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 Progressive Labor Party on Race & Racism

OUR FIGHT

 

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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Thursday
Jul222010

Angry Drivers Put Brakes on Hacks’ Loyalty to Bosses’ Laws  

OAKLAND, CA, JULY 18 — Hundreds of East Bay Area transit workers streamed into the union hall yesterday for a special meeting amid a buzz of righteous anger over an unprecedented company attack: imposing a new contract and work schedules. Many arrived seeking a plan of action, but the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) leadership offered nothing. One driver declared, “Man, we walked in here mad…strong like some dark coffee, but they just kept watering it down until it was like some weak herbal tea…and they got us drinking it!”

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Thursday
Jul222010

‘Jobs, Not Jails!’ — Jobless Youth Confront State Power  

BALTIMORE, July 8 — Today, young people learned an important lesson about state power during an angry and well-organized rally against massive cuts in summer jobs. Last Monday, about 9,000 students, who had registered months earlier with YouthWorks, were supposed to start working at their sites. However, at the last minute, approximately 3,000 of these students were informed that they had no job at all!

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Thursday
Jul222010

Teachers’ Convention: PL’ers Help Lead Fight vs. Union Machine’s Stomping on Students

SEATTLE, July 11 — Progressive Labor Party members played important roles in the biannual convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) ending here today. We helped lead a rally exposing the Obama Administration’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a walkout and  rally against billionaire Bill Gates. We helped organize and spoke at three forums held by the AFT Peace and Justice Caucus, distributed 600 CHALLENGES, 300 Juneteenth Anti-Racism Supplements and 4,000 leaflets to delegates.

We helped the Peace and Justice Caucus recruit for forums on Haiti, on the fight-back against the racist, anti-working class Race to the Top competition and on Afghanistan and Gaza. They were attended by many rank-and-file delegates. The discussions there raised interesting questions about fights against the ruling class and built ties between delegates.

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Thursday
Jul222010

Haiti: NGOs Live High Off the Hog While Troops Abuse Workers

The AFT Peace and Justice Caucus sponsored a forum on the after-effects of the earthquake in Haiti. There was much debate after two teachers from Haiti spoke about the

efforts of rank-and-file workers to improve conditions in Haiti.

The forum revealed that many workers have illusions, fostered by the media and the U.S.
government, that the UN “peacekeeping” forces and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like the Red Cross, are the good guys.

At the forum educators from Haiti stated that these NGO workers in Haiti live off the NGO’s U.S.dollars, drive around in  large dark SUVs with tinted windows, and live in big houses. The desperation for U.S. dollars has led to an increase in prostitution paid for by this NGO money. Friends from Haiti warned that if workers want to send money to Haiti we should find workers to send it to, and not send money to the NGOs to steal. And while we’ve all been told that the UN forces are the saviors of the working class in Haiti, we heard reports of the UN troops abusing and terrorizing young men there.

A PLP member from the Dominican Republic called for the unity of the working class to  over-throw the yoke of U.S. Imperialism in Haiti and around the world.

At the forum about fighting back against the Race to the Top (RTTT) competition, the panelists described their fights against attacks on educators and students. Unfortunately, too many of the panelists described their struggles merely to get more tax money to pay for schools during this period of capitalist crisis. However, that just means taxing the working class, not the bosses, and it does not suspend payments to the banks. No matter how the budgets are cut everywhere, the debt service (money to banks to pay back debts) is never cut. Another serious weakness in the RTTT forum was the lack of discussion of the affects of RTTT and budget cuts on students, and the lack of any clear call for unity between parents, students and educators.

We should continue these kinds of discussions, continuing to bring our line to honest educators, parents, and students, to build our movement.

Thursday
Jul222010

Successful Camping Trip Sets Stage for New PL Youth Club  

CALIFORNIA, July 2 — Progressive Labor Party (PLP) members and friends from all around the state met up for three days of activities and study during a camping trip in central California last weekend. Six students from the high school where a comrade teaches came on the trip. We started out at seven in the morning and drove six hours to get to the campgrounds.

During our quick stops for meals on the road, we met to discuss how to organize a study group around the current anti-immigrant racism in Arizona. The high school students took the lead and created questions to help keep the discussion moving. A few drew on their prior experience leading a discussion on a similar topic at a forum in Los Angeles.

At the campgrounds, after a refreshing dip in the river, we prepared dinner collectively before the study group, which went really well.

After the study group, we made s’mores and told ghost stories. Everyone got along really well. People partnered up to make the s’mores, since it turned out to be a two-person job. The high school and middle school students told stories to the younger children. The next day, we made breakfast together and continued our study group from the night before. This time, we also talked about communism: what is it and how do we achieve it? Once again the high school students impressed us all by helping to lead the discussion and asking questions. They also learned a lot. They said:

“At the camping trip we had a very good discussion about communism and what everyone thought it was. We also talked about what Barack Obama was doing and what he was supposed to be doing. Communism to me means making the world a better, more diverse place to live without all the differences.”

“The camping trip was really fun and a good experience for me, since I’ve never been camping before. It was good hanging out with other ‘races’ and hearing their opinions.”

Many of the teacher comrades who came were inspired by the work at this high school and felt encouraged to go back to their schools and bring up our ideas more openly with their students. The success at this high school was in part the result of a year-long curriculum that incorporated discussions on racism, sexism, working-class consciousness and the need for black students (like the ones who came on this trip) to unite with others and take the lead in the fight to change society for the better.

There has also been some limited work with the parents at this school. The grandmother of one of the students disagreed with us on the question of immigration. She believed that immigrants who come to the U.S. without documentation are criminals and should be punished, and that Latino immigrants were taking jobs away from black workers. The student was unclear on the issue and had a lot of questions about it. After a discussion with the comrade teacher, the grandmother agreed to let the student go camping, and the student has since spoken up in favor of helping all people, no matter what color. Another grandmother also reads the paper and agrees that her granddaughter should learn to fight the system.

This is only the beginning. The work with these students, and others, will continue throughout the summer and on into the next school year. Hopefully, this will result in these students taking part in the actions around the racist Arizona law (as well as other struggles) this summer. We have also asked them to join PLP. We discussed creating a PLP club at the high school next year that will take the lead in fighting the budget cuts and attacks from administration. The students are all open to participating in and leading these fights. We will update CHALLENGE as things progress. 

Thursday
Jul222010

E.U. Rulers’ Austerity Plan for Workers: Slash and Burn  

PARIS, July 13 — Europe’s bosses are driving to slash government budgets, shifting cash from the working class into their own pockets. How deep? A lecturer at Warszawski University in Warsaw recommended on state radio that, “Another way [to cut the budget] is to limit the amount of people who are getting compensation as a result of health problems or having been categorized as terminally ill or incapable to work. This is one area where a lot of government funds disappear.” Learning from the Nazis….

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Thursday
Jul222010

U.S. Social Forum — PL’ers’ Roadmap to ‘Another World’: Destroy Profit System

 

DETROIT, June 22 — The U.S. Social Forum (USSF) attracted about 15,000 activists of all backgrounds to Detroit, a city where the capitalist economic crisis has left the majority black population devastated by racist unemployment, lack of health care and poverty.  The Forum’s theme, “Another world is possible, another U.S. is necessary” expressed the hopes, dreams and passions of the thousands that attended.  However, after all the rhetoric of revolution, U.S. imperialism, and capitalism, the Forum failed to offer the only real solution of how to achieve this other world, by organizing for communist revolution to abolish the profit system.

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Thursday
Jul222010

Japan: Still Another PM Dumped; Exposes Rulers’ Bankruptcy

 

July 14 — It’s hard to keep track of how many prime ministers (PM) Japan has had over the past five years. One after another has been dumped or given up because, like their U.S. counterparts, the country’s politicians have no solution to economic stagnation, poverty and underemployment. Voters handed Naoto Kan, the latest PM, a serious blow last Sunday as his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lost control of the upper house of parliament in national elections.

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Thursday
Jul222010

China Currency Debate: An Inter-Imperialist Fight  

After China embarked on a modest plan to re-valuate its currency upward before the June G-20 meeting in Toronto, the Western press continued to attack it for “intentionally” devaluing the renminbi (alternatively known as the “yuan”). The NY Times’ Paul Krugman (6/24) has led the charge, calling the revaluation an act of “bad faith” and “an attempt to exploit U.S. restraint,” even advocating trade sanctions on China.  But further investigation reveals these attacks are based not on fact but on the inter-imperialist rivalry heating up between U.S. and Chinese rulers.

Dating back to 2005, the U.S. has claimed China has unfairly undervalued its currency, giving an advantage to Chinese producers and exacerbating the U.S.-China trade deficit. Many in the media and in Congress have even blamed China’s currency valuation for the current economic crisis in the U.S. that was actually set off by the latter’s own weakness.1

In reality, currency valuation has became a highly speculative business ever since the dissolution of the 1971 Bretton-Woods Agreement and the dropping of the gold-standard. Analyzing all the various models for valuating currency, in 2007 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that the renminbi could be undervalued by as much as 50% or as little as 0%, depending on which model was used. That same year Morgan Stanley used four separate models to valuate the renminbi and found it was, at most, 1% undervalued.2 The IMF continues to assert that the undervaluing of the renminbi is either minor or non-existent.3

So why the continued attacks on China? They represent the increasing  inter-imperialist rivalry between U.S. and Chinese bosses. China has become an increasingly attractive bogeyman for the collapsing U.S. economy (for more on these myths see “China Bashing” in “The Communist,” Summer 2008). Attacks on Chinese “job-stealing” and currency “manipulation” are used as a smokescreen for the internal weaknesses of U.S. capitalism.

Anti-China rhetoric also serves as a basis for increasing U.S. attacks on growing Chinese imperialism. As stated clearly in the 1999 Hart-Rudman Report, U.S. bosses see their future as resting on their ability to contain Chinese economic growth.4 Efforts to force China to artificially inflate the value of its currency are aimed at decreasing Chinese exports and making China’s domestic market more amenable to foreign imports.

This revaluation would severely punish China’s workers and stifle China’s economic growth, all while rewarding Western speculators.5 Not surprisingly, Chinese capitalists have not been eager to play the U.S. bosses’ game.

 The hollowness of Western attacks on China was revealed last April. On the eve of a Congressional report detailing Chinese economic villainy, the Obama Administration chose instead to back off its anti-China rhetoric after China agreed to relax its laws against foreign capital inflows into the Chinese domestic market.6

U.S. capitalists are using these attacks to try to pry their way into growing Chinese markets while simultaneously mentally conditioning U.S. workers for a potential future war with China. China has responded by shifting its export markets from the U.S. to the European Union and Russia.7 China has also repeatedly expressed its interest in selling off U.S. treasury bonds.8

The current tension between U.S. and Chinese capitalists will not ease until one imperialist is able to fully impose its will over the other. As Lenin noted in “Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism,” this is the pre-condition for major inter-imperialist war in the modern era. J

 

Sources:

The Communist, “China Bashing Simply a Smokescreen for U.S. Bosses Weakness,” Summer 2008; Andrew Fischer, UNRISD Paper, “The Perils of Paradigm Maintenance,” 11/26/09, p 7-13.

 The Communist, p 7.

 Andrew Fischer, Monthly Review, “The Great China Currency Debate: For Workers or Speculators?” 6/25/10.

US Commission on National Security/21st Century, “Phase I: Report on the Emerging Global Security Environment for the First Quarter of the 21st Century,” 9/15/1999, p 70, 138.

 Monthly Review.

 Monthly Review.

 The Communist, p 8.

 NYT, “China Losing Taste for Debt From the US,” 1/7/09; NYT, “China Grows More Picky About Debt,” 5/20/09.

Thursday
Jul082010

Board of Ed. Cuts $ and Teachers; Raises Class Size: Workers Fight Bosses’ Racist ‘Lesson Plan’

CHICAGO, IL, July 1 — “We don’t get paid for this job,” the president of the Chicago Board of Education told parents at the June meeting.

“I’m glad to hear that you are displacing teachers and screwing our children’s education from the bottom of your heart,” a parent replied, in the spirit of two years of struggle by teachers in CORE (Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators), parents, students, and community groups. Speaking out — and demonstrating, when the opportunity arises — helps to mobilize and organize forces to oppose these attacks on education.

The Board wanted to use the meeting to solve its “budget crisis” on the backs of students and school employees, but the discussion didn’t go as planned. As one speaker said, “You guys should be ashamed.” Another pointed out, “Schools are more than bricks and mortar. Why should we terminate quality teachers?” Under capitalism, there is always plenty of money for imperialist war, bank and corporate bailouts, and politicians’ pet projects. But there is never enough for workers’ needs.

For example, the Chicago Public Schools CEO, Ron Huberman, claims that they might need to fire 2,700 teachers and raise the average class size to 35 to save $150 million and close their budget gap. Yet Mayor Daley is hoarding $250 million in “Tax Increment Funding” for his private slush fund. As always under capitalism, the question is more than dollars and cents; it’s about who profits — and at whose expense.

While Chicago’s disinvestment in its schools is a disgraceful case of child neglect, money alone won’t solve the problem. The content of U.S. public education is primarily aimed to give working-class students a salute-the-flag fast-track to fighting in imperialist wars, toiling in minimum-wage jobs, or suffering racist unemployment.

Parents and teachers spoke passionately about teachers who spend their own time and money and devise creative and effective ways to reach all students. The scores of people in the audience applauded these remarks, while Huberman and the Board members sat stone-faced or worse. (One board member fell asleep, and another was busy texting.) As one of about two hundred “honorably-terminated” teachers said, “We have been left on the street with no job and no health insurance.”

A PLP member underscored that racism continues to be perpetuated by Board policies. Because this administration claims to be “data driven” (meaning if student test scores don’t go up, teachers could be fired), the speaker used data to expose its racism. There are 2,100 fewer African-American teachers now than in 2002, a drop from 40 to 30 percent of the total teaching force. Thirty percent of white students attend selective enrollment high schools, or three times the proportion of students in general. Finally, 72 percent of African-American students attend segregated, low-performing schools with the greatest chance of being reconstituted (or “turned around,” as the Board likes to say) with all new staff. 

The PLP member concluded by stating, “The data-driven conclusion is that the Board runs a racist school system that provides separate and unequal education for over 70 percent of the system’s African-American students. In addition, it is decimating the system’s African-American teaching force.” Loud applause and handshakes from the audience, frozen stony faces from the Board. In an era where many think the U.S. has moved “past racism,” it is incumbent on communists and others to expose it at every opportunity. Capitalism will not be destroyed unless anti-racism leads the fight.