The Social Democrats USA does its political work within the broad parameters of a set of ten principles. These principles indicate the broad direction of its politics. The SD principles play much the same role within this organization that the very detailed programs constructed by other political parties play within these organizations. In fact it can be argued that the SD principles give a more realistic picture of the reality of SD politics than do the very detailed programs of most political parties and political organizations. Most of the detailed platforms and programs produced by these organizations are honored more in their neglect as opposed to the concrete work that are put into making them a reality. The principles of the SDUSA are enclosed here. After the principles are a series of articles most of which have been taken from Vice President David Hacker’s history / annunciation of current SD policies and ideas – the Hacker Manifesto. These articles show the thinking that has gone into the more controversial of SD principles. While David Hacker’s arguments and ideas are not always definitive of all of SD thought regarding SD principles they are very indicative of the SDUSA thinking on it principles.
The Principles of Social Democrats USA
Social Democracy comprises humanity’s boldest experiment — an attempt to organize society of collective justice and individual freedom where everyone gets food, shelter, health care, education, and the ability to actualize his or herself. In other words, achieve a truly civil society.
To this end:
One. WE SUPPORT THE AMERICAN LABOR MOVEMENT. Working men and women, organized in their trade unions, can be the most important force for progressive social change. We support an open democratic and self-critical labor movement both within the United States and internationally.
Two. WE SUPPORT VIGOROUS DEMOCRACY HERE IN THE US AND ABROAD: Social democracy can only exist in a climate of strong democratic institutions. We support strong voting rights, public campaign finance and equal access to media for all candidates. We look to strengthen the longest most successful democratic experiment in world history, the USA.
Three. WE SUPPORT THE SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL as the society of like minded parties and activists. We stand with the Labour Party of Britain, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the French Socialist Party and labor parties across the world. We look to SI members in government for guidance in effective and just government. SD,USA has adopted the SI Declaration of Principles and Ethical Charter and uses the Party of European Socialists the SI working group in the European Parlment as its pragmatic basis.
Four. WE EMBRACE THE LIBERATORY POTENTIAL OF RELIGION; AT THE SAME TIME WE ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. The world’s sacred texts provide some of the strongest support for the dignity of Labor, the need for social fairness, and the ability of humanity to achieve its highest aspirations. SD,USA embraces religious faith not as an “interest group” within a larger movement, but as fundamental to the creation of a better world. At the same time, we also welcome secular or non-religious members. We believe the United States should maintain its tradition of the separation of Church and State. Thus, while we embrace people of religious faith and the libratory message of the mainstream religion, we oppose extremists or fanatics of all faiths who seek to undermine the church/state separation.
Five. WE OPPOSE TOTALITARIANISM IN ITS SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS FORMS. Communism is a horrible, destructive parody of socialism. “Communism” is the most dangerous enemy of democracy and free Labor in the world. We rejoice in its collapse of the Soviet Union with formerly enslaved nations now joining the society of democracy. SD,USA proudly opposes Communist totalitarianism and opposes religious extremism arising in many religious traditions, with currently the most dangerous being in the Islamic world.
Six. WE AFFIRM THAT IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC / DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST MOVEMENT SHALL ALSO BE A ENVIRONMENTALIST MOVEMENT DEDICATED TO PRESERVING THE FRAGILE ECOLOGY OF THIS PLANET. We commit ourselves to working with labor and environmental coalitions like the Blue Green Alliance, begun by the unionists and environmentalists to preserve our planet and create new jobs in renewable energy and mass transit.
Seven. WE SUPPORT FAIR TRADE. The SDUSA generally supports an international system of “fair trade” as opposed to the currently dominate paradigm of “free trade.” A fair trade regime would allow nations to protect their workers, communities, and economies from unfair forms of international trade that can come from trade with nations having very weak practices of environmental protection, weak health and safety standards for workers, and which suppress labor unions and workers rights. The Social Democrats USA believes that nations have a natural right to take actions in the form of tariffs or other measures to protect their societies from unfair forms of trade.
Eight. WE DEFEND THE RIGHT OF ISRAEL TO EXIST. The State of Israel is not a product of “racism” or “imperialism”. It is a democratic society. Its Labor movement is led by Social Democrats. During the first decades of its existence, it was founded and governed by a Social Democratic Labor party. We are unconditional advocates of Israel’s right to exist, but we are not uncritical and reserve the right to criticize those policies and actions of Israel which we believe to be unjust or unwise. We support Israeli democratic ideals and those who work for them. We support a just resolution for the Palestinians that grants their legitimate national aspirations. Thus we oppose the West Bank settlement expansion policy which has been supported by right wing Israeli governments for decades and would seek its reversal. All of this we believe can be accomplished without fatally compromising the legitimate security concerns of the Jewish State.
Nine. A TWO STATE SOLUTION. The SDUSA believes that the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people can only be met by the creation of an independent Palestinian state which will be able to co-exist along side the state of Israel. Such a two state solution of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict would of necessity have as its context international agreements which would protect the legitimate security needs of Israel and the new Palestinian state.
Ten. WE REJECT THE IDEOLOGIES OF OPPRESSION. Chauvinism and racism are obstacles to the achievement of our ideals to the extent to which they permeate the working class and socialist movements. We are proud of the Socialist Party’s long heritage of involvement in the civil rights movement from the 1960s, through the sit-ins, freedom rides, voting rights campaigns, and many demonstrations, including being the central organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice. Yet, even today, hatred based on sex, race, religious confession, ethnicity, and lifestyle flourish inside socialist parties and in the Left in general. There is no place inside the socialist movement for such ideologies.
We include among these ideologies of oppression anti-zionism, when it is used to deny Jews the right of all people to a state of their own Like anti-Semitism, false flagged anti-Zionism aims to divide the Jewish people from other peoples of the world. Anti-Semitism denies that Jews are human beings with all the rights of human beings. Anti-Zionism denies that Jews are a nation with the right of national self- determination. We are deeply concerned by the rise of anti-Semitism within the socialist parties and in the wider Left. We favor an aggressive and spirited campaign to drive anti-Semitism from our ranks.
Eleven. WE, IN GENERAL, WORK WITHIN THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES. The realities of American politics make running independent Socialist candidates for public office frequently a gesture in futility. We ally ourselves with the pro-labor forces of the Democratic Party and work to strengthen Social Democratic ideals in the DP. When appropriate individual locals may run third party candidates, or fusion candidates The SD,USA is willing to experiment with different democratic processes on the local level.
Twelve. WE STILL HAVE OUR DREAM OF THE NEAR FUTURE AND OUR VISION OF THE SOCIALIST SOCIETY OF THE FAR FUTURE, BEYOND OUR LIFETIME AND OUR CHILDREN’S LIFETIME. While concentrating on developing social democratic programs for the here and now, we have not given up our vision of the new socialist society that incremental change or visionary gradualism could eventually bring. We are still committed to the vibrant democratic socialist movement of the near future and our socialist vision of the far future beyond our lifetime and our children’s lifetime.