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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Two socialist trends & the fight away from workers’ power

The bosses are promoting socialist politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) as the answer to the deepening crisis of capitalism. Challenge, over several issues, will look at how reformist socialist leaders like Sanders and AOC are and have historically betrayed the working class by building nationalism and anti-communism to help the bosses’ move towards growing fascism and war.
Previously we wrote about how the current crop of reformist socialists are building nationalism and laying the basis for liberal led fascism and how the Green New Deal is a blueprint for building militarism and preparing the working class to accept the bosses’ war plans. In this issue, we look at the history of the two trends in the early socialist movement, revolutionary socialism and reformist socialism.

A line can be drawn from the early revolutionary socialists to the communist led revolutions in Russia and China to Progressive Labor Party (PLP)today. Reformist socialism, on the other hand, has been a historic weight trying to hold back the working class from the time of the early socialist movement to the capitalist apologists like Sanders and AOC trying to save the bosses’ system at the expense of the working class.
Two socialist trends
As early as when Marx was writing The Communist Manifesto in 1848 these two trends in socialism existed. Marx saw the leadership of the reform socialists as forces who were scared of the working class coming to power and sought reforms lest the working class rebel:
The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society, minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish…that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie. (The Communist Manifesto)
Revolutionary socialism, saw the horrible conditions of the working class under capitalism, and understood that only a society led by the working class could create a system that served the interests of the great majority of people.
Marx, the Bolsheviks, and Chinese Communists developed in theory and set out to build revolutionary socialism as a society based on workers seizing power through revolution and a step towards communism. Revolutionary socialists seized the forces of production from the capitalist class and unleashed the power of the working class in leading the building of a society based on production for need instead of profit. In both Russia and China the condition of the working class monumentally improved and hundreds of millions of workers had a chance to play a role in leading society.
Socialism fails workers
However, the early communists were wrong in their belief that socialism could eventually lead to communism. PLP  was formed in 1965 in response to the Soviet Union returning to capitalism and the Communist Party U.S.A. abandoning the fight for workers revolution.
PLP initially fought for a socialist society under the leadership of the working class as part of the road to a communist society. Based on our practice and looking at how Russia and China went back to capitalism, we came to see that socialism, even under the leadership of the working class and a communist party, kept too much of capitalism alive in the form of wages and divisions within the working class. These divisions eventually led society back towards capitalism.
Today PLP fights for communist revolution and the immediate building of a communist society led by the international working class, with distribution of goods based on need instead of wages. This new way forward, first explained in our document Road to Revolution IV, is the legacy of many millions of workers who have fought for workers’ power and an end to capitalism.
 In the U.S., the early socialist movement also reflected both revolutionary and reformist socialism. The Socialist Party of America (SPA) was the major socialist organization in the U.S. It encompassed both reformers and people fighting for workers revolution and an egalitarian society. Under the leadership of its founder, Eugene V. Debs, the capitalist reformers were the dominant force.
A history of reform
Debs rose to national prominence, as the President of the American Railroad Union (ARU) by betraying the workers during the railroad strike of 1894.
The strike shut down the railroad. Debs became terrified of the workers’ anger at the railroad bosses. He urged the union locals to stop the militancy. Debs’ efforts at holding back the workers failed and the U.S. President Grover Cleveland, with Debs’ support, sent Federal troops to end the strike. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
In 1901 Debs founded SPA. The SPA ran in elections to win reforms of capitalism. Debs ran for President in 1904 and got over six percent of the vote. Even while claiming to fight for the interests of the working class the SPA sought a peaceful relationship with the capitalists. The SPA so feared disrupting capitalism that they allowed many blatantly anti-working-class ideas to be prominent within the organization. While Karl Marx fought for unity of Black and white workers as necessary to defeat capitalism, notably the SPA supported official racism.
The following qoutes are  taken from Viewpoint Magazine (3/29/16): “Socialist branches everywhere in the South were “Jim Crowed” and the vast majority accepted only whites.”
The SPA strategy of reforming capitalism was shortly overtaken by the rise of the class struggle.
Beginning in about 1910, the economic and political universes appeared to shatter, offering wider opportunities for socialists. Between 1909 and 1913, mass and sometimes violent strikes swept across the Western world....In New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago, among other centers…workers walked off the job to win higher wages, improved conditions, and union recognition…Simultaneously, the most radical labor organization ever to arise in the United States, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), emerged from relative obscurity to lead two general strikes in the textile industry.
The strikes were “part of a global labor uprising … Germany, France, and Britain required military intervention to quell class conflict…The clash between revolutionary doctrine and reformist practice emerged clearly in 1912 and 1913 when the SPA divided internally over the issue of confrontation and violence. In 1913 the party majority ousted the IWW’s William D. Haywood from the party’s national executive committee. Haywood’s [expulsion] proved that despite its revolutionary rhetoric, the SPA majority in practice followed [reformism].”
Worker-led communist revolution is the only solution
Shortly after Haywood’s expulsion, the 1917 Russian Revolution created the opportunity for revolutionary sections of the working class to form an international communist movement fighting for workers’ power across the globe. In the U.S., workers with a revolutionary outlook left the SPA and shortly formed the Communist Party, which over the next 35 years was a leading force organizing for workers revolution. William Haywood went to the Soviet Union to become a leader of the international communist movement. The SPA became a shadow of its former self, eventually losing the bulk of its reformist base to the Democratic Party and completely abandoning any pretense of fighting for workers’ power.
The working class is the future of society. Every movement that trusts the bosses over the workers to run society will inevitably support the capitalists in time of crisis and when the working class has the opportunity to advance the fight for power. The capitalists will use bourgeois socialists to build movements to keep the ruling class in power. Only communist revolution for workers’ power will lead to a society led by and for the working class.

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