Bill of Rights socialism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gus Hall, who first coined the term (1984)

Bill of Rights socialism is an ideology based on the interpretation that the United States Bill of Rights advocated for a socialist society or that if need be, a new United States Bill of Rights that explicitly advocated for it should be made. The concept was first coined by Gus Hall, General Secretary of Communist Party USA.[1] Communist Party USA has advocated for amending the United States Constitution to include the right to join a union, the right to a fair-paying job and others.[2]

Bill of Rights socialism has also been advocated by the Democratic Socialists of America since 2012.[3]


In 2012, the concept was revived by the Democratic Socialists of America, who proposed the following public policies in order to "achieve basic human social and economic rights" whose implementation would "help to achieve freedom and dignity for all Americans":[3]


The idea of Bill of Rights socialism has drawn criticism. Writing for the Future of Freedom Foundation, Richard Embley described Franklin D. Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights and the idea of a socialist United States Bill of Rights as a command economy and "regulatory socialism".[4] Other critics argue that socialism in the form of central planning is inherently incompatible with the constitutionally enforced federalism in the United States that includes a separation of powers and a degree of decentralization.[5][6] Additionally, some American socialists believe that federalism protects established political interests and wish for a constitutional amendment to change it.[7]

Similarly, about federalism in China, a centralized unitary socialist state, Wu Bangguo, former Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said: "There will be no separation of powers between the different branches of government and no federal system. It is possible that the state could sink into the abyss of internal disorder [if this happened]".[8]


  1. ^ "Gus Hall Memorial Service". C-SPAN. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  2. ^ Miles, Roberta Wood, Dee (May 1, 2016). "Bill of Rights Socialism". Communist Party USA. Retrieved 29 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b "A Social and Economic Bill of Rights". Democratic Socialists of America. December 23, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  4. ^ Ebeling, Richard (November 30, 2015). ""Democratic Socialism" Means the Loss of Liberty". Future of Freedom Foundation. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Socialism vs. The American Constitutional Structure: The Advantages Of Decentralization And Federalism". Hoover Institution. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  6. ^ "The Death of Venezuelan Federalism — and the Rise of Socialism". Mises Institute. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Why We Should Care About American Federalism". Jacobin. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  8. ^ Bristow, Michael (10 March 2011). "Chinese leader rules out democracy". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corp. Retrieved 29 March 2021.

External links[edit]