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!


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Vietnam History: Rebellion in the Military

In a previous issue (11/8), we described the mass rebellion of soldiers and sailors against the imperialist U.S. invasion of Vietnam, and pointed out that’s one huge omission from the recent Ken Burns PBS series on the Vietnam War, which the bosses’ press has been pushing as a ‘true history’ of the era.
The Progressive Labor Party (PLP) played an important role in that rebellion, and many of our members were among the rebellious soldiers. Starting in 1966, a year after our Party was formed, we sent members into the armed forces, sharply rejecting the then-popular pacifist ideology of draft evasion. We correctly understood that was a way out for only a few, while the military was based on a draft of mostly working-class youth.
PLP understood that those working-class soldiers could be—needed to be—won to anti-imperialist, communist ideas—and to turn the guns against the bosses. This was one of the lessons of the Russian Revolution, in which a key aspect was winning the Czar’s army to communist revolution.
Here we present what Ken Burns left out: the struggles of working-class soldiers, with communists among the leadership, against the imperialist war and the military’s officers and ‘lifers.’ While this is the experience of one comrade and his unit in the spring of 1973, it is a good sample of what took place in hundreds of units—and it was enough to scare the military brass. As one counter-intelligence officer testified before the House Internal Security Committee: “Other organizations were being overshadowed by…PLP in the 6th Army.”

We had been distributing literature explaining the class nature of racism and the need for multi-racial unity against the brass for six months, [including] 50 CHALLENGES per issue.
My company had been out in the field for three days. The foxholes we had been ordered to lay down in had been turned into swimming pools by the incessant rain. We were all angry as hell.
Some of us had been trucked back to the barracks. Our Captain ‘All-swine’ Alwine ordered us to get haircuts before returning to camp. Nobody wanted to. Many Black soldiers complained that nobody on base knew how to cut their hair. Following their lead, white soldiers also refused.
The lifers immediately split us into two groups, one Black and one white. They ordered us into trucks. A few of us organizers scurried between them. Then it happened. All the Black soldiers got out of their truck and boarded the truck with their white buddies. Hugs and ‘power’ handshakes were exchanged as well as heartfelt vows to fight the brass together. We commandeered the truck, kicked the lifers off and sped back to camp.
It was night when we arrived. Our comrades had built small fires to dry themselves as they stood watch on the perimeter. We went from blaze to blaze, picking up more soldiers as we went. After circling the camp, we headed for the captain’s headquarters.
He must have seen us because he sent the chaplain out to run interference. The chaplain told us we were violating God’s word. We told him to go to the place where God is reputed not to be… He left in a hurry!
We caught the captain in his tent (he later would run out the back when he saw us coming). More than 50 of us, Black, Latin and white, presented our list of anti-racist demands: no bad discharges, no job discrimination, no riot control 15s (punishment without trial-ed.), no racist slurs from lifers, no genocidal war and, of course, no haircuts. We retired to the heated officers’ tent — no more wet foxholes for us!
The commanding lieutenant of my platoon, a recent ROTC grad, ordered us out to the perimeter. One GI (soldier) asked him where he hailed from. ‘Idaho’ replied the ‘lieuy.’ The GI shot back, ‘Where I come from we eat people from Idaho!’ The ‘lieuy’ left — for good.
I will never forget the camaraderie of those days. The grandeur of these rank-and-file soldiers uniting to fight the racist brass surpasses every Hollywood war epic.

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