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Socialist Party USA
The Socialist Party of the United States of America (SPUSA) is one of the heirs to the Socialist Party of America of Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas. It is a democratic socialist, multi-tendency party, advocating a democratic social revolution from below instead of a violent revolution where the party would merely seize power. Their youth affiliate is the Young People's Socialist League .
It was formed in 1973 after the Socialist Party of America was taken over by Shachtmanites and renamed the Social Democrats USA. A separate group, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (later to become the Democratic Socialists of America), also split off in 1973 and is also active in political causes. All three organizations claim to be the heir apparent to Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas.
In 1980, the SPUSA became the first party to nominate an openly gay man for President – pacifist David McReynolds. He would run for a second time in 2000. In the past few years, the SP has grown from 600 members to nearly 1,500. And Socialists have surprised many in a number of recent elections, most notably in Milwaukee in 2000, where Socialist Wendell Harris received almost 20% of the vote for mayor. In Oregon, David Gillette received nearly 26% of the vote when running for State House of Representatives in 1998.
The Socialist Party USA is significant in American politics in that it is the only explicitly democratic socialist party in the United States. It is as equally against Soviet-style Communism as it is anti-capitalist.
The party rejects the practice of democratic centralism, meaning that its individual members are free to disagree publicly with party policy even after decisions have been arrived at. Membership is based on the payment of dues, which are paid by applicants who state that they agree with the statement of principles. The party considers itself multi-tendency in nature, meaning that there are diverse views within the membership on the means of achieving socialism, and even the meaning of what socialism is. Some SPUSA members advocate an evolutionary approach to socialism, favoring a social democratic transition period; they cite the social democratic systems of nations like Sweden as examples of "socialism in action". Others consider Swedish-style social democracy to be essentially capitalist in nature, and instead favor a more radical or revolutionary transformation of society from capitalist to socialist. The Debs Tendency is an example of a movement within the party that advocates a revolutionary approach to socialism.
The Socialist Party USA now focuses mostly on grassroots and local politics. Their "Socialist Summer Campaign" in 2004 focused on issues such as fighting to end the military-industrial complex and post-9/11 immigrant detentions, and promoting civil liberties and civil rights.
- 1976 - Frank P. Zeidler 6,038 votes
- 1980 - David McReynolds 6,968 votes
- 1988 - Willa Kenoyer 3,882 votes
- 1992 - J. Quinn Brisben 3,057 votes
- 1996 - Mary Cal Hollis 4,764 votes
- 2000 - David McReynolds 7,746 votes
- 2004 - Walter F. Brown 10,834 votes
- The Iraq antiwar campaign
- The struggle for peace in the Middle East
- Repeal the Hyde Amendment
- Million Worker March
- Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and Anti-Detention Campaign
- Slash The Military Budget Campaign
Caucuses & Tendencies:
- Socialist Party USA Campaign Clearinghouse
- Official Brown-Herbert 2004 for President
- Alternate Brown-Herbert 2004 for President
- New Jersey: Tino Rozzo for U.S. Congress (2nd District)
- New Jersey: Greg Pason for U.S. Congress (5th District)
- New York: David McReynolds for U.S. Senate
- Oregon: Morgan for Oregon House and Brown for U.S. House
State Chapters & Locals:
- Chicago Socialist Party
- Denver Socialist Party
- Detroit Socialist Party
- Socialist Party of Arizona
- Socialist Party of California
- Socialist Party of Florida
- Socialist Party of Greater Philadelphia
- Socialist Party of Iowa
- Socialist Party of Michigan
- Socialist Party of New Jersey
- Socialist Party of North Carolina
- Socialist Party of New York City
- Socialist Party of Oregon
- Socialist Party of Pennsylvania
- Socialist Party of the Rio Grande Valley (Partido Socialista del Valle)
- Socialist Party of Texas
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