The American Opposition
We have organized the thirty or so political parties below into five groups, thanks to the help of Democracy Chronicles author Michael Ossipoff. Links to each party’s website and platform are included:
- libertarian parties
- non-socialist progressive parties
- democratic socialist parties
- communist parties
- other centrist parties
1. libertarian parties
american conservative party
The American Conservative Party was founded in 2008 through a series of meetings of member groups on the Internet. The party’s platform is based upon a libertarian conservatism philosophy of individual sovereignty combined with the traditional conservative form of the limited central government structure. It is mostly organized through state affiliate chapters as their strategy is to act at the level of local elections first and move to national political reforms later on. Look here for the party platform.
See Libertarian Party page! The Libertarians have become the third largest political party in the US gaining millions of votes in recent elections. It is the nation’s main political platform focused on libertarian values and the movement increasingly includes nationally recognized leaders of the Republican Party including Presidential contender Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul. Libertarians believe the answer to America’s problems is commitment to small government and freedom. Look here for the party platform.
Political party that seeks to promote Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm. The party was formed in 2008 by Dr. Thomas Stevens, the date chosen to coincide with Rand’s birthday. The party believes in the repeal of the federal income tax; thus the repeal of the 16th Amendment. The income tax would then be replaced by a flat tax of 10% or federal sales tax. The party supports the 2nd Amendment, but only as long as violent criminals are not permitted to own any weapon. Look here for the party platform.
2. non-socialist progressive parties
green party of the united states
Visit the Democracy Chronicles Green Party focus page to see all of our latest news on Greens worldwide! Confederation of Green Parties from states around the country and also recognized partner of the European Federation of Green Parties. The party began as the Association of State Green Parties, formed after the 1996 elections to fill a void in Green politics and to help existing state parties develop. The mission of the party is to build the Green Party into a viable political alternative in the United States, with an operating principle to keep itself simple and focused. Also, look here for the party platform.
Justice Party USA
Visit DC’s Justice Party page! On Monday, December 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM, a diverse group of courageous citizens announced the formation of the Justice Party that seeks governing authority at the local, state, Congressional and national levels, beginning in the 2012 election cycle. The Justice Party is being created as a new 21st-century political vehicle to allow all citizens to work together to bring innovative results-oriented, justice-based solutions to the political debate. Look here for the party platform.
Pirate Party of the United States
Founded in 2006 by Brent Allison and Alex English. Aligned with the global Pirate movement and supports reform of intellectual property laws to reflect open source and free culture values, government transparency, protection of privacy and civil liberties, rolling back corporate person-hood and corporate welfare, evidence-based policy, and egalitarianism and meritocracy based on the hacker ethic. Here is the party platform.
3. democratic socialist parties
peace and freedom party
The Peace and Freedom Party is a nationally organized left-wing political party with affiliates in more than a dozen U.S. states. The Peace and Freedom Party went national in 1968 as a left-wing organization opposed to the Vietnam War. On August 4, 2012, the Peace and Freedom Party nominated Roseanne Barr for President and Cindy Sheehan for Vice President. Look here for the party platform.
socialist party usa
A multi-tendency democratic-socialist party. The party states that it is the rightful continuation and successor to the tradition of the Socialist Party of America, which had lasted from 1901 to 1972. The party is officially committed to left-wing democratic socialism. Party supports radical democracy reforms. Look here for the party platform.
green party usa
The Greens/ Green Party USA is the oldest, continuously active Green organization in America. Its organization created the Green Ten Key Values which are now accepted by nearly all Greens in the United States. The values when correctly understood point to a new society and way of life based on Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice and Nonviolence. Supported entirely by memberships and small donations. Look here for the party platform.
socialist labor party
Established in 1876 as the Workingmen’s Party, it is the nation’s oldest socialist party and the second oldest socialist party in the world still in existence. The party ideology is “socialist industrial unionism”. The only US socialist party until 1900, the SLP attracted socialists of all tendencies but by 1890 the party was reorganized on a Marxist basis. Look here for the party platform.
4. communist parties
communist party usa
Marxist-Leninist political party that is the largest communist party in the country. Established in 1919, it has a long, complex history that is closely related to the histories of similar communist parties worldwide and the U.S. labor movement. The Communist Party USA has championed the struggles for democracy, labor rights, women’s equality, racial justice and peace for ninety years. It has an intimate history in the progressive movement of the United States, from the struggle against Jim Crow segregation to the organizing of the industrial unions, from the canneries of California, to the sweatshops of New York City. The Communist Party has members and local organizations all around the country from big cities to small towns. Look at their website for the party platform.
party for socialism and liberation
A Marxist-Leninist political party intent on a socialist transformation of society. It was created as the result of a split within the ranks of Workers World Party (WWP). The San Francisco branch and several other members left WWP in June 2004, announcing that “the Workers World Party leadership is no longer capable of fulfilling that mission of ‘building socialism'”. Look here for the party platform.
working families party
Political party founded in New York in 1998. There are “sister” parties to the New York WFP in Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Oregon, but there is as yet no national WFP. The party blends a culture of political organizing with unionism, 1960s idealism, and tactical pragmatism. Nearly a quarter million New Yorkers voted on the Working Families Party ballot line in 2012. Look here for the party platform.
socialist equality party
Trotskyist political party affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). The SEP “seeks not to reform capitalism, but to create a socialist, democratic and egalitarian society through the establishment of a workers’ government and the revolutionary transformation of the world economy. Jerry White and Niles Niemuth were nominated to lead the party’s 2016 Presidential ticket. Look here for the party platform.
socialist labor party
A far-left political organization that places a priority on “solidarity work” to aid labor strikes and is strongly supportive of Castro regime in Cuba and the foreign policy of Vladimir Putin‘s dictatorship in Russia. The Socialist Labor Party publishes “The Militant”, a weekly newspaper that dates back to 1928 and maintains Pathfinder Press. Look here for the party platform in pdf.
freedom socialist party
Far-left socialist party with revolutionary feminist philosophy that split in the Socialist Workers Party in 1966. Views the struggles of women and minority as part of the struggle of the working class. The SWP’s Seattle branch, split off from the SWP over what it described as the SWP’s entrenched opportunism and undemocratic methods. Look at their website for the party platform.
socialist action party
Founded in 1919, a Trotskyist political party that publishes the monthly Socialist Action newspaper and has publishing arm called Socialist Action Books. It has a youth affiliate called Youth for Socialist Action and is associated with the Fourth International. Socialist Action has its national office in San Francisco and champions the struggles for democracy, labor rights, women’s equality and racial justice. Take a look at the party platform.
socialist alternative party
Socialist political party that identifies itself as a national organization fighting in workplaces, communities and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day. Support for immigrants and student organizing. Fight sexism and homophobia. In 2013, Kshama Sawant became the first independent socialist elected in a major U.S. city in decades, entering the Seattle City Council. Take a look at the party platform.
worker’s world party
A Marxist-Leninist communist third party founded in 1959 by a group led by Sam Marcy of the United States Socialist Workers Party. Marcy and his followers split from the Socialist Workers Party in 1958 over a series of long-standing differences. Marcy and the Socialist Workers Party support militant organizers against imperialist oppression and against oppression of nationality, sexuality, gender or disabilities. Take a look at the party platform.
5. other centrist parties
The fastest growing third party in terms of voter registration. The party’s official name was changed to The Constitution Party in 1999; however, some state affiliate parties are known under different names. There are thousands of registered Constitution Party voters. This does not take into account the many states which do not tally voter registrations by party. The party currently puts a large focus on immigration, calling for stricter penalties towards illegal immigrants and a moratorium on legal immigration until all federal subsidies to immigrants are discontinued. Look here for the party platform.
america first party
Paleoconservative third party formed on April 15, 2002 when diehard supporters of Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan left the Reform Party. The party is pro-life, opposes all gun control, seeks to end affirmative action, racial quotas, and illegal and unlimited immigration. It seeks to ensure equality before the law in protecting those rights granted by the Bible. Look here for the party platform.
Conservative political party formed in August 2008 by supporters of Republican Alan Keyes. Party seeks to reform the tax structure by advocating the repeal of the 16th Amendment. Many members support the FairTax Amendment proposal, a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales but the party is open on how to replace the Federal income tax. Alan Keyes was the party’s candidate for President in 1996, 2000, and 2008. Look here for the party platform.
christian liberty party
Conservative political party that began as a state affiliate of the Constitution (then Taxpayers) Party (CP). It disaffiliated from the national Constitution Party, reorganized itself as a national party and took the “Christian Liberty Party” name. Ultra-conservative ideology is based on tenets of Christianity and oppose foriegn entanglements. It seeks to frame political debates and the governing of the nation under the principles of Christianity and the Bible. Look here for the party platform.
The modern Citizen’s Party is a third party founded by Michael Thompson in Wayne, Pennsylvania in 2004 as the New American Independent Party (NAIP). The first meeting took place in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on the day of the general election in 2004. The New American Independent Party changed its name to the Citizens Party in January 2011. The sometimes difficult transition to the Citizens Party lasted several months of negotiation. Look here for the party platform.
independent american party
Officially started in 1998 as the Utah Independent American Party. The founders were inspired by a 1968 speech by Ezra Taft Benson, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, entitled “The Proper Role of Government”. Their platform states, “We affirm that the foundations of our country were spiritual: We testify that the Constitution was established as an inspired ensign.” Look here for the party platform.
modern whig party
Political party with long history in the United States and the United Kingdom whose stated intention is to be a “party for the rest of us”. The Modern Whig Party, founded by U.S. military veterans, describes itself as a mainstream, middle-of-the-road grassroots movement that caters to those voters who believe in various Republican causes but also believe in various other Democratic causes. Look here for the party platform.
reform party usa
The Reform Party USA or the Reform Party is a political party founded in 1995 by Ross Perot. Perot said Americans were disillusioned with the state of politics—as being corrupt and unable to deal with vital issues—and desired a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic Parties. They nominated candidates over the years such as founder Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader. Look here for the party platform.
unity party of america
Centrist political party was founded in 2004 following George W. Bush’s election to a second term as President. The Unity Party has an official membership in 33 states and stands for ‘American values in the 21st century’. The party has been recognized in the state of Colorado since 2008 as a result of Unity Party Congressional candidate Bill Hammons successfully appearing on the 2008 General ballot with 899 valid signatures. Look here for the party platform.
extinct third party experiments
American (Know Nothing), American (1924), American (1969), American Populist, American Vegetarian Party, Anti-Masonic, Black Panther, Boston Tea, Citizens, Commonwealth Land, Constitutional Union, Democratic-Republican, Farmer–Labor, Federalist, Free Soil, Gold Democrats, Greenback, Independence (2007), Labor (1919), Labor (1996), Liberal Republican, Liberty, National Republican, National States’ Rights, National Union, Natural Law, New Alliance, Nullifier, Opposition, Populist (People’s), Progressive (1912), Progressive (1924), Progressive (1948), Raza Unida, Readjuster, Silver, Silver Republican, Socialist, Socialist Labor, States Rights (Dixiecrat), Union, U.S. Labor, Whig, Youth International
A Discussion on Third Parties
America’s third party activists are in an ongoing struggle to reach the public and even to appear on election ballots at local, state and federal levels. For the latest news on the struggle for ballot access for smaller parties see our Third Party Access articles or our articles on independent candidates, Occupy Wall Street, and the Tea Party.
The fantastic Ballot Access News has complete coverage of third party efforts to participate in American democracy including all the legal battles currently ongoing around the country. The site has been authored by Richard Winger since 1985, an expert on ballot access for third party and individual candidates. The organization advocates “fair and equitable ballot access laws” and reports on state and federal court decisions, compares American ballot access laws to those of other democratic nations, and documents the number of votes independent and minor party candidates receive.
Four parties have the best election record outside the Democratic and Republican Party duopoly:
- Libertarian Party – Libertarianism, laissez-faire, pro-civil rights, anti-war
- Green Party – Green politics, eco-socialism, progressivism
- Constitution Party – Social conservatism, religious right, paleoconservatism
- Justice Party USA – Progressivism, removing corporate influence and other wealth from politics
Third party organizations and independents have enormous difficulty appearing on your ballot, gaining enough signatures, etc. But behind the wall of ballot access laws and the media blackout, the American political system is still capable of maintaining a full political spectrum of parties to choose from. Below is a relatively complete list of national political parties. Local political parties are more numerous so do not appear but if you know of one you would like to add to this page, send us an email at our contact page.
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