Progressive Labor Party on Race & Racism



Progressive Labor Party (PLP) fights to destroy capitalism and the dictatorship of the capitalist class. We organize workers, soldiers and youth into a revolutionary movement for communism.

Only the dictatorship of the working class — communism — can provide a lasting solution to the disaster that is today’s world for billions of people. This cannot be done through electoral politics, but requires a revolutionary movement and a mass Red Army led by PLP.

Worldwide capitalism, in its relentless drive for profit, inevitably leads to war, fascism, poverty, disease, starvation and environmental destruction. The capitalist class, through its state power — governments, armies, police, schools and culture —  maintains a dictatorship over the world’s workers. The capitalist dictatorship supports, and is supported by, the anti-working-class ideologies of racism, sexism, nationalism, individualism and religion.

While the bosses and their mouthpieces claim “communism is dead,” capitalism is the real failure for billions worldwide. Capitalism returned to Russia and China because socialism retained many aspects of the profit system, like wages and privileges. Russia and China did not establish communism.

Communism means working collectively to build a worker-run society. We will abolish work for wages, money and profits. Everyone will share in society’s benefits and burdens. 

Communism means abolishing racism and the concept of “race.” Capitalism uses racism to super-exploit black, Latino, Asian and indigenous workers, and to divide the entire working class.

Communism means abolishing the special oppression of women — sexism — and divisive gender roles created by the class society.

Communism means abolishing nations and nationalism. One international working class, one world, one Party.

Communism means that the minds of millions of workers must become free from religion’s false promises, unscientific thinking and poisonous ideology. Communism will triumph when the masses of workers can use the science of dialectical materialism to understand, analyze and change the world to meet their needs and aspirations.

  Communism means the Party leads every aspect of society. For this to work, millions of workers — eventually everyone — must become communist organizers. Join Us!


« Capitalism Causes Deadly Climate Change | Main | Solidarity with St. Louis Rebellion »

U.S. Imperialism, Not Hurricane, Devastates Puerto Rico

Under capitalism, a society’s first priority is profit, not people. This is all too clear for the workers of Puerto Rico as the United States, the world’s richest superpower, has refused to pull resources from the bosses’ inter-imperialist agenda and send adequate aid to people whose homes and livelihoods have been torn away, and who now face a public health catastrophe.
On September 20, Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm there in 80 years, wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico. Even before this disaster, workers there suffered from 45 percent official poverty and 10 percent official unemployment (New York Times, 10/2), with the real numbers far worse. Three weeks after the hurricane struck this U.S. island territory and its long-neglected infrastructure, countless remain without food or shelter, or access to their bank deposits, credit card accounts, or cellphone service. As of October 10, according to the New York Times, 84 percent of the island still lacked electricity; 40 percent had no running water. Hospitals remain closed or barely functioning. For lack of diesel fuel to power generators, dialysis patients have been cut back to 75 percent of their needed treatments. According to the latest government timeline, it will be at least six months before the island’s power grid is running to full capacity (CNN, 10/1).
Given the overwhelming breakdown of phone communication, no one knows the true extent of this capitalist disaster. The official death toll of 43 seems sure to grow dramatically.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military is busy expanding its Green Zone security district in Kabul as part of a multi-billion-dollar investment in permanent war in Central Asia and the Middle East (NYT, 9/16). It is clearer than ever that the ruling class values imperialist profits and control over workers’ lives.
Without communist leadership and ideas, the workers of Puerto Rico have been left divided and unable to organize to fight effectively for what they need. The working class has been left to die.
Workers Suffer, Bosses Move
With the hurricane wiping out 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s coffee, plantain, and banana crops, (NYT, 9/25), manufacturing and agricultural jobs have been devastated. As per usual under capitalism, the bosses are scrambling to save themselves by firing workers, cutting hours, or simply moving their operations to places where their profits will be safer.
Collectivity Turns to Nationalism
Over the past two months, as natural disasters have wrecked working-class neighborhoods in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, Mexico, and Barbuda, there has been an outpouring of generosity, support, and strength from our class brothers and sisters. We are reminded that individualism is not “human nature,” and that in times of crisis, workers will help one another. In Puerto Rico, masses of workers have united to clean their streets and share electricity, medicine, and food (New York Times, 10/2).
We are also reminded, however, that spontaneous working-class solidarity is not enough to fight these disasters at their root. Capitalism is to blame for this death and destruction. Capitalism is to blame for unsanitary living conditions and hospitals. Only communist revolution can stop this carnage-for-profit.
Jones Act & Legalized Racism
It took Nazi-in-chief Donald Trump a full week to temporarily waive the imperialist Jones Act. Enacted in 1920 to protect U.S. shipping profits and fend off European competition, the law allows only U.S.-built and U.S.-operated vessels to move cargo between U.S. ports without costly tariffs and other fees.
The Jones Act is a keystone of U.S. colonialist oppression of Puerto Rico: “That outdated piece of legislation renders food prices roughly double those of nearby Florida, even though per capita income in Puerto Rico is less than half that of Mississippi, the poorest of the fifty states” (Jacobin, 10/5). Now that the U.S. has ended a 10-day waiver, the law is once again slowing the delivery of aid to Puerto Rico and driving up costs (Associated Press 9/28). In other words, it’s killing people.
Trump’s Racist Response
After a plea from the mayor of San Juan for more help, President Donald Trump attacked the working class of Puerto Rico on Twitter, playing on racist stereotypes used against Black and Latin workers: “[They] want everything to be done for them.”
Trump’s one-day visit to San Juan was steeped in racism. At a local distribution point, he launched rolls of paper towels into the crowd, then said the devastation in Puerto Rico wasn’t a “real disaster like Katrina.” In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Black working-class neighborhoods were destroyed and families left to die while the bosses focused on saving tourism and ruling-class profit mills in the city.
The Poisoning of Vieques
The U.S. plans to send 17,000 soldiers to Puerto Rico and pledges to stay until “all needs are met” (TIME, 9/30). This would not be the first time the U.S. military has taken direct control of Puerto Rico territory.
In 1941, the U.S. purchased Vieques, a small island just off the coast of the main island in Puerto Rico, to set up a naval base and conduct military exercises and test its latest bombs and munitions. Over the next 60 years, the 9,000 residents of Vieques got progressively sicker and the land more and more destroyed.
Even before the devastation of the latest storm, people in Vieques were “eight times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease and seven times more likely to die of diabetes…” (Atlantic, 9/1/16). Their health crisis has only been heightened by recent events.
Be it the “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan, the occupation of Haiti, or the brutal gentrification of New Orleans, the U.S. military response to “humanitarian disasters” means little aid and a lot of fascism and death for the working class.
A Call for Communist Revolution
The recent wave of disasters that have killed so many is a stark reminder of what workers are forced to endure in a capitalist world. While hurricanes and earthquakes may be unpreventable, the condition of a society’s infrastructure depends on how the society is organized. A disaster response geared to workers’ needs hinges on which class holds state power.
The rulers’ profit system will continue to devastate our class until we organize a communist revolution, under the leadership of Progressive Labor Party. Join us!


Puerto Rico, Conquered by Racism

Puerto Rico’s strategic position in the Caribbean makes it indispensable to U.S. imperialism. Here is a short history of the territory:
The Taíno people on the island of Borinquén became targets of Spanish colonialism in 1493, when Christopher Columbus “claimed” the island for Spain. Spanish settlement began fifteen years later, paving the way for genocide of the indigenous people and importation of slave labor from Africa.
The Spanish-American war was an inter-imperialist fight between a declining Spanish empire and the rising U.S. capitalists. Upon the ratification of the Treaty of Paris of 1898, the island, now named Puerto Rico (Spanish for “rich port”), came under U.S. military control. So did Guam and the Philippines.
Puerto Rico has been strategically valuable in controlling of the Panama Canal; as an operations base for U.S. military invasions in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983), and Haiti (1994); and as a control center for naval operations and armed control of South Atlantic maritime routes, extending to the west coast of Africa.
During World War II, on an island in the Panama Gulf, the U.S. military singled out soldiers from Puerto Rico to be subjected to secret, race-based chemical warfare experiments on 60,000 U.S. troops. These Nazi atrocities were designed to gauge how soldiers from various pseudo-scientific “races” might respond differently to exposure to mustard gas and lewisite, two chemical warfare agents. Black and white soldiers, along with those of Japanese descent, were also exposed to the carcinogens (foxnews.com, 6/24/15).  
For several decades into the 1970s, the U.S. government funded a massive eugenics program to eliminate the “socially inadequate” in Puerto Rico. Administered by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, this criminal, racist program sterilized one-third of the women in Puerto Rico by 1968 (Stanford, 10/23/08).
To this day, workers in Puerto Rico are victims of extreme racist inequality. Existing political movements—for Puerto Rican autonomy or statehood—are both lethal, reformist dead-ends for the working class. The alternative is a world without national, state, or “territory” boundaries, without profit or money, without racism or sexism. The alternative is communism.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>