Independent Progressive Politics Network

Principles Of Unity,adopted April 14, 1996


We believe that:

1) PEOPLE'S POWER: The power to change our country and develop a society that places human needs over profits rests with the people. The people organized into democratically-controlled organizations and institutions are the wellspring from which a powerful movement for social and economic change must emerge. It is from the experience and struggles of the people that solutions to the severe crises facing our nation will be found. It is with the consent and will of the people that governments are legitimized and leaders empowered.

2) PROGRESSIVE UNITY: A powerful movement for change will emerge when everyday people aligned with grassroots activists, leaders and organizations operating from community, workplace and school power bases come together in a unified, national, massive and mass-based, independent political movement and party, or an alliance of parties.

3 ) ECONOMIC JUSTICE: Only through such a movement can we build a just and sustainable society in which the gross and obscene concentration of corporate power and personal wealth is overcome by the achievement of basic economic rights for all: secure jobs at living wages; decent housing; adequate food and clothing; universal health care; quality education; a safe, clean environment; a progressive tax system; sustainable food production based upon family farms and farm cooperatives; and protection from economic insecurity caused by old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

4) ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY / WORKERS RIGHTS: We support workers' rights to organize, to collective bargaining, to strike, to safe and healthy working conditions, and to receive a living wage and benefits. We support the development of a new kind of economy which is democratically run by the people and not based on corporate greed.

5 ) POLITICAL DEMOCRACY: A democratic economy presupposes a democratic political system. The current electoral system has been privatized and bought up by the corporate rich who fund political campaigns. The electoral system's winner-take-all rules deny racial and political minorities their fair share of representation and power. We support fundamental political reforms aimed at finally realizing the full democratic promise of our country, including: publicly-financed elections) equal access to media for all candidates; voting rights for immigrants; preferential ballots (ranking candidates in order of preference) for races electing a single candidate; and proportional representation in the election of legislative bodies. As the participatory foundation for our representative structures, we call for direct democracy in citizen assemblies open to all residents of a neighborhood or small town. Citizen assemblies will be grassroots legislative bodies with their own budgets to administer and the power to monitor, instruct and recall representatives elected to the municipal, state and federal levels.

6) HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL PEOPLE: We support self-determination for all peoples and treaty rights for the indigenous Native nations within the borders of the U.S., as well as affirmative action and reparations for people who have suffered historic injustice and oppression. We oppose the scapegoating and repression directed against immigrants, particularly immigrants of color. We are opposed to all forms of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, class, religious beliefs (or lack of them), sexual orientation, disabilities, health status (including HIV), national origin or citizenship. We support full reproductive freedom for women and oppose all forms of violence against women and children, including domestic violence, rape, incest, and sexual harassment.

7) EQUAL JUSTICE: We oppose the deep-seated racism and class bias that permeate our so-called "criminal justice system." We call for a crash program to retrain and restructure those police departments that are steeped in a culture of racism, abuse, corruption and brutality. We support the development of a humane criminal sanction system that is genuinely concerned with prevention, rehabilitation and reconciliation, rather than punishment. We oppose the racist and class-biased death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment. We support the development of a legal system whose participants-judges, lawyers, court personnel, police, penal staff, jurors- reflect the class, race and gender composition of the affected community and individuals.

8) PEACE AND ANTI-IMPERIALISM: We oppose militarism and the culture of violence which permeates our society. We all for major cuts in the military budget, the elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and the conversion of weapons-producing industries to socially-needed production. We oppose military intervention and interference abroad, economic coercion, colonialism and neo-colonialism, and political interference in the sovereign affairs of any other nation including the indigenous Native nations within our own national borders.

9) SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT: An ecologically sustainable society requires replacing the endless growth compelled by a profit-oriented economy with a democratic economy enabling people to gear production to human needs on a sustainable basis. We support the creation of an ecological economy where everyone's basic material needs are met through the sustainable use of non-toxic and renewable energy and materials. We oppose corporate attempts to shift the liability for environmental damage and toxic and nuclear containment onto taxpayers; polluters must pay for the restoration of environmental damage. In place of the failed policy of regulating pollution releases, we call for pollution prevention-, including a rapid phase-out of chlorinated compounds, trash incinerators, nuclear power plants, and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. We call for a massive "Jobs for the Environment" program of public investment in the replacement of toxic technologies with ecological alternatives, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, organic agriculture, mass transit, biodegradable materials, solid waste reduction, recycling and clean composting, and eco-industrial parks for zero-emissions manufacturing.

10) POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE: The Democratic and Republican parties are part of the problem, not the solution. We encourage independent candidates and parties who subscribe to these principles and who are outside of the two corporate-dominated parties. We also support independent working class solidarity and action across international borders to counter the power of the multi-national corporations.

11) OPPOSITION TO RACISM AND SEXISM: People of color and women must be substantial in numbers in the membership and particularly in leadership of our independent politics network. Opposition to racism must be a priority for all people but especially for white people working in their communities to understand, confront and help others to unlearn racism. Men have a special responsibility to understand, confront and help other men to unlearn sexism.


Independent Progressive Political Network (IPPN)

PO Box 170610, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217



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