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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Capitalist culture lethal for youth

As sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry leads to larger wars and fascism, the U.S. capitalist rulers are trying to solve the crisis of their failing profit system by attacking the working class. Over the next several issues of CHALLENGE, we will be writing about how these attacks are affecting workers—and how a communist-led revolutionary movement can fight back.

On May 18, eight students and two teachers were shot and killed at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. Coming on the heels of the February murder of 17 people at a Florida high school, the latest massacre reflects a horrifying trend. Since 2000, more people have been killed or wounded in mass school shootings in the U.S. than in the entire 20th century (Science Daily, 4/18). In 2018, the shooting death toll in U.S. schools is higher than in the U.S. military (Washington Post, 5/18). As families and friends mourn the loss of young lives, it is time to hold accountable the rotting U.S. capitalist system that drives teenagers to become murderers.
Metal detectors and armed school custodians won’t stop this senseless violence. Reformed gun laws and more careful parents won’t stop it. When people have reached the point where they are ready to slaughter their classmates, they won’t be deterred by a locked cabinet or a background check.
Capitalism alienates our youth
The root cause of the recent rash of school shootings is a rotten capitalist culture that is spiraling into even deeper decay. U.S. capitalism in the 21st century is a story of economic dislocation, cuts in mental health services, and a society that lacks concern for the collective good.
The world capitalist order put in place by World War II is coming apart. As old alliances fray and U.S. bosses lose ground to China and Russia, capitalists around the world are racing to find cheap labor as they prepare for the next global war. Advances in technology are used to destroy workers’ living standards. The five largest private U.S. employers—Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Yum! Brands. and Home Depot—overwhelmingly hire people for low-paying service jobs.
U.S. rural areas are disinvested wastelands. The cities are bastions of extreme inequality and segregation, with underpaid immigrants and Black workers serving a mainly white elite class. Seven of ten U.S. workers are falling behind economically: “Most population segments experienced flat or falling incomes in the 2002–12 decade [and] young, less-educated workers were hardest hit” (McKinsey Global Institute, 7/16).
In the U.S. in 1970, according to the Financial Times, a 30-year-old “had a 90 percent chance — almost a guarantee — of earning more than what their parents earned at the same age, adjusted for inflation… This cornerstone of U.S. identity — that if you put in hard work, a better future awaited…is increasingly evading the country’s young people.” By 2016, about half of 30-year-olds were earning less than their parents did at the same age (12/16/16). Trying to start a business is even more hopeless than trying to find a decent job. Within the first 18 months, 80 percent of entrepreneurs crash and burn” (Forbes, 9/12/13).
The hard reality is that the capitalist ruling class views the masses of working people as disposable—a reality deliberately obscured by capitalist schools and the myth-making entertainment industry.
Winners and losers
Capitalist culture pushes the destructive idea that people don’t matter unless they set themselves apart from others in the working class. A society defined by winners and losers is a breeding ground for selfishness, narcissism, and a lack of empathy. Capitalist culture teaches us to care only about ourselves, and perhaps a small group of friends and relatives—and to “get ahead” at all costs.   
Playing alongside this American Dream fantasy are media glorifications of extreme alienation, where the new generation of heroes are sociopathic gangsters, self-justifying drug kingpins, and narcissistic hit men. In hit TV shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Barry,” and “Assassin’s Creed,” angry, frustrated men are made sympathetic as they mow down innocent people.
The end result is that masses of youth feel they are doomed to be society’s losers. Squeezed between the pressure to “make it” and a lack of hope for the future, many will break. As the bosses put the failure of their system onto the backs of children, millions of young people fall into mental illness, drug addiction, and crime. In many parts of the world, frustrated teenagers get blinded by anger into committing acts of terrorism. For a desperate few in the U.S., shooting their schoolmates becomes a demented way to be recognized—to stand out.
What way out?
Ending school shootings will require a revolutionary change of culture. Capitalist schools, media, organized religion, unions, and political parties are too invested in maintaining the profit system to confront the urgent problems faced by workers and their families. That leaves the international working class, led by the Progressive Labor Party, with both a tremendous task and a great opportunity: to build a revolutionary communist culture and a society run for and by the working class.
Most of us try to be good as individuals, but careers and money, fatigue and isolation overwhelm us. Capitalist culture, its selfishness and individualism, poisons the institutions we rely on every day. But it also resides inside us, and will not be undone easily.
Building a new culture doesn’t start when the working class seizes state power. It begins now, today, in the class struggle to fight racism, sexism, and division. The basis for a new and better world lies in the struggle to change the one we live in. As Fredrick Douglas said, “Without struggle there is no progress.”
What we have on our side is our fighting history of class struggle. The fortitude of Harriet Tubman and Nat Turner. The iron will of the Red Army in smashing the Nazis. The fearlessness of the miners in Harlan County, Kentucky. The courage of the young people of Ferguson, Missouri, who stood up against tanks and machine guns to demand justice for Michael Brown.
The movement for a workers-led society is tiny today. But in every issue of CHALLENGE you can see the seeds of its potential. And with every struggle we move forward, we lay the foundation for the communist culture of the future.


The bosses’ deadly racist tool

From the time that the Spanish, French, and British colonial powers committed genocide against indigenous peoples to grab the land and treasures of the New World, guns have been an essential tool for the imperialist U.S. ruling class to terrorize and control the U.S. working class. Guns were used to enslave Black people from Africa and to discourage rebellion on profit-generating plantations. The so-called Founding Fathers denied gun ownership to slaves and free Black people alike (Atlantic, 9/11), a selective gun control policy reaffirmed in the post-Civil War “Black Codes” and later in the Uniform Firearms Act (Arc Digital, 4/4). The Second Amendment “was essentially written to protect the interests of Southerners in the states that formed militias—often known as “slave patrols”—to crush any attempt at what was called … a ‘servile insurrection’” (Daily Beast, 12/6/2015).
The same lethal, racist dynamic persists today, with police using the threat or reality of legalized shootings to preserve wage slavery and the super-exploitation of Black workers. In 2017, U.S. cops killed 1,129 people, with Black workers three times more likely than white workers to be on the wrong side of a bullet (Newsweek 12/29/17).
A system that relies on guns as the primary instrument of oppression has spawned a culture of pervasive gun ownership. There are more than 300 million guns in the U.S.; four of 10 households own at least one (CNN 2/15). While most individuals keep guns for hunting or sport, the National Rifle Association—a historical ally of the Ku Klux Klan—has stoked racist fears to push gun sales, a $13 billion industry, and to lobby for state-level “Stand Your Ground” legislation. According to a study by the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, in states with SYG laws, 34 percent of white-on-Black homicides in states with SYG laws are ruled justified, as compared to just 3 percent of Black-on-white homicides (Arc Digital, 4/4).

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