State of the Union: SPUSA Response

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by SPUSA Co-Chair Stephanie Cholensky

The political theater of a State of the Union Address, while certainly absurd in its disconnect with the struggle of the people,  does serve as a reminder of our commitment to democratic socialism. While we are not insensitive to the impact, undoubtedly temporary in a two-party capitalist system, that incremental reform may have for the working class, the Socialist Party USA continues its fight for a revolutionary change impervious to market fluctuations and two-party politics.  A question frequently asked is: “What would the United States look if the Socialist Party USA Platform was adopted?”  Here is a small sample highlighting what the people could expect:

  • A minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living.
  • A full employment policy and the provision of a livable guaranteed annual income.
  • Comparable worth laws and affirmative action for women.
  • A steeply graduated income tax and a steeply graduated estate tax, and a maximum income of no more than ten times the minimum as well as an end to regressive taxes such as payroll tax, sales tax, and property taxes.
  • The restoration of the capital gains tax and luxury tax on a progressive, graduated scale.
  •  The closing of all U.S. military facilities at home and abroad that train foreign military and paramilitary personnel.
  • An end to the U.S. occupation of the province of Guantanamo, Cuba.
  • An end to all U.S. aid to Israel, as a precondition for peace.
  • Reparations from the federal government for its role in the slave trade and the genocide of Native American nations, with the reparations programs administered by the oppressed communities themselves.
  • The end of all anti-gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBTQ) restrictions in law and the work place, the repeal of all sodomy laws, and the legalization of same-sex marriage.
  • The forgiveness of all outstanding federal student loans.
  • Full and equal funding of public education;  the restoration of a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, including art, music, world languages, and physical education; an end to all public funding of private schools; and free tuition and full-time teachers with full benefits (not “adjuncts”) at the post-secondary level.
  • Public child care starting from infancy, and public education starting at age three, with caregivers and teachers of young children receiving training, wages, and benefits comparable to that of teachers at every other level of the educational system.
  • A socialized health care system based on universal coverage, salaried doctors and health care workers, and revenues derived from a steeply graduated income tax.
  • The prosecution of the criminal activities of politicians, corporate managers, and other privileged individuals, rather than the over-emphasis on minor infractions by working class people and for a sliding scale of fines based on income.
  • The decriminalization of drug use and the regulation of narcotics by doctors through the use of prescriptions rather than by the criminal justice system.
  • The development of alternative energy sources including solar, geothermal, wind, hydropower, and biomass to end dependence on fossil fuels.

President Obama is eloquent and articulate. He is well aware that a masterful spin job is vital to maintaining the capitalist status quo. Truth is the enemy of our elected officials, an enemy that is becoming increasingly apparent in the day of information-sharing.  We stand to highlight that truth, and to use that truth to defeat the oppressive and brutal capitalist system and implement a humane system, a just system, a peaceful system, a democratic socialist system.

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