|Socialist Party USA: Constitution
The article of this organization shall be the Socialist Party of the
United States of America, hereinafter called “the Party.”
The purpose of the Party is to establish by democratic means a new
society based on democratic socialism in which democracy is extended
from politics to the economy and where production of goods and services
is based on human need instead of private profit, a society in which
all exploitation has been abolished and where human rights will come
before property rights.
Section 1: Every person who is a resident or citizen of the United
States, its territories, commonwealths, or possessions, who subscribes
to the principles of the Party, shall be eligible for membership.
Section 2: A member in good standing is a member that has remitted dues
to the Party and has signed the statement in section 3 below. Members
in arrears in the membership dues for three months or more are no
longer in good standing. Members not in good standing shall not be
entitled to hold party office nor vote in any Party election or
Section 3: Every applicant for enrollment as a member in good standing
of the Party shall sign the following membership application: “I, the
undersigned, desiring to bring about by democratic means a new society
based on democratic socialism, hereby apply for membership in the
Socialist Party of the United States of America and subscribe to its
Section 4: Applications for enrollment as a member in good standing of
the Party at-large shall be acted upon by the National Secretary or
National Action Committee and are subject to review by the National
Committee in unorganized states, and by state committees in organized
Section 1: State organizations may be chartered by the National
Committee upon the application of one or more locals in a state. For
purposes of chartering state organizations, the District of Columbia,
Guam, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and all other lands under the
jurisdiction of the United States of America shall be considered states.
Section 2: Local organizations may be chartered by the State Executive
Committee, or the State Convention, upon the application of five or
more members in an area. A copy of the completed charter application
must be filed with the National Office. A local organization may apply
to the National Committee for a charter if: (a) The next meeting of the
State Executive Committee is not scheduled within three months
subsequent to the filing of a copy of the completed charter application
with the National Office. (b) The local organization has not received a
response from the state organization within three months of filing a
copy of the complete charter application with the National Office, and
the local in formation has made a good faith effort to notify the state
organization of its desire to charter, and provide written notice to
the state organization of intent to apply with the national committee.
Section 3: Where there is no state organization, or where the state
organization is non-responsive or non-functional, the National Action
Committee has the authority to charter local organizations.
Section 4: State or Local organizations chartered by the National
Committee or National Action Committee must submit regular reports to
the National Committee as requested. a) Organizations which do not
report will be subject to automatic charter revocation. b) The National
Committee is empowered to draft rules on reporting.
Section 1: The affairs of the Party shall be administered by the
National Committee, the National Action Committee, and the Party’s
officers and subcommittees.
Section 2: National referenda, national conventions, and National
Committee decisions and policies shall take precedence over conflicting
state and local decisions. In all other respects, state and local
organizations shall have full powers.
Section 3: State organizations hold their authority subject to the
National Committee which grants their charters and may for cause revoke
that charter after a hearing. Revocation of the state charter may be
appealed to the National Committee and the national convention.
Section 4: Local organizations hold their authority subject to the
State Committee or the National Action Committee, whichever grants
their charter. Local charters may be revoked for cause after a
hearing. Revocation of a local charter may be appealed to the State
Committee, National Action Committee, and National Committee.
VI: Political Action
Section 1: The decision to run state and local candidates under the
banner of the Party shall be left to the discretion of the state and
Section 2: In the absence of Socialist Party candidates, members as
individuals may vote for, endorse, or support candidates of other
political parties. Members as individuals may run for political office
as candidates of other political parties only with the approval of the
National Committee, and of the state or local organization, with the
exception of political parties previously approved by the National
Convention or the National Committee.
Section 3: State and local organizations of the Party may run
candidates for political office in other political parties only with
the approval of the National Committee.
Section 4: State and local organizations of the Party may endorse,
support, or form joint party tickets with similar independent political
parties only with the approval of the National Committee.
Section 5: State and local organization of the Party may endorse,
support, or run candidates for non-partisan political office.
Section 6: State and local organizations for the Party shall not merge
with any other political party or group.
Section 1: National dues policy shall be set by the National Committee.
State and local organizations may set their own dues rates.
Section 2: No applicant shall be enrolled as a member in good standing
of the Party without payment of the specified dues unless exemption is
granted by the National Action Committee or the National Committee.
Section 3: The National Committee shall establish policies for the
National Office to maintain the membership roles consistent with the
provisions of Article III.
VIII: National Conventions
Section 1: The national convention of the Socialist Party shall have
final authority in all matters of principles, policies, constitution,
and national platform, which are all subject to referendum.
Section 2: National conventions shall be held in every odd-numbered
year, the time and place to be determined by the National Committee.
Special conventions are limited to those purposes set forth in the
Section 3: The National Committee shall establish policies for the
National Office to maintain the membership rolls consistent with the
provisions of Article III. (a) The National Committee shall determine
the total number of delegates to the convention. Delegates shall be
apportioned on the basis of total Party members in good standing.
Delegates must have been members of the Party at least six months
preceding the convention. The six months membership requirement may be
waived by a majority vote of the National Committee or the national
convention in cases where a local has no available candidates for
delegates with six months membership in sufficient number to fill the
delegate seats to which they are entitled. (b) i: All delegations to
the National Convention shall have equal number of men and women,
except: 1. odd-numbered delegations may have one more woman or man, and
2: single-person delegations are exempt. ii: Any delegation which fails
to achieve gender parity [as defined in (b) (1) above] shall have the
delegation’s total number of votes reduced to the size of a balanced
delegation (the equal number of men and women, plus one) by the
Credentials Committee, unless the Credential Committee is persuaded
that the state/local has made a good faith effort to meet the gender
requirements. (c) Where there is a state organization, the state
organization shall conduct delegate elections. If minorities exist,
they shall be guaranteed representation by proportional representation.
State organizations shall also send delegates on the basis of
male/female parity. (d) Where there is no state organization, locals
shall elect their delegates through the same procedure. (e) The
National Action committee shall conduct delegate elections among
members at large where there is no state or local organization. The
National Action Committee shall attempt to ensure female/male parity
among the at-large delegates. (f) The National Action Committee shall
fix the amount of the registration fee.
Section 4: The national convention shall elect the National Chair or
Co-Chair of the Party. (a) Vacancies in the office of National Chair
shall be filled by the National Committee. (b) The term of office for
the National Chair shall be for the interval between regular
Section 5: The national convention shall elect two National Vice-Chairs
of the Party.
Section 6: The national convention shall nominate candidates for
President and Vice-President of the United States at the conventions in
the odd-numbered years immediately preceding the election years a)
after the national platform has been adopted, b) unless any such
convention decides by a roll call vote of a majority of delegates
present not to nominate for those offices, and c) according to a
roll-call vote of a simple majority of those delegates voting, through
a process of roll-call run-off voting that eliminates the candidate
with the lowest vote, in each run off, until a simple majority has
chosen the nominee (b) Nominations shall be made after the adoption of
the national platform.
Section 7: The national convention or the National Committee shall
determine the site of the National Office.
IX: National Committee
Section 1: The National Committee shall be the governing body of the
Party, with authority to set policies and direct actions in accordance
with national convention discussions.
Section 2: The National Committee shall consist of all National
Committee members, the National Chair or Co-Chairs, and the National
Vice-Chairs. Members of the National Committee must have been members
of the Party or its merged affiliates at least one year preceding the
convention. Female/male parity shall be required on the National
Section 3: The term of office for National Committee members shall be
the interval between regular conventions. (a) Vacancies in the National
Committee shall be filled by the alternate receiving the highest vote
in the previous convention. (b) In the event a member is unable to
attend a meeting of the National Committee, that member may designate
and alternative to take said seat for that meeting. (c) If a member of
the National Committee fails to designate an alternate, an alternate
shall be seated by the National Committee in the order of the election
Section 4: National Committee meetings shall be called at least once
every six months except by two-third consent of all National Committee
members. (a) Special meetings of the National Committee may be called
by a majority mail vote of the total membership of the National
Committee. (b) A quorum of any National Committee meeting shall be at
least half of all National Committee members. (c) The National
Committee may take action by mail vote. A motion put to a mail vote of
the National Committee is considered passed if approved by a majority
of the total membership of the National Committee. (d) A motion put for
mail vote must be sent to National Committee members within three weeks
after the receipt by the National Office. The deadline for return of
the ballots to the National Office shall be three weeks after they are
mailed from the National Office. If statements pro and con are
submitted with the ballots, approximately equal space shall be both
Section 5: The National Committee shall be elected by the national
convention at which time the number of members of the National
Committee shall be determined. Each nominee for National Committee
member or alternate shall appear before the convention and make a
statement on his/her goals for the National Party in the next term.
Section 6: The National Committee shall elect the National
Secretary, National Treasurer, Editor, and any other officers that is
deems advisable. (a) The National Committee shall fix the salaries of
the National Secretary and any other officers. (b) The National
Secretary, National Treasurer, and any other officers and any other
offices may be removed from their offices at any time by majority vote
of those National Committee members voting. (c) The National Secretary,
National Treasurer, and any other officers shall be under the
supervision and authority of the National Action Committee and the
National Committee. (d) The National Secretary shall supervise the
activities of the national organization. This office shall consult,
work with, and be under the supervision of the National Action
Committee and the National Committee on all Party matters, such as
principles, policies, activities, and problems within the National
Office and the national organization.
Section 7: Recall. Any National Committee Member(s) may be from the
office by a Referendum, as provided in Article XI.
X: National Action Committee
Section 1: The National Committee shall establish a National Action
Committee that shall be responsible for the carrying on of Socialist
Party business affairs and the application of Party decisions between
the meetings of the National Committee.
Section 2: The National Action Committee shall be composed of the
National Secretary, National Treasurer, Editor and such other members
as the National Committee shall designate who are willing and able to
attend regular meetings, at least bimonthly, in a location in or near
the site of the National Office. (a) The National Action Committee
shall meet on call of the National Secretary, or by a majority of its
members at such times as it may designate. (b) A quorum for any meeting
shall consist of a majority of the National Action Committee, provided
that at least one National Officer or National Committee member is
present. (c) All actions and decisions by the National Action Committee
shall be subject to mail vote of the entire National Committee, upon
the request of five National Committee members.
Section 1: The National Committee and the National Secretary shall
submit to a referendum vote of the members: (a) any matter acted upon
by a national convention when requested to do so be any petition signed
by at least 25% of the total delegates seated at the convention. Such
petitions shall be submitted to the National Committee within three
days after the convention adjourns. If such a petition is to submit a
convention action to a referendum, the signers may submit an
alternative proposition for a vote if such alternative proposition was
offered at the convention. (b) Any question, motion, resolution, or
constitutional amendment if submitted to the National Committee and
endorsed by at least three locals in at least three states or by three
state organizations having a total membership of at least 20% of the
National Committee members. (c) Any question, motion, resolution, or
constitutional amendment proposed by at least one-third of the National
Section 2: Referendum proposals shall be circulated to the members and
shall be open for endorsement for thirty days. If there are not
sufficient endorsements after thirty days, the matter may not be raised
for another six months. Members shall be notified of such results.
Section 3: If a national convention is to be held within six months, no
questions may be submitted to a referendum except a vote to postpone
Section 4: For the purposes of this article, the term “membership”
shall mean total members in good standing as herein provided.
Section 5: Referenda shall be submitted without preamble. Comment not
to exceed three hundred words both for and against the proposition may
accompany it. The National Office staff shall make great effort to
obtain pro and con statements to accompany every referendum ballot.
Section 6: Vote returns in any referendum shall be in the National
Office no later than twenty-one days after the mailing date of the
Section 7: Only Party members who have been members in good standing at
the time of the call for at least three months may vote in the
referendum. Section 8: For a referendum vote to be approved, it must
receive either 1) a majority vote of the total national membership in
good standing, or 2) a two-thirds vote of those members returning
ballots, provided 30% of the membership returns ballots. Section 9:
Whenever a matter has been submitted to referendum, no referendum on
the same issue shall be held for at least one year.
XII: State Organization
State organizations shall consist of one or more locals, the state
committee, and officials as determined by state conventions. Section 1:
State organizations may use a different party name, providing the
motion to change the state party name is approved by the state
convention by a two-thirds vote of those delegates present and voting.
XIII: State Conventions
The method and timing in the calling of state conventions shall be
determined by the state organizations themselves.
XIV: Local Organizations
Section 1: Local organizations shall consist of all members residing in
the area designated in its charter.
Section 2: Applications for membership shall be acted upon by the local
executive committee, subject to review by the local organization. Local
organizations shall have full power over the admission, transfers, and
expulsion of members, subject to appeal to the state committee,
National Action Committee, and the National Committee.
Section 3: Applicants for membership and transfers may join whichever
local organization is most suitable for their place of residence and
activities, subject to the jurisdiction of the local organizations
Section 4: Local organizations shall keep membership and finance
records and may hold public meetings, forums, classes, and other
functions. (a) Local organizations shall represent the national
organization and the state organization in the area assigned for their
jurisdiction. (b) Local organizations may run candidates for public
office, representing the area in their jurisdiction.
Section 5: Local organizations shall elect an executive committee and
it shall consist of the local chair, the local secretary, local
treasurer, and any other elected officers. (a) The term of office for
local officers shall be determined by the local. (b) The local
executive committee shall be responsible for carrying on the Party’s
business affairs between membership meetings of the local organization.
XV: Youth Affiliate
Section 1: The Young Peoples Socialist League of the United States of
America (hereinafter called “YPSL”) shall be the Party’s youth
Section 2: The YSPL shall be an independently constituted affiliate of
the Party and shall be subject to the Party’s regulation and policies.
XVI: Miscellaneous Regulations
States and locals may be organized to coordinate the work of the Party,
to perform any duty or function required by state, county, or local
This constitution may be amended by national conventions by a
two-thirds vote of those delegates present and voting, or by a majority
vote of the votes cast in referendum as provided herein. Amendments
passed during a National Convention go into effect at the adjournment
of the Convention.
Revised at the October 2011 National Convention