epidemic
Capitalists only value workers for the profit to be extracted from them in production and consumption. They make profits by paying as little as possible and employing as few as possible to get the job done.
Millions of workers in the world economy, especially youth, have no jobs — from 52 percent youth unemployment in Spain to 24 percent in Egypt to almost 50 percent of young African-Americans living in Washington, DC’s East-of-the-River neighborhoods. Immigrant workers similarly face intense exploitation worldwide, with low wages and high risks of deportation.
To maintain power, the capitalists and their politicians weaken our unity and militancy by using racism to stereotype and demean black, Latino, Asian and Arab workers in order to divide the entire working class. These stereotypes portray such workers as lazy and criminal. Politicians then use these lies to explain high rates of unemployment and imprisonment of African Americans in the U.S. and justify policies to cut services and benefits.
The bosses also brand people as immoral, dangerous, abnormal, or inferior to create further divisions. Such stigma pushes shame onto those who are, for example, poor, women, gay or transgender, imprisoned, mentally ill or HIV positive.
At the same time, the bosses’ propaganda encourages the public to view them as not worthy of support. Stigma leads to high rates of HIV and AIDS as workers who are attacked for their conditions or identities are less likely to take care of themselves and their partners. Stigma, prejudice and discrimination are all about power — the power of the ruling class of bankers and corporations to keep people weak and divided.
Racist and sexist differences must be overcome. When the workers arm themselves with communist politics, there is enough strength to challenge, and overthrow, the bosses!
Capitalism often forces people into situations at high risk for HIV, violence and bad health in general. Some women and undocumented immigrants find no choice but to sell their bodies to support their families or to secure housing. Desperate, depressed workers sometimes self-medicate with illegal drugs, increasing risk as well.
We must unify all our brothers and sisters in the struggle against capitalism, racism and sexism. But the bosses teach us to use other people and only look out for number one. If we fall for this lie, we look at people in a “transactional” way — using friends and others to get what we need for our families and ourselves. Maybe someone sucks up to a boss for a promotion while ignoring the needs of co-workers. Others could trade sex or freedom for a place to stay, food to eat and protection for one’s children.
Communism will drastically change people’s relationships. Communism provides for everyone’s needs and values everyone’s contributions to the building of a new society based on shared ownership of the world’s resources. There is no wage system to create a hierarchy of class differences. Without profit, the working class can plan what to produce based on human needs and solve such problems as housing for all and global warming.
How Can We Win A Communist World?
We need to become part of an anti-racist, revolutionary organization that promotes multiracial unity and militant action — the Progressive Labor Party. We must fight the fascist systems that the rulers impose to solve their crises, and not settle for another capitalist politician.
Resolutions, human rights treaties, NGO activity and voting do not change the class that holds power. Building unity among workers worldwide helps prepare us to take power. Revolutions against ruling classes brought the working class to power for decades in the Soviet Union and China.
While these countries have re-established capitalism and a new exploitative boss class, those earlier revolutions and decades of workers’ power showed our potential to create a new, egalitarian healthy world.
Elections provide no change, only an illusion of power. Liberal politicians like Obama, just like McCain or Romney, serve the bosses, as he demonstrated with bank bailouts, a slap in the face to laid-off, foreclosed workers, annual deportations of 400,000 immigrants, expanded wars, and drone murders. Obama still manages to mislead and pacify people who believe his rhetoric and ignore his policies.
The Progressive Labor Party fights racism and sexism. We build for the overthrow of capitalism and seek to create a communist world. We can only succeed with the dedication and commitment to equality and communist principles by millions of people worldwide.
The struggle against the HIV epidemic already reflects many of these communist principles. Activists have never given up the fight to extend prevention and care to the millions living in the U.S. and other countries. They have embraced people who the capitalists ignore and marginalize.
Such impulses must lead to a commitment to the world’s working class to establish a new system — communism. Join the Progressive Labor Party and help organize a world without AIDS.