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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Chicago: PLP Honors Workers’ Battle Sites

CHICAGO, July 13—A feature of the Progressive Labor Party’s (PLP) recent Chicago Summer Project was a “Labor History Bus Tour” around the city. The tour showcased locations of historical working-class battles dating to the nineteenth century, and locations of current struggles involving PLP.
Union Stockyards: Hotbed of Class Struggle
We started at the former location of the giant Union Stockyards, once a world famous animal slaughterhouse known as the “hog butcher of the world.” Formerly sprawling over a square mile, thousands of Black, white, and women workers waged intense class struggle against the capitalist meatpackers who treated the workers horribly while stealing millions of dollars in profits. The Union Stockyards were named after the Union side of the U.S. Civil War. Basing the stockyards entirely on war production needs, the northern industrial capitalists settled on the site to pack meat for soldiers in the war. We reviewed stories from The Jungle written by radical journalist Upton Sinclair in 1906, and the memoirs of a leader in the old communist movement, William Z. Foster, who organized labor unions in the slaughter houses in 1917 during World War I.
Despite filthy and deadly working conditions inside the plants, most workers were not organized into labor unions. Those who were had craft unions based on their job titles. They were also divided by race—in 1917, of 60,000 packinghouse workers, 12,000 were Black. However, only the Butcher Workmen’s Union allowed Black workers to join. We found their old union hall and we stopped by the old main gate to the stockyards, which held pictures and information of what life was like in those meat factories.
We also learned how the bosses are always relentless in their efforts to maximize profits off their workforce. In the winter of 1917-1918, Foster described how the meatpacking bosses were afraid of a strike inside the plants during a mass union campaign that was uniting the various craft unions to fight the oppressive conditions. A major union at the time, and still today, was the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which represented skilled, white workers. In this struggle the AFL misleaders prevented the workers from striking and agreed to a government mediation process for the workers’ grievances. Many workers came forward to expose the treatment they suffered under. Armour, one of the biggest meat bosses, testified that he had made 40 million dollars in profits in 1917 alone. So to avoid a shortage of food stuffs during war, the packing house bosses raised wages, gave workers 10 hours pay for 8 hours work, and a lunch break.
It was apparently a victory. But as soon as the imperialist war was over, the stockyards were flooded with spies, goons, and “organizers” who moved to return to the craft union style in the plants.  Foster, who was an organizer and leader in the old Communist Party, made no mention of study groups or leadership training programs. Progressive Labor Party has learned that we have to be involved in reform struggles with the working class while also educating workers on the evils of the capitalist system.
Haymarket: The Birth of May Day
We also made stops connected to the famous Haymarket events in 1886 that led to the creation of the international communist holiday, May Day. These events did not fall from the sky.  In the 1870s, Chicago was the fastest growing city in the world. Fortunes were being made off the backs of immigrant workers. Families lived in deplorable conditions. At the time, one of the biggest capitalists in Chicago was Marshall Field, founder of a department store chain today known as Macy’s. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, workers all around the world sent money to the Relief Fund. Workers later discovered that Field and his cronies controlled the Relief Fund money, and were using it for themselves.
Working class outrage, alongside the struggle for an eight-hour workday, grew. In April of 1886, angry workers marched around the new Board of Trade’s opening banquet with a beautiful red flag, led by Lucy and Albert Parsons, a Black and white couple. By then, the struggle for the eight-hour day had struck a chord with masses of workers and thousands were demanding it. Revolutionary socialists like the Parsons and August Spies joined these struggles and tirelessly organized and educated workers around revolutionary ideas inside the workers’ unions and community organizations.
On Saturday May 1, 1886, thousands marched down Michigan Avenue singing labor and revolutionary songs. Factories all over Chicago closed down. The city was tense. Then, at a gathering on May 3, the police fired at a group of workers supporting the McCormick Reapers strikers, killing two with no remorse. The city bosses were looking to retaliate!
Overnight the workers called for a demonstration in Haymarket Square, at that time a busy intersection and commercial area, to protest these murders the very next night, May 4.  The rally was small and breaking up, when the police charged up the street and opened fire. Someone, possibly a police agent looking to provoke chaos, threw a bomb, and seven cops died in the chaos. The Chicago bosses used this incident to suspend the legal rights of anyone suspected of radical politics and to harass working-class leaders. They used their newspapers to build disapproval of the workers.
Seven of the workers’ leaders, including Albert Parsons and August Spies, were charged with murder and convicted. Before being executed, they were allowed to address the court, which they did for three days. Their speeches have gone down in history, especially Spies’ final warning to the bosses: “There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!” All seven denounced the bosses’ court and capitalist wage slavery. All were defiant to the end.
At the birthplace of May Day, we sang the Internationale, the anthem the international working class, with fists in the air and the admiration for working-class fightback in our hearts.
Humboldt Park: Fightback Against Police Terror
Next we stopped by Humboldt Park where, in June 1977, Progressive Labor Party held a march the morning after a Puerto Rican community had rebelled in response to the police murders of two Puerto Rican youth. A comrade told us of how PL’ers marched to the police station where the killer cops worked, holding signs and red flags, and distributing CHALLENGEs. The cops were unsettled by the group’s boldness and by the great respect of the youth who came up to them and cheered them on!
La Casita Vive!
Lastly was a stop at “La Casita,” the site of a struggle by parents of elementary schoolers fighting to have a library built at their school. For years, the local bosses denied this school a library, which mainly serves the children of workers from Mexico. Many parents pushed to renovate an old park building alongside the school into library. For years, nothing. Then, when these same bosses announced the old park building would be demolished in order to build a soccer field for a nearby mostly-white, upper-income private school, the parents rebelled! For 43 days straight, parents, fellow workers, and PL’ers occupied the old park building, which they called “La Casita” (the little house), to physically prevent the demolition. The students’ parents, mainly from Mexico, while worried about deportations, were determined to fight for their children to have a library and had had enough of the way the politicians and school bosses treated them. La Casita was eventually torn down, but the morale of some parents was strengthened through their contact with the Party.
This concluded the tour. The Summer Project participants were a wonderful group of young and old, committed, multiracial and multigender PLP members and friends. The struggle continues, and we must continue fighting for as long as we live!

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