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!


« Nissan Workers’ Anti-Racist Campaign to Unionize | Main | Chicago: PLP Honors Workers’ Battle Sites »

Venezuela Crisis Rooted in U.S.-China Rivalry

Venezuela has become a flashpoint for the global crisis of capitalism and the escalating fight between big-power imperialists to control the world’s oil. The division between the Chinese-backed Nicolas Maduro regime and the U.S-backed opposition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), reflects the shifting tectonic plates of inter-imperialist rivalry. Once the unchallenged power in Latin America, U.S. rulers are under challenge by rising Chinese imperialism. China is Venezuela’s second-largest trading partner, just behind the U.S. By 2025, the Chinese capitalist bosses have pledged to increase trade with the region by $500 billion and foreign investment to $250 billion (foreignpolicy.com, 3/6).
Meanwhile, falling oil prices have triggered widespread shortages of food, medicine, and basic services. In public hospitals, the maternal death rate has increased five-fold; the infant mortality rate is up more than one hundred-fold (New York Times, 5/15/16). After more than three months of widespread societal unrest, involving millions of Venezuelans, the Maduro regime has killed more than 100 protestors as it moves to rewrite the constitution and consolidate power. In response, U.S. bosses are threatening economic sanctions against the state-owned oil company, “which could be disastrous for the average Venezuelan citizen, as the already decrepit Venezuelan economy would sink deeper into depression” (oilprice.com, 7/23). It’s clear that both sides represent dead ends for workers. The deepening crisis in Caracas is yet more proof that the brutal and volatile profit system can never serve the needs of the international working class.
Venezuela is crucial to the global competition for control over oil. Venezuela is the third-largest oil exporter to the U.S., behind only Saudi Arabia and Canada (mysanantonio.com, 7/18). It possesses the world’s largest proven oil reserves, estimated at 302 billion barrels, surpassing Saudi Arabia’s estimated 266 billion (opec.org). In a period of permanent war in the Middle East and the growing inevitability of global world war, oil is the lifeblood of modern-day capitalism, from factories to imperialist militaries. Neither U.S. nor Chinese rulers will give up Venezuela without a fight—a conflict guaranteed to drag workers there further into misery.
Chinese Imperialism: False Hope for Workers
In 1999, former President Hugo Chavez was elected on a platform that attacked U.S. imperialism and promised “21st Century Socialism” in Venezuela. Under Chavez and his successor Maduro, Venezuela exercised increasing autonomy from the U.S. and began tilting toward Beijing. In 2001, Venezuela became the first Latin American country to enter a “strategic development partnership” with China (NYT, 2/15).
Between 2007 and 2014, leveraging the power of its finance capital, China loaned $118 billion to Latin America, with 53 percent of loans going to Venezuela (Brookings, 5/8). These investments primarily targeted development of energy, mining, and infrastructure (thediplomat.com 4/15). For China, Venezuela is both economically and geopolitically important: “The Venezuelan alliance offered a crucial beachhead for engaging in a region where it lacked cultural and historical ties, nestled in the backyard of the United States — its principal geopolitical rival” (NYT, 2/15). Given Venezuela’s influence in Central America and the Caribbean through its subsidized oil program, China has quickly become a major player throughout the region.
Trading One Imperialist for Another
While a China alliance may have offered a temporary refuge from the grip of U.S. imperialism, it has also exacerbated Venezuela’s economic crisis. To guarantee its tens of billions in loans, Beijing insists on being repaid in oil. Due to a slowdown in China’s economic growth, along with overproduction of oil and natural gas from fracking in the U.S., oil prices plunged in 2014 and again in 2016. As a result, with an outstanding debt of $62 billion, Venezuela has been forced to double the amount of oil it ships to China. Even so, it is behind in its repayments (Bloomberg, 6/18).
In an attempt to hedge their bets, Venezuela’s bosses are also seeking significant ties with Russia. Before oil prices fell in 2014, Venezuela was set to become the largest importer of Russian military equipment by 2025. In February 2017, the Russian foreign minister reaffirmed Moscow’s support for the Maduro government, declaring that bilateral relations “are on the rise” (Council on Foreign Relations, 7/18).
Desperate U.S. Imperialists Fund Capitalist Opposition
In the face of China’s rise, Venezuela is one of many countries that the U.S. can no longer unilaterally control. But despite their relative decline, the U.S. bosses retain a significant ability to influence and destabilize. As of 2015, the U.S. remained Venezuela’s largest trading partner at close to $24 billion, mostly from oil exports to the U.S. (state.gov). To protect its imperialist interests, the U.S. ruling class helped train and support organizations that staged a failed coup against the newly elected Chavez in 2002 (oig.state.gov). Since then, the U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fund opposition groups (Guardian, 2/18/14).
MUD, the main organization mobilizing the resistance to Maduro’s rule, is a right-wing coalition representing pro-U.S. sections of the Venezuelan ruling class. Among other things, it calls for privatizing the country’s oil industry, an open invitation to even more theft and profiteering (coha.org 8/13/15).But U.S. imperialism’s grip on Venezuela continues to slip. In April, Venezuelan authorities seized a local General Motors assembly plant, forcing the company to halt production. Several other U.S. companies, including Coca Cola, Ford, Clorox, and General Mills, have either left Venezuela or scaled back production significantly (NYT, 4/20).
‘21st Century Socialism’: Workers’ Nightmare
As Venezuela descends further into chaos, the dangers of Chavez’s “21st Century Socialism” can be seen more clearly than ever. Social reforms promised under both Chavez and Maduro—for literacy, redistribution of wealth, healthcare, and land reform—drew mass support from the working class. But because they relied on high oil profits and imperialist China, they could not possibly be sustained.
As socialism in the Soviet Union and China eventually decayed into state capitalism, socialism in Venezuela allowed local capitalist bosses to keep their profits—stolen from workers’ labor—while making a few temporary reforms. As history shows, socialism can never lead to a true communist society rid of money and exploitation. Images of Venezuelan workers in long lines for food and medicine, holding inflated bolivars (Venezuelan currency) that drop in value as they wait, reveal the destructive inequalities of capitalism in full bloom.  
The U.S. bosses are using the crisis to build anti-communist ideas, arguing that Venezuela represents the failures of Marxism. But what is happening in Venezuela has little to do with the failures of workers’ power and everything to do with the horrors of capitalism and imperialism. Many workers fell prey to Chavez’s cult of personality and nationalist politics, which called for siding with “lesser evil” imperialist China over the U.S. By putting their faith in fake leftists like Chavez and Maduro, Venezuelan workers have been left disarmed, with no organized, revolutionary mass movement to lead the fightback needed today.
For far too long, these frauds have misled the working class throughout Latin America. From the revolutionary-turned-liberal FMLN in El Salvador to the anarchistic, phony leftists of the FARC in Columbia, a lack of class consciousness has made the working class vulnerable to misleaders’ poisonous nationalism and reformism. Despite the revolutionary appearance of millions of protesters demonstrating against Maduro’s regime and burning police motorcycles in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela’s opposition movement is far from revolutionary. Driven by anti-working-class, dead-end electoral politics under MUD, it is steering toward a lethal alliance with U.S. imperialism. Today’s Venezuela is reminiscent of 2014 Ukraine, where a  “revolution” was essentially a right-wing coup, funded by the U.S., to bring prominent Ukrainian neo-Nazis into power.
The only hope for workers in Venezuela and throughout Latin America is an international revolutionary communist party that rejects nationalism, capitalism, and alliances with “lesser evil” imperialists. A party that organizes to smash imperialism, racism, and sexism, and that fights for a world rid of money and profit. A party that rejects the cult of personality seen in Cuba and Venezuela and organizes around the collective leadership of the working class through democratic centralism. Progressive Labor Party is that international, revolutionary communist party. Join us in the fight for a better world!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>