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First Socialist party in US since 1973 launches

A ballot for the New Hampshire primary is entered into a machine at a polling site, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (Voice Of America/Released)
January 24, 2019
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Maryland voters will now be able to select candidates on their ballots who affiliate with a newly approved Socialist party for the first time in decades.

The state board of elections recently certified “The Bread and Roses Party,” a self-declared socialist group, which permits the new party to participate in local, state and national level elections beginning in 2020, according to a Fox News report on Tuesday.

University of Maryland professor Jerome Segal founded the party and called it “a new kind of socialism.”

Segal cited the meaning of “Bread and Roses” in his failed Senate bid as a Democratic candidate last year, calling the phrase his “campaign banner” and citing the phrase’s use by female textile workers who protested in 1912.

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“Bread basically means A Decent Societyone in which basic human needs are met, even for the poor,” Segal explained on his Senate candidacy website. “Roses means something else. Something not attained through higher pay. It speaks to the more complex needs of people, even beaten-down immigrant workers in 1912.”

The party was qualified after securing 15,000 signatures on a petition they delivered to the Maryland Board of Elections.

Its website touts socialistic ideals and terms, which it says it uses to communicate “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.”

However, the party notes that they prefer the term “Socialistic,” which they deem a better term than “socialist” due to the “baggage” the latter term carries.

“Some is historical, some is policy oriented, some is political culture. In terms of policy, we do not seek ‘social ownership of the means of production,’ ” the party’s website explained. “In some areas, such as home ownership, we very much advocate expanding private ownership to include people at the very bottom of the social ladder. And we are very supportive of mini-businesses. Moreover, we are very un-dogmatic about policy. We believe in experimentalism, and in state and local initiatives, and in policy evaluation.”

Although the party claims to be an alternative to the two-party system, it vows not to run candidates in swing states that could jeopardize the success of Democratic Party candidates.

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The party is the latest in the rising movement heralded by the Democratic Socialists of America organization – the largest socialist group in the country.

The organization seeks to back highly progressive candidates, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who won a U.S. House seat for New York’s 14th district, and former Democratic candidate for President Sen. Bernie Sanders.

More Democratic voters and candidates alike are siding with socialist ideals.

An Aug. 2018 Gallup poll found that 57 percent of Democrats had a positive view of socialism, which they viewed more positively than capitalism.

Similarly, across likely young American voters ages 18 to 29, 53 percent favored “democratic socialism” according to a Fall 2018 Harvard poll.

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