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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Chinatown tenants beat slumlord, take on fight against displacement

NEW YORK, October 19—Cheers from working-class fighters filled Chinatown’s Jing Fong restaurant in celebration today, as the 83-85 Bowery tenants (see Challenge 3/21) marked a historic victory against their racist slumlord Joseph Betesh. After a long struggle, the majority Asian tenants returned to their apartments in August. Betesh had colluded with corrupt NYC agencies like the Department of Buildings to have more than 75 tenants evicted in January after he reported building violations—ones he had done nothing to fix for years! The tenants were sent to shelters and single room occupancy hotels throughout the city. In the months before this victory, Progressive Labor Party (PLP) joined the displaced tenants of 85 Bowery, along with Black, Latin, and white workers who formed part of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side, and other citywide anti-displacement groupings to swing our collective fist to beat Betesh and guarantee their return home.
Under capitalism, housing is a commodity that many working people have trouble affording, but which is the source of great fortune for developers and landlords. The lack of affordable housing is a serious crisis in NYC and other cities, with developers mostly building luxury housing and landlords trying to squeeze as much rent as possible out of tenants, while providing few services. In NYC alone, one million rent stabilized units have been lost since 2005 (wall treet journal 9/25).
Many hundreds of thousands in NYC are homeless, or doubled up with other families, or living in cramped and decrepit quarters. This in a city with the world’s highest number of billionaires!
Tenants unite against Betesh
When slumlord Betesh purchased 83-85 Bowery – along with eleven other buildings – in 2013, he began a relentless effort to force out long-time tenants and convert the buildings into luxury condos. Betesh used every dirty tactic he could to remove the tenants. It began when one worker received an illegal eviction notice. Immediately, occupants  banded together to form the 83-85 Bowery tenants’ association, dedicated to collectively resisting Bettesh’s many efforts, to evict or buy them out. Rather than falling into the trap of blaming gentrification on white workers, or viewing it as an individual workers failure, the tenants saw that these problems stemmed from the city’s rezoning plans favoring luxury development.
Throughout this fight, tenants united with the community to fight in favor of the Chinatown Working Group Plan. This is a plan developed by workers and organizations on the Lower East Side that would grant tenants legal protections and control over the city planning process. It would limit building heights, put a cap on rents, and ensure that any housing built be affordable. The tenants’ victory and their sponsorship of the plan has now galvanized dozens of neighborhood groups in the cross hairs of the city’s displacement agenda to take action.
Communism will solve the housing problem
One of the tasks that communism must devote itself to is guaranteeing that everyone has high-quality housing, integrated with nearby high-quality schools, recreational and health facilites, libraries and art spaces, and daycare and community centers. Housing will not be privately-owned, it will not be racially segregated, and it will be democratically run by councils of tenants. In the meantime, under capitalism we fight against the landlords and the city agencies that support them.
Lessons from Workers of 85 Bowery
The importance of the 83-85 Bowery victory did not lie in legal proceedings, or even the hunger strikes the tenants bravely waged. It came from elevating their battle from being against one slumlord to a much larger war against the city’s racist housing plan that is displacing workers. While housing battles historically have been reformist in nature, not challenging private ownership,  PLP workers engage in these struggle because of their potential to elevate the anti-displacement battle from a working-class reform to communist revolution.
The tenants victory did not come easily. Betesh and the city’s pro-capitalist apparatuses spared no expense to try stopping the tenants’ return efforts. In a cruel effort to break their spirit their slumlord threw their belongings in dumpsters. During a City Hall hunger strike, the Klan in Blue tried intimidating workers protesting by keeping an uncomfortably close watch, and asking us to keep our signs off their bosses’ property. Mayor De Blasio’s office removed port-o-potties, even after we received permits for them days earlier.
When the bosses discovered our plan to organize this hunger strike they mailed each tenant appointments to meet with HPD (Housing of Preservation and Development) workers for public housing in the Bronx the same day it launched! However, the tenants and their supporters continued to push back with more demonstrations and endless grit. They were able to win no rent increases, rent stabilization for both buildings, and monetary compensation.  
No reform struggle, no matter how impressive, will solve the housing crisis for working people. Yet, we must continue fighting the intolerable living conditions and the threat of displacement. The success of the 85 Bowery struggle came from its ability to unify our class around rezoning as a worker led process. Struggles such as this not only have the potential to build workers’ power, but will also build the confidence our class needs to win the more decisive battle to smash this system, and its racist borders be it locally or internationally, for a worker run communist society where decent housing will be provided for all.

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