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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Hidden Figures Hides Mass Fightback, Embraces Individual Gains

Hidden Figures is being hailed as an anti-racist, anti-sexist film. While it presents some of this, it is inevitably a capitalist movie that does not truly challenge the systemic racism and sexism faced by the main characters or by workers today. Hidden Figures follows the struggles of a group of Black women mathematicians working for NASA during the U.S.’s race to beat the Soviet Union in space travel.
Hidden Figures is mainly a story of celebrating exceptional individuals. This individualism is typical of the ruling class’ culture—a feel-good movie meant to have the working-class feel like things have gotten better. It’s supposed to show that though there was racism in the U.S.’s history, through struggle by carefully selected icons, it’s a better place now. Celebration of mass fightback against systemic racism and sexism is too dangerous because they are crucial to the survival of capitalism! So instead we are given individuals to celebrate, and are convinced that a few people “making it” means racism and sexism are conquerable under this system.
The women of the film are themselves not concerned with joining the antiracist Civil Rights movement or “bringing others up with them.” Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) criticizes her husband for letting their children watch news coverage and steers her kids away from a street corner demonstration. The husband’s ideology of being active and directly fighting racism wasn’t embraced by the film—it was painted as one of the dangers the protagonists fought against. But in reality it was mass struggle of hundreds of thousands of anti-racist workers of all races fighting together that led to the end of legal segregation.
The women complain about their unequal treatment on the job and in education, but they don’t organize against this, they fight to get something for themselves. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) fights to get into an all-white course so she can apply for a promotion, but it is an exception just for her. Despite this aversion to struggling as a group, she later steals a library book on computer programming that is only available to whites and uses it to teach herself and the other black women how to program so that they can use the new computers NASA is bringing in.
Overall, the film accurately depicts the racism of the white workers and bosses at NASA. One boss, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), does have a “white savior” moment when he tears down a “colored only” bathroom sign but he makes it clear that desegregating the bathrooms is strictly for productivity purposes. Until then, the Black women had to go across campus to get to the bathroom—their boss only acts in the name of extracting as much work out of these women as possible.
This also reflects the nationalism pushed in the drive to “beat” the USSR. The USSR, though at that time returning to capitalism, still inspired mass struggle around the world against racism and imperialism. Anticommunism and nationalism are the only things in this movie that lead to any of the characters acting antiracist. One of the opening scenes has the three main characters stranded on the side of the road. Dorothy is trying to get their car running, when a cop pulls up and they frantically get themselves together in hopes that the cop won’t harass or arrest them. The women convince him that they work for NASA by showing their official IDs. The cop gets patriotic, saying “we have to get a man up there before the Commies do.”
Once the car is repaired, he gives them a high-speed escort to work. Anti-communism and nationalism wins over even racist cops in the Jim Crow South.
Hidden Figures shows these small wins for individuals as though they are victories for all—a sign of the end of racist and sexist oppression, and yet schools are more segregated now than they’ve ever been, police murder working-class Black and Latin youth with impunity, and the U.S. President is an open racist organizing the state apparatus to hunt down our undocumented working class brothers and sisters.
There’s still a lot to like about Hidden Figures and it provides a basis for discussion of racism and sexism, and how workers can fight back. The fact that women, particularly Black working class women, were able to accomplish what they did is a statement of what the working class is capable of, though in the film there is no class analysis. Under communism we would tell the stories of collective struggle against sexism and racism and not hold up exceptional individuals as the answers to our problems.

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