Black workers key to communist revolution
Friday, March 8, 2019 at 10:22PM
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CHICAGO, March 1—Over 80 Progressive Labor Party (PLP) comrades and friends celebrated our second annual Black and Red Dinner on the city’s South Side this evening. Through a variety of different games, performances, and speeches, the multiracial, multi-generational audience was able to learn more about the vital contributions of Black communists to the struggle against racist capitalism.
But far from being just a history lesson, the event stressed the present reality of the Black working class remaining a key revolutionary force on an international level. Those sections of the working class most oppressed and exploited by capitalism have always had some of the highest stakes in seeing this rotten profit system destroyed. By emphasizing their militancy and leadership as a part of a mass PLP, the prospects for communist revolution become bright!
Revolutionary history and struggle come alive
The event kicked off with a historical scavenger hunt. Posted at various points around the room were pictures and stories of Black communist leaders and the struggles they were involved in. Participants paired up in teams in order to answer trivia questions. Following this, a young Black worker shook the audience with a fiery and creative remix of Black communist poet Langston Hughes’ Good Morning, Revolution. Later in the program we saw two talented young Black women perform their own rap verses and spoken word that challenged the widespread alienation, violence, and sexism that saturate the capitalist system.
Black PLP comrades also gave speeches about the process that led them to become communists, and specifically what it means for them to be communists in PLP. They highlighted the importance of criticism and self-criticism, multi-racial working-class unity, internationalism, and anti-racist fightback, including the need for revolutionary violence, as primary themes in the struggle for communism and workers’ power.
The event was capped off with a keynote speech by a Party high school teacher, who emphasized the PLP line of Black workers being a key revolutionary force. In front of a few dozen of her mostly Black and Latin students, she explained the process by which the racism created by the U.S. bosses during the colonial period was soon exported around the world with the rise of capitalism. But even as racist oppression and exploitation rose internationally, she highlighted the never-ending fightback of workers of color, a fightback that continues to educate and inspire to the present day.



Communism and anti-racism go hand-in-hand
The idea for a  Black and Red  event came from comrades’ experiences within the mass movement, where among many Black activists there can be a strong attitude of incompatibility between struggles against racism and the fight for communist revolution. The revolutionary politics of communism often get incorrectly lumped into the category of an overwhelmingly white and male ideology.
The reality couldn’t be farther from it. In the wake of the October Revolution of 1917, when Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party seized power from the Russian bosses and created the first workers’ state in history, the revolutionary science of Marxism-Leninism was applied to workers’ struggles against racism and imperialism in countries as diverse as Haiti, Mexico, Ethiopia, and South Africa. Workers from these countries and beyond were able to harness a communist class analysis and strategy to wage a more effective struggle against the bosses’ racism and exploitation.
What’s more, communist leadership in building a mass anti-racist campaign in defense of the Scottsboro boys in the 1930s, (a case in which nine Black youth were unjustly charged with the raping two white women). Black workers were at the forefront of unemployment and anti-eviction councils during the Great Depression. They were also instrumental defeating the vile Nazis and their fascist “master race” ideology during World War II. All these actions and more reinforced the fact that a struggle for communism was a struggle against racism.
To this end, many Black leaders became committed communists. Paul Robeson, Lorraine Hansberry, W.E.B. DuBois, Claudia Jones and many others recognized and fought for an egalitarian communist society as the only means to eradicate the scourge of racism from the earth.
The racist capitalist bosses and their bourgeois historians have worked hard to erase this history of multi-racial communist unity and struggle, precisely because it directly challenges their ability to divide workers based on race, exploit certain groups at a higher rate than others, and maintain their class power.
Communism will triumph through Black leadership
But despite the bosses’ best efforts, they won’t succeed in erasing the essential leadership of Black workers to the revolutionary communist struggle. Events like the Black and Red Dinner are important to counter their watering down of our history while educating and inspiring the current generation of a multi-racial working class movement.
W.E.B. DuBois is quoted as saying, “In the end, communism will triumph. I want to help bring that day.” Then, as now, understanding and promoting the importance of Black communist leadership will bring our collective liberation all the sooner.

Article originally appeared on The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (http://www.plp.org/).
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