The Full Wiki

Socialist Equality Party (United States): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Socialist Equality Party
Chairperson David North, Joe Kishore
Founded 1966 (1966) (as Workers League)
Headquarters Socialist Equality Party, PO Box 48377, Oak Park, MI 48237
Ideology Trotskyism, socialism
Political position Fiscal: Socialist economics
Social: Anti-war, pro-choice, against identity politics
International affiliation International Committee of the Fourth International
Politics of the United States
Political parties

The Socialist Equality Party is a Trotskyist political party in the United States, one of several Socialist Equality Parties around the world affiliated to the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

In addition, it has participated in recent elections with the aim of opposing the American occupation of Iraq and building a mass socialist party with an international perspective. Despite having been active for over a decade, the SEP held its founding congress in 2008, where it adopted a statement of principles and a historical document.



The Socialist Equality Party is a political party of and for the working class. The SEP seeks not to reform capitalism, but to create a socialist, democratic and egalitarian society through the establishment of a workers’ government and the revolutionary transformation of world economy. We seek to unify workers in the United States and internationally in the common struggle for socialism—that is, for equality and the rational and democratic utilization of the wealth of the planet.

Socialist Equality Party webpage


The Obama Administration

The Socialist Equality Party claims that the majority of left-wing opponents of the Bush Administration have silenced their opposition since the 2008 election, and have "lined up behind the Obama Administration."[1], despite the fact that the Obama Administration's policies are in many respects similar to those of the Bush Administration. The Socialist Equality Party seeks to create a mass movement in opposition to the Obama Administration on the basis of a Socialist Program.

Workers' Struggles and the Trade Unions

Although some members[2] of the SEP are union members, and the Party is committed to working within those organizations, it does not seek to facilitate any sort of social change through the Trade Unions[3], which they characterize as having interests antithetical to the workers they represent. The Party calls for a break with the US union bureaucracies and the formation of "workplace committees" that will carry on economic struggles.


Revolutionary tendency

In the early 1960s, most U.S. Trotskyists were organized in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) as part of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). Tim Wohlforth was a youth leader in that party and was opposed to the course of the organisation, which was heading toward reunification with the International Secretariat of the Fourth International (ISFI). With others, including James Robertson, he formed the Revolutionary Tendency (RT) within the SWP. It developed links with the Socialist Labour League in Britain, led by Gerry Healy.

They saw the course of the SWP towards a regrouping with the ISFI, which had long been called "Pabloite" by members of the ICFI, as breaking with basic Trotskyist principles. The party leadership at the same time blocked discussion over other issues, such as the SWP's support for Fidel Castro as an "unconscious" Trotskyist.

The ICFI leadership, supported by the RT, argued that if a revolution can be carried out by an unconscious Trotskyist, there was no point of building the Fourth International as the conscious leadership of the working class. The ICFI traced the SWP's support for Cuba to their "regroupment" policy, in which, according to the ICFI, they attempted to gain the support of the middle-class radical supporters of Cuba. The ICFI claimed this was done without a genuine discussion of the principles of the Fourth International.

Reorganized minority tendency

The two main leaders of the RT had different evaluations of the SWP. Robertson's position led the SWP to expel him and his supporters first, but he and his supporters did not join the ICFI. Robertson's group went on to form the Spartacist League. The remainder of the tendency, now led by Wohlforth alone renamed their group the Reorganized Minority Tendency.

Wohlforth and his supporters were themselves expelled in 1964, but they maintained connections with Gerry Healy and the rest of the ICFI, which they considered the legitimate Trotskyist movement.

They claimed the split was due to their insistence on a discussion of the decision by the Sri Lankan Lanka Sama Samaja Party to participate in the national government. They explained this decision as "opportunism" that originated in the "centrist" position of the LSSP during the split between the ISFI and ICFI of 1953.

American Committee of the Fourth International

Those Americans expelled from the SWP then formed the American Committee of the Fourth International (ACFI) and became the United States section of the ICFI, while the SWP joined the ISFI. At this time, the Socialist Labour League under Gerry Healy was the largest section of the ICFI, followed by the French OCI.

Workers League

The ACFI grew throughout the 1960s along with most leftist groupings. The ACFI was renamed the Workers League in 1966 and developed into a nationwide organisation with hundreds of members. Its youth work, which led to the development of the Young Socialists, was particularly successful in this period.

In 1985, the ICFI split over policies advanced by the Workers Revolutionary Party. The policies they disagreed with included supporting national bourgeois regimes, including those of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadhafi, and supporting Stalinists such as Gordon McLennan[citation needed] of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Many of Healy's former supporters saw these moves as a repetition of the mistakes of Pabloism.

The Workers League engaged in a long-term campaign against the rival Socialist Workers Party. In the 1970s they issued a report titled "Security and the Fourth International" which alleged, amongst other things, that leading SWP member Joseph Hansen, who had been an assistant to Leon Trotsky during his Mexico City exile, was an accomplice in his assassination alleging that he and, by implication the SWP, were agents of the Soviet secret police (GPU). The WL also supported a lawsuit against the SWP by expelled member Alan Gelfand, who argued that he had been unconstitutionally deprived of his freedom of political expression by being expelled from the SWP by agents of the government. He attempted to force the government to reveal all its agents in the SWP and force the SWP to readmit him as a member. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1989, but not before confirming that former SWP leader Jim Cannon's secretary, Sylvia Callen (referred to by then-SWP national secretary Jack Barnes as his "hero") had been a GPU agent.

The WL and its successor organization, the Socialist Equality Party, also countered the SWP's campaign in defense of Mark Curtis with its own campaign alleging that the SWP member was guilty of the sexual assault charge for which he was imprisoned.[1]. [2][citation needed]

Socialist Equality Party

In 1995, the various parties affiliated to the ICFI renamed themselves the Socialist Equality Party. The activity of the ICFI is centered around the publication of the World Socialist Web Site. The SEP has also run in recent elections, including the 2004 Presidential elections, when it nominated Bill Van Auken for President and Jim Lawrence for Vice-President. In 2003, the SEP ran John Christopher Burton in the California recall gubernatorial elections, although it urged people to vote "No" on the recall because it saw the recall campaign as an anti-democratic attempt by right-wing forces to undo the results of the election that happened only a few months earlier. Burton received 6,000 votes and came in 13th in a field of 135 candidates.

The SEP also ran candidates for the 2006 US mid-term elections, including Bill Van Auken for US Senate in New York State, Jerome White for Congress in Michigan and John Burton for Congress in California. In its elections it called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq.

Other candidates, announced on the World Socialist Web Site on May 15, 2006, included:

  • Joe Parnarauskis, a nurse, for Illinois State Senate (District 52, Champaign-Urbana)
  • Eric Des Marais, a graduate student, for Maine State Senate (District 32, Bangor)
  • Christie M. Schaefer, a service worker, for Oregon State Senate (District 19, Portland)
  • Paul Palinkas, a computer consultant, for Washington State House (District 36, Seattle)

In the aftermath of the 2006 US mid-term election the SEP relaunched its student movement, the Students for Social Equality, as the International Students for Social Equality emphasizing the international perspective of the SEP and anticipating a growing radicalization of workers, students, and youth.

In 2008, the party did not seek ballot status, citing "prohibitive ballot access laws." It instead encouraged voters to write the candidates in.

In 2009, the party sponsored D’Artagnan Collier in the Detroit mayoral election[4][5].

Other Socialist Equality Parties linked to the one in the United States exist in Australia, Canada, Germany, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.


Presidential tickets

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address