Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

On Socialism, A response to Jerry

Jerry, thanks for your kind comment and your question. The Peace Freedom Party is actually a socialist party, and with 80,000 registrants in the state the only one that has ballot status in California. The following is our platform (although it has been slightly ammended since this version, this is what I have handy).

Adopted 9 July 2000, revised 19 November 2000.

The Peace and Freedom Party, founded in 1967, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality. We represent working class people: the employed, the unemployed, people on welfare, the undocumented, the homeless, the incarcerated, retired workers, students and youth, and armed forces enlisted people, of all ethnicities, religions, languages,
cultures and sexual orientations those without capital in a capitalist society.

Socialism. We support social ownership and democratic management of industry and natural resources. Under capitalism, the proceeds of labor go to the profits of the wealthy few. With socialism, production is planned to meet human needs.

To us, socialism is workers' democracy, including the principle that all officials are elected, recallable at any time, and none receives more than a worker's wage. Socialism can only be brought about when the working class unites and acts as a body in its own interests. Our goals cannot be achieved by electoral means alone. We
participate in mass organization and direct action in
neighborhoods, workplaces, unions and the armed forces everywhere.

While organizing for the future, we work in the present, challenging the system with the following immediate and transitional goals:

Labor and Full Employment

*We demand a socially useful job at union pay levels or a guaranteed dignified income for everyone.

*We call for a 30-hour week for 40 hours pay and abolition of forced overtime.

*We demand expansion and enforcement of job health and safety laws.

*We call for the restoration of all labor rights previously won for women and their extension to men as well.

* We demand paid parental leaves and time off work for child care.

*No prison labor for private profit. Living wage and full union rights for any prison labor.

*Defend workers' rights to organize, form union caucuses, strike, and boycott.

*No replacement of striking workers.

*Federally-funded public works programs to rebuild the nation's infrastructure and restore the environment.

*International solidarity of workers against international capitalist schemes such as NAFTA and WTO in defense of jobs, wages, working conditions and environmental laws.

*A rank-and-file socialist-oriented labor movement to mobilize working-class people to assume ownership and control of the economy.

Peace and International Justice.

The drive for greater profits by multinational corporations that direct U.S. foreign policy is a major cause of war. We stand for peace between nations and the right of all peoples to self-determination. We support
socialist transformation everywhere. We therefore call for:

*The United States to renounce a nuclear first strike, and take the initiative toward global disarmament by eliminating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

*No U.S. intervention anywhere. End all support and aid to repressive regimes and all military and police training aid everywhere. End efforts to destabilize foreign
governments. End U.S.-directed economic warfare against Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, Yugoslavia, and other countries. Abolish the CIA, NSA, AID and other agencies for
interference in other countries' internal affairs. Withdraw all U.S. troops and weapons from all other countries. Stop all U.S. arms exports and trade.

*Dissolve all military pacts. Conversion from military to peaceful production.

*Abolish the Selective Service System.

Equal Rights and Liberties

The capitalists use every difference in society, including sex, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, age, and physical abilities to divide workers in order to depress wages, maintain a surplus labor pool, and prevent working-class unity. We demand equal treatment of all people by employers, businesses and government. We stand for a world free of all forms of oppression.

Women. We demand full equality of women in all aspects of life. Sexism is a major instrument for teaching relations of domination and inequality and for keeping one-half of the work force underpaid or unpaid. End oppressive sex roles in society; equal rights and responsibilities in child raising; unions must do more to organize women and promote women's leadership. We demand:

*Adoption of an equal rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

* Equal pay for equal work, and for work of comparable worth.

*Enforce nondiscrimination in hiring and promotion with affirmative action where necessary.

*Provision of free, high-quality, community-controlled child care.

*Free abortion on demand. Convenient provision of safe, free birth control information and materials to men and women of any age.

*Stop forced abortions and sterilizations.

*End violence against women.

Ending Racism and National Oppression.

Accompanying the continuing economic crisis, we see a rise in racial discrimination, increased terrorism against racially and nationally oppressed people, and retrenchment in civil rights. Minority families are disproportionately victimized by cutbacks in health care, education, child care, welfare, food stamps and jobs. We

*End all forms of racial discrimination.

*Enforce nondiscrimination in hiring and promotion with affirmative action where necessary.

*Prosecute and punish police and prison officials who engage in racist brutality.

Language Rights.

The Peace and Freedom Party calls for restoring to the State Constitution co-equal status for Spanish as an official language of California in recognition of its cultural, historical, economic and demographic importance to the people of this state.

*Abolish all English-only laws and policies, including those of private employers.

Undocumented Workers.

Immigrant workers are hounded by government authorities, worked and housed in substandard conditions by unscrupulous bosses, and blamed by Republican and Democratic demagogues for society's problems.

*We call for open borders. Dismantle the INS.

*We demand an end to deportations of immigrants.

*We demand full political, social and economic rights for resident non-citizens.

Native Americans.

We support self-determination of indigenous peoples and sovereignty for Native nations. We demand:

*Honor treaty obligations with Native American nations and recognize California tribes.

*Stop the theft of natural resources located on reservation lands.

*Honor Native American water, hunting and fishing rights.

*Free the prisoners of the FBI-BIA war against Native Americans, end all harassment.

Sexual Orientation

*Equal treatment and benefits under the law for all families. Guarantee equal child custody, adoption, visitation privileges, and foster parenthood rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

*Equal treatment for all people in the military regardless of sexual orientation.

*The right to gay marriage and partners' benefits.

*Accurate sex education courses in public schools.

*Truthful information about sexuality in society and history.

The Disabled.

The disabled are entitled to special consideration and planning in education, housing, health, recreation, transportation and attendant care to enable fuller participation in all aspects of society.

Retired Workers.

Retired workers must be guaranteed a decent living at union wage levels. We demand:

*Immediate improvements in economic benefits and social services.

*Free, quality, multi-lingual and multi-cultural medical and home health care.

*Accessible transportation.

*An end to all forced retirement.

* Stop the segregation and isolation of senior citizens.

Defense of the Environment.

The alarming destruction of the world's biosphere is brought about by the same corporate forces and economic system that exploit and brutalize the world's working class people. We organize against their ecological destruction as we do against their social policies, which
often overlap. Socialism is necessary to end the ecological destruction caused by capitalism. Our goal is a society that is in harmony with nature as it is in harmony with its own people.

We therefore favor the integration of the following into the normal operations and planning for a society in harmony with nature:

*Planning for urban and regional environment based on principles of sound ecosystems management.

*Tighter regulation of pesticides, herbicides, industrial wastes and genetically-modified foods to protect human food, air and water, employees in the workplace, and species habitat.

*A multi-source energy system, development of solar technology and other renewable, non-polluting energy sources. Eliminate nuclear power plants.

*Protect the ozone layer.

*Protect species habitat such as old-growth forests to preserve biodiversity.

*Massive development of free public transportation.

Education and Culture.

Education, culture, and scientific research are critical to individual survival and civilized human values, but U.S. capitalism is dismantling public education and cultural institutions. Inadequate and
unequal funding of schools perpetuates racism, crime and
inequality. We demand:

*Integrated, democratically-run schools with up-to-date plant and equipment and smaller classes.

* Teach the history of workers' struggles and labor's creation of society's wealth and progress.

*Multi-lingual and multi-cultural education at all levels.

*A federal law requiring and funding equal average per-pupil expenditures by every public school district, with extra funds for students with special needs such as disability or economic deprivation.

*Tuition-free higher education available to all.

*Restore cutbacks in public education and public library services.

*No school voucher schemes.

Housing and Rent Control.

We recognize the right of everybody to quality, secure housing. We demand:

*Production and rehabilitation of non-profit, community-controlled housing through public financing with immediate emphasis on housing the homeless.

*Rent and eviction control laws and collective bargaining for tenants.

*Resident-controlled community renovation programs to create, not destroy, low- and moderate-income housing.

*Enforce local affordable housing quotas.

Freedom, Justice and Crime.

We call for the defense and extension of the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech, press, assembly and association, and the right to keep and bear arms for individual and collective defense. The ultimate guarantee of those rights is the organized strength of the working class.

Capitalism and poverty breed crime and repression. Working class people are the primary victims both of street crime and of police reaction to it. The bosses use laws against victimless activities, "legal" and illegal expansion of police powers, military and paramilitary occupation of poor and minority communities, and
diversion of resources to police and jails, to keep workers
intimidated and dependent. We demand:

*Stop state-sponsored spying on and violence against progressive organizations.

*Democratically-controlled police review boards with powers of subpoena

*Abolish the death penalty.

*Repeal the Three Strikes law.

*Stop trials and imprisonment of juveniles as adults.

*Treatment of prisoners as human beings: rehabilitation, not vengeance. Prosecution and imprisonment of guards who brutalize and murder.

*Decriminalize victimless activities including drug use and consensual sex. Legalize marijuana. End the "war on drugs," which is primarily directed against poor and working-class people.

*Stop unwarranted searches and seizures of persons and property. Restore constitutional rights.

*Prosecute crimes of the wealthy and powerful against workers and the environment.

Voting and Elections

*Proportional representation to promote legislative representation of the wide variety of political viewpoints.

*Enforce and extend voting rights for people of color, non-English speakers, and homeless people.

*Free and equal access to radio and television for all candidates.

Health Care.

We believe that access to quality medical and dental care is a basic human right. We stand for a democratically-controlled, publicly-funded universal health care system. We support heath practices that emphasize education, prevention and nutrition and minimize dependence on drugs, surgery and radiation. We demand:

*Free high-quality health care for everyone.

*Free immunization programs.

*No private patents on drugs developed through publicly-funded research.

*Price controls on drugs and medical technology.

*Safe prenatal care, including women's choice of birth alternatives.

*More medical facilities to provide services and education in low-income neighborhoods and rural areas.

*More substance abuse treatment and needle-exchange programs.

*More research into diseases and disorders caused by man-made substances.


Public services and infrastructure have deteriorated as government has increasingly shifted the tax burden from
corporations to workers. Our long-term goal is a socialist society without conventional taxes, with public services to be funded from the proceeds of social production.

*Repeal Proposition 13. Tax property for profit, not property for personal use. Remove property taxes on modest
owner-occupied homes.

*Repeal the sales tax.

*Include aggregate of real property and stocks, bonds, etc. in a steeply-graduated property tax.

*Restore the renters' tax credit. Double registration fees on luxury vehicles.

*Tax unearned income at a higher rate than earned income.

*Eliminate or reverse income tax on low- and moderate-income families.

*Re-enact California's unitary tax on multinational corporations.

*Tax the business activities of churches on the same basis as other organizations.

*Take the cap off social security taxes, make the rates progressive so burden falls on the wealthy.

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