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This article is about the political organization reorganized in 1973. For its forerunner, see Socialist Party of America (1901-1972).
Socialist Party USA
Chairperson Andrea Pason
Billy Wharton
Senate leader None
House leader None
Founded 1973
Headquarters 339 Lafayette St. Suite #303
New York, NY 10012
Ideology Democratic socialism
Revolutionary socialism
Socialist feminism
Political position Fiscal: Left-wing
Social: Left-wing
Official colors Red
Seats in the Senate 0
Seats in the House 0
Politics of the United States
Political parties

The Socialist Party USA is a multi-tendency democratic socialist political party in the United States. The party is the eponymous heir to the Socialist Party of America, which had previously adopted the name Socialist Party USA in 1962.[1]

The party is officially committed to left-wing democratic socialist ideas. The Socialist Party USA, along with its predecessors, has been met with varying support. Some attribute this to the party having to compete with the financial dominance of the two major parties, as well as the limitations of the United States' legislatively[2][3] and judicially[4] entrenched two-party system.

The party is opposed to both capitalism and authoritarian Communism and supports the socialization of big business under public ownership and workers' control.[5] The Party advocates independent electoral action aimed at promoting socialist alternatives and categorically opposes the candidates of the two major parties. Presently the party has approximately 1,000 members in good standing. Its youth affiliate is the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL).



In 1958, the Trotskyist Independent Socialist League led by Max Shachtman dissolved to join the Socialist Party of America. Shachtman, whose politics had begun to move sharply to the right since his days as a Trotskyist leader,[6] argued both for militant opposition to Soviet-style communism[7] and that the Socialist Party should work within the Democratic Party. By 1972 Shachtman's Unity Caucus had taken control of the Socialist Party and blocked a resolution opposing the Vietnam War. In the 1972 presidential election, Shachtman's caucus initially backed hawkish Cold Warrior Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, then adopted AFL-CIO President George Meany's position of neutrality between the two candidates nominated by the major parties.[8]

Frank P. Zeidler, Socialist the party's first chairman and candidate for the office of the President

In response, two groups broke off: the Coalition Caucus led by Michael Harrington supported antiwar Democrat George McGovern and went on to form the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (later becoming the Democratic Socialists of America),[9] while the left-wing Debs Caucus backed People's Party anti-war candidate Benjamin Spock. The Debs Caucus formed the Union for Democratic Socialism, which officially reconstituted the Socialist Party USA in 1973,[10] when the Shachtmanites who remained in the Socialist Party re-named their organization Social Democrats USA.[11] Numerous local and state branches of the old Socialist Party, including the Wisconsin, California, Illinois, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., participated in the reconstitution of the Socialist Party USA.[9]

After its founding, the party promoted itself as the legitimate heir of the Socialist Party of America.[12] Former Mayor of Milwaukee, Frank P. Zeidler, was elected the first chairman of the party. Zeidler also helped re-organizing the party structure during its early years. He was later nominated as the party's candidacy for the presidential office, with Zeidler believing the party would be able to collaborate with other socialist parties nationwide to spread the message of socialism.[13]

The party surprised the American media in some elections in recent decades. In 1992, Socialist Iowa City Councilwoman Karen Kubby won her re-election with the highest vote totals in the Iowa City Council's history, and was continually re-elected until retiring from the Council in 2000.[14] In 2000 Socialist Wendell Harris received 19% of the vote for Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[15] In 2008, Socialist Jon Osbourne pulled in 22% of the vote for Rhode Island's 34th District State Senate seat, while listed on the ballot under the Socialist Party USA label.[16]


According to the party's first chairman, Frank P. Zeidler, the party had around 500 members nationwide in 1975.[13] The Socialist Party experienced substantial growth during the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, expanding from only around 600 dues-paying members to around 1,700.[17] In 2008, the WMNF claimed that the party had around 3000 paying members.[18]



"It's based on fairness and equality. [...] And right now America under the capitalistic system is based on greed and getting ahead and you usually do it at the expense of your fellow man."
— Brian Moore, the presidential candidate for the 2008 election, talking about the unjust system of capitalism and the fairness of socialism.[19]

While some SP members favor a more gradual approach to socialism, most others envision a more sweeping or revolutionary transformation of society from capitalist to socialist through the decisive victory of the working class in the class struggle.[5] Some SP members also advocate revolutionary nonviolence or pacifism, while some consider armed struggle a possible necessity. The Party's Statement of Principles rejects equating socialism with a "welfare state" and calls for democratic social revolution from below.[5] Many party members consider contemporary labor struggles to be of particular importance, and work in the party's Labor Commission.[citation needed]

The party is strongly committed to socialist feminism and strives to carry out its internal practices in accordance with feminist process.[5][20] It requires gender parity among its elected National Convention delegates, National Committee members, and national Co-Chairs and Co-Vice Chairs of the Party, and organizes pro-choice activities. Its platform considers abortion a part of women's health care rights. It has an active Women's Commission which publishes the magazine Socialist Women.[citation needed]

During his campaign, the Socialist Party candidate for president, Brian Moore, was very vocal against the idea that Obama was a socialist of any kind.[21] He further commented on the issue, saying it was "misleading of the Republicans" to spread that message.[22] In a later statement about Obama's policies, co-chairman of the Socialist Party, Billy Wharton called Barack Obamas State of the Union Address a "public relations ploy". He concluded with; "The time for slick public relations campaigns has ended - the time for building our grassroots movements is more urgent than ever. The Socialist Party USA stands ready to join in such a political revitalization".[23]

International affairs

The Party's National Action Committee condemned the Israeli offensive against the city of Gaza and its people. The party demands the United States government to stop all military funding to Israel. The party also seeks to end what they call the United States "special relationship" with Israel and the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.[24] During the 2008 election, the Socialist Party promoted itself as an anti-war party, with Brian Moore, the presidential candidate, claiming the war was destroying small communities throughout the country. He also criticised what he called "pressure on the local governments" by the Bush administration.[25] The Socialist Party of Connecticut denounced Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan, claiming that the president was throwing away much needed resources the country needed to get pulled out of the financial crisis. After denouncing him, the state affiliate organized a protest in front of the federal building in Hartford.[26]

The party is also against what they see as "anti-Mexican policies" of the Democratic and Republican Party. With Stewart A. Alexander, former Vice Presidential candidate for the party in 2008, claiming that the Democratic Party was elected with an "anti-immigrant rhetoric" which could lead to an "anti-immigrant public phobia" across the country. The Socialist Party believes the solution to this problem would be to strengthen the diplomatic relations between the two countries.[27]


In his race for Governor of New Jersey, party member Greg Pason promoted a stronger public sector, socialized medicine and expansion of the public school system of the United States.[28] In 1997, Pason called auto insurance "a regressive tax against working people".[29] Moore was also vocal of his support for public healthcare and socialized medicine.[30] Moore believes that capitalism is a selfish system which focuses on the wealthy and the powerful, and not the weak and the poor. He feels that redistributing the wealth between the rich and the poor would give the country a stronger public sector, which-in-turn would focus on renewable energy and the needy. During his presidential campaign he claimed that the current economic system was falling apart because of capitalism own "greed".[21]

Presidential tickets

Year Results Candidates Ballot
Votes Percentage President Vice President
1976 6,038[31] 0.1%[31] Frank P. Zeidler[31] J. Quinn Brisben[31] 13[32]
1980 6,898[33] 0.1%[33] David McReynolds[33] Diane Drufenbrock[33] 10[34]
1984[I] 72,161[35] 0.8%[35] Sonia Johnson[35] Richard Walton[35] 19[36]
1988 3,882[37] 0.0%[37] Willa Kenoyer[37] Ron Ehrenreich[37] 11[38]
1992 3,057[39] 0.0%[39] J. Quinn Brisben[39] Barbara Garson[39]
1996 4,764[40] 0.0%[40] Mary Cal Hollis[40] Eric Chester[40] 5[41]
2000 5,602[42] 0.1%[42] David McReynolds[42] Mary Cal Hollis[42] 7[43]
2004 10,822[44] 0.1%[44] Walt Brown[44] Mary Alice Herbert[44] 8[45]
2008 6,581[46] 0.1%[46] Brian Moore[46] Stewart Alexander[46] 8[47]

See also

State affiliates:



  1. ^ "Proceedings, National Convention". The Online Books Page. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ Winger, Richard. "Institutional Obstacles to a Multiparty System," in Multiparty Politics in America, Paul S. Herrnson and John C. Green, eds. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997)
  3. ^ Ansolabehere, Stephen and Gerber, Alan. "The Effects of Filing Fees and Petition Requirements on U.S. House Elections," Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 no. 2 (1996)
  4. ^ Fitts, Michael A. "Back to the Future: Enduring Dilemmas Revealed in the Supreme Court's Treatment of Political Parties", in The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process (2nd ed.) David K. Ryden, ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2002 ISBN 9780878408863 pp. 103-105 and passim
  5. ^ a b c d "Socialist Party USA: Statement of Principles". Socialist Party USA. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ 2008, pp. 63.
  7. ^ Beichman, Arnold (July 28, 2002). "Communism to anti-communism in lives of two rival editors.". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ Heilbrunn, Jacob (February 1, 2008). "They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of The Neocons". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Busky 2000, pp. 164.
  10. ^ Busky 2000, pp. 165.
  11. ^ "Socialist Party Now the Social Democrats, U.S.A.". The New York Times. December 31, 1972. Retrieved February 8, 2010. (Pay-fee for article)
  12. ^ "Socialists Pick '76 candidate". St. Petersburg Times. September 3, 1975.,976309&dq=socialist+party+usa+socialist-party-usa&hl=en. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Socialists pick ex-mayor for presidency". The Modesto Bee. September 2, 1975.,359326&dq=socialist+party+usa+socialist-party-usa&hl=en. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  14. ^ Lowenstein, Adam (May 26, 1999). "Kubby won't run again for City Council". The Gazette. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Norquist, Watts Win Mayoral Primary Election in Milwaukee". Pioneer Press. February 16, 2000. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ "2008 General Election Results - Senator in General Assembly District 34". State of Rhode Island: Board of Election. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  17. ^ Herbst, Moira (May 22, 2009). "Socialism? Hardly, Say Socialists". Business Week. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  18. ^ Kinane, Sean (June 13, 2008). "Brian Moore – Socialist Party USA Presidential Candidate". WMNF. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  19. ^ Zogbaum, Ferdinand (October 25, 2007). "Hernando County man earns presidential nomination". Bay News 9. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  20. ^ "2010-2011 Platform". Socialist Party USA. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Harrington, Elizabeth (October 29, 2008). "Socialist Party Candidate Visits U. Tampa". CBS News. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Socialist Moore: Obama’s not a socialist". Independent Political Report. October 25, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  23. ^ Altimari, Daniela (January 28, 2010). "Socialist Party response to Obama's state of the union speech". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  24. ^ "End the Massacre in Gaza – No Solution Through Violence". January 1, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  25. ^ Jackson, Tom (September 4, 2007). "Likeable Guy Brandishes Loony Ideas". The Tampa Tribune. 
  26. ^ Altimari, Daniela (December 1, 2009). "If Obama's a socialist, his comrades aren't happy". Hartford Courant. 
  27. ^ Alexander, Stewart A. (December 17, 2007). "Socialists want Stronger Ties with Mexico". California Chronicle. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Voter Guide / Other third-party candidates for governor". The Press of Atlantic City. November 1, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  29. ^ Preston, Jennifer (September 14, 1997). "On Politics; Hearing From the Seven Who Are Seldom Heard". The Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  30. ^ Kinane, Sean (June 13, 2008). "Brian Moore – Socialist Party USA Presidential Candidate". WMNF. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  31. ^ a b c d "1976 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  32. ^ 1991, pp. 150.
  33. ^ a b c d "1980 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  34. ^ Smallwood 1983, pp. 56.
  35. ^ a b c d "1984 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  36. ^ "United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. - 829 F.2d 157". Retrieved February 13, 2010. 
  37. ^ a b c d "1988 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  38. ^ Freeman 2008, pp. 96.
  39. ^ a b c d "1992 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  40. ^ a b c d "1996 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  41. ^ "President - U.S. - 1996". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  42. ^ a b c d "2000 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  43. ^ Winger, Richard. "President - U.S. - 2000". Ballot Access News. Retrieved February 13, 2010. 
  44. ^ a b c d "2004 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  45. ^ Richardson, Darcy G. (October 14, 2004). "The Other Progressive Candidate: The Lonely Crusade of Walt Brown". CounterPunch. Retrieved February 13, 2010. 
  46. ^ a b c d "2008 Presidential General Election Results". US Election Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  47. ^ Richardson, Darcy (November 2, 2008). "Socialist Candidate Names Prospective Cabinet". OpEdNews. Retrieved February 13, 2010. 


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