Anti-Racist Protesters Salute PL Politics
At a PLP demonstration in Brooklyn protesting the racist murder and verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing, militant speakers, in English and Creole, related it to the role racism plays in capitalism and the need to get rid of the whole system. As I stood across the street, passersby stopped to listen and grabbed CHALLENGES and our leaflets. Everyone seemed enthusiastic to hear the anger in workers who spoke and eager to discuss our point of view. Especially moving was the talk by the sister of Shantel Davis, one of the victims of police murders in Brooklyn.
Some friends in a local church told me about another demonstration in Harlem which I went to that evening. There were only a couple of hundred people there, and the organizers were stridently black nationalist. Two of them threatened me for being white and then, when they saw my leaflet, for being red. They even said from the microphone that no one should take any PLP leaflets.
Nonetheless, we ran out of the 500 leaflets and 100 CHALLENGES we had, taken by many demonstrators and passersby. Many people agreed that an alliance of black and white workers and students was needed to fight racism. A new comrade from the church and a high school student brought by a PL teacher received a good lesson in the dangers of nationalism.
Some attendees were shocked by the small size of the demonstration. This may reflect the very bad politics of those who organized it. But it also reflects the general lack of mass struggle in Harlem, despite the high poverty rate, unemployment and rapid gentrification. This represents the successful efforts for many years of politicians and various community misleaders to squelch any struggle there, in an area where mass outrage and fightback were once the order of the day. In the 1960s, when a black teenager was shot by a racist cop in Harlem, a rebellion erupted in which PL was very active and which sparked uprisings nationwide. We must continue our involvement there and help light that spark again under revolutionary leadership.
CHALLENGE Serves the Working Class
Greetings, and my sincerest thank you for the collective work in publishing CHALLENGE! The service for our working class is wonderful. And I fully support the writing style of the collective in aggressively educating and telling the truth. Even so many of our revolutionaries are so timid and reserved in their language choice and structure, so as not to piss off the ruling class or their petit-bourgeois minions too much. In reality it can mean the difference not just between jail or freedom but life or death, here in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Your cold, hard truth-telling and open calls for our class to organize revolution are more refreshing than a cold drink in the summer in Imperial-occupied Central America! (Insert any country here.)
Enclosed is a solidarity check for $100 for a one-year subscription for my comrade/spouse in the U.S. I was fortunate enough to get a copy while attending the Left Forum 2013 in Manhattan. Thanks for keeping us informed and educated (and pulling the tail of the tiger). I look forward to my first subscription copy of CHALLENGE.
Retired Union Firefighter
Cultural Revolution Article Hit the Mark
I was glad to read the article on the Cultural Revolution earlier this month after returning from a trip to China. Like most Western visitors there, I spent my time in the cities, amazed at the size and speed of construction, the world-class accommodations and the remarkable new subway systems. I got to know some Chinese professionals and we talked about how the country is changing. The CHALLENGE article referred to a book by Dongping Han which turns out to be easy to find on Amazon.com. That book put my first impressions into perspective.
Today over half of China’s population is classified as urban, which, on the surface, sounds like capitalism is making everybody middle class. The reality, as Han points out in his book, The Unknown Cultural Revolution, as well as in an excellent talk he gave (available on C-Span video www.c-spanvideo.org/program/290017-1) is more complicated. The huge economic growth of China since the restoration of capitalism over 30 years ago probably would never have been possible without the mass increase in education for the non-urban people that happened because of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). The restoration of private ownership of farms and factories since the 1970s has allowed some people to become very rich while others are much poorer. Post-Cultural Revolution capitalist policies permit discrimination in hiring based on ethnicity, and Han describes in his C-Span talk how racism has come back to parts of China where multi-ethnic harmony existed under socialism. Pensions and free health care in the villages, funded by the people’s communes, disappeared when the farms were privatized. Now former “barefoot doctors” have turned into medical entrepreneurs and make profits by performing ultrasounds for sex determination and aborting female fetuses. Poor rural workers take this desperate action because they have no old-age support except for a male child.
Western visitors to China also don’t see the tiny cubicles that workers live in, crammed into run-down parts of the huge cities. A typical Chinese family’s experience is portrayed in the documentary The Last Train Home (available on Netflix), a documentary showing how a mother and father toil in a sweatshop in a large industrialized city but must leave their son and daughter back in their home village in another province. Only once a year can they afford to make the thousand-mile train ride home to see the children, who live with their grandmother. If the children went to the city with their mother and father they would not be allowed to attend school since the family’s official residence is tied to their home village. That’s why every year at the time of the Spring Festival, the only long vacation of the year, 135 million Chinese workers travel home. In Shanghai, about half of the 23 million people living there have their official residence somewhere else. These exploited workers and the children deprived of parents are another piece of the Chinese “economic miracle.”
Communist School: Inspiration to Turn Up Class War
Coming to events like a PLP communist school always invigorates me to reengage in the class struggle in a better way. We deepened our understanding of the philosophy of the working class: dialectical materialism. When we analyze our struggle by using dialectics, we can make better decisions on our tactics in the development for revolution.
With comrades like the ones I met, we will most definitely win! The determination, wisdom, enthusiasm and collectivity of this new young leadership were amazing to see. We discussed the fight against sexism and racism, building communist culture, how to make revolution primary in the class struggle and even communism in space! The future is ours, comrades!
I returned from PLP International communist school inspired and much more knowledgeable. What gave the event its essential power was the participation of many young people, who provided general leadership and also led all the workshops.
It was very impressive to see our young people’s level of preparation on dialectical materialism and the different aspects of the struggle for communism, which was also evident in talking to them.
This communist school has been the best I’ve participated in, because of the level of organization, discussions, and depth of the workshop topics. I learned new concepts and struggles of other comrades in the Party. I left convinced that the fight for a communist revolution is a long-term struggle. If we put in all our passion and energy, we’ll be contributing in this process to unite the whole international working class — to achieve the goal of destroying capitalism and build a new society led by one party, our Progressive Labor Party.
Inspired comrade from Mexico
I feel like I have a much better understanding of dialectical materialism. I’ve read Jailbreak (a PLP phamplet) several times so I’ve known the three laws of dialectical materialism. Over the past few days, I’ve learned some of the finer points to the three laws. Hearing examples of the different laws and actually constructing examples helped me as well.
I hope to actually embrace dialectical materialism and use it to solve the problems in my life. I have a better understanding of what sexism is and why woman are especially targeted. I’ve also come to understand why racism is the key contradiction holding the working class back from uniting and fighting for communism. I almost didn’t come to the communist school, but I’m glad I did!
Red College Student
The Party is always fighting to develop new young black, Latino, and women leadership. As a twenty-year old, I always thought the Party was referring to people like me. Now I realize, that the adult teachers who recruited me are considered young leadership too.
Having a founding member of PLP speak about our history really put our struggle into perspective. I always thought the Party was huge back in the 1960s — we took 59 people to Cuba illegally during the ban; turned the vigilant anti-red trials at the courts into a mass protest against capitalism; shipped arms and food while giving leadership to the striking miners in Hazard, Kentucky; were active in supporting the Harlem rebellion when every other group advocated “peace”; we began the anti-Vietnam War movement; we had the guts to correctly criticize nationalist leadership in Vietnam and in China.
Turns out the Party was much smaller — but we were sharp as a sword and a threat to the bosses. Today, PLP is international and organizing in over 25 countries. We’ve come so far because we toughened up, dared to struggle — dared to make communist revolution primary in every breath we took. PLP was sharply anti-racist since birth! That gives me great confidence in our Party, in our movement, and in our ability to create and maintain communism.
This lesson came out when we had our open mic night — we used communist culture as a weapon against the bosses. Literature, music, dance is important in grounding our commitment to revolution — but I think the indestructible weapon is our unity. It’s the relationship we build with our comrades that will survive through the tear gas, bullets, and drones. There is no stronger danger to the bosses than our commitment to communism and to our comrades.
That’s what we built at this communist school and I look forward to a lifetime of revolution, building stronger relationships with my comrades, and serving the working class. This communist school was awesome and I can’t wait to get back to my local area and turn up the class war!
The communist school has definitely intensified my passion for communist revolution. Trying to understand dialectical materialism has been a frustrating endeavor, but its applications have been extremely helpful. The communist revolution has taken light into my life. I believe that racism and capitalism are interdependent.
The life on campus was amazing. I finally can eat good food as well as go to sleep whenever I feel like. The needs that I sought out were definitely met. I love the communist experience!
The PLP conducted a four-day communist school for its emerging red leadership. After extensive discussion, the participants reaffirmed the Party line that the main obstacle that continues to hold back the development of class-consciousness in the working class is racism.
Several participants spoke about their involvement in the fight against police murders and brutality in NYC. The Party gave leadership to hundreds of people in the battles. Their fights can grow into massive anti-racist fights, opening the door for communist revolution.
This week at the communist school has been the best one yet. The workshops on dialectical materialism were really, really helpful and exciting! I love figuring stuff out. What drew me to communism first was the theory of historical materialism. (I was a history nerd). Now dialectical materialism has given me the method to figure out the whole world.
Besides the theoretical work we did, it was really fun seeing comrades, old and new, from around the world. We also played loads of soccer, which built up the camaraderie among us. I could only hope that every week could be like this. Until next time!
The future of the Party is in good hands. For five days, communists met to improve their understanding of dialectical materialism, which is the working class’s philosophical weapon to destroy capitalism with communist revolution. From what I saw, our future is bright!
The only solution is communist revolution. We met to analyze and develop our work in the class struggle to defeat capitalism and build for communist revolution.
We applied the dialectical laws — contradiction, quantity into quality, and the negation of the negation — to the process of what we are doing in school, on the job, and in the streets of our communities. Confronting racist police murders in New York and Anaheim, organizing to stop hospital closings in Brooklyn, and fighting back against the destruction of public education in the U.S. are the realities of our lives. It also provides us with the material we need to win our friends and fellow workers to join Progressive Labor Party.
If we apply what we learned from this experience to what we are doing, where we live and work, we will succeed in the goals of the school — to move the working class closer to taking power!!