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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

We analyze class, race, and revolution in the United States through Marxist theory and philosophy, and the experience and lessons from the League of Revolutionary Black Workers (League) in the auto and related plants and community in Detroit in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The League brought the black liberation movement to the point of production. They grasped the dialectics and interpenetration of class exploitation and racial oppression within capitalism, and the strategic centrality of white supremacy for ruling-class profit and control. Their struggle embodied the unity and interrelation of theory and practice and the necessity of becoming proletarian intellectuals. The League came to Marxism-Leninism as the theory most closely related to their practice as workers at the point of production. Armed with the weapon of Marxism, former League members stayed the course through the stages of capitalist development—from Detroit as the epicenter of global capitalism in the 1950s and 1960s, through the technological shift from labor-enhancing to labor-replacing automation and robotization in the plants, to the deepening capitalist crisis, economic, ecological, and social destruction, and intensifying militarism and fascism in the twenty-first century. For over fifty years, they were part of the leadership of the multiracial, multinational, and multigendered working class in the 1960s, and they remain active within the twenty-first century’s rising movement. Former League members consistently lift up the strategic direction and class unity necessary for revolutionary transformation in the interests of the working class, and for the survival of humanity and the planet.

Keywords: black workers, capitalism, exploitation, Marxism, oppression, proletarian intellectuals, revolutionary process, white supremacy

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