Social Democrats USA

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Social Democrats USA (SDUSA) (Rightweb Profile) is a successor to the Socialist Party of America. SDUSA was formed in December 1972 when the followers of Trotskyist veteran Max Shachtman gained control of the Socialist Party of America. (For the earlier political party, see the Social Democratic Party (USA).)

SDUSA is a member of Socialist International.


As a result of the Shachtmanite takeover the Socialist Party USA split into two factions in the early 1970s: Carl Gershman led the right wing grouping alongside Tom Kahn, and Rachelle Horowitz (this later became the Social Democrats USA); the left wing faction became the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, presently called the Democratic Socialists of America.

In the 1970s. the right faction was associated with Democrat Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, whose staff was made up of several key neoconservative figures, including Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, and Elliott Abrams. [1]

Although most of SDUSA's members are Democrats, the organization has maintained ties with both major political parties and has, in the past, supported a strongly interventionist foreign policy. It has been unwavering in its support for the State of Israel, and also strongly supported the 2003 war in Iraq.

Cold War hardliners, work in Reagan Administration

In the 1970s and 1980s, members of the SDUSA were sometimes derisively referred to as "State Department socialists" for their support of hard-line Cold War policies. Prominent SDUSA members served in the Reagan Administration on the staff of the State Department, Labor Department and on Jeane Kirkpatrick's staff when she was US Ambassador to the United Nations. SDUSA members have long been prominent at the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House.

George W. Bush Administration, influence on Neoconservative movement

A number of former members of the SDUSA serve in the current administration of George W. Bush including Paul Wolfowitz.

Although some former members are now neoconservatives, and some current members are widely regarded as linked to neoconservatives (for instance, historian Ronald Radosh), they profess to have many differences with neoconservatism. For instance, they strongly support workers' rights at home and overseas and oppose many of the Bush administration's domestic policies. In the 1980s the SDUSA was perhaps best known for its support of Poland's Solidarity trade union. One of its leading members was the late civil rights hero Bayard Rustin.

Links to the National Endowment for Democracy

Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) since 1984, was executive director of Social Democrats-USA from 1974 to 1980. [2] Many of the members of their National Advisory Council (see below) are also linked to the work of the NED.


Accessed October 2008: [1]

National Committee

National Advisory Council

(Members of Advisory Committee are not necessarily members of SD, USA)



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles

External Links

For further information, see relevant NeoCon Europe page Social Democrats USA


  1. Officers and National Committee Members, Social Democrats USA, accessed October 14, 2008.