Bill of Rights Socialism

BY:Roberta Wood And Dee Miles| May 1, 2016
Bill of Rights Socialism

Socialism is a common-sense path to a fairer, more prosperous and more democratic USA.


Right now, 99% of Americans share the work of producing all of the products and services of our economy. We work together in person or online. We work in factories and offices. We work in schools and stores. We work in laboratories and in hospitals. And, we work on farms and construction sites.


But, when it comes to reaping the rewards of this collective labor, things get turned upside down. What the joint labor of millions of Americans has produced ends up being owned by a handful of billionaires. Those same billionaires , without any say-so by the American people, make all the decisions. THEY get to decide to cut pensions, close schools, ship jobs overseas, and pollute the environment.


In a socialist economy, things get turned right side up. The ownership and control of the means of production would be in the hands of those who do the work. As a result, those of us who produce – the 99% – would make these important decisions together. This would correspond to the way we produce the wealth together.


With the people in the driver’s seat, corporate profits would no longer be Number One. Instead, the things the American people think are most important would come first.

Enough resources would be freed up to do many things. We could fully fund public education and health care for all. We could have mass transit, Social Security, free college tuition, and child care. At the same time, we could remove lead from our pipes. We, the American people, could set other priorities, too.


In a socialist society, people would get paid for the hard work they do. They would be rewarded for the initiatives they take. The difference? Corporate big shots and hedge fund managers could no longer walk off with trillions of dollars that belong to working families.

War, racism, sexism, and homophobia would lose their corporate sponsors.

We could apply the full power of American ingenuity and technology to reversing climate change and developing green industries.

America’s rich and diverse heritage could flourish in music and literature. Sports, dance, film, and art would be available to everyone. Opportunities would open up for millions of young people to contribute their talents and energy. This would result in well-paying and satisfying careers for our nation’s youth. Small businesses would have a role to play in building this vibrant economy. They would be protected from the unfair advantages given to big corporations.


Socialism in the United States would be built on the strong foundation of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. This includes making the promises of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and equality for all real. The rights to a job, to health care, and education must also be guaranteed by the Constitution. The criminal justice, police and prison systems must be overhauled from top to bottom to get rid of racial disparity.


A fairer political system goes hand-in-hand with a socialist economy. To work effectively, socialism needs the active and informed participation of the American people. The American people already agree that corporate money must be barred from corrupting our election system. Ten million undocumented workers are a part of our country’s working class. They must be welcomed to participate as citizens in a socialist democracy. By the same token, the voting rights of millions of incarcerated Americans – mostly African Americans and Latinos – must be restored. In place of voter suppression laws, fair election processes are needed. Universal voter participation is the basis of democracy.

In both open and hidden ways, racial inequality and sexism are built into the structure of our nation’s capitalist economy and society. Rooting it out is a task for the entire American people. That’s the only way we can build the unity that we need. It is this unity that will give us the power to build a just and democratic society for every one of us and for future generations.

A socialist society also needs checks and balances. Organizations at the grass-roots level can make sure there are democratic controls. Our country already has great traditions of grass-roots organizations: town-hall meetings, tribal councils, and student governments. Our working class has gained valuable experience in operating labor unions, cooperatives, and credit unions. At a local level Americans contribute their talents in PTAs, churches, and charitable organizations.


Building on this expertise and experience, Americans can have the confidence that together we can build a political and economic system of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The unity of America’s working people – African American and white, Latino, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern – is critical to our progress. Men and women, LGBTQ and straight, young and old must stand together for each other. This unity cannot be broken if it is based on the working class principle of “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

This is our vision of a socialist USA. You can join with us. Help us make this vision a reality.

    Roberta Wood, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communist Party, is a retired journeyman industrial instrument mechanic. A lifelong union activist, she was a founding co-chair of the United Steelworkers District 31 Women's Caucus. She writes on labor issues for A Chicagoan, Roberta is married to Steelworker retiree Scott Marshall. Scott and Roberta have four daughters and seven grandchildren.

Comments (30)

Selena Bertino | January 03, 2018 at 6:05 AM

Great article, thank you.
I think one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to blame big business, corporations and the rich, because this supposes that we are powerless in the face of such greed. The average American is in fact, responsible for the capitalistic mess American is in. We want what we want NOW. We choose entertainment over education. We believe what were told if the information is emotionally gratifying.
We are not powerless in the least, but we certainly are ignorant of this power.

    dylan voisard | January 30, 2018 at 9:54 PM

    I’d agree partially—’amusing ourselves to death’, absolutely! However, I do maintain a Real amount of blame for those bloated corporate multinational globalists—because without the existentially crushing footprints of rentier-capitalist “efficiency” schemes, people would have more temporal/psycho-social space in which to emancipate themselves from suffering educationally rather than falling into the financial abyss of lassitude. Which unfortunately is only a breeding ground for economic prostration—after all, there is a Real line of comfort between devastation and emancipation and its color is always a shade of grey.

Gabriel Buckingham | November 30, 2017 at 5:02 AM

Without market prices, how will the socialist economy allocate resources within the economy so that we can be sure they are being used in the most socially optimal manner?

    Selena | January 03, 2018 at 5:56 AM

    Lots of economic and general planning would be necessary for sure, in order to avoid the problems other ‘socialist’ governments had. For socialism to work, people would have to educate themselves so they could effectively be part of the decision making process, which would include decisions on how to allocate resources.

Bob | November 15, 2017 at 11:55 PM

How can this be achieved without violence? The oligarchs control voting. They control communication. They control the military. I see no way out of our predicament.

    Selena | January 03, 2018 at 5:13 AM

    There is no FAST way to make lasting change. Using violence sets a bad precedence, because those who use violence to achieve a goal, will continue to use violence to maintain that goal. Not a world I want to live in! True change takes time and a LOT of energy.

Dave | August 23, 2017 at 8:57 AM

Wrong! There is nothing stopping the 99% from owning their own products and businesses. What your suggesting is that the Government forcibly take from those who own something and give it to a group that gave them power to do so. This is why absolute power corrupts absolutely and there is always someone else’s idea of fair. This does not work. Socialism creates equal misery not equal success.

    Dave | August 23, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    Don’t you find Ironic that the richest in our society are pushing for socialism? Who do you think are the people that get to manage all that money that now flows through the hands of the government? It certainly isn’t going to be the poor workers! Now go stand in line to pay for your bread!

    Joe Sims | August 26, 2017 at 1:39 PM

    Access to capital is what prevents the 99 percent.

    Selena | January 03, 2018 at 5:25 AM

    Dave, socialism, does not bring misery, but it does cause us to rethink how we consume and produce products (which currently wouldn’t go over well with the average American, who wants what he/she wants NOW). I think what you are calling ‘socialism’ is actually ‘authoritarianism’, where there are no freedoms that our constitution guarantees us.

Enlightened one | June 25, 2017 at 5:50 PM

How does the power belong to the people in an authoritarian society…. True socialism isn’t authoritarian at all… Libertarian socialism…. Communism is nothing more than the guise of socialism with the reality of monarchy…

    Joe Hill | October 13, 2017 at 9:13 PM

    Libertarian Socialism is Communism friend. Communism isn’t authoritarian, but the socialism used to get to communism can be libertarian or authoritarian.

Mitch rose | May 04, 2017 at 4:44 PM

The fears of socialism seem to be already existent in capitalism. The few take from the many and imprison whom they wish. They sacrifice the poor to enrich themselves. Capitalism by itself is not working for the majority of the human race let alone America. We are destroying this world for money.

Tim Steinhelfer | April 25, 2017 at 7:15 AM

Great article!

Dan | January 29, 2017 at 8:03 PM

You did not explain how you trillions of dollars of property and wealth to people? Execution of wealthy people? Just taking it? Putting people in re-education camps who say Communism is evil and destroys lives and incentive to work?

    Joe Sims | January 30, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    First homes, small and medium size businesses will remain in private hands. The CPUSA does not advocate confiscating personal property – never did. A socialist government will have legislate when and how big business is handled and compensated. No camps. Again the whole point is to combine socialism with working-class democracy.

      Stacey | February 15, 2017 at 1:25 AM

      Can you please tell me how a comitte making these decisions would be the people making them? If the people elect comittee to mke these decisions, why is that any different than now? Unless of course, that is the candy to rope ignorant people in. that is not how Socialism works. That is pure Capitalism. Also, the writer is Communist, another big difference. That is not how Communism works either. LOL

    Scott Hiley | January 30, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    The methods you describe sound more like how capitalism has worked, historically. From the displacement, enslavement, and genocide of indigenous people during European colonization, to the enslavement of Africans for forced labor on plantations, to the use of violence against striking workers and the generalized extortion that forces people to sell their labor-power in order to stay alive, capitalism’s history of violence is unparalleled. As to how socialism might be implemented, it will likely involve a combination of strategies. One is a reform of the tax code to make the very wealthy pay their fair share, shifting the burden off of working people and generating revenue that can be redistributed to programs that benefit society as a whole. Another is the nationalization of certain sectors of the economy. When Cuba pursued nationalization, for example, the state offered to compensate owners at the value declared on tax documents. It wasn’t a violent seizure of property at all–but business owners objected because they had been under-reporting the value of their firms to dodge taxes. The formation of worker-owned cooperatives might play a role, too, though that in itself is insufficient to place working people in control of the economy that their labor drives. The move to socialism will also require building economic democracy: protecting and expanding collective bargaining and changing labor law to give workers more of a voice in their workplaces. As you can see, our approach to socialism is based on the expansion of democracy and equality, values enshrined in our Constitution and in our nation’s history of progressive struggle.

    notshitposting | January 31, 2017 at 3:08 PM

    Well. Boi. Listen here. Only thing destroying incentive to work is laziness from receiving welfare, if we just cut welfare spending in the USA we can spend it on education and other things. The more you know

Ed Ortiz | October 16, 2016 at 2:41 AM

Let us not forget that US Big Capital is so scared by Venezuela’s tilt towards socialism that they have done everything they could, including three US sponsored fascist coup attempts, to destroy any baby steps towards freedom and socialism.

    Clutch Cargo | December 09, 2016 at 12:55 AM

    You are going to blame the spectacular failure of yet another pie-in-the-sky Socialist experiment in Venezuela on the policies of the USA? also, I would like to hear a Socialists definition of freedom. Is it the freedom to stand in line all day for a loaf of bread? I maybe the freedom to accept the medical care that a government bureaucrat deems necessary? Maybe it is the freedom to be jailed for unacceptable speech. Please explain.

      Joe Sims | December 10, 2016 at 1:20 PM

      First, Venezuela is not a socialist society. It remains capitalist. What you have is movement attempting to move in a socialist direction, a country still beset by underdevelopment by guess who? Second we stand for “bill of rights” socialism where freedom of assembly, speech etc are protected. We feel strongly about that because we were jailed in the 1950s for the crime of thinking and teaching. Yes, literally, “conspiring to think and teach.” By the way, med care in Cuba is top notch.

    Dale | January 28, 2017 at 4:55 PM

    Venezuela is dying of socialist policies.

      Joe Sims | January 29, 2017 at 3:48 PM

      Venezuela is dying of capitalism. It is not a socialist country although its leadership would like to move in that direction.

James Lister | August 29, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Socialists and Communists sing the same song. On paper it sounds really great. But put it in practice and it ends in disaster. For the biggest reason of them all. Human nature. The biggest problem is over time is corruption works its way into that form of government as well. Because over time people become intoxicated by the power and money of government. Case in point Venezuela. Their economy is a train wreck. People are starving, rioting and, so much more. So if you don’t believe me go visit Venezuela right now and see firsthand the end result of communism.

    Joe Sims | September 05, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Human nature is not innate but is shaped by environment and circumstances. That’s not to say that biology plays no role but so far they haven’t found a gene for capitalism and greed. Corruption is a problem granted but the answer to that is democratic control and transparency. As for Venezuela it’s not a “communist” country or even socialist but a country that is attempting to move in a socialist direction. The main cause of their economic distress is the drop in the price of oil and inability so far to diversify the economy. Hopefully these challenges will be overcome.

      Bobby Earles | March 09, 2017 at 10:10 PM

      What about North Korea? It’s a pure communist country and their people are starving.

        Joe Sims | March 10, 2017 at 5:29 PM

        a pure communist country would be one in which there is no state or government following the principle of from each according to ability, to each according to need. Korea is following its own path according to the Juche idea which they define as self reliance. It is not a model for socialism or communism. Like many countries in the Third World it still is influenced by feudal concepts.

    Justin Carlton | October 03, 2016 at 10:12 PM

    Venezuela has private companies, they can’t be socialist or communist. The means of production aren’t owned by the workers.

    They’re capitalist.

James Solbakken | August 25, 2016 at 10:09 PM

My problem with socialism and communism is there is no place for individualists such as my self in your schemes. You way means a bureaucracy makes all the decisions and the rest of us have to fall in line or we get squashed some how. I’ve always been my own person and so therefore I cannot help but think of you guys as intrinsically inimical to my interests. I hate groups, I hate the masses, I hate democracy, I hate it when stupid ignoramuses have too much power. I like limited powers, especially for government. At least with capitalism I can refuse to be bought. If the capitalist can’t convince me to sell he otherwise has no power to compel me. Under socialism and communism the system is designed to allow for the proverbial gun to be put to my head to force me to comply. Just like in Godfather, either my signature or my brains are going to be on your contract.

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