The Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) is a Trotskyist political party founded in the mid-1960s as the Seattle branch of the Socialist Workers Party. Its early leaders were Richard Fraser and Clara Fraser. Still headquarteresd in Seattle, FSP also has branches in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon, as well as small affiliates in Australia and Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada).
Allied with Radical Women, FSP describes itself as “a revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers’ democracy that will guarantee full economic, social, political, and legal equality to women, people of color, gays, and all who are exploited, oppressed, and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot — imperialism.” FSP strongly supports Fidel Castro‘s Communist Cuba today, much as it backed the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong. (The organization has grown more critical of China in recent years, due to that nation’s introduction of capitalist elements into its economy.)
Calling itself “a product of the living tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky,” FSP characterizes the United States as a land where women are routinely oppressed and denied basic rights and freedoms. It claims that “racism, sexism, and heterosexism are on the order of the day” in America. FSP deems America “the leader” in the perpetration of “global abuse” against “the working class” — which, according to FSP, “must liberate itself through socialism … which alone can defeat capitalism.”
FSP endorsed an October 22, 2002 National Day of Protest exhorting Americans to rise up and “Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.” The document announcing this event stated: “Since September 11, 2001, the authorities have rapidly imposed a resoundingly repressive atmosphere. … All over the U.S. people are being killed by law enforcement officers at an escalating rate … [and] get off either completely free or with a wink and slap on the wrist. … thousands of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians have been rounded up, detained and disappeared. … Hard-won civil liberties and protections have been stripped away as part of the government’s ‘war on terrorism.’” Moreover, this document explicitly defended Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jose Padilla, Leonard Peltier, and Lynne Stewart — depicting them as persecuted political prisoners of a repressive American government.
FSP conducts weekly study groups where participants may read about and discuss issues of concern to them. One such group that met throughout the summer of 2004 dealt with “the inspiring history of the Black struggle in the United States from a Marxist viewpoint.” Another summer 2004 discussion series included readings of selected essays from Leon Trotsky’s book, Art and Revolution, as well as articles by feminist playwright Lorraine Hansberry and radical historian Howard Zinn, among others. A winter 2005 study group, which used Lenin’s pamphlet State and Revolution as a text, focused on such questions as: “Is it possible to use the ballot box to create a fundamental socialist transformation of society?”
FSP publishes a semi-monthly newspaper called The Freedom Socialist, which claims to offer “news and analysis of interest to antiwar and labor organizers, activists of color, feminists, queers and students — anyone searching for radical ideas and solutions.” This publication has issued a formal credo whose key passage reads, “Our goal is to inject the socialist movement with the revitalizing ideas of Trotskyism and feminism in order to prepare it for victory in the crucial years ahead.” [emphasis in original]
Three days after 9/11, FSP issued a statement that read, in part, as follows: “…Those behind it [9/11] were driven to act, not by Satan, but by their political experiences in a world dominated by the ‘American Empire.’ This attack was anything but ‘senseless’ … We hope to be a part of turning the tragic events of September 11 into an opportunity for education, for solidarity, and for the advancement of socialist ideals.”
The Seattle chapter of FSP was a signatory to a February 20, 2002 document condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations.
FSP is a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition.