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 workers fight racist displacement

NEW YORK CITY, February 12—Eight Chinese tenants, mainly women and seniors, went on a hunger strike after a forceful eviction from their homes. For five days, they camped outside the city’s racist Housing and Preservation Development (HPD), battling freezing temperatures, rain, and hunger to demand the city government repair their building’s staircase, and overturn a cruel vacate order that will leave multiple families homeless.
These workers, whose ages range from 50-70, broke their fast healthy, and with a temporary reform, thanks to the collective organizing of nearly 200 multiracial, multi-generational workers. Progressive Labor Party members joined organizing efforts to further unmask the city’s racist agenda.
Beat back slumlord Betesh
The strikers, some tenants displaced from 83-85 Bowery, fought slumlord Joseph Betesh for years inside and outside of housing court. The tenants resisted his attempt to bulldoze the buildings, and convert them into luxury glass boxes for the rich.
“Betesh, who owns the Dr. Jay’s clothing store chain, acquired the two buildings in 2013, paying $62 million for eleven properties along the Bowery. He soon began trying to evict tenants” (The Village Voice, 1/4). Betesh used every crooked scheme possible—from lying about rent-stabilization and purposely letting the building fall into disrepair. He also offered $15,000 buyouts to tenants. They refused.
He tried evicting one of his tenants in 2015, arguing their apartment wasn’t rent stabilized, and he didn’t have to renew their lease. That tenant fought back, refusing a settlement and mobilized a tenants’ association to get Betesh to address nearly 200 building violations he’d neglected for years. Betesh then sued the tenants in state Supreme Court.
These fighters also rejected a 99-year lease that Betesh offered as a settlement, which would’ve forced them to leave for repairs and prevented them from further pursuing rent stabilization.
Last December, after two years of battling Betesh in court, the Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR) deemed the building rent-stabilized. This victory was temporary.
Govt works hand in glove with landlord
In mid-January, the city bosses’ agency, the Department of Buildings (DOB), colluded with Betesh to forcibly displace 75 workers from the 85 Bowery building. In under two hours, the fire department and kkkops evicted whole families—including infants and the elderly. They were funneled into a shelter. On January 24, just before the two-week repair deadline given in the evacuate order, tenants and the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side organized a press conference to demand HPD take up repairs.
PL’ers attended the militant rally, and joined chants shaming HPD. One PL’er led the chant, “Workers united will never be defeated!” The next step is to discuss CHALLENGE with the fighters and involve their friends in this struggle.
At one point the tenants stormed through the barricade, pushing through an HPD officer to deliver a letter to the HPD commissioner, demanding they take over repairs and prosecute Betesh. Of course, that went unanswered. After two weeks of enduring cramped conditions, with no end near, tenants announced the hunger strike on Feb 2.
Workers win an inch, bosses take a mile
Despite efforts from supporters to get them to stop, the strikers never relented. Police attack dogs tried harassing and intimidating them throughout the strike.
Police Commissioner James O’ Neil ordered the strikers to remove tarps tied to the barricades his minions placed. That apparently violated “criminal law.” The tarps kept the strikers warm in the freezing weather.
Only under an exploitative system do robbers get off scot-free and workers who fight back are criminalized. Clearly, the bosses and their protectors care about private property, not working-class lives.
The hunger strike is over, for now; the city made an agreement for management to complete staircase repairs and allow tenants to return home by March 28. But we know these capitalist promises are untrustworthy. Tenants plan to resume striking should they not return home by that date.  
A hunger strike relies on the oppressor to feel guilt for oppressing. Rather than appealing to the enemy’s morality through self-harm, workers can expose and threaten the bosses’ state power through militant multiracial unity. If we are to ever abolish racist housing and evictions, workers need all their energy for the continuous organizing needed to defeat capitalism.
Racist rezoning punishes workers
Wealth for capitalists always means utter devastation for workers. The land that is the modern-day U.S. was taken through war and genocide of indigenous people. Today, real estate bosses dispossess working-class families in their pursuit of luxury rentals, made possible by the capitalist government and its politicians.
With mayor Bill de Blasio’s blessing, the City Council in 2008 approved a rezoning plan for 111 blocks near Lower Manhattan. This racist plan protected the mostly white, Lower East Side and East Village neighborhoods from high-rise, high-rent housing, while excluding most of Chinatown. This allowed tycoons like Betesh to buy out buildings on the cheap.
Along with the government housing authorities, mayor de Blasio, the cops, and landlord Betesh, Chinatown councilwoman Margaret Chin is also guilty of racism. Democrat Chin colluded with luxury developers, leaving working-class housing, including public housing areas, vulnerable. This hurts mainly Black, Latin, and Asian tenants. Chin received $230,000 of campaign donations from the Real Estate Board of New York. Chin, former affordable housing activist, was the first Asian person to represent Chinatown. Clearly, representation byrace does not mean power for workers.
Long-haul fight
This fightback is a blow to sexism and racism. The years-long multiracial fightback of tenants is an inspiration. The tenants may get their homes back, but the fight against racist housing is far from over. Racist property owners citywide will continue displacing working-class families. The only permanent way to end privatization is to build a world where property is owned collectively by and for the working class: a communist world.


A City of Segregation

Beginning in World War I, Black workers were forced to migrate into the cities due to labor shortages and war production.
Housing was divided along the color line and the resulting “white flight” to the suburbs in the post-World War II U.S. created cities with segregation and devastating living conditions.
NYC was largely shaped by the arch-racist Robert Moses. He, alongside billionaires and politician, built a city of segregation. “Moses’ transgressions [include] acres of sterile public housing towers, parks and playgrounds for the rich and comfortable, and highways that sundered working-class neighborhoods and dispossessed a quarter of a million people” (NYT, 5/6/2007).
As parks commissioner, all except one of the 255 playgrounds were placed out of reach of our class. The one pool in East Harlem was kept at a “deliberately icy” temperature. He designed low bridges to keep buses, carrying inner-city Black and Latin families, away from Jones Beach. To build the highways, 250,000 families were thrown out of their homes and the streets were overrun by vehicles.
Today, fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act made redlining practices and discrimination in housing illegal, New York City neighborhoods remain acutely segregated.
What the bosses call the melting pot is actually a deep segregation of housing—in some case, over 90 percent isolation of one race from another. Black and white families are the most isolated from other races (NYT, 4/15/15). “Latin families are isolated in Corona and Inwood; Asians are most isolated in Chinatown.”
As antiracists, like those in Park Slope, tackle segregation in schools, a byproduct of housing segregation, we must continue to fight racism in our neighborhoods.
The bosses offer us two toxic “choices”: deeply segregated housing as in the case of Chinatown, or gentrification, which results in mass racist displacement of working-class families and segregation just the same.
Choose integration and join the fight for communism.

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