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!


« A terrorist system cannot stop individual terrorists | Main | Origins of International Working Women’s Day »

Lerone Bennett, Jr., 1928-2018 A lifetime of anti-racist myth-busting

Against the deliberate evasion and enshrouding of the truth, Lerone Bennett, Jr. was among the first scholars to survey Black history and lay bare the roots of racism. This Black historian and longtime editor of Ebony magazine spent a lifetime fighting the racist rewrite of history. In his landmark The Shaping of Black America, he wrote:
In the beginning, as we have seen, there was no race problem in America. The race problem in America was a deliberate invention of men who systematically separated blacks and whites in order to make money. ...Back there, before Jim Crow, before the invention of the Negro or the white man or the words and concepts to describe them, the Colonial population consisted largely of a great mass of white and black bondsmen, who occupied roughly the same economic category and were treated with equal contempt by the lords of the plantations and legislatures. Curiously unconcerned about their color, these people worked together and relaxed together. They had essentially the same interests, the same aspirations, and the same grievances. They conspired together and waged a common struggle against their common enemy – the big planter apparatus and a social system that legalized terror against black and white bondsmen.
In “The Road Not Taken,” a groundbreaking chapter from this book, Bennett demonstrates that race and racism were created by a vulnerable and outnumbered ruling class elite facing the prospect of multiracial working class rebellion. He chronicles over a century of deliberate use of state power, both legislative and violent, to define and separate Black and white.
In “Black Power in the Old South,” from his first major work, Before the Mayflower, Bennett sketches a portrait of the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, where the temporary exercise of federal power to suppress organized racism led to a brief flowering of multiracial social gatherings and political power that has yet to be seen again in the American South.
Thomas Jefferson, slave-owning grandfather
When the entire historical establishment still heeded the racist denials of Jefferson’s white descendants, Bennett was moved by an unwavering confidence in the story of Black descendants of Thomas Jefferson and of Sally Hemings, the slave the third U.S. president repeatedly raped from the time she was an adolescent.  (Over his lifetime as a wealthy Virginia plantation master, Jefferson owned more than 600 Black people.)
In his 1954 article, “Thomas Jefferson’s Negro Grandchildren,” Bennett points out the vicious hypocrisy of the author of the Declaration of Independence, which asserted that “all men are created equal.” As Bennett documented, Jefferson’s denial of his Black children with Hemings was cruelly and tragically unequal. (In fact, Jefferson kept those children enslaved until they came of age.)
Bennett went on to expose the stark inequities that four generations of racist U.S. “democracy” created between Jefferson’s white and Black descendants. The fact that Jefferson fathered six children by Hemings was widely accepted by mainstream historians only after DNA evidence emerged in 1998. Bennett was more than forty years ahead of his time.
Abraham Lincoln,ethnic cleanser
Bennett’s Forced into Glory, Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream is still met with disapproval from the Lincoln cult in the mainstream historical establishment. In this 662-page magnum opus, published in 2000, Bennett quotes directly from Lincoln’s papers and contemporaries to present the man as he was—a lifelong and committed racist. He portrays the rising politician in 1848, when Lincoln undertook a dogged campaign to strip free Black people of the vote and even to fund a program to deport all Black residents from Illinois. The stance that carried Lincoln to the presidency was not so much anti-slavery as anti-Black—a “White Dream” in Bennett’s words, to colonize all ex-slaves out of the U.S. after the Civil War.
Bennett’s unmasking of the white supremacist Lincoln is unlikely to be accepted by the court historians of the U.S. ruling class as long as the capitalists hold state power.  But under communism, in the anti-racist, more objective future to come, this work will be vindicated as well. Bennett’s scholarship will be part of the foundation for a new understanding of the U.S. past.  
When mainstream scholars ignore Bennett’s takedowns of icons like Jefferson and Lincoln, or his game-changing analysis of the roots of U.S. slavery, they remind us of the lies and omissions in capitalist chronicles of the communist past, as well. Ruling-class institutions cannot afford to tell the truth about the history of racism, a necessity for the profit system and all of its brutal inequalities. Nor can they tell the truth about communism, the only threat to the bosses’ class rule.
An intellectual’s legacy must be examined in historical context. Lerone Bennett, Jr. was shaped by times of massive, multiracial, anti-racist political upsurge. He saw more clearly than most what would be needed to take those movements forward to ultimate victory.
While Bennett was not a communist, the clarity and integrity of his work has inspired countless anti-racists and communists in challenging the falsehoods that prop up the capitalists’ dictatorship. He enriched our struggle and helped pave the way for new generations of worker-intellectuals to create a communist society. The Progressive Labor Party will guarantee that future revolutionaries learn the important lessons Bennett lived to teach us.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>