Principles of Unity

Submitted by admin on Tue, 01/29/2008 - 16:20.

(As originally adopted in Atlanta, Ga., April 14, 1996,

and most recently amended in Ann Arbor, Mi., July 11, 2003)

We believe in:

  1. People's Power: The power to change our country and develop a society that places human needs over profit rests with the people. The people organized into democratically-controlled organizations and institutions are the wellspring from which a powerful movement for social/economic change must emerge. It is from the experience and struggles of the people that solutions to the severe crises facing our nation will be found. It is with the consent and will of the people that governments are legitimized and leaders empowered.

  2. Progressive Unity: A powerful movement for change will emerge when everyday people aligned with grassroots activists, leaders and organizations operating from community, workplace and school power bases comes together in a unified, national, massive and mass-based, independent political movement and party, or an alliance of parties.

  3. Economic Justice: Only through such a movement can we build a just and sustainable society in which the gross and obscene concentration of corporate power and personal wealth is overcome by the achievement of basic economic rights for all: secure jobs at living wages; decent, affordable housing; adequate food and clothing; universal health care; quality education; a safe, clean environment; an equitable, progressive tax system which taxes unearned wealth; sustainable food production based upon family farms and farm cooperatives; and protection from economic insecurity caused by disability, old age, sickness, accident or unemployment.

  4. Economic Democracy/Workers' Rights: We support workers' rights to organize, to collective bargaining, to strike without the threat of reprisals or replacement, to safe and healthy working conditions, and to receive a living wage, pension and benefits. We support the development of new kind of economy which is democratically run by the people, including at the workplace, and not based on corporate greed.

  5. Political Democracy: A democratic economy presupposes a democratic political system. The current electoral system has been privatized and bought up by the corporate rich who fund political campaigns. The electoral system's winner-take-all rules deny racial and political minorities their fair share of representation and power. We support fundamental political reforms aimed at finally realizing the full democratic promise of our country, including: easy access to voting; publicly-financed elections with full ballot access; equal access to media for all candidates; voting rights for immigrants; preferential ballots (ranking candidates in order of preference) for races electing a single candidate; and proportional representation in the election of legislative bodies.

  6. Human Rights for All People: We support self-determination and treaty rights for the indigenous, Native nations within the borders of the U.S. and for all peoples, as well as affirmative action and reparations for people of color, women and other victims of historic injustice and oppression. We oppose the scapegoating and repression directed against immigrants, particularly immigrants of color. We are opposed to all forms of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, class, religious beliefs or non-belief, sexual orientation, disabilities, health status (including HIV), gender identity, national origin or citizenship. We support full reproductive freedom for women and oppose all forms of violence, particularly against women and children, including domestic violence, rape, incest and sexual harassment.

  7. Equal Justice: We oppose the deep-seated racism and class bias that permeate our so-called "criminal justice system." We call for a crash program to re-train and re-structure those police departments that are steeped in a culture of racism, abuse, corruption and brutality. We support the development of a humane criminal sanction system that is genuinely about the rehabilitation of those who have engaged in anti-social activity, that punishes based on behavior, not race, gender, gender identity or class, and which depends on alternatives to incarceration except for those who pose a clear danger to society unless incarcerated. We oppose the racist and class-biased death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment. Drug addiction and mental illness should be treated as issues of public health, not criminal justice. We oppose the use of prison labor for private profit. We support the development of a legal system whose participants-judges, lawyers, court personnel, police, penal staff, jurors-reflect the class, race and gender composition of the affected community and individuals.

  8. Peace and Anti-imperialism: We oppose militarism and the culture of violence which permeates our society. We call for major cuts in the military budget and the conversion of weapons-producing industries to socially-needed production. We oppose military intervention and interference abroad, economic coercion, colonialism and neo-colonialism, and political interference in the sovereign affairs of any other nation, including the indigenous Native nations within our own national borders.

  9. Sustainable Environment: An ecologically sustainable society requires replacing the endless "growth" compelled by a profit-oriented economy with a democratic economy enabling people to gear production to human needs on a sustainable basis. We support the creation of an ecological economy where everyone's basic material needs are met through the sustainable use of non-toxic and renewable energy and materials. We oppose corporate attempts to shift the liability for environmental damage onto taxpayers; polluters must pay for the restoration of environmental damage. In place of the failed policy of regulating pollution releases, we call for pollution prevention, including a rapid phase-out of chlorinated compounds, trash incinerators, nuclear power plants, and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. We call for a massive "Jobs for the Environment" program of public investment in the replacement of toxic technologies with ecological alternatives, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable organic agriculture, mass transit, biodegradable materials, solid waste reduction, recycling and clean composting, and eco-industrial parks for zero-emissions manufacturing.

  10. Opposition to Racism and Sexism and Support for Diversity and Equality: People of color and women must be substantial in numbers in the membership and particularly in leadership of our independent politics network. Opposition to racism must be a priority for all people but especially for white people working in their communities to understand, confront and help others to unlearn racism. Men have a special responsibility to cultivate space for open expression of sexual orientation and gender and to provide a positive environment for participation by those of all abilities, sizes and ages.

  11. Political Independence: We promote independent candidates and parties who subscribe to the above principles and who are outside of the corporate-dominated, Democratic and Republican parties, who are part of the problem, not the solution. We also support independent working class solidarity and action across international borders to counter the power of the multi-national corporations.