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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Stranger Things: Imperial nostalgia & red scare

The premise of the Netflix original series Stranger Things began simply enough: a boy goes missing near a top-secret government laboratory. An adventure ensues as the teenage protaganists go on the hunt for answers, witnessing strange things along the way: supernatural forces, a top secret government experiment, and a girl with telekinetic powers.
The latest season is a celebration of retro consumerism and anti-communism. The storyline, set in the 1980s American Midwest, tells the tale that the greatest evil the working class has to face during an era of Reagonomics, Cold War imperialism, and rampant racism are Soviet Russians. Yet CHALLENGE recognizes that this storyline is a distorted version of history, far from the truth.
This current period, where U.S. imperialism is in decline and world war with China and Russia looms, a nostalgic look when the U.S. Empire still ranked supreme is helpful to the ruling class. The liberal ruling-class media loves to use anti-communism as a tool to build U.S. nationalism and anti-Russian ideas that can be used for war.
The Russian villain trope
Today’s public anti-Russian paranoia since the 2016 presidential election prepares society for a real conflict between these two imperialist powers. Seen through this lens, a show like Stranger Things is part of that war effort. The show is set at a time when anti-Soviet propaganda was as American as apple pie, a campaign spearheaded by the Democratic Party and its liberal media outlets. This  season mimics the anti-communist hysteria of the ‘80s, as seen in movies like Red Dawn (1984). The main difference between then and now is the relative decline of U.S. power.
The new season begins with capitalist USSR hitman Grigori and a room full of scientists, one that goes unnamed and another named Alexei, who goes on to become a class traitor and is seen peering into a glass with a machine behind it. Three men have been electrocuted by the Russians’ inadequate technology. The head scientist utters in Russian, “Comrade General, we are close. You can see our progress. We just need more ti—” his statement is cut off by Grigori who proceeds to lift the pitiful scientist by his neck and choke him.
The Russian men are downright evil towards the workers. That is NOT how communists roll. To top it off, the choice of using communist lingo among villains mocks the history. While the Soviet Union had already reversed into capitalism, it’s convenient for the capitalist media to build U.S. patriotism through anti-communist packaging.
The camera pans from the lab to the mountains of what’s assumed to be Russia. The head general and Grigori walk towards their private helicopter above a snowy, gray castle mounted with a waving communist flag. THIS is the headquarters of evil—far from the American suburbs filled with green pastures and segregated pools.  
A dangerous nostalgia for 1980s America
Stranger Things reflects a time when racist free-market economics was at its peak: “A free-market economic system can be both impossibly damaging to small businesses (see: the new arrival of the Starcourt Mall in Hawkins) and a preferable alternative to the authoritarian communism of America’s 1980s enemies” (The Atlantic, 7/4). This damage is evidenced by signs around town that read “Save Downtown, no to Mall.” One character, pitches a story about the displacement of small stores to the executives of their local newspaper but the all-male newsroom mocks her.
Beneath the center of impulse shopping, over-consuming and wage slavery the scene poses a greater threat—the Russian conspiracy. The danger of this message is that it misleads people to believe that Russia is exclusively linked with communism, and communism with terrorism.
Class betrayals
Another layer of this anti-communism is exhibited through Murray the Russian translator and Alexei. The journalist and the translator take Alexei hostage. These two become the best of friends as Alexei transforms and sells his loyalty to the Americans through 7/11 slushees, carnival games, and fast food. The joys of American consumerism can turn a cold-hearted Russian soft and move him in the “RIGHT” direction.
Erica, 10-year-old sister to protagonist Lucas doesn’t need to be turned since she already values U.S. capitalism. When characters ask Erica to spy on the Russians by climbing through an air duct, she mentions what she loves most about America—the free market system and makes her own demands for a lifetime supply of “U.S.S. butterscotch” ice cream. The only Black girl in the season is inexplicably pro-capitalist and anti-communist. Funny how the most exploited and oppressed under capitalism—Black woman workers—are portrayed as the biggest supporters of their own demise.
Who’s the monster?
The illusion of a nostalgic 1980s U.S. that Stranger Things sells must be broken. Without a proper criticism within the story, Stranger Things amounts to a cultural celebration of the U.S. as the ultimate anti-communist settlement and furthers that sentiment with its capitalistic pursuits.
Weeks after the series premiere, Baskin Robbins released a Stranger Things ice cream flavor campaign for the U.S.S. Butterscotch. How do we go from aliens and nostalgia-based fiction to capitalistic promotion? Let the ruling class tell it and the ‘threat’ is always external, never the system itself but in this case, it’s the Soviet Union, an otherworldly evil.
This connects to today’s present news as the ruling class, liberal politicians, and businesses are described as necessary evils while the real evil that’s promoted are the communists, and immigrants, here to only inflict violence against patriotic Americans and their values. Like most anti-communist propaganda, the evils that they attribute to communism are already alive inside capitalism. What Stranger Things is projecting as  the Soviet nightmare, is simply a reflection of the U.S.’s own capitalist culture.
Stranger Things started off as a show about monsters, but fails to call the real one out. As you watch the show, be critical of this propaganda and push back for the whole international working class.

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