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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Movie review of ‘Sorry to Bother You’—Anti-capitalist film plants seeds for class struggle

This review contains no major spoilers. Submit your own analysis of the film to CHALLENGE.
The pro-revolutionary rapper-turned-director/writer Raymond Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You captures the madness and absurdity workers are forced to live in every day under capitalism. This is a must-see anti-capitalist movie filled with revolutionary potential and optimism that centers a Black worker-led multiracial cast fighting for a greater truth.
This trippy genre-breaking film is about a Black working-class anti-hero Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) who moves up the corporate telemarketing ladder by “sticking to the script” and using his “white voice.” Riley combines workplace comedy and a messy existential, political drama with a sci-fi dystopia not far from our own reality. The conclusion is nightmarishly poetic and a true show of multiracial unity and fightback—all done through real working-class characters that resonate with the masses.
There are so many ideas this film touches on, including: the racist nightmare you can’t wake up from when you choose your individual success over the collective; the billionaires that exploit workers in what is basically prison labor and hide it through their hippy New-Age-type maxims; how the logic of capitalism (drive for profit) inherently leads to churning human beings into workhorses; real characters who have contradictions and struggles; a fully-formed female character, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), who has a struggle between organizing and art; the art scene that’s doomed when isolated from class struggle; and the impossibility of making change by yourself. There is no way we can explore them all (that’s where you, dear reader, come in!)
A scab is the scum of the earth
It is very significant that the central action around which the story develops is a work stoppage. This event presents the main characters with the choices that force them to confront their main contradiction, one the director has posed as one of individualism versus collectivity.
Sorry to Bother You re-introduces the term “scab” into mass consciousness, and does so in a way that retains the utterly reprehensible character of the scab established over many decades of bitter class struggle, much of it communist-led. A work stoppage is posed as the only meaningful political intervention, voting as a strategy for real change is dismissed in a masterful minute of the film. Riley in an interview with the New York Times says,

All we’re taught is that those who are rich deserve to be rich because they worked harder than the rest of us or they’re smarter… [B]ut there are definitely very poor people who are very smart and work hard. It’s just that this system can only have a few people on the top. Yes, maybe you can make better choices and be the crab that gets out of the bucket — but that’ll be at the expense of all the other crabs in the bucket.
Also, can we recall a major film where the police are so irredeemably brutal, so unquestionably on the wrong side?  

 The main characters are all Black —Cassius and Detroit—but this is not a “Black film” that panders to identity politics. Rather, it is a film where, very intentionally, class politics eclipse race politics, and Black people take the lead in the class struggle. This is another choice that cuts against the grain of dominant bourgeois consciousness today.
Why would Hollywood back this?
We should ask the question, why does Hollywood promote this movie? Why now? The short answer is that capital wants to control everything, including anti-capitalism. This dynamic is not under Riley’s control.
Hollywood is an engine of ideological production and it does not practice “free speech.” Hollywood has a long history of smashing communists. The old communist movement, though mortally wounded by self-inflicted revisionism, presented a threat that nonetheless could not be tolerated.
At the moment, Riley is being treated differently. The big difference is that, for now, he has renounced the need for a revolutionary political party and hews more closely to the more (in the long term) harmless decentralized style of activism of the Occupy phenomenon. (Let’s not forget that Occupy was orchestrated by the CIA and its brutal crackdown was coordinated by the FBI.)
The bourgeoisie can try to smash its enemies or absorb them. The latter works just as well as the former from the perspective of capital.
It is not a knock on Riley to say big media network pushing for Sorry to Bother You in a major way maintain direct lines of communication with the State Department and Pentagon. Hollywood has a state-coordinated program to produce films that result in a more patriotic U.S. populace versed in a diverse set of war scenarios, both present and future.
To his credit, Riley is careful to shine a light on the depravity of the “art” scene both high and low in Sorry to Bother You. Take a look at what big media outlets bombards society with and even what “cultured” folks are willing to pay money for in the film and you are horrified by the moral rot of a society in the grips of growing fascism.
Though Riley has a long-term relationship with major media outlets and the art scene, his film directs a withering critique at those same institutions.
Liberal bosses want to control the narrative
The press that represents the main liberal wing of the U.S. ruling class is all over Riley. The New York Times published a long reverent piece of Riley and even did a special screening and a conversation with Riley and Lakeith Stanfield. Part of that conversation was about the “presence of labor” in film and the importance of art to reflect and advance reality:

NYT’s mouthpiece Logan Hill: A film that talks about labor, something we don’t talk a lot about in movies—
Riley: Which is weird because they are in our lives. They are in all of human being’s lives since the beginning of work but they are not in film. How much editing has there been in writers’ heads and producers’ to keep these issues out? How many noon-time cafe dates have you ever had? How many noon-time cafe dates are in films?

The bourgeoisie seems to want to absorb Riley. They aim to launch a very broad-based movement for a more inclusive imperialism, a more multicultural fascism. The Trump phenomenon has deeply alienated many people, some so greatly that for perhaps many millions, Sorry to Bother You will come as a breath of fresh air. These millions are up for grabs, and our Party is small.
‘You have to join with other people’
Sorry to Bother You is another chance for communists to make our case, to show how powerful our ideas can be. Boots Riley was, after all, raised by Progressive Labor Party. His pro-revolutionary ideas were forged in PLP. He was introduced to us at 14 and he participated at a Summer Project around organizing farm workers in Delano, California. His father Walter Riley was an auto-industrial organizer and leader in Detroit.
Short of calling for communism and joining the Party, this is THE film to watch and discuss with your friends, co-workers, family, and community members. As Riley said in an interview with Vox (6/6):

You’re not going to change any of this by yourself. You’re not going to change it by making a cute art statement, you’re not going to change it by just figuring out how to be there, to do something that gives you more power on your own. You have to join with other people and make a movement.

Does that inspire you to join a mass organization and present communist ideas in a way that’s accessible to everyday people? It sure inspired us.

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