Party for Socialism and Liberation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Party for Socialism and Liberation
LeaderCentral Committee[1]
FoundedJune 2004; 18 years ago (2004-06)[2]
Split fromWorkers World Party
NewspaperLiberation News
Political positionFar-left
International affiliationInternational Peoples' Assembly[5]
Colors  Red
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) is a communist party in the United States established in 2004.[3] Its members are active in a wide range of movements including the labor, anti-war, immigrants' rights, women's rights, and anti-police brutality movements. It has been closely tied to the ANSWER Coalition throughout its existence; PSL founder Brian Becker is ANSWER's National Coordinator.[6] Other prominent members include Gloria La Riva, Michael Prysner, and Eugene Puryear.


The PSL, which initially had around 40 members, was formed when the San Francisco branch and other members left the Workers World Party in June 2004, announcing that "the Workers World Party leadership is no longer capable of fulfilling [the] mission" of building socialism.[7][8] Its co-founders included Richard Becker and Gloria La Riva.[7] During that time, it has operated out of a small storefront in San Francisco's Mission District.[7] By 2019, it said it had members in 90 cities.[7]

The PSL ran La Riva and Sunil Freeman in the 2020 United States presidential election.[9][10] Originally Leonard Peltier was the vice-presidential nominee, but he withdrew for health reasons.[11][12][13]

Arrest of Denver PSL organizers[edit]

Following a series of protests in the summer of 2020 against the death of Elijah McClain, the Aurora Police Department arrested four protest organizers, including two members of the Socialism and Liberation, on charges ranging from inciting a riot to kidnapping.[14] The kidnapping charges related to a protest on July 3 where the Aurora police precinct was surrounded by protesters calling for the officers responsible for McClain's death to be fired and charged. On September 17, three party members, Joel Northam, Lillian House, Eliza Lucero, and another community activist, Terrance Roberts, were arrested.[15] House, Lucero, and Northam faced up to 48 years in prison.[16][17] The activists argued that their arrests were an act of retaliation and intimidation by the police.[15][18]

After their appearance in court on March 26, 2021, an Adams county judge dropped the kidnapping charges, but the organizers were still being pursued for numerous other felonies and misdemeanors for over five more months.[17] It wasn't until September 13, 2021 that all charges were finally dropped.[19]


The party's goal is to lead a revolution paving the way towards socialism, under which a "new government of working people" would be formed. The PSL proposes many radical changes to be implemented by this government. In the political sphere, all elected representatives should be recallable, securing freedom of speech for the working class and the elimination of corporate influence through lobbying from politics. The party's program states: "Achieving fully developed socialism, a goal that has not yet been achieved anywhere, will open the way to communism and the end of class society."[20]


The PSL describes its primary goal as the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the institution of socialism, stating:[21]

The Party for Socialism and Liberation believes that the only solution to the deepening crisis of capitalism is the socialist transformation of society. Driven by an insatiable appetite for ever greater profits regardless of social cost, capitalism is on a collision course with the people of the world and the planet itself. Imperialist war; deepening unemployment and poverty; deteriorating health care, housing and education; racism; discrimination and violence based on gender and sexual orientation; environmental destruction—all are inevitable products of the capitalist system itself. The idea that the capitalists’ grip on society and their increasingly repressive state can be abolished through any means other than a revolutionary overturn is an illusion...There are really only two choices for humanity today—an increasingly destructive capitalism, or socialism.


The PSL would, among other measures, prohibit the exploitation of labor for private profit, implement a working week of 30 hours, introduce a basic income guarantee, ensure paid parental and family leave for up to two years, provide paid sick and disability leave, require a minimum of one month's paid vacation, institute single payer health insurance, outlaw renting and selling land, provide free college, and eliminate fossil fuels and nuclear energy.[20]


The PSL would grant the right of self-determination to what it considers oppressed nations of the United States, including "African Americans, Native, Puerto Rican and other Latino national minorities, the Hawaiian nation, Asian, Pacific Islander, Arab, and other oppressed peoples who have experienced oppression as a whole people under capitalism".[20] It would grant independence to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Mariana Islands, which it considers colonies.

Foreign policy[edit]

It has been outspoken in condemning Israel and its role in the Middle East. The PSL led demonstrations against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in July 2006 and supports the right of return for Palestinians.[22] The PSL voiced solidarity with Nepal upon the overthrow of the monarchy and the election of Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2008.[23]

The PSL generally views other self-described socialist countries favorably. It supports Cuba and mourned the death of its former President Fidel Castro;[24] additionally, it has endorsed activities that called for the release of the Cuban Five—deemed political prisoners by supporters—and called for the extradition of anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles from the United States.[25] It supports the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Historically, it has described the Soviet Union positively, saying that the October Revolution was "the single biggest event that shaped global politics in the 20th century".[26] However, it believes that the New Economic Policy of Vladimir Lenin "led to a re-polarization of social classes, especially in the countryside".[26] The PSL blames the reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev for the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[26]

While the PSL has at times been critical of the Chinese government, particularly for failing to uphold certain communist ideals like the abolition of private property,[27] it views the Chinese Revolution favorably,[28] argues that the Communist Party of China has made important contributions to socialism and anti-imperialism, and argues that, despite its flaws, a "militant political defense of the Chinese government" is necessary to stave off "counterrevolution, imperialist intervention and dismemberment".[27][29] The PSL has generally defended China's human rights records, denying, for instance, the premise that the Chinese military massacred student protestors in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests[30] and that China maintains a system of internment camps in Xinjiang.[31] The PSL supports China's policies towards Tibet[32] and opposed the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, calling them "chauvinist", "separatist", and "anti-China".[33][31]

The stance of the PSL on North Korea is that the country is often unfairly targeted and that the goal of the United States is regime change. The PSL advocates a significant overhaul of US foreign policy towards North Korea, including the lifting of sanctions on North Korea, the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea, and the signing of a peace treaty.[34][35][36] The PSL is supportive of North Korea's nuclear weapons program;[37][38] in the PSL's official newspaper, for instance, Stephan Gowans argued that a North Korean nuclear arsenal is "to be welcomed by anyone who opposes imperialist military interventions; supports the right of a people to organize its affairs free from foreign domination; and has an interest in the survival of one of the few top-to-bottom, actually-existing, alternatives to the global capitalist system of oppression, exploitation and foreign domination".[39] PSL has also expressed skepticism towards Western claims of North Korea's human rights record,[40][41] arguing that "conditions in North Korea are vastly better than those in other developing countries" and stating that condemnations of North Korea's human rights records are "thinly veiled justification[s] for U.S. aggression toward North Korea".[41]

The PSL opposes the American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War, arguing that the United States' goal is "the projection of permanent imperial power and domination in a region that contains two-thirds of the world's oil reserves".[42][43] It has generally been supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian military efforts in Syria,[44][45][43][46] and denies the conclusion of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)[47] and other international organizations[48][49] that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, which are banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention.[50][44]

The PSL has been critical of certain intergovernmental organizations, particularly international economic institutions like the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Its official newspaper published an article stating that the "WTO is one of many institutions, like the G8, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that undermine the sovereignty of nations by forcing the implementation of disastrous neoliberal economic policies of privatization, liberalization and deregulation".[51] It has further argued that "the IMF works on behalf of multinational corporations, finding natural resources, sweatshop laborers, and consumers for Western capitalism's surplus production" and has called the G20 an "instrument of capitalist plunder".[52][53] It has also called the International Criminal Court a "fake court that has been used as a tool by the imperialists against those resisting imperialist aggression".[35]


The PSL co-operates with other organizations across the United States in the anti-war movement[54] and is a member of the steering committee of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition (A.N.S.W.E.R.). As one of the most active members of the coalition, the PSL has gained notice for successfully forging ties with Arab and Muslim American groups such as the Muslim American Society, Al-Awda and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.[55] The PSL has advocated for the end of the United States military presence in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, and the closure of all United States foreign military bases.[56]

Criminal justice[edit]

A PSL supporter protesting against the 2021 killing of Ma'Khia Bryant

The PSL advocates "the overthrow, dismantling and complete replacement" of the "police, prisons, military and courts" of the United States.[57] It supports replacing the current legal system of the United States with a "new justice system based on the democratic organization of the working class and its right to defend its class interests on the basis of solidarity and unity" and advocates reorganizing the prison system around "social education and rehabilitation".[20]


The party's main publication is the website and monthly paper Liberation News,[58] which replaced a quarterly magazine, Socialism and Liberation.[59] The PSL also publishes Breaking the Chains: A Socialist Perspective on Women's Liberation, a quarterly socialist and feminist magazine,[60] and Reds In Ed, a monthly newsletter initiated by teachers who are members of the PSL.[61] Additionally, the PSL publishes Liberation School, which publishes longer-form analysis, Party documents, interviews, and educational resources including study guides, curricula, and video and audio courses.[62]

The PSL outlines its political perspective, including its assessment of the current international and domestic situation, in the pamphlet Who We Are, What We Stand For.[63] The party also owns its own printing company, PSL Publications, through which it has published multiple printed books such as Socialists and War: Two Opposing Trends by members Mazda Majidi and Brian Becker[64] and an e-book which was released through Amazon titled A Woman's Place Is in the Struggle by members Ana Maria Ramirez, Anne Gamboni, Gloria La Riva and Liz Lowengard.[65] The PSL's publication company, Liberation Media, is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Election results[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Year Candidate(s) Popular votes Percentage Electoral votes Ballot access
2008 6,818[66] 0.01% 0
137 / 538
7,791[68] 0.01% 0
146 / 538
  • President: Gloria La Riva
  • Vice President: Eugene Puryear
74,027[69] 0.05% 0
112 / 538
85,623[70] 0.05% 0
191 / 538

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Replacing Leonard Peltier, who remained on the ballot in Minnesota and Illinois.


  1. ^ "15 years of building the Party, growing and learning". Liberation. June 21, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Socialism and Liberation magazine is changing". Archived February 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "'No separate destiny for US workers apart from the workers of the world'". International Communist Press. October 1, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2019. We are a communist party.
  4. ^ "Revolution Manifesto". Liberation School. 28 August 2016.
  5. ^ "International Process".
  6. ^ "Brian Becker — Liberation News". Liberation News — The Newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Party for Socialism and Liberation. Retrieved 8 October 2020. Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition. He is a founder of and a central organizer for the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
  7. ^ a b c d "Local socialists see the "fog of anti-communism" lifting". Mission Local. 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  8. ^ "Party for Socialism and Liberation: People's Struggle and the Socialist Revolution". August 1, 2004.
  9. ^ Kumar, Arun (2020-10-30). "The other Indian American running for US vice president". The American Bazaar. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  10. ^ "Presidential candidates on Colorado's November 2020 ballot". The Denver Post – Colorado breaking news, sports, business, weather, entertainment. (in Kinyarwanda). 2020-08-19. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  11. ^ Schoenburg, Bernard (2020-07-20). "Kanye West files for president in Illinois". State Journal-Register. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  12. ^ Benjamin Cox (2020-07-21). "Independents, Third Parties File For General Election Ballot". WLDS. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  13. ^ The Tribune India (2020-10-20). "2nd Indian-origin candidate running for US Vice-President". Tribuneindia News Service. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  14. ^ "Protesters, demonstration leaders arrested in connection to rallies in Aurora". MediaNews Group, Inc. 17 September 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  15. ^ a b Kaplan, Noah (10 November 2020). "The Election May Be Over, but Their Fight Has Just Begun". Denver Westword. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  16. ^ Lizarrega, Lori (3 January 2021). "Preliminary hearing approaching for PSL protestors facing dozens of felony charges". KUSA-TV. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  17. ^ a b Ricciardi, Tiney (25 March 2021). "Judge throws out attempted-kidnapping charges against Aurora protest leaders". The Denver Post. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Denver BLM Activists and PSL Members Arrested, Charged with Multiple Felonies". Left Voice. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  19. ^ "ALL charges dropped: Total victory over Aurora political prosecution".
  20. ^ a b c d "Program of the Party for Socialism and Liberation". Liberation School. Party for Socialism and Liberation. July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  21. ^ "About the Party for Socialism and Liberation". Party for Socialism and Liberation. Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  22. ^ "PSL statement: Solidarity with the Palestinian people". Liberation News. November 29, 2018.
  23. ^ "Ferment in Nepal: A dynamic vortex of revolutionary change". January 3, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  24. ^ "Miguel Fraga: Until forever, Commander – Liberation News". Liberation News. November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  25. ^ Cuba Solidarity Campaign Archived July 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  26. ^ a b c Becker, Brian. "Socialism and the legacy of the Soviet Union". Why Socialism?. Party for Socialism and Liberation. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  27. ^ a b Becker, Brian (31 May 2007). "What do socialists defend in China today?". Liberation School.
  28. ^ "For the defense of China against counterrevolution, imperialist intervention and dismemberment". Liberation School. 31 May 2007. The Chinese Revolution of 1925 to 1949 was one of the greatest events and achievements in the history of the working-class struggle for emancipation.
  29. ^ "PSL commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution". Liberation News. October 1, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  30. ^ Becker, Brian (13 June 2014). "Tiananmen: The Massacre that Wasn't". Liberation School. What happened in China, what took the lives of government opponents and of soldiers on June 4, was not a massacre of peaceful students but a battle between PLA soldiers and armed detachments from the so-called pro-democracy movement.
  31. ^ a b Smolarek, Walter (14 May 2020). "Why China is not the aggressor". Liberation News.
  32. ^ "China, Tibet and U.S.-sponsored counterrevolution". Liberation School. 1 April 2008.
  33. ^ Au, Alex (29 July 2019). "Extradition bill is dead, so why are Hong Kong protests continuing?". Liberation News.
  34. ^ Wood, Preston. "U.S. escalates hostility vs. North Korea: False charges on human rights – Liberation News".
  35. ^ a b Staff, Liberation. "Editorial: The U.S., not the DPRK, threatens peace – Liberation News".
  36. ^ Ford, Derek (19 March 2021). "U.S. Military "War Games" Against North Korea Justified as "Defense Measure" While North Korea Has Never Invaded, Bombed, or Occupied Any Country". Hampton Institute. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  37. ^ Liberation Staff (11 October 2006). "Flyer: 'North Korea has the right to possess nuclear weapons'". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019.
  38. ^ Farine, Jessie (7 March 2016). "North Korea faces harshest UN sanctions yet". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019.
  39. ^ Gowans, Stephan (23 February 2013). "Why North Korea is developing nuclear weapons". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020.
  40. ^ Beacham, John (2 February 2015). "West's favorite North Korean defector lied to UN". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020.
  41. ^ a b Wang, Mike (26 March 2014). "UN hypocrisy and human rights in North Korea". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 11 November 2020.
  42. ^ "ANSWER statement against the U.S. bombing of Syria". Liberation News. 23 September 2014.
  43. ^ a b Majidi, Mazda (28 March 2016). "Will the U.S. abandon 'Assad must go'?". Liberation News.
  44. ^ a b "Confronting the impending war danger against Syria [PSL Statement]". Liberation News. 10 April 2018.
  45. ^ Syrian Communist Party (14 December 2016). "Syrian Communist Party (Unified): Syria facing "barbarous imperialist aggression"". Liberation News.
  46. ^ Cornish, Megan (February 2013). "A political critique of the Party for Socialism and Liberation". Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  47. ^ Hansler, Jennifer (8 April 2020). "Report finds Syrian government forces responsible for 2017 chemical attacks". CNN.
  48. ^ "Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012–2018 | Arms Control Association". United Nations Arms Control Association. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019.
  49. ^ "Third report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism". United Nations Security Council. 24 August 2016.
  50. ^ Majidi, Mazda (6 September 2013). "12 myths and facts about Syria". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Myth: There is evidence that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. Fact: Despite vague claims of having proof, not only does the U.S. government have no evidence, it has worked hard to suppress any real investigation into what actually happened in suburban Damascus on Aug. 21...The Syrian government had no incentive to use chemical weapons and every reason not to.
  51. ^ Hrizi, Nathalie (1 February 2006). "Protests greet WTO meetings in Hong Kong". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019.
  52. ^ Becker, Ben (1 September 2004). "The politics of globalization". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019.
  53. ^ Brown, Ryan (5 September 2009). "G-20: instrument of capitalist plunder". Liberation News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019.
  54. ^ "Paul Le Blanc: Revolutionary organisation and the 'Occupy moment'". February 16, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  55. ^ Kanowitz, Saul (July 25, 2006). "Al-Awda convention shows solidarity with Palestine and Lebanon". Liberation News. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  56. ^ "Part 2: The U.S. drive for global domination". Party for Socialism and Liberation. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  57. ^ Party for Socialism and Liberation (11 July 2020). "How will the police be abolished? A Marxist perspective". Liberation School.
  58. ^ Webmaster, PSL. "Liberation News: reporting from the front-line of struggle". Liberation News. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  59. ^ "Socialism and Liberation magazine is changing". June 5, 2007. January 7, 2018.
  60. ^ "About Breaking the Chains – Breaking the Chains". Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  61. ^ "RedsInEd". 2020-03-13. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  62. ^ "Our Mission | Liberation School". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  63. ^ "Program of the Party for Socialism and Liberation: What We're Fighting For". Archived from the original on February 6, 2006. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  64. ^ "Socialists and war: two opposing trends".
  65. ^ Ramirez, Ana Maria; Gamboni, Anne; Riva, Gloria La; Lowengard, Liz; Lindsay, Peta (March 4, 2013). "A Woman's Place Is in the Struggle". PSL Publications. Retrieved August 15, 2017 – via Amazon.
  66. ^ "Federal Elections 2018" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. July 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  67. ^ Austin, Sharon (2020-08-11). "Before Kamala Harris became Biden's running mate, Shirley Chisholm and other Black women aimed for the White House". The Conversation. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  68. ^ "Federal Elections 2012" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. July 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  69. ^ "Official 2016 Presidential General Election Results" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. January 30, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  70. ^ "Official 2020 Presidential General Election Results" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. January 28, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  71. ^ Meet Eugene Puryear Archived 2008-05-01 at the Wayback Machine at, accessed 24 June 2020,
  72. ^ Syd Fablo. "Jodi Dean – Crowds and Party". Rock Salted blog. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  73. ^ Medina, Justine (July 9, 2021). "Black queer socialist makes history, winning Democratic primary in Harlem". Peoples' World. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  74. ^ @JonSiebels (21 September 2020). "@cmg @Eve6 @OurLadyPeace @ThirdEyeBlind @pslweb I'm also a candidate ;)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]