Workers Party of Massachusetts Program
Updated at the Workers Party of Massachusetts Statewide Convention on April 8, 2023
The Workers Party of Massachusetts is a political organization of and for the working class. Our goals are to overthrow the capitalist system of exploitation and eliminate the many injustices it perpetuates, to establish working class political power, and to build a socialist economy that prioritizes the needs of people and the planet over the profit-driven interests of capital. In order to achieve these goals we unite in action around the following principles, demands, and organizing strategy.
Where We Stand
Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership and control of the means of production and their operation for extraction of profits from the labor of the working class. The working class, having no ownership or control of the resources and technology required to produce what we need to survive, has no choice but to sell our ability to work. Capitalists purchase our labor power but the wages we receive are only a fraction of the overall value we produce while at work. The surplus value generated by and stolen from workers is the source of profit for capitalists. The capitalist drive to maximize profits is the source of most of the world’s problems.
The working class, who are the vast majority of the population and whose labor produces profits, has no interest in continuing this miserable system of exploitation that only benefits a handful of capitalists. Our needs would be better served by a socialist planned economy directed by the working class in political power. Capitalism has brought forth a socialized system of production with the potential to meet the needs of humanity but first we must get rid of the capitalists who stand in the way. It is now necessary for the working class to overthrow the parasitic capitalist ruling class who seek to continue living off our labor. We need a revolution and we need socialism.
For working class solidarity
Against bigotry and systemic oppression
In order for a handful of capitalists to maintain control over a numerically superior working class it is necessary to prevent workers from recognizing our common interests and joining together to overthrow a system that exploits us. Capitalism accomplishes this by perpetuating and creating antagonistic divisions within the working class. Racism, oppression of women, ableism, discrimination against LGBTQ people, xenophobia against immigrants are among the many horrific features built into the capitalist system and necessary for its continuation. These forms of systemic oppression promoted by capitalism are reflected and reproduced in the general population as expressions of bigotry.
Opposition to both systemic oppression and individual bigotry are requirements for working class liberation. Any attempt to seize upon our differences in order to pit workers against each other must be resisted and defeated. The working class is incredibly diverse and our strength lies in our numbers. History is full of examples of workers from different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles coming together to fight and win against seemingly impossible odds. Only a working class movement that fully embodies the broadest possible solidarity between workers will be strong enough, and deserving enough, to overthrow capitalism and begin building a socialist society.
Against imperialism and war
Working class solidarity must extend beyond any individual country’s borders. Capitalism is a global system that incorporates most of the world’s population into the working class and history has shown that when workers don’t stand together we are used against each other. Imperialist wars for the division of the world and over resources are always fought by working people for the benefit of the capitalist class. It is essential that the working class oppose all US military adventures whether clearly aggressive or disguised as humanitarian missions. There are no just imperialist wars.
Imperialism consists of more than just direct military actions and occupations. Trade deals, loans, and other economic levers are used to force most of the world to submit to a handful of imperialist powers and allow the extraction of superprofits. Countries that resist are subjected to sanctions, sabotage, slander, and violent right wing movements trained and funded by the capitalist powers. It is vitally important for the working class to understand the true motivations of our ruling class when they determine the economic and military aspects of their foreign policy. In any international conflict we must take our own internationalist positions, stand in solidarity with the working class everywhere, and work for the defeat of our own ruling class.
For ecological sustainability
Against capitalist-driven destruction of the environment
Capitalism is an economic system that requires unlimited growth on a planet with finite resources. This relentless drive for profit without regard for consequences is unsustainable and is bringing us towards a global environmental disaster. Every sector of capitalist industry operates with a short-term plan and narrow interests that have no consideration for the destruction they cause. In a capitalist system this criminal assault on nature is just business as usual.
A socialist planned economy will allow for the needs of humanity to be met in a sustainable manner that respects nature and protects workers. Capitalism uses economic coercion to force workers to support the destruction of their own environment. Socialism will eliminate the waste and environmental destruction caused by the reckless pursuit of profits and will guarantee that workers don’t lose their standard of living and be left behind by industrial and technological changes.
For political independence of the working class
Against support for the parties of capitalism
The capitalist class already has two political parties of their own. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are organizations built to uphold the capitalist system. The ruling class has differences among themselves when it comes to the specific ways that the working class should be exploited but they are united in their commitment to a destructive system that has outlived its usefulness. Until we develop a party of our own we will continue to be used and betrayed by parties that rule against our interests.
The working class needs an independent political organization of our own. We need a workers party that rejects capitalism and fights for a socialist future. A genuine workers party needs to rely on mass working class support, reject corporate money and influence, and use election campaigns to expose the true nature of the system and to build power in the streets. By uniting in political action around a revolutionary socialist program we can begin to build working class power.
For a revolutionary transformation of society
Against liberal reformism
A revolutionary transformation of society is no easy task. Capitalists are conscious of their privileged class position and will resort to violent repression to maintain their hold on power. The capitalist state, which protects and serves the system of exploitation that it arises from, is a monopoly of organized violence for enforcement of the status quo. Evidence of this can be seen at any picket line of striking workers- the police always protect the capitalists. In order to overcome the resistance of the ruling class it is necessary for workers to be conscious of our class position within the system and to organize ourselves into a political force capable of fighting for our liberation from capitalism.
As we advance towards socialism it will be necessary to fight to limit the worst abuses of capitalism and to improve the material conditions of the working class. These struggles for reforms can strengthen our political organizations and elevate our class consciousness but we can never deceive ourselves into believing liberal illusions that capitalism can be changed into something harmless or reformed out of existence. As long as the capitalist class is allowed to exist none of our hard won gains will be safe from rollbacks and reversals. Only working class political power guided by socialist principles can defeat the capitalist ruling class and their miserable system of exploitation.
There is no roadmap to socialism but there is a rich history of international working class struggle to guide us in our practice today. The working class should seek inspiration and learn lessons from both the successes and failures of past socialist revolutions, workers movements, and struggles of oppressed peoples around the world. Only by drawing on this experience and applying it to the material conditions we face today can we develop the class consciousness and political organization needed to overthrow capitalism, establish a socialist economy, and begin building a society free of class distinctions.
Our Immediate Demands and Aims
Expanded workers' rights – Living wage for all workers – Restoration of double time on Sundays for retail workers in Massachusetts – End wage theft and punish criminal employers – Job safety standards to prevent deaths and injuries – End union busting – Support strikes, organizing drives, and worker mobilizations
Tax the rich – Progressive income tax to make the rich pay for education, healthcare, and other social programs – Repeal all taxes, fees, and tolls that shift the tax burden onto the working class – Use of eminent domain to protect local industry and prevent capital flight
Full voting rights in state and local elections for all residents regardless of immigration status – Reduce the statewide voting age to 16 – Institute the right to recall all elected officials
Immediate construction of public housing in every community across Massachusetts – Local democratic tenant control of all public housing - Bring back rent control – Stop criminalizing homelessness – Repeal anti-camping laws, anti-panhandling laws, and any other laws that target and punish unhoused people - Oppose hostile architecture -Restrict banks from foreclosing on and evicting working class people facing hardships – End “cash for keys” and other slumlord eviction schemes - Ban rental application fees and the use of credit scores in the rental application process - Support efforts to organize tenants unions and other organizations to secure housing for all.
Socialized healthcare and medicine for all – Expand community health centers – Free abortion and reproductive healthcare
Free drug rehabilitation programs, to fight the opioid epidemic – Rebuild and expand Long Island homeless shelters and rehabilitation facilities – Create safe injection sites, needle exchange programs, and other forms of harm reduction.
Free and expanded public transportation – End MBTA privatization and union busting – Transportation officials should be elected, not appointed, and should receive the pay of an average worker
Free college and technical school – Cancel student debt – End the poverty draft – Military recruiters out of our schools – Free child care, all day kindergarten, and early education programs – Oppose charter schools
Police abolition – Recognition of historical role of police as slavecatchers and strikebreakers – Support for reforms that dismantle repressive state institutions and redirect resources to community needs – Rejection of increased funding for body cameras, specialized training, or similar false reforms - Advocate for the expulsion of police organizations from the labor movement – No military equipment for local police – Stop Massachusetts State Police from receiving counterinsurgency training or training in the apartheid state of Israel - Remove all fees related to public records requests - Build movements in the streets to promote these demands and organize the working class for community self-defense
End racial profiling – Decriminalize drug possession – Decriminalize sex work – Repeal all laws used to harass, terrorize, and oppress the working class
Respect the right to privacy – Dismantle the high-tech police state – End the use of facial recognition technology and license plate scanners
End mass incarceration – No new prisons in Massachusetts – Voting rights for prisoners – Technical and college-level education for prisoners – Immediately release and clear the records of all non-violent drug offenders – Create alternative justice structures to facilitate the abolition of the prison industrial complex – Freedom for class war and political prisoners – End exploitative prison labor practices – Living wage for all prison labor
Repeal and oppose gun laws that restrict the self-defense of working class and oppressed people
An ecosocialist economic policy with just transition provisions for displaced workers in the energy industry – No new pipelines or fossil fuel projects in Massachusetts – Require union labor with accredited apprenticeship programs for all maintenance and improvements to existing energy and transportation infrastructure.
Ban the use of Native American mascots at all public schools – Celebrate Indigenous People's Day statewide - Include curriculum on Indigenous history and cultures in Massachusetts public schools – Respect sovereignty of tribal lands in Massachusetts – Acknowledgement that the USA is a settler-colonial country built on stolen land – Land back to indigenous people of Massachusetts
Funding for veterans programs that seek justice for veterans and victims of war – Increase public awareness of the causes and costs of war – Tax Massachusetts weapons manufacturers to fill the gaps caused by cuts and privatization at the Veterans Administration
Full rights and protections for immigrants and migrant workers regardless of immigration status – ICE out of Massachusetts – Free the detainees being held in concentration camps
Full rights and protections for all people who have faced systemic oppression under capitalism – Black liberation – Women’s liberation – LGBTQ liberation – Disability liberation – End housing, employment, and other forms of discrimination against oppressed people – Affirmative action programs to correct past injustices and make workplaces and government institutions to reflect the diversity of the working class - Removal of gender markers from Massachusetts drivers licenses and state-issued IDs due to potential for targeting and discrimination.
Strategy, Tactics, and Conduct of Workers Party Candidates
The fundamental strategy of the Workers Party of Massachusetts is to mobilize mass actions of the working class and oppressed people to fight against the rule of capitalism and ultimately establish working class political power. Running candidates for political office on a revolutionary socialist program is one way to promote our strategic aim and broadly spread our message to new people and areas but we must never fool ourselves into thinking the current system will simply allow us to vote socialism into existence. In addition to electoral work, The Workers Party of Massachusetts will make use of a variety of diverse tactics to build working class power in the streets, where the most important decisions of history are settled.
The Workers Party of Massachusetts is not a typical political party full of professional politicians pursuing individual aims. Our party is made up of members of the working class who are deeply involved in movements for social and economic justice. Our candidates will run on a shared program and stand for working class values instead of big business special interests. The Workers Party of Massachusetts also believes that no elected or appointed government official should receive pay that exceeds the wage of an average worker. Any candidate elected from our party would return a portion of their salary to working class organizations and movements in the communities they represent.
The Workers Party of Massachusetts believes in creating a new kind of political action – one that mobilizes the broad working class that lives throughout our state to build and participate in a revolutionary socialist movement. There are vast working class suburbs and small cities in Massachusetts where the material conditions call for socialist politics and it is way past time that we answer this call. We need to create an organizing model that pushes out into new areas and breaks our political isolation by taking advantage of the rising popularity of socialist ideas. We believe that the Workers Party of Massachusetts is a positive step in that direction and we invite you to join us.