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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Howard University Student OCCUPATION ENTERS DAY 7

Washington DC, April 4—Calling for the firing of the Howard University president, along with an end to racist tuition hikes and a sexist campus culture, HU Resist and hundreds of Howard University students are occupying the main administration building.
On March 25, the protesters made nine demands to both address immediate needs on campus and express support for workers in the surrounding LeDroit-Shaw neighborhood. (See box).  Four days later, the students seized the administration building. As we go to press, the occupation has entered its seventh day, with 450 students holding the building—and renaming it the Kwame Ture Student Center (after Stokely Carmichael). Students have secured all entrances to block the return of campus police. The community has responded by bringing food, water, bedding, and solidarity to the occupiers.
Through bold struggle and deepening connections with workers, HU Resist students are learning that the capitalist system itself must be dismantled and replaced with a communist society that can meet the needs of the international working class. Many, including those who led the occupation and organized an earlier town hall, are reading CHALLENGE and other communist literature to better understand the strategic need for a revolutionary party that galvanizes all aspects of the class struggle. As one student noted, the Howard occupation—marked by student solidarity, mutual respect and assistance, and love for fellow students and workers—was a taste of communism.
Seizing an opportunity
HU Resist has worked diligently throughout this semester to survey student needs and opinions, the basis for the nine demands. Shortly after the demands were released on March 25, a major scandal erupted on campus—the embezzlement by six administrative staff of more than $1 million in financial aid money, a crime the administration had covered up for years. At a March 29 HU Resist rally, anger over this theft from poor students reached a boiling point. Seizing the opportunity, HU Resist led hundreds of students into the administration building.
President Wayne A.I. Frederick has declined to meet with the students, huddling instead with a few of his handpicked student supporters. Members of the Board of Trustees, however, have met several times with the HU Resist organizers to negotiate the demands. As of press time, the Board had agreed only to one demand, a commitment to provide campus housing for students under 21.
At the same time, 70 faculty members have signed an open letter of solidarity with the students, with more faculty signing daily. The letter has been retweeted over 500 times, signifying the importance of faculty support for the bold student action. After an appeal from an HU Resist representative, the leadership of the Faculty Senate has set a no-confidence vote for President Frederick, the provost, the chief operating officer, and the Board’s executive committee, to be held by Friday, April 6.
HU Resist fights gentrification and wage theft
At a town hall meeting two weeks earlier, HU Resist teamed with a worker rights nonprofit organization, Jobs with Justice, to expose Howard’s unconscionable collaboration in unsafe, unfair labor practices, and in the displacement of Black residents. As the so-called “Mecca” of historically Black universities, Howard says it is committed to “the development of distinguished, historically aware, and compassionate graduates, and to the discovery of solutions to human problems.” But actions speak louder than mission statements. In an effort to maximize investment returns, Howard has joined with Gateway Investment Partners to construct a 319-unit luxury apartment building in the working-class neighborhood adjacent to campus. The development will feature a swimming pool, a courtyard with fireplaces and grilling stations, a test kitchen for cooking demonstrations, a fitness center and yoga studio, and a rooftop observation deck with views of the U.S. Capitol.
What it won’t include is affordable housing. The project is designed to accelerate gentrification in D.C.’s historic Shaw and Pleasant Plains neighborhoods, to jack up rents and property taxes, and to drive workers and their families from their homes—and even out of the city.
Construction workers, community members, & students fight back
To rub salt into the wound, Gateway brought in Power Design, Inc. as its electrical subcontractor. Power Design uses labor brokers—typically shell companies—to hire and misclassify workers as independent contractors, a scheme designed to evade labor laws and ‘fair’ payment. Its business model actually budgets for wage theft, allowing it to win contracts as the lowest bidder by robbing workers. Power Design has faced more than 20 federal lawsuits and class actions, including multiple suits for wage theft in several area construction projects. Nonetheless, and despite an ongoing investigation by the D.C. attorney general, it was approved by the D.C. administration as an apprenticeship program sponsor.
Latin construction workers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and white workers from the carpenters’ union were among those attending the town hall. Quickly overcoming their initial hesitancy to address the crowd, many stepped up to attest to the unfair, unsafe labor practices they have encountered on the project site. Community members expressed outrage at Howard’s complicity in worker exploitation. A 60-year-old Black woman from the neighborhood challenged the City Council member who oversees the Department of Employee Services to “fix this NOW!”  An older Black man from the neighborhood pointed out that similar struggles are occurring across the city, including Barry Farm and Brookland Manor, where developers are displacing working-class families from some of D.C.’s last truly affordable housing units.
Several Howard students bore witness to their poorly maintained student dormitories, some of which lack hot water and oblige students to reach out to peers living elsewhere for a hot shower.
Moreover, there is a shortage of dorm space to meet demand. With Howard selling dorm buildings to luxury developers, some students are forced to live miles from campus. HU Resist presented a draft resolution on housing to be addressed to the Howard administration, soliciting suggestions for demands from attendees. On the matter of “affordable” housing, local residents and workers highlighted the discrepancy between the average annual income for the area’s white workers, which exceeds $100,000, compared with the $30,000 average for Black and Latin workers. Using the high median incomes of primarily white workers in the affordability formula skews the calculation against Black and Latin residents, essentially shutting them out of access to housing in D.C.
In collaboration with local residents and construction workers, more than 40 Howard students played key roles in speaking at the town hall and organizing the continuing fightback. With such militant, class-conscious youth in the lead, the future is bright.



In addition to the ouster of the HU president, the students have made these demands:

  • Give the student body power over University policies and appointments of board members, administrators, and faculty.
  • Immediately disarm campus police, who have drawn guns on several students, and create a Police Oversight Committee controlled by students, faculty, staff, and off-campus community representatives.
  • Freeze tuition and open the books on bloated administration salaries and perks. (Since 2008, the cost of tuition at Howard has nearly doubled, while the median income of Black households has declined.)
  • Guarantee adequate campus housing for all students under the age of 21. (The Board of Trustees has now agreed to this demand.)
  • Commit to an “active fight” against rape culture on campus. (Six students have sued the University over its failure to uphold its Title IX obligations in their sexual assault cases.)
  • Establish a grievance system to hold faculty and administrators accountable for their words and actions toward marginalized students.
  • Expand counseling and mental health services, which are now woefully understaffed.

To demonstrate their interest in the wellbeing of area workers, students are also demanding that the University allocate resources for a community food pantry and to work with community residents to reduce displacement from gentrification.

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