If you think the U.S. needs a political party to the left of the Democrats, a left populist party that will stand up for American workers by improving their working conditions, working for full employment, fighting for a national health insurance program, defending their constitutional rights, and transforming our economy from one based on market capitalism to one based on cooperation, an economy that meets everyone’s needs, then you’ve come to the right place.
What’s wrong with the Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Socialist Party USA, the Democratic Socialists of America and Social Democrats USA? The Democratic Party no longer represents the interests of America’s workers, because it supports almost the same free trade, foreign interventionist, and Wall Street-friendly policies as the Republican Party. The Green Party and Socialist Party USA and Democratic Socialists of America are ultra-liberal parties which, like the Democratic Party, are not focused primarily on the interests of American workers. Like the Democratic Party, they focus on issues facing various interest groups such as women, ethnic minorities, illegal immigrants and homosexuals, instead of focusing on increasingly harsh work environments, our deteriorating standard of living and quality of life, and the continuous erosion of civil liberties, problems which all workers face. The DSA and SDUSA have chosen to work within the Democratic Party, even after it has become clear, especially after the Obama administration, that the Democrats are more interested in serving Wall Street than Main Street. Like other parties of the Socialist International, they do not propose any fundamental changes in the way our capitalist market economy functions, beyond increasing taxes on the rich and on corporations, and other similar reforms of the existing system.
It’s time to move beyond capitalism and the “race to the bottom”, which forces companies to get leaner and meaner, and push employees harder, just to stay in business. Economic competition pits employees, companies and countries against one another in a pitiless struggle for market share. Free trade agreements supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties have resulted in a massive loss of manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries with few labor protection laws, such as China, Vietnam and Haiti, as companies try to cut costs and increase profits. This short-term greed has led to the slow motion collapse of our economy, as well-paying, reasonable jobs disappear and employees face unemployment, bankruptcy, and homelessness, or become ill or “go postal” due to increasing job stress, because now each employee has to do the work of several people. This is not a good environment for companies or employers either. A cooperative economy would reduce the level of risk and uncertainty caused by “casino capitalism”.
It’s time for the “kinder, gentler America” that George Bush promised us. Yes, he said that! It’s time for politicians who feel our pain to actually do something about it. It’s time for change we can REALLY believe in.
The Democratic and Republican parties do not have the answers. Despite all their bickering, there are many points they agree on. Both parties are captives of the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about, so they aren’t about to stop fighting endless wars or to cut off the flow of billions of our tax dollars to the military and the defense industries. Both parties support “free trade”, which means U.S. workers have to compete with workers in less developed countries, the effect of which can be likened to the dropping of a bomb that destroys jobs without killing the employees. Both parties support mass, warrantless surveillance, keeping dossiers on large numbers of Americans who are not suspected of committing any crimes, and stopping and searching people at roadblocks and in airports without out any reason to suspect they are criminals or terrorists. They both seem comfortable with the militarization of our police forces and with the use of excessive force against citizens. Finally, neither party will tell us the truth: who really killed President Kennedy, his brother Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.? What really happened on September 11, 2001? Why did we invade Iraq? And are we really alone in the universe? Most Americans know they are being lied to.
It’s time to change the focus of our economy from competition (also known as “the law of the jungle”) to cooperating to meet everyone’s needs. Put everyone to work producing things people need, starting with the basics, and adjust production to meet real demand, not market demand. People without money have needs, but the market doesn’t care – it only cares about meeting the demands of people with money.
Here is a provisional party platform:
End the wars by withdrawing all U.S. troops and mercenaries from the countries they are militarily occupying.
Spur economic recovery by putting tariffs in place on products that are manufactured in foreign countries without equally strict labor and environmental regulations, or which tolerate sweat shop labor. Help American workers set up employee-managed cooperatives to produce these products, such as shoes, clothing, bicycles, etc. in the U.S. Provide loans and tax preferences to employee owned and managed businesses.
Actively assist employees to form independent, member-controlled unions to help employees defend their interests when dealing with private companies and corporations. Give tax breaks to companies whose employees are unionized.
Ensure full employment through public works projects.
Do not allow increased immigration until after achieving full employment for U.S. citizens. At that point, you could have a two-track system – regular immigration or a guest worker program restricted to jobs that employers are not able to fill. Illegal immigration weakens demand for U.S. workers and is unfair to immigrants who go through the application process.
Encourage companies to switch over to a cooperative form of ownership that empowers employees, and consumers, by letting them help set company policies. Gradually transition to a moneyless, wageless, non-hierarchical, full-employment, cooperative economy focused on meeting people’s needs.
Restore the Constitution. Stop warrantless surveillance. Roll back the police state. Immediately fire any law enforcement, prison or military personnel found guilty of torture or brutality and ban them from future employment in these fields. Criminally prosecute those responsible for ordering or tolerating these activities. Protect whistle blowers who reveal misconduct or war crimes.
Establish a voluntary national health insurance program funded by payroll deductions. Allow the program to negotiate volume discounts on treatment and drug purchases for participants. Open public health clinics where there are no health care providers willing to participate in the program.
Work with other countries to solve conflicts through negotiation and cooperation instead of war. Stop selective enforcement of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and declare nuclear-free zones to discourage nuclear arms races. Negotiate reductions in the number of nuclear weapons. Comply with the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Small Arms Treaty, the Land Mine Treaty, the Kyoto Protocols, and participate fully in the International Criminal Court.
Reduce crime through prevention, by creating community and by giving everyone a decent job. Replace prisons with segregated work programs and personal coaching that gives inmates the skills they need to rejoin society. Join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty.
Encourage low-impact, environmentally sustainable agriculture and industry, and promote “voluntary simplicity” to reduce consumerism. The earth can’t sustain unchecked consumerism, and we shouldn’t have to produce and consume like maniacs just to keep our economy running – meet everyone’s needs and then start cutting working hours.
Help less developed countries by adopting “fair trade” policies and by holding importers to the same labor, wage and environmental standards as domestic companies.
Establish a Truth Commission: Were John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X all coincidentally killed within a few years of each other by random crazy people (between 1963 and 1968), or did our country experience a secret coup, followed by an assassination campaign? Was the 9/11 attack really totally unexpected, or was it a “Reichstag fire” that was allowed to happen in order to provide an excuse for an imperialist expansion and the whittling away of our Constitutional rights? Or is there just more to the story that we aren’t being told? Over 2,000 architects and engineers have signed a petition asking for a new investigation. If it’s really OUR government, we deserve the answers.
Some common sense reforms: require all gun buyers to pass a background check and psychological screening prior to gun purchases, build commuter rail systems, consider a system of proportional representation in our legislatures so that all voters are represented, only screen a small number of airline passengers (those who are actually suspicious), invest Social Security money the way other pension funds do, abolish the penny and nickel, replace the $1 and $5 bills with coins, cut back on space programs and demilitarize space.
Are you still waiting for change? The Reform, Libertarian and Tea Parties all are offering alternatives to the Republicans, so it’s high time that America’s workers had a party that really supports them. If we don’t expand democracy on the left, we’ll soon be back to two parties of Washington insiders who have failed to serve the interests of the majority of the American people.
What you can do
Run for the U.S. House of Representatives as an independent or write-in candidate on the Cooperative Party platform. Contact your state’s Secretary of State for details.
Start a Cooperative Party in your state.
Participate in and patronize cooperatives, and worker-owned, unionized and worker-friendly businesses, and avoid buying from companies that don’t treat their employees well. How you spend your time and money is as important as how you vote!