What is Socialist Action?

T. Webster

Socialist Action is a political party that seeks to put Leon Trotsky’s version of Marxism into action in the United States. The party’s beliefs hold that capitalism is detrimental to society by creating an upper class and a lower class. These differences create disparities and struggles between the classes, according to the party. Socialist Action, which has its national office in San Francisco, maintains that it is concerned with human rights, including the rights of students, women, labor and racial minority groups.

Eugene Debs ultimately became the head of the American Socialist Party.
Eugene Debs ultimately became the head of the American Socialist Party.

In 1983, Socialist Action was founded by a group of activists long associated with the American Trotskyist philosophy. Trotsky was Soviet Union resident known for organizing an underground workers union and for being a revolutionary. Socialist Action has roots in the Socialist Workers Party, Workers Party and the Communist League of America, according to the party. According to position statements by Socialist Action, the group advocates using a democracy that is controlled by the working class, and it does not advocate governance as seen in China or the former Soviet Union.

The party generally claims to represent people in the working class. It seeks to have members of this class devise a Labor Party rather than be a part of the Democratic Party. Part of its educational process is to convince workers that capitalists do not have the working class’ interests at heart.

Specifically, the Labor Party calls for the dismantling of government institutions, because it believes that these institutions represent the interests of the ruling class. The party maintains that the only way to achieve this is through a revolution; the current system cannot be effectively changed. In short, Socialist Action wants to overthrow the United States' system of capitalism.

Some of the activities of the party include protests designed to make what it calls the oppressed groups feel as though they have a voice. The party also believes in conducting classes to help educate the public about its views. Its teachings are approached from a Marxist revolutionary perspective.

Racism and gender discrimination are two additional concerns for Socialist Action. In any form, racism is shunned and viewed as something than can be overcome through determination, according to the party’s position statements. The party also opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation.

All members of Socialist Action are considered equal within the party. Membership is open and available to anyone who generally agrees with its political philosophy. Party members are expected to support the majority rule, and loyalty is stressed.

Socialist Action also operates a newspaper by the same name. The newspaper is targeted toward workers and activists. Since 1983, the newspaper has been published monthly.

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Discussion Comments


@Soulfox -- I am not advocating communism, but it is important to point out that the Soviet Action party is based on the ideas of Trotsky. While Trotsky was important in the early days of the formation of Soviet Communism and was instrumental in the revolution, he fell out of vogue in a hurry as he hated the bureaucracy and stifling rules that were taking over the party.

Again, that is not a defense to Communism. Still, the Communism that failed in the Soviet Union and that which Trotsky had in mind are two different things.


Kind of funny how that Socialist Action bunch formed just a few years before Soviet Communism failed absolutely, isn't it? That party was headed toward being irrelevant when it was formed and is completely without consequence in the 21st century.

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