The following statement of purpose was approved by the now forming Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party (RT-SP) Jan. 7, 2012.
The Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party (RT-SP) is a group presently forming within the Socialist Party (SP-USA) that advocates a revolutionary socialist program with workers' democracy. As such it opposes the betrayals of the social democratic, Stalinist, and anarchist models of socialism. We do so without dismissing the usefulness people with such ideas have at times played in the class struggle, making important historic gains for social progress, and the importance of these people today. We work with people with those differing ideas in the Socialist Party as we work to make the SP a mass workers party.
As a tendency, our program and inspiration is not being invented out of the blue, it comes in large part from revolutionary leaders that include people like Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, Lucy Parsons, V.I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebnecht, Eugene Debs, Dick Frasier, Hubert Harrison, Robert F. Harrison, and James P. Cannon. While highly inspired by these leaders, we do not accept the need for the Leninist model of party building that has been followed by Trotskyist parties. That model, while perhaps useful in times when the movement is driven underground, has instead today led to the fragmentation of the American left into many different socialist parties with rigid programs that are too refined to be attractive to experienced socialists who are likely to disagree with some important component of every party's program. On the other end of the extreme is the Socialist Party itself. Its general lack of programmatic clarity, and lack of any tendency to bring that needed program, was a major cause of its inability to produce any potential presidential candidates for the 2012 election capable of clearly representing the socialist program.
We draw inspiration from the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements that abolished Jim Crow segregation, won the right of Blacks to vote, and opened new educational and employment opportunities for Blacks. The Democrats and Republicans were agreed on maintaining all of those injustices until they were forced to make changes by a movement that was causing them too many problems. Those victories show that real gains can sometimes be made by the people against the U.S. government through mass action, militant self-defense, and international outrage (at the country that was supposedly fighting for democracy in the world). While drawing inspiration from these movements, we recognize that problems of racism are far from resolved in the United States and we seek to apply our socialist program to achieve Black liberation through socialist revolution.
As a tendency serving as a tribune of the people we denounce the pro-imperialist history of our own party, the Socialist Party, when it took pro-imperialist positions like supporting the U.S. war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic.
We are instead inspired by socialists who played a central role in organizing the movement against the U.S. war in Vietnam. Primary amongst these were the Trotskyists of the Socialist Workers Party who played a consistent role in educating and organizing mass protest after mass protest that demanded an end to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Starting out small, with no idea that they would actually influence anything, it grew into a major movement that helped bring an end to the war and helped bring other important changes. We, however, recognize that the imperialist system that spawned the U.S. War in Vietnam is alive and well and we seek to end all U.S. imperialist wars through socialist revolution.
The movement against the U.S. War in Vietnam was also movements that educated a generation to stand-up against the injustices of the capitalist system creating spin-off movements for women’s liberation, Gay and Lesbian rights, and for the defense of the environment. Those movements have won major victories like the right to abortion, changes in social thinking and discrimination, protections against some important pollutants and the creation of the Endangered Species Act. But we still have a long ways to go and still need the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), protections against the chipping away of the right to abortion, the right to same sex marriage, and need to make rapid moves against climate change.
While the wealthy 1% are still doing well, the working class is taking a beating under the crisis of capitalism. Before 1934 the labor movement of the United States was in the same boat and unable to effectively fight back due to the conservative leadership of the labor unions. It was a situation very similar to today. In 1934 this all changed when socialists took the leadership of three important unions and, unlike the entrenched union bureaucrats, were able to lead successful strikes, the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike, the San Francisco Longshore Strike, and the Toledo Autolite Strike. We look to these strikes as good examples of how unions can fight back and win.
The RT-SP is being established to recruit all of the following people to participate in discussing and adopting a program:
1. Experienced socialists who have no party
2. Members of the Socialist Party who see the need for such a tendency
3. People who are just learning about socialism who want to get involved
4. Members of the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) (dual membership in both the SP and PFP is allowed, so you can join the SP to get involved with the RT-SP).
We will come together to build an organization that can more effectively channel our knowledge and creativity into group action. While membership in this Tendency is only open to members of the SP-USA, we will reach out and form alliances with revolutionary socialists and encourage them to join both the SP-USA as well as the RT-SP in order to build a larger revolutionary Left in the SP-USA.
The socialist movement is, in part, the historic memory of the working class. While the ruling class attempts to create amnesia regarding past victories of the working class, the socialist movement resurrects these lessons and applies them to the struggle for a better world. Marxism, through our eyes, is a revolutionary socialist program for the overthrow of our capitalist oppressors for the establishment of an egalitarian socialist society capable of providing everyone with a job, housing, free health care, free education, workers democracy (without the control of capitalists, corporations, or Stalinist bureaucrats), and a cleaner environment where we can save the planet by combating climate change.
As a party and tendency we must also serve as a tribune of the people championing the causes of all of the most oppressed including Blacks, women, immigrants, Native Americans, people in countries dominated by U.S. imperialism, and the BGLT community.
As opposed to the Green Party and some within our own party, we see that for a party to remain a tool of the working class in the long run such a party also needs to have a revolutionary anti-capitalist program for the building of socialism. Political parties without a clear anti-capitalist program, once in power, just become mere rulers over the inherent injustices of the capitalist system.
We call for an end to the dictatorial power of the wealthy through the expropriation of the 1% with the establishment of a planned economy run to meet human and environmental needs. This socialist society will only come about through the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist state, comprised at its heart of the existing police, armies, courts, and prisons.
The primary force in society capable of winning this program is the working class with the influence of a revolutionary socialist leadership. Labor has the potential to win a wide range of demands today by shutting down the profits of the capitalists. Yet the American working class is presently saddled with a conservative union bureaucracy that supports the Democratic Party. That bureaucracy also fears worker defiance of court injunctions, fears worker defiance of police orders, fears worker defiance of Taft Hartley, fears anything but porous picket lines, fears the concept of a general strike, fears the concept of political strikes, fears union democracy, but most of all fears defiance of their sell-out contracts and challenges from the membership that could remove the bureaucrats from their cushy jobs.
As members of the labor movement and militant supporters of collective bargaining we support any and all means of effective action and we speak up when what we see appears to be ineffective. Likewise, we seek to break the unions from support for our class enemies in the Democrat Party. Instead of financing Democrat Party campaigns it is our position that unions need to rely on our own collective power to shut down profits through shutting down transport and production. Likewise, money raised from union members would be better spent on strike funds and strike support. Without an independent fight-back of the working class, using the power of the strike for political demands, the situation will just continue to grow bleaker.
As the current crisis of capitalism threatens the break-down all that is left that is civil in our society, the Democrats charge ahead with the Republicans in making sure it is the poor, the working class, and the planet, who pay for the crisis of capitalism, not capitalist profits. The alternative to socialist revolution becomes increasingly clear as capitalist society becomes less and less able to take care of its people; climate change caused by capitalist greed becomes an increasing threat to the future of human civilization; the capitalist state becomes increasingly repressive; and the leading capitalist countries plunge the world into war after war of imperialist domination and conquest. As the great German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg said in 1918, the alternatives are socialism or barbarism.
The following is a partial list of what we are fighting to do:
*Establish a system of socialized medicine for the United States to provide everyone with free guaranteed health care,
*Establish full employment and housing guaranteed to all, easily achieved through the expropriation of foreclosed housing from the banks and a broader planned socialist economy,
*Establish free quality well funded education through the university level coupled with the cancellation of all student debt carried out in part through the nationalization of the banks,
*For the nationalization of the gas, oil, coal, and auto industries to carry out immediate emergency measures to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
*Bring an end to all U.S. military occupations of other countries both because we need to stop U.S. terror against the people of the world and the trillions of dollars squandered on war is needed for human and environmental needs,
*Bring an end to repressive and brutal police occupations of communities of color throughout the United States through the abolition of all current police forces and the building of new ones controlled by the people through the new workers democracy,
*Close Guantanamo and give it back to Cuba
*End indefinite detention without trial,
*End the mass incarceration of the poor and people of color through firing all current DA’s, judges, and cops and replacing them with representatives of the people through the workers’ democracy,
*Abolish US prisons in their current form and look to models where incarceration exists to rehabilitate not to punish and torture.
*End the war on drugs while providing quality drug and alcohol treatment free on demand with the mandatory availability of non-Christian and non-spiritual options,
*Freedom for all political prisoners including Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Brianna (Bradley) Manning, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, and Lynne Stewart,
*Bring an end to brutal police repression of the Occupy movement and end all prosecutions of those who were arrested,
*Bring an end to U.S. military aid to murderous and repressive governments including Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Colombia, Yemen, Iraq, and Honduras just to name a few,
*Pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA),
*Establish free quality daycare and communal kitchens as steps to ameliorate daily drudgeries disproportionately put on the shoulders of women and create more opportunities for women outside the home,
*Defend reproductive rights including free abortion on demand and re-establishing clinics where terror has shut them down by providing, where needed, 24 hour armed defenses for providers and clinics,.
* For the right of any couple to marry no matter their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation,
* Repeal of Taft Hartley, “right to work”, and all other anti-union laws.
This is a partial platform, the RT-SP plans to decide on a full platform and program in the near future.
Join the RT-SP!
We encourage people here who are interested in this program to join the Socialist Party so that you can join our tendency. Here is a link to a website where people can join the SP.
People interested in joining the RT-SP should contact us by e-mail at: revolution_updates [at] yahoo.com
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