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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Review of Yezhov vs. Stalin Dispelling Anti-Communist Myth of Red Hero, Joseph Stalin

The 1930s were a decade of raging worldwide class war. Everywhere, workers were inspired to fight back against capitalism by the example of the world’s first workers’ state, the Soviet Union. From North and South America to Europe, Africa and Asia, communist-led workers led strikes and armed insurrection as the capitalist classes prepared for what became World War II. Within the Soviet Union, the class war raged just as bitterly, but the working class there had one huge advantage over the capitalists and their allies—the workers had won and held state power.
One of the organs of power used by the Soviet Union to hold class rule during this period was the Commission for Internal Affairs (Russian acronym “NKVD”). Soviet workers created the NKVD to manage everything from internal security, to border control and firefighting. For capitalists around the world, lies and partial-truths about the NKVD are key to attacking the example of the Soviet Union.
In particular, anticommunists use a series of executions that occurred from 1936-1939 to slander the entire Soviet workers’ state. Recent scholarship is helping workers around the world understand this period of time. A new book by Grover Furr, Yezhov vs. Stalin, describes the monumental 1930s villainy of Nikolai Yezhov, head of the NKVD.
Red Thirties: Building a New World
Black pro-communist poet Langston Hughes once described the Soviet Union of the 1930s in his autobiography as a land with “no Jim Crow,” and also “a land still in flux” in places “where Soviet patterns [of life] were as yet none too firmly fixed.” Hughes marveled at what the diverse, multiethnic Soviet working class was building - without blueprints for their new society - while recognizing it was a state at war with capitalist habits and capitalist allies attempting to mount a comeback.
Despite numerous struggles and an uneven pace of development, masses of workers built an industrial base where there was none before in a matter of a few years. All the while they also built schools, libraries and worked toward abolishing racism, sexist treatment of women, child labor, hunger, illiteracy, and low standards of living. It was not a utopian paradise, but a glimpse of what the working class can do once it holds state power.
As the Soviet Union forged ahead, the rest of the world sank into the Great Depression, fascism, and imperialist war. In 1931, Japanese fascists invaded China; German fascists took power in 1933; Italian fascists invaded Ethiopia in 1935, and both German and Italian fascists invaded Spain in 1936. The Soviet Union’s dizzying progress spurred a sharpening internal class struggle, as pro-capitalist forces inside and around the world recognized the Soviets as a mortal threat.
In a country covering one-sixth of the earth’s surface, even well into the 1930s the Bolsheviks struggled in places to unify their immense state apparatus. Some Bolsheviks, like Nikolai Yezhov, disguised their disagreements and personal ambitions behind the red flag, enough to land him the top job at the NKVD in 1936.
‘The Bad Time of Yezhov’
Furr’s work shows that a significant minority of working-class enemies at first successfully hid their conspiratorial alliances with internal and external working-class enemies, including in the case of some the Nazis and Japanese fascists leading up to World War II.
Scattered widely geographically, Yezhov’s group appeared to the remote Central Committee in Moscow as representatives of the working class. Knowing that the Central Committee was hunting known terrorists after a variety of sabotages and assassinations, Yezhov’s group used their authority to mislabel thousands of dedicated communists, and protect the anticommunists.
Creating chaos and pitting workers against their own state is one of the ways capitalists try to regain power. Through this dual deception they hoped to overthrow the workers’ state and reimpose the capitalist class, certainly in exchange for privileges. Until their plot was discovered and ended, they succeeded in creating their massive mayhem. Yezhov and his anticommunist NKVD associates executed some 700,000 mostly innocent workers, labeling them as enemies of the working class, and the Soviet Union.
Setting The Record Straight
Known in Russian as the “Yezhovshchina,” (meaning: “the bad time of Yezhov”), anticommunist authors like Robert Conquest instead label it the “Great Terror” and blame it on the Soviet leadership and Stalin, a name and blame adopted by most historians ever since.
Historians who endorse the anticommunist version of history blame Stalin for crimes that at first he and his colleagues knew nothing about, and that were halted once he and other Soviet leaders discovered their existence. There are several myths underlying this false version.
Anticommunists claim that Yezhov was only carrying out Stalin’s orders, that there were no conspirators against the state and no collaboration with the Nazis and Japanese fascists, and that confessions at trial by co-conspirators were false and the result of torture.
Furr shows all of these to be false. He examined and quotes from recently released Soviet-era archival documents, among other primary source materials. Furr proves first that the leadership of the Soviet state (Stalin, Molotov, Zhdanov, Voroshilov, Beria and others) did indeed design its policies in the interests of the working class. Secondly, that class enemies did indeed conspire to commit mass murder and assassination and to overthrow the new working-class state, seize power, and resurrect an exploitative capitalist society.
Lessons from Class Struggle
Running at a little over 200 pages, Furr’s book is accessible to readers with some familiarity with Soviet history and would work well in Progressive Labor Party study groups debating whether or not the working class can seize and hold power, what that might look like, and what we can learn and apply today from the Soviet experience. One takeaway is that the seizure of state power is not the conclusion of a revolution, but the beginning. With the Soviet Union as a guide, we know the capitalist class will do anything to regain power.
With exceptions like Grover Furr, historians under capitalism generally accept the outlook of the capitalist class today in power. Opposition to their accepted outlook from a working class perspective brings retribution, while the rewards include publicity, prizes, promotions, job security, and fame. The anticommunist approach to history is reinforced, and the anti-Stalin outlook is a central feature of most of their writings.
Understanding the actual history of this first pioneering attempt at communist revolution is part of the foundation for the class-consciousness needed for the eventual victory of the world’s working class over the extreme exploitation and oppression of capitalism.
This review cannot begin to answer all the questions that will arise in the minds of thousands of readers. But the book can at least begin to answer them.

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