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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Lessons from 9-day occupation at Howard University

WASHINGTON DC, May 29—As the semester ended at Howard University, students, triumphant from the nine-day occupation by 450 students of the administration building, headed for home. The students understand that they must remain vigilant and engaged to ensure accountability to the commitments made by the administration.
As one member of the student group Howard University Resist said, “We’ll all be here next year, and the administration building is in the same place, if things don’t go our way.”
With summer break here, we can begin to evaluate this past semester’s action in terms of its outcomes and strategies.
Here is a summary of the modest concessions from the administration: 

  • On overcrowding: A later date for applying for housing was set, and the university agreed to keep open one of the dorms originally slated for renovation if demand for housing exceeded the remaining supply.
  • On tuition: The administration also committed to keep tuition constant through the 2019-20 school year and to fund a community food pantry initiated by HU Resist for the coming school year.
  • The administration also agreed to begin providing transportation for sexual assault victims to the local hospital that handles rape kits and to provide students a voice in selecting a student ombudsperson.
  • The administration agreed to establish several committees and task forces including students as co-leaders to address other issues.

Task forces were established to:

  • Review the campus police’s use of force, training and the need for armed officers
  • Enhance psychiatric and behavioral health services
  • Establish a grievance system that holds faculty, administrators and students accountable in their language and actions
  • Consider implementing a mandatory one-credit course with a curriculum around prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment and interpersonal violence.

Assessment of the struggle
HU Resist was born in the Spring of 2017 in opposition to the secret visit of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to the campus. It led the bold seizure of the administration building (see CHALLENGE, 4/18) and held it for nine days after locking out the campus police. The leading HU Resist members engaged in negotiations with the Board of Trustees throughout the occupation, while President Wayne A. I. Frederick refused to meet with the students. His resignation/firing was the leading demand of the protest.
The occupying students received ongoing support from faculty, community members, veterans of previous occupations (from 1968 and 1989), and students from several area universities. They created an egalitarian and sharing environment in the building and conducted political education and other creative activities during the occupation. One student described it as a “microcosm of communism.” Ultimately, they retreated from their key demands, of firing the president and disarming the campus police, and left the building peacefully with both legal and academic amnesty provided by the administration.
One HU Resister said that they had to come to terms because they were beginning to lose people from the administration building. Another said that the idea of upping the ante in the struggle by sending groups of resisting students to shut down classes and establish a full strike on the campus--classroom activity generally continued uninterrupted—was not likely to be effective. Another resister said that the decision to leave the building was premature, and had the leadership been more decisive and followed the organizational principles of democratic centralism, the struggle could have been extended and become even more successful, perhaps ousting the president.
The dominant ideas within HU Resist are Black nationalist in sentiment, a weakness in welding together the unshakeable solidarity of the working class and its allies. Such ideology also tends to limit one’s understanding of the role of Black institutions like Howard University, leading to the incorrect idea that with enough struggle and “student power,” Howard could become a vehicle for revolutionary change.
Howard is a capitalist institution whose purpose is to support capitalism and mislead its students into supporting the system while accommodating modest, temporary reforms. Its Board of Trustees is filled with corporate executives and other pro-capitalist forces.
On the other hand, many HU Resisters consider themselves communists and anti-capitalists, and the potential exists for communist ideas to take root and grow!
The way forward
PLP members supported the occupation in several ways. A PLP member brought a group of labor activists to the occupation after a demonstration against Wendy’s fast food restaurant. Another worked to gain support from faculty in the form of a letter of support ultimately signed by 75 faculty members. Other PL’ers provided food to the occupiers.
PLP salutes the boldness and the courage of the Howard University students who took the fight into occupation of the administrative building. HU Resist members, and students fighting back against racism and sexism worldwide, must take this struggle to the next level and join PLP, and become members of an international revolutionary communist party. That means acting locally—by immersing once again into uniting the day-to-day struggles of campus workers and students—while thinking globally and organizing a movement to destroy this system once and for all. Join us!

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