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Party for Socialism and Liberation
LeaderCentral Committee[1]
FoundedJune 2004; 19 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 co-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

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 Party for 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]


PSL protesters at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
PSL protesters at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

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

The PSL 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 Communist Revolution favorably,[28] argues that the Chinese Communist Party 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 and massacre[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 2019–2020 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

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

PSL has fielded electoral candidates for local, state, and federal offices. PSL candidates usually run as independent candidates or as third party candidates, such as with the Peace and Freedom Party or the Green Party.

No PSL candidate has yet won an election.

Presidential elections

Year Presidential candidate Vice presidential candidate Popular votes % Electoral votes Result Ballot access Ref
2020 Gloria La Riva Sunil Freeman[a] 86,239
0 Lost
191 / 538
2016 Gloria La Riva Eugene Puryear 74,027
0 Lost
112 / 538
2012 Peta Lindsay Yari Osorio 7,791
0 Lost
146 / 538
2008 Gloria La Riva Eugene Puryear 6,818
0 Lost
137 / 538

Congressional elections

Year Candidate Chamber State District Votes % Result Notes Ref
2022 José Cortés House California CA-51 3,327
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [71]
2020 José Cortés House California CA-50 1,821
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [72][73]
2014 Frank Lara House California CA-12 2,107
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [74][75]
2008 Nathalie Hrizi House California CA-12 5,793
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [76][77]

State elections

Year Candidate Office State District Votes % Result Notes Ref
2022 Noah Leininger State House Indiana 90 259
Lost ran as write-in candidate [78]
2022 Nathalie Hrizi Insurance Commissioner California n.a. 189,289
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [79]
2022 Meghann Adams State Treasurer California n.a. 242,234
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [80]
2021 Ernesto Huerta State Senate California 30 1,565
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [81]
2018 Gloria La Riva Governor California n.a. 19,075
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [82]
2018 Nathalie Hrizi Insurance Commissioner California n.a. 309,399
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [83]
2010 Carlos Alvarez Governor California n.a. 92,856
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [84]
2014 Nathalie Hrizi Insurance Commissioner California n.a. 212,991
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [85]
2010 Corey Ansel State House Ohio 22 716
Lost ran as Green Party candidate [86]
2008 Heather Benno State House Illinois 40 2,276
Lost ran as Green Party candidate [87]
2008 John Beachem State House Illinois 14 4,745
Lost ran as Green Party candidate [87]
2008 Lucilla Esguerra State Assembly California 48 11,173
Lost ran as Peace and Freedom Party candidate [88]

Local elections

Year Candidate Office City District Votes % Result Notes Ref
2024 Eduardo Vargas City Council Los Angeles 14 t.b.a. t.b.a. t.b.a. non-partisan election [89]
2023 Ana Santoyo City Council Chicago 45 895
Lost non-partisan election [90]
2021 Colin Dodson City Council Urbana 2 57
Lost ran as Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate [91][92]
2021 Cathy Rojas Mayor New York n.a. 27,982
Lost ran as Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate [93][94]
2014 Eugene Puryear City Council Washington D.C. At-Large 12,525
Lost ran as D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate [95]
2010 Stevie Merino Mayor Long Beach n.a. 5,057
Lost non-partisan election [96]
2009 Carlos Alvarez Mayor Los Angeles n.a. 3,047
Lost non-partisan election [97]
2009 Francisca Villar Mayor New York n.a. 3,517
Lost ran as Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate [98]
2008 Marylou Cabral Board of Supervisors Los Angeles 4 23,703
Lost non-partisan election [99]

Notable members

See also


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


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