A 50-State Party
Bread and Roses, more fully, Bread and Roses/Peace and Justice, is a new national party, with its first State party in Maryland. In August 2018, Bread and Roses delivered 15,000 signatures to the Maryland Board of Elections to qualify as a non-major party in Maryland. When qualified, we will have the right to place our candidates on the ballot in Maryland for all local, state and national elections in Novembers 2020 and 2022.
Bread and Roses is "socialistic" in its ideals, open to New Socialists and Non-Socialist alike. We use these terms "socialistic" and "New Socialists" to communicate both that the goals of socialism are central to our outlook, but also that we have new ideas with respect to public policy, that we are not wedded to big Government, and that we seek to develop a new political culture that is experimental and modest rather than dogmatic with respect to predictions of actual consequences of any effort to build a better world. We are not clairvoyant. We believe in keeping ones eye on ultimate goals and values, and being a society that learns, even from failure.
As to socialistic ideals, we embrace the social contract implied in "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Everyone should make a contribution, and be given an opportunity to do so. That contribution should be from ones deepest abilities, from potentials that one is able to develop to their fullest. And in exchange, everyone has right to fulfillment of core economic needs, regardless of income level.
Secondly, we believe that "The Job System," our basic economic framework, one that divides us into two groups: "the job creators" and the "the job seekers," is not an eternal fact of nature. It is a recent system, primarily the result of industrialization, and it has largely served its purpose. We are ready to move beyond the job system, and to transform what remains of it.
Our roots are broader than the Socialist tradition. We strongly identify with the "plain living, high thinking" traditions of America, whether the Quakers, John Adams, Thoreau, or the experimental utopian communes of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. We seek a socio-economic framework that is user-friendly to those pursuing The Alternative American Dream, one of modest consumption, economic security, and abundant leisure, sufficient to do the things in life that matter most.
Further, "Roses" is central to our outlook. Roses means different things to different people. Clearly, it means beauty, both in the urban and natural environment, a society With Beauty For All. More fundamentally, in saying "And Roses too" the women strikers in Lawrence were saying, "We are not just laborers, with basic needs for bread. We are also complex human beings, with complex needs for lives of meaning and richness." We agree. We believe that Renaissance is in America's future.
Finally, we are international in our orientation. We believe in an engaged America, but one that is true to its best self; one that seeks a world of peace in which human rights are respected, in which cultures are tolerant and in which oppression is checked by evolving international institutions, ones that will ensure: Never again, not to anyone, not to any people.
- Jerome Segal, founder
Our Version of the American Dream: To have a modest but secure income, sufficient for meeting core needs, through meaningful work and living in a beautiful environment, with sufficient leisure to do those things that matter most in life.
Our view of the central criteria for evaluating social policy: Does it offer all people an equal opportunity, should they so choose, to fulfill this American Dream?
Our view of our current socio-economic framework: It fails the basic test.
Our view of America's future: We believe in Renaissance
Our view of the American economy: In many ways, we live in the most inefficient economy in human history. The real measure of efficiency is how much labor time does it take most households to satisfy legitimate needs.
Electoral Party: Unlike some Socialist organizations, Bread and Roses is explicitly directed at electoral politics. There are several reasons for this, including the obvious, that in a democracy it is through winning elections that the ability to affect public policy is attained. Secondly, in the United States, elections are the primary realm within which public discourse occurs. In elections, people are listening, at least, listening more attentively than in any other context. Responsible voters have a decision to make, and to do so; they need to attend to what candidates are saying. Third, it is in the competition for votes that grand ideas have to be made relevant to the needs and perceptions of ordinary people. This is a very valuable discipline, especially for those infatuated (as we are) with ideas and transformative schemes. Fourth, electoral politics lends itself to leadership from individual candidates. There are pluses and minuses of this. Some fear that this leads to individuals becoming too independent of The Party. Our view is that Oscar Wilde was right when he said of socialism: "Too damned many meetings." The idea that a camel was a horse designed by a committee strikes us as on target. Let there be a competition for leadership.