People's Party

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People's Party

The People's Partywas formed in the early 1970's, approximately 1972, as a new socialist organization in competition with the old-line communists of the Communist Party USA CPUSA, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party SWP and the smaller SWP split-off, theWorkers World Party WWP. In published a monthly newspaper, '"Grass Roots" at 1133 Broadway, Room 517, New York, NY, 10010, and had regional chapters known as "affiliates." By, 1977, the PP affiliated numbered nine plus the national office in Washington, D.C.

Official Ideology of the People's Party

From the November, 1977 issue of "Grass Roots", the "Newspaper of the People's Party", Special Convention Issue, comes a full statement of "Organizational Principles", which will be reproduced here en toto:

"Organizational Principles"

"The People's Party, meeting in Convention, August 25-31, 1975, set the following as its Organizational Principles;"

1. We Are A Socialist Party, because in unity we believe that socialism is the answer to the decay and increasing barbarism of this society and that the working class, as opposed to the capitalist class, is the agent of revolutionary change, which can and will take power and run a new society on a collective democratic basis.

2. We Define The Working Class As All those who must sell their labor power in order to survive, or who must survive in some other way not dependent on owning or managing capital. It includes employed and unemployed, those in unions and those not organized, on welfare and denied welfare, retired and disabled workers, working class students and young people, prisoners and "mental" prisoners, and armed forced enlisted personnel.

3. The Purpose Of Our Party Is To help build a mass organization of the working class capable of taking power.

4. Our Organizational Structure Must Be united and democratic. By united we mean that all levels of the organization are accountable to the total organization. By democratic we mean that every member of the organization participates democratically both making decisions and in carrying them out. Our leadership me be chosen democratically, so that it can be accountable to the organization as a whole. All our party officers must be elected and recallable. Where feasible we try to distribute the tasks of leadership among many people in order to develop multiple leadership.

5. As Socialists We Specify Clearly The form of workers' democracy toward which we work, and do not confuse it with a one-party state. The economic backwardness and necessity for post-revolutionary unity against powerful, armed imperialist powers, which gave a one-party form to such states, as they exist today, will be absent in the U.S. Production of commodities is socialized on a mass scale, and the working class is a huge and generally literate majority. Conditions for open, democratic socialist, based on workers' state power, are present.

6. Thus, We Do Not Follow The Theory or practice of any party, including those allegedly Marxist-Leninist, which practices elitism and sectarianism. We make it crystal clear to the rest of the working class that we do not aspire to be the Only Vanguard Party or to rule society after the revolution.

7. We Seek Practical Working Unity with all working class groups and parties who share our goal. We believe that the institutions of democratic workers' government must be built by the organized effort of all class-conscious groups and workers on the principle of equal democratic participation by all working class people.

8. While Rejecting Self-Righteous Go-it-alone vanguardism, we also reject the theory and practice of "socialist" parties which rely only on elections as a strategy to achieve socialism. This perspective is reformist by definition. Such parties have historically and will in the future become accomplices in the capitalist system of political control. We use elections only as a tool and a tactic to organize toward a socialist democracy.

9. We Participate In The Trade Union movement to defend the living and working conditions of workers. In our political organizing we also seek to win workers to the goal of a socialist democracy. In both of these tasks we must organize rank-and-file workers against the economic and political bosses, including pro-capitalist international and local union bureaucrats.

10. Within The Party, In Our Party Work, and in our personal lives we strive for relations of equality, mutual respect, and comradely consideration with our fellow workers of all races, sexes, and nationalities.

11. We Support All Struggles For Equality and self-determination of minority nation workers.

12. We Support All Struggles For Equality of women workers.

13. We Support All Struggles For Equality of gay workers.

14. We Do Not Align Ourselves With Any one existing so-called socialist country, but support each and every one or them against all imperialist wars, threats and maneuvers.

15. We Must Develop A Multi-National working class culture, in opposition to the manipulated mass culture and perverted values of capitalism.

16. We Support All Struggles To Preserve the ecological life-cycle from profit-motivated destruction by capitalist bosses. In particular, we oppose the construction of nuclear fission reactors, especially breeder reactors.

17. We Support The Struggles Of Exploited and oppressed peoples around the world for socialist liberation from the grip of imperialism.

18. We Work For Immediate Measures such as the preservation and extension of social services and other reforms necessary to the survival of working people.

Issues of "Grass Roots"

November, 1977 issue: Names of PP members, friends, organizations, and events of importance

  • Al Sargis - Perspective: "Our Choices Must Be Backed By Action!" - Al Sargis is presently the National Coordinator of the People's Party PP. Al was a U.S. Congressional candidate for the 9th District in California for the Peace and Freedom Party PFP.
  • Milton Takei -Perspective: "Prospects for Coalitions on the Left" - Milton Takei is currently State Chairperson of the Peace and Freedom Party PFP. Milton's been a member of the Party since 1969 and is also currently a member of the New American Movement NAM. As well as his general political activities, he's been particularly active in issues concerning agriculture and the environment. He asked us to mention that his position in the above article was not written in his official capacity as State Chairperson of P&FP.

"Special thanks to United Struggle Press, in particular:

Page 3:

  • Lucille Burnett - NYCUWU, is a black woman and the mother of eight children. Lucille has had factory jobs, has been on welfare and now works daily buiding the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council.
  • Neter Brooks - NYCUCW, is a Manhattan borough organizer for the NYCYWC. Neter ran for Community School Board in NYC in May, 1976 in a district that is predominantly Black with a few white middle class sections. The Board is still controlled by a majority of white middle class people.
  • Margaret Wright - United Parents Council, L.A., - was the People's Party presidential candidate in 1976, running on the same ticket with Ben Spock Benjamin Spock. Margaret is a black woman and the mother of four children. Margaret has been a leader in Watts of the struggle for decent education, civil rights and the rights of women for many years. Margaret is currently Chairperson of the United Parents Council, which she along with other angry community peoples organized to fight for a decent education.
  • Larry Sheehy - "People's Party Member Wins 2.3% of the Vote" in a race for Fresno (CA) City Council. Member of the Peace and Freedom Party, a marxist group heavily influenced by the CPUSA (See: California Report, 1970)[1].

Page 4:

  • Lewis McCammon - excerpt from L.A. County Peace and Freedom Party PFP - Lew McCammon has been an active member of the Peace and Freedom Party since 1968 and was L.A. County Chairperson from 1970-1972. Lew was active in the civil rights movement beginning in the early 1960's and the anti-war movement beginning int the mid-1960's. Lew has done much legal work for the Party fighting for ballot access for the poor.
  • Lorraine Stevens - NYCUWU, Lorraine Stevens is a blackw oman who has lived in East New York, one of the most devastated ghettos in the country, all her life and raised four children there. Lorraine is the Council representative to the Committee to Free Salvador Agron and spoke on behalf of the Council at the Sept. 10th rally for the Unity of Labor and Community. A picture of Lorraine is next to this article.

Salvador Agron - was a gang member in NYC who deliberately killed two young people, one of whom was held down before Agron stabbed him in the chest. He was sentenced to many years in jail, and eventually paroled, only to die of a sudden illness. Damned few people mourned this cold-blooded killer.

  • John Cummings - NYCUWU - John Cummings is an unemployed black man. John is a founding organizer and coordinator of Jamaica United Against Brutality, a community organization recently formed in response to many incidents of policy brutality. As well, John ran summer trips and programs for youth.

"New People's Party Chapter?" "Some people in the Santa Barbara, California area have been attempting to start a Santa Barbara County Peace and Freedom Partyorganization. They have met with representatives of the Ventura County Socialist Party Socialist Party SP to investigate possible cooperation. Among the organizers are members of the Santa Barbara chapter of the New American Movement NAM. Santa Barbara is a city of about 70,000, 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Ventura County lies between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.

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  • Jean Lannon - San Luis Obispo PFP- Jean Lannon is a librarian and the mother of three children. Jean registered with the Peace and Freedom Party after McGovern lost in 1972 when she gave up on the Democratic Party as a vehicle for change altogether. Jean has been active in her local chapter for 12 years.

Her article was entitled "People's Party Members Fight Back on Many Fronts" and detailed the San Luis Obispo P&FP relations to the anti-nuclear power radical groups such as the Abalone Alliance

"Socialist outreach to the community, tenants' organizing and study classes designed to deepen our own understanding of Marxism has highlighted the activities of the Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement in recent months."

Page 6:

  • is a continuation of Page 1 and 2

Page 7: "Proposals and Amendments" to the People's Party General Principles:

  • Joyce Dattner - is an ex-public school teacher. Joyce ran for State Assemblywoman on the NYWPP ticket in 1976 in her local's first election polling 6% of the vote. Joyce is now President of the New York City Unemployed and Welfare Council NYCUWC and has been an activist for over five years.
  • Nancy Ross - is an ex-public school teacher, the mother of one child and has been a political activist since the early 1970's. Nancy, a member of the NYWPP, was elected in May of 1976 to the Community School Board in District 3 of Manhattan after becoming active and helping to win a militant struggle to preserve the public schools from closing early.
  • Warren Samuels- is a founding member of the NYWPP. Warren is a member of the Morningside Heights Mobilization for Survival MFS, works on The Struggle, a progressive magazine, and has been politically active sine the early 1970's.

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