Black struggle is class struggle: A 4-part PSL course

Jun 18, 2021

This four-part digital course focuses on Black Revolutionary History in the United States and its central role in the development of U.S. society today. 

Last summer, tens of millions of people took to the streets in an unprecedented revolt against racism and police terror. While this movement has been unique in its size and scope, it is also part of a long tradition in U.S. history: Black-led, multinational struggle against the brutal reign of racism and capital in this country. This history has been largely buried or overlooked, in traditional education curricula, but it is crucial knowledge for all those who are fighting to uproot white supremacy and capitalism. The lessons from these historical struggles–the “general strike” of enslaved people during the U.S. Civil War, the “unfinished revolution” of Reconstruction and more–provide us clarity and a path forward in today’s movement.

Videos of each class, accompanied by the class title and description, are below. At the end are audio versions of all classes produced by Liberation Audio.

Class 1: Slavocracy and the Civil War

The first class examines how the development of each class in early American society (enslaved Africans, Southern planters, Northern industrialists, Western free soilers, and more) was largely defined by its relationship to the Slavocracy. Conflicts between these various classes, particularly the northern capitalists and Southern planters, led to a Civil War that shook the social, political and economic foundations of the country.

Class 2: Reconstruction and populism

The second class covers the post-Civil War efforts to reconstitute Southern society on a new basis. We focus on Reconstruction, America’s “unfinished revolution” and the Southern populist movement to learn about the pursuit of Black political power and multinational working class solidarity in action.

Class 3: Black communist history in the U.S.

In class 3, students learn about how the key Black communist figures and organizations of the 20th century shaped the struggle against racism, the labor movement and the overall revolutionary struggle in the U.S. We also cover how the U.S. government repressed Black communists and attempted to divert the Black liberation movement away from its revolutionary tradition.

Class 4: The National Question and class struggle

In the final class, we draw from the historical context of the first three classes to explore why the PSL understands the struggle for Black liberation to be a national liberation struggle. We analyze the relationship between this national liberation struggle and the struggle for socialism today.

Audio versions