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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In memory of Bob, lifelong anti-racist and communist

Comrade Robert “Bob” Patterson died in Brooklyn, NY on May 8 of heart failure. He was 72 years old. He leaves behind a son, daughter-in-law, grandson, brother, nieces and nephews, and a large group of friends and comrades.
Bob was a presence that could always be counted on. His passing leaves a tremendous hole that we will work hard to fill. After Bob was introduced to the Progressive Labor Party, he embraced it and regretted that he had not met our Party earlier in his life.
As a child, Bob was taught anti-racism by his Mennonite grandmother. This was solidified on a trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida which he won for selling newspapers as a teenage delivery boy. As the van with the winners drove deeper and deeper into the Jim Crow South, he was angered at the treatment of two Black youth who also won the trip. They were not allowed to use the same hotels and restaurants as the white youth, their dignity being stripped away. This was the start of his militancy. Bob was deeply involved in struggles for workers’ rights and antiracism for the rest of his life.
As a young man, he worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement. He also participated in the famous anti-racist march for voting rights over the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, a life-changing event for Bob. The marchers were trained to be passive in the face of all attacks that were directed at them. Bob was outraged when one of his best friends, a young Black man, was doused in white paint by the racists and no one fought back. When Bob met PLP 17 years ago, he came to understand the misleadership of pacifism and on relying on legislation to end racism, and how reform movements lead to reversals. Comrade Bob also took part in antiwar efforts of the 1960s, helping many Vietnam Vets who went AWOL (absent without leave).
Bob’s acting ability was recognized by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and he received a full scholarship to act in Minneapolis’ prestigious Guthrie Theater. All through his professional career as an actor and teacher of the acting craft, he continued to promote and organize around antiracism and for social justice. He was a visionary and always thinking about the larger world, in his studio, in his church, in the community, and in the Party. Bob thought of acting as a collective craft and that actors could be won to be politically antiracist and fighters for social justice. He thought actors must search for the truth in the world around them and that this truth leads to understanding the necessity for an egalitarian world. Through his years in the Party, he brought many of his students to PLP events and study groups. And through PLP cultural work, Comrade Bob used his skills to help spread our political ideas, helping develop collective performances and presentations.
Bob aided in creating a social justice group in his church 20 years ago, which continues to this day. He proposed and organized forums, marches and protests, to which we could invite our friends, always making sure we were in motion to fight racism and injustice. He was the “go-to guy” if you wanted information or wanted to plan an event, but he did not do all the work himself. He was able to encourage others to step up and realize their untapped talents. He often got people to go beyond their limits (such as shyness) to make presentations at forums, dinners, demonstrations, etc.
The forums were on a range of subjects: “single payer health insurance,” racist treatment of Hurricane Katrina victims, anti-Muslim hysteria after 911, racist police killings such as the murder of Kyam Livingston, etc. Bob also encouraged those of us working at Downstate Medical Center to have a big rally against plans to close down the hospital, resulting in the largest rally there since the 1960s. Four hundred workers, doctors and patients rallied, putting the fear of workers’ power into the bosses and building our confidence. Thanks for the push, Bob.
Up until his last breath, Bob was organizing for a better world for his grandchild and all of our grandchildren, making dozens of daily phone calls; he was sorry that he missed the Brooklyn May Day March.
Bob was, modest yet immodest. He did say that he was the best acting teacher around but rarely boasted about his standing in the profession or the famous people he knew. He was also a man of many interests, beyond art and politics. He loved basketball and watched every NBA game he could. He had long arms and was quick on the court. He battled to keep in shape and hid his failing health from his friends.
Bob was a great presence and constant organizer. If a measure of a person is that they leave the world a better place, then Bob has more than exceeded that measure. He will be greatly missed by all who worked with him.

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