Communist Party USA

  Every form of scientific socialism has adapted to the unique circumstances and material conditions of the country it has been in. In the USSR there was the soviet system, in China there is Mao Zedong thought and socialism with Chinese characteristics, in the Vietnam there is Đổi Mới (innovate or renovate), the name given to economic reforms, and so on. Likewise, in the current-day United States there will be a form of socialism that will be adapted to its material conditions. The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) envisions this unique approach to socialism in the US as what it calls Bill of Rights Socialism. There have been excellent works on this, such as this piece by Roberta Wood and Dee Miles and this piece by Brad Crowder, and here I would like to start an investigation and development of the idea as well. My goal isn’t to explore the subject too deeply on a philosophical or theoretical level, but to propose what a socialist-oriented economic Bill of Rights might look like — not necessarily Bill of Rights Socialism in its entirety — and express it on a level that could be used as an accessible, appealing mass political platform.   Crafting an Economic Bill of Rights One of the core ideological foundations of U.S. culture and political consciousness is that of freedom, particularly those such as free speech, freedom of assembly, and others enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights and the ideas within it play a major role in American political discourse generally, and in the minds of many Americans they are the very foundations that allow for political discourse. What I propose here is an “economic” Bill of Rights. In doing so, I draw from three sources in particular: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights, W. E. B. Du Bois’ application for membership in the Communist Party, and the CPUSA’s current Party Program. The popular idea of an economic Bill of Rights traces back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights,” if not further. In his State of the Union Address in 1944, he recommended a second Bill of Rights, saying the following: This republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights — among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty. We have come to a clear realization of the fact, however, that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, or race or creed. Among these are: The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries, or shops or farms or mines of the nation; The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; The right of farmers to raise and sell their products at a return which will give them and their families a decent living; The right of every business man, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; The right of every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care…

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We need an economic bill of rights