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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Sri Lanka: trapped in imperialist rivalry & identity politics 

The Easter Sunday church bombings in the island nation of Sri Lanka killed 359 people, injured hundreds more, and terrified the whole population. This attack exposes two lethal dangers for the international working class: on the one hand, ruling-class infighting fueled by inter-imperialist rivals; on the other, the backward, anti-revolutionary ideas of identity politics.
Progressive Labor Party fights for working-class unity, the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all. We fight for a world without racism, sexism, profits, or borders. Join us in a lifetime mission of fighting for the best possible world: communism!
Bosses’ infighting kills workers
Much as in the United States and Britain, there are divisions within the capitalist ruling class of Sri Lanka, and workers paid the price. The small-fry terrorist group, National Thowheed Jamath, along with its international affiliate, the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for this bloody massacre. But Sri Lanka’s rulers knew it was coming all along! More than two weeks earlier, Indian intelligence had warned them about the attack (New York Times, 4/22). The bosses responded by distributing a memo to select government officials. You know the ruling class is in disarray when the prime minister is excluded from national security meetings!
But Sri Lanka’s problems go far beyond the shameless subjectivity of power-hungry politicians. It is caught in an imperialist crossfire between China, the chief U.S. rival, and India, which is tied to the weakening U.S.-led liberal world order. Both countries have strategic interests in the Indian Ocean. The bosses are following their old wartime axiom: “Whoever rules the waves rules the world.”
While the pro-Western prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, appears to align closer to India, President Maithripala Sirisena favors China. “China’s projects, backed by loans from its government…have faced opposition in Sri Lanka amid concerns raised by the United States, India and Japan that China might use Sri Lanka as a military base” (Reuters, 7/22/18). Indeed, the strategic Hambantola port and 15,000 acres of land around it now belong to China as part of its One Belt, One Road blueprint for world supremacy.
Bosses use massacre as drill for fascism
The ever-declining U.S. bosses didn’t miss a beat. Alongside other allies, they “sent a team of FBI agents and military officials to help Sri Lankan authorities with the ongoing investigation” (ABC News, 4/26). The bosses are using these attacks as practice for the fascist collaboration they’ll need in the wars to come.
As illustrated by the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., the Big Terrorist bosses respond to Little Terrorists with more repression and racism against the working class. After the Easter bombings, Sri Lanka’s government shut down social media, enforced a curfew, imposed body checks, and banned face coverings. “Even if temporarily, Colombo [the capital] has reverted suddenly to the [civil war] wartime mentality—or even worse. Security forces now stand at every corner, making searches and deploying other measures that were rare even during those days of bloodshed” (NYT, 4/24).
But never fear. Our working-class sisters and brothers will find creative ways to rebel against the harsh oppression of crisis-mode capitalism.
Divide et impera
Sri Lanka is an ethno-religious mash-up: Sinhalese Buddhists, Tamil Hindus, Tamil Christians, Dutch Burghers, and Tamil-speaking Muslims. The church bombing, organized by a Tamil-speaking Muslim terrorist group, is the largest act of sectarian violence since the 26-year-long civil war that ended just ten years ago. That conflict pitted Tamil-speaking Hindu separatists against a government dominated by Sinhala-speaking Buddhists. It left 70,000 dead.
The lesson is that identity politics is a death trap. It is political tribalism organized around the myth of, well, one’s “identity.” Organizing based on race, gender, and/or sexuality—anything but class—is a deadly ruling-class creation. Nowhere is this clearer than in South Asia. The British Empire’s policy of “divide et impera” (divide and rule) ignited religious and ethnic hostilities to maintain its profit-generating colonial control. In Sri Lanka, the British bosses systematically pitted Tamil against Sinhalese workers. In India and what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh, the British divided Muslim workers against Hindu and Sikh workers, groups that had coexisted for almost a millennium. In both cases, the result was mass displacement, needless bloodshed, and a loss of class-consciousness.
Modern-day South Asia consists of many countries born out of national liberation struggles. All are run by rapacious oppressors who supposedly share an “identity” with the oppressed.
Identity politics: global poison
The liberal U.S. ruling class built identity politics as a way to steer fighters away from the communist-led anti-imperialist and anti-racist mass movement of the late 1960s. Rooted in the capitalist universities, the “intellectual radicalism of the early [identity politics movement] can be seen as a search for a universalist politics that might take the place of…Marxism” (Harpers Magazine, Sept. 1993).
In the 1980s, a time of open right-wing racism under President Ronald Reagan, the boss-led movement funneled workers’ anger into the dead end of electoral politics. “[T]he development of an explicit left-wing identity politics…became the de facto creed of two generations of liberal politicians, professors, schoolteachers, journalists, movement activists and officials of the Democratic Party” (New Statesman, 9/18/2017).
Identity politics hijacks working-class outrage against the bosses’ police terror or sexist violence and cynically uses it to build false worker-boss unity. It pushes workers to pursue individual success (you do you, boo!) instead of seeing ourselves as part of one class—our class, the working class.
Frankenstein’s monster for the bosses?
In 2016, racist white identity politics—one part reaction to liberal, “multicultural” identity politics, one part reaction to the disaster of capitalism—gave Donald Trump the presidency. As long as the bosses keep us fighting for a society where our oppressors look like us, where unity is only skin-deep, capitalism gets off scot-free.
But with the U.S. bosses now challenged by China and Russia, and in relative decline, they realize they went too far. Identity politics is blocking their push to build pro-U.S. imperialist unity among the workers they previously fought so hard to divide. Meanwhile, small-time fascist bosses in the U.S. and worldwide have seized identity politics to build their own movements, including racist white nationalism, to undermine the main-wing finance capitalists.
Today the U.S. bosses need a more patriotic, “American” form of identity politics to build nationalist allegiance for the inevitable global war to come. The Democratic Party’s candidates for president, including a host of women, Black, Latin, and gay politicians, represent this trend. Whatever their differences over policy, all of these misleaders seek to unify workers behind a liberal movement for war and fascism.
But workers are no fools. Time and time again, we see glimmers of genuine, multiracial unity. The worldwide response to the 2014 Ferguson Rebellion endures as a shining star in this dark night.
Workers need internationalism
Along with building all-class unity in the bosses’ interests, identity politics sabotages internationalism. As we continue to battle against racism and sexism, we are also fighting for something profound. PLP aspires to win workers to the idea and practice that we have more in common with each other than with any bosses, regardless of the exploiters’ gender or the color of their skin. We fight for one world, one class, one Party. Join us as we celebrate the unity of our class on May Day, International Workers’ Day!

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