World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

World Socialist Party of the United States

Article Id: WHEBN0002573102
Reproduction Date:

Title: World Socialist Party of the United States  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Socialist Party of Canada (WSM), 1877 St. Louis general strike, Communist Workers' Party (United States), Jerry White (socialist), Voluntary Socialism
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

World Socialist Party of the United States

World Socialist Party of the United States
Founded 1916
Preceded by Socialist Party of America
Headquarters Boston, MA 02144
  • The Socialist (1929–1938)
  • Western Socialist (1939 to mid-1970s)
  • World Socialist Review (1986–)
Political position Far-left
International affiliation World Socialist Movement
Colors Red

The World Socialist Party of the United States (WSPUS) is a World Socialist Movement.

Political philosophy

The World Socialist Party of the United States (WSPUS) maintains that, since its inception, it has been unique in the history of American socialist and socialist-labor parties in as much as it has stood alone in maintaining the original conception of socialism as first propounded by its 19th-century theorists, such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Antonie Pannekoek and William Morris. Within this tradition, socialism is defined as a post-capitalist mode of production where the accumulation of capital is no longer the driving force governing production, and instead production is undertaken solely to produce useful goods and services.


The WSPUS defines socialism as a moneyless society based on common ownership of the means of production, production for use, and social relations based on cooperative and democratic associations as opposed to bureaucratic hierarchies. Additionally, the WSPUS considers statelessness, classlessness and the complete abolition of wage labor components of a socialist society,[1] traits that are usually reserved to describe fully developed communism.

The WSPUS condemns other parties that call themselves "socialist" for supporting one side of the capitalist coin (the interests of labor within capitalism) and criticize them for being [3]

They advocate the abolition of all employment which they argue is a modern form of slavery, and its replacement by a society of voluntary labor and free association that produces wealth for the community to enjoy without the need for buying and selling - free access.[4]


Unlike anarchists, however, the World Socialist Party advocates a political revolution because it argues that as the state is the "executive committee" of the capitalist class, it must be captured by the working class to keep the former from using it against the will of the latter. It also condemns the reformist nature of much anarchist activism. The WSPUS maintains that the revolution must be carried out by a willing majority organized without leaders, capturing the state by means of delegates elected solely to carry out the wishes of the majority to destroy the state by replacing it immediately with democratic control of the means of production across the entire country, and indeed the entire planet.

It has stood against all wars fought since its inception on the grounds that they always represent the economic interests of the owning class, and never those of the working class. Unlike much of the left, it does not take sides in wars, e.g. not calling for a victory for the Vietnamese against America.[5]

It has opposed the traditional radical opposition to the (usually Republican) incumbent presidents (e.g., anti-Nixonism, anti-Reaganism, or anti-Bushism) arguing that the enemy of the working class is the entire exploitative social system based on ownership of the means of the production, not the presidents elected to run that system efficiently, as such opposition fosters the illusion of "better presidents" rather than an understanding of, and opposition to, the entire economic system based on an owning minority employing a non-owning majority to produce its profits.

Organizational history


The "Socialist Party of the United States" (SPUS) — its name inspired by co-thinkers in the impossibilist movement in Canada and were deeply discouraged by the growing trend towards reformism in the SPA. Many founding members of the WSPUS were employed in the growing Michigan auto industry.[7]

The group was initially headed by an immigrant from England named Adolph Kohn, who was later remembered by one factional opponent as a "mild-mannered, blue-eyed man with a vast memory" who was "textually brilliant in Marxist lore."[8] Writing under the pseudonym "John O'London," Kohn attempted to gather around him others opposed to the World War in Europe who felt that the pursuit of ameliorative reforms only served to bolster the capitalist system.

The SPUS participated in the left-socialist circles of the time, especially with the Michigan Socialists expelled from the SPA in 1919 who first helped form the Communist Party of America (CPA) and later formed the Proletarian Party of America. Groups were formed in New York City, Cleveland, Portland and San Francisco.[9]

The "Proletarian" group and the SPUS split apart over support for the Soviet Union. The WSPUS applauded the Bolshevik's withdraw from the first World War, but felt that the new Soviet regime could only be state capitalist and hence should not be supported. The Proletarian Party, headed by Scottish emigrant John Keracher, regarded the USSR as a workers' state which needed defending.

The WSPUS was given a regular page in the Western Clarion, the weekly paper of the original (non-WSM) Socialist Party of Canada, a publication which circulated broadly in American Left-socialist circles.


Pressured by the Palmer Raids of January 1920 and threatened with trademark litigation by the Socialist Party of America, the SPUS in the early 1920s as the "Socialist Educational Society" (SES). There were three locals in the SES period, located in Boston, Detroit and New York. The NYC local was the most active and events often included Louis Boudin as guest lecturer.[6]

In 1927, the SES changed its name again to the "Workers' Socialist Party" (WSP) in 1927.

The party published an irregular organ during the 1930s, The Socialist, which was launched in November 1929 and continued publication until July 1938.[10]

The heyday of the WSP was 1930 and 1940s when it had perhaps 150 members. During that time WSP members were quite active in the workers' movement, especially the United Auto Workers union which a number of WSPUS members helped form. WSPUS members were also active in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and the International Typographical Union in New England.

Since October 1933 the [11] Its final issue was Vol. XL whole number 319 1979-80.

In 1947 the party's name was again changed again, this time to the present World Socialist Party of the United States.[6] During the 1980s, the party began to publish World Socialist Review, the first issue being dated 1986. World Socialist Review has been published irregularly since then.


The WSPUS rejuvenated in the mid-1990s due to the emergence of the internet. As of September 2008 it has members scattered throughout the United States, including Local Branches in Boston and Portland, as well as a regional Branch in the area encompassing Detroit and Toledo, Ohio.

Notable members

  • Taffy Brown - Detroit Labor Journalist for Labor News Agency.
  • Bill Davenport - Founding Director of the United Auto Workers Education Department.
  • Adolph Kohn - Leading party member during the foundation period.
  • J.A. "Jack" McDonald - Former IWW, Industrial Worker Editor, Socialist Party of Canada member and owner of McDonald's Books (founded 1926; 48 Turk St., San Francisco); McDonald (sometimes spelled "MacDonald") published a periodical entitled On the Record.
  • Frank Marquart - Helped found the UAW, Education Director of the Briggs Local 313, Dissident against the Ruthers, author of "An Auto Workers' Journal"
  • Waiting For Lefty."
  • Bill Pritchard - Former SPC member, Dockworker, founding member of the One Big Union (Canada), Defendant in the Winnipeg General Strike Trial, Mayor of Burnaby, BC.[12][13]
  • Issac Rab - Active in Typographers Union as well as in Detroit and Boston socialist politics for 60 years.


  • The Socialist, 1929-1938
  • Western Socialist Journal #Vols 1 - 40, 1939 - 1980
  • World Socialist Review #1, 1986
  • World Socialist Review #2, 1986
  • World Socialist Review #3, 1987
  • World Socialist Review #4, 1987
  • World Socialist Review #5, 1988
  • World Socialist Review #6, 1989
  • World Socialist Review #7, 1991
  • World Socialist Review #8, 1992
  • World Socialist Review #9, 1992
  • World Socialist Review #10, 1993
  • World Socialist Review #11, 1994
  • World Socialist Review #12, 1995
  • World Socialist Review #13, 1997
  • World Socialist Review #14,
  • World Socialist Review #15, 1999
  • World Socialist Review #16, 2001
  • World Socialist Review #17, 2002
  • World Socialist Review #18, 2003
  • World Socialist Review #19, 2004
  • World Socialist Review #20, 2005
  • World Socialist Review #21, 2010
  • World Socialist Review #22, 2011
  • Role-Modeling Socialist Behavior: The Life and Letters of Isaac Rab by Karla Doris Rab (2011) ISBN 0557538521


  1. ^ - The Alternative to Capitalism. 2010World Socialist Party (US) From "No Exchange, No Economy": Socialism, being based on the common ownership of the means of production by all members of society, is not an exchange economy. Production would no longer be carried on for sale with a view to profit as under capitalism. In fact, production would not be carried on for sale at all. Production for sale would be a nonsense since common ownership of the means of production means that what is produced is commonly owned by society as soon as it is produced. The question of selling just cannot arise because, as an act of exchange, this could only take place between separate owners.
  2. ^ "How the WSM is Different From Other Groups", June 7, 2007:
  3. ^ - Public Ownership and Common Ownership. 1947Pannekoek Full Text.
  4. ^ - The Alternative to Capitalism. 2010World Socialist Party (US) From "No Exchange, No Economy": Socialist production would be production solely for use. The products would be freely available to people, who would take them and use them to satisfy their needs...The best term to describe this key social relationship of socialist society is free access, as it emphasises the fact that in socialism it would be the individual who would decide what his or her individual needs were.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c "A Brief History of the WSPUS," The Western Socialist, July 1966.
  7. ^ Frank Marquart, An Auto Worker's Journal. 1975.
  8. ^ Oakley C. Johnson, "The Early Socialist Party of Michigan: An Assignment in Autobiography," The Centennial Review, vol. 10, no. 2 (Spring 1966), pg. 158.
  9. ^ "E.S.", "Outlook for Socialism in America," Socialist Standard, December 1919.
  10. ^ Walter Goldwater, Radical Periodicals in America 1890-1950. New Haven: Yale University Library, 1964; pg. 38.
  11. ^ Goldwater, Radical Periodicals in America 1890-1950, pg. 45.
  12. ^ Marxists of the Third Way, Peter Campbell
  13. ^ Labour/Le Travail #30

External links

  • World Socialist Party official website
  • #4 1966; Vol. 33 #252The Western Socialist Contains important sources for early party history.
  • #Vol. VI #57 Dec. 1939The Western Socialist First issue of the organ after its move to the US
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.