The program of the Socialist Equality Party is of a principled, not of a conjunctural and pragmatic character. It is based on an assimilation of the strategic revolutionary experiences of the working class and the international socialist movement.
The SEP traces its political ancestry to the fight for Trotskyism in the US that was initiated in 1928, when veteran revolutionary James P. Cannon, along with Canadian revolutionary Maurice Spector, declared their support for Trotsky's fight against the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union.
The international Trotskyist movement has a long history of principled struggle against Stalinism, reformism and bourgeois nationalism. In the United States, the fight for Trotskyism was carried forward by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), founded in 1938 under the leadership of Cannon, and then the Workers League, which was founded in 1966 after opposing the national opportunist degeneration of the SWP.
The Workers League, in political solidarity with the International Committee of the Fourth International, based its perspective on the revolutionary role of the American working class in opposition to all forms of nationalism and revisionism, as well as the pro-capitalist politics of the trade union bureaucracy. The Workers League played a significant role in many of the major battles of the working class in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Workers League was transformed into the SEP in 1995, which was followed by a similar transformation of all the sections of the ICFI.