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United States



   Progressive Labor







United States







Database Record

Posted 5/26/2009, Updated 3/18/2013

Historic Overview

The Progressive Labor Party (originally the Progressive Labor Movement and often referred to as PL) is a transnational communist party based in the United States. It was formed in the fall of 1961 by members of the Communist Party USA who felt that the Soviet Union had betrayed communism and become revisionist and state capitalist. Founders also felt that the CPUSA was adopting unforgivably reformist positions, such as peaceful coexistence, turning to electoral politics and hiding communist politics behind a veneer of reform-oriented causes. The party advocates a "fight directly for communism" that includes limited aspects of the dictatorship of the proletariat but virulently rejects the standard conception of the socialist economic transition-stage as a mistake of the 'old movement'. It has also stated numerous times and in numerous contexts, chiefly in regards to lesser evil, how "workers must never again share power with class enemies." To accomplish its goal of communism, the party says it seeks to recapture the power and influence that the 1930s-era CPUSA once had — namely, of being the largest and most politically influential communist party in the country — and to combine that influence with the mix of New Left-tinged communist ideology that form its particular brand of revolutionary politics. PL's greatest point of pride is how much it considers itself to have evolved in a positive direction away from the old communist movement. It constantly criticizes many aspects of the history of communism, and also criticizes itself in relation to how closely current policies may resemble past failed ones, which it calls "right opportunism." While still taking cues from the past revolutionaries it admires, PL sees itself as being at the forefront of a new type of working class communist liberation that will truly carry the revolution through to fruition for the first time. It also espouses a unique approach to the issue of the Communist International, saying that instead of separate communist parties in each country, the revolutionary organization should be one monolithic, multiracial, cross-cultural PLP, with branches and collectives all over the globe. To that end, while its strongest and most active concentrations are New York City, Boston, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, the party has several small sections in various countries, including Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Pakistan. NOTE: the candidates from before the 1960s are not candidates of the Progressive Labor Party as listed in the above description. Those from the 1880s from a New York-based party founded as a split from the Henry George-led United Labor Party. This PLP was supported primarily by the Socialist Labor Party, and quickly faded away as the SLP started to run candidates under its own banner.





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