Proposed resolution submitted by the Indiana District to the 27th National Convention of the Communist Party USA, September 2001
Whereas: There has been a great deal of discussion in the CPUSA, recently of the concept of BILL OF RIGHTS SOCIALISM. Articles have appeared in our press, the discussion bulletin, Pre-Convention documents, and on the Yahoo! e-board. If this concept is adopted as a policy and/or project of the CPUSA, it is imperative to develop a socialist approach to the Bill of Rights as well, and
Whereas: A positive beginning to this approach is found in the suggested new preamble to the CPUSA constitution, which advocates: "...an expanded Bill of Rights, the right to a job at union wages, free education through the university level, free health care, decent housing, child care and security in old age..." A similar approach is seen in some of the posts to the Yahoo! board, and
Whereas: The one clear example we have of what a socialist bill of rights would look like may be found in the constitutions of the USSR and other socialist countries, now and before the 1989-91 events, and
Whereas: In both the Soviet Constitutions of 1936, and 1977, [articles 118 and 40 respectively] the very first right guaranteed to all is the right to work, and choice of job or profession based on inclination, training, etc. Rights guaranteed by the socialist system included free vocational training, free health care, rest, leisure and free vacations at government resorts, fully paid disability [and also the right of the disabled to work if they choose ] social security, housing and education., and
Whereas: Women were guaranteed equal rights in all spheres. The state protected marriage and the family, and provided stipends for childbirth, while at the same time guaranteed the right to return to work, day care, paid pre- and maternity leave .There was no contradiction between protective provisions and equal rights provisions, and remember, these were all constitutional, not statutory guarantees. The constitution of the GDR abolished the concept of illegitimacy, [a key ideological weapon of the ultra-right] and guaranteed homosexual rights long before the modern LGBT rights movement. To this day the FRG has neither provision in its constitution, and
Whereas: All of the positive rights to speech, assembly, religion and due legal process were present, but also rights of culture, cultural expression in one's own language, and privacy were there too, and
Whereas: Many questions still remain about a bill of rights under socialism: do we want to extend the freedom of assembly and speech to nazis and the klan? Do we really want to extend freedom of religion to Christian identity and hate churches? Do we really want to honor the "takings of private property" clause? These are some of the questions that have made the issue so contentious. One thing is certain: Communism is NOT 21st century American Constitutionalism.
Therefore Be it Resolved:
In light of the possibility of this concept of Bill of Rights Socialism becoming Party policy.
That any notion of Bill of Rights Socialism adopted by the CPUSA be based on, but not limited to, the political, economic and social rights guaranteed in the existing socialist constitutions and in the pre-1989-91 socialist constitutions too.
Be it further resolved:
That the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights has some valuable people's concepts that must be constantly and vigorously fought for under capitalism, but that this Bill of Rights, rooted in capitalism, cannot serve as a platform for socialism. The Party must fight for a Bill of Rights rooted in Socialism.