The Peace and Freedom Party, born from the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism, racial equality, and internationalism.

The opening sentence of the Party platform has provoked questions such as, “Why are you for socialism?” or “What is socialism?” The answer is not simple, because the Peace and Freedom Party is a ‘multi-tendency’ party.” People from different organizations, as well as those without other affiliation, can be members of the Peace and Freedom Party.

We asked members of the PFP to provide their definition of socialism, both to answer the question and to illustrate the range of opinions within the party and the Socialist movement in general. Below runs part two in our continuing series, “What is Socialism?”


Socialism, like capitalism, is an economic system. Unlike capitalism, socialism is to be run by the rank-and-file workers and people in general. Under capitalism, the major means of production and distribution, and capital, are owned, managed and controlled by the capitalists alone as dictators or as corporate oligarchies often referred to as boards of directors. Workers have little or no say about the operation, working conditions, wages, and benefits unless they have a strong labor organization. However, unions are now very weak and their density has decreased greatly.

In contrast, a socialist economic system is one in which the people as a whole own, democratically control, and manage the basic means of production, distribution, and financial institutions. Parties and organizations that support socialism organize for a better world where people will work and play collectively. Their dream is for free, high-quality education and health care; decent housing for everyone; a restored clean and healthy environment; clothing for the whole society; and enough good healthy food to go around.

This requires a revolutionary change in the way many of our friends view society.

–written by C.T. Weber

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