Marxist Writers: E.V. Debs


Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive

The Marxists Internet Archive is proudly mirroring the Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive, started by Socialist Party member John Metz in July of 2001. This year is also the 100th anniversary of the the Socialist Party of America, the party founded by Debs. We’ve reformated the text to meet Marxists Internet Archive standards, but all other attributes have been left the same. Debs wrote for many of the hundreds of socialist newspapers journals and magazines that existed during his life. The collection of all these writings is a life time project, a labor of love for America’s greatest Marxist. We are in debt to John Metz and the Chicago Socialist Party for allowing us to help build the Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive. Beginning in 2006, Robert Bills, the National Secretary of the Socialist Labor Party of the US, started contributing rare texts by Debs from the extensive SLP Archives. We thank Robert for his comradely contributions. Lastly, we have been linking to various E.V. Debs documents that have been placed on the Marxists Internet Archive Early American Marxism archive where many Deb’s documents reside and are in PDF format. The MIA’s EAM is a mirror of Tim Davenport’s Marxist History Archive.

EUGENE VICTOR DEBS (1855-1926) was one of the greatest and most articulate advocates of workers’ power to have ever lived. During the early years of the debslabor movement in the United States, Debs was far ahead of his times, leading the formation of the American Railway Union (ARU) and the American Socialist Party.

Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on November 5, 1855. He left home at 14 to work on the railroad and soon became interested in union activity. As president of the American Railway Union, he led a successful strike against the Great Northern Railroad in 1894. Two months later he was jailed for his role in a strike against the Chicago Pullman Palace Car Company. While in jail, Socialist and future Congressman Victor Berger talked with Debs and introduced him to the ideas of Marx and socialism. When he was released from prison, he announced that he was a Socialist.

He soon formed the Social Democratic Party, which eventually became the Socialist Party in 1901. He became their perennial presidential candidate. He ran on the Socialist ticket in 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920 when he received his highest popular vote—about 915,000 (6%)—from within a prison cell. He had been arrested once again, this time for “sedition”; because he opposed World War I. Many Socialists were imprisoned during this time because they felt that the war was being fought for the profits of the rich, but with the blood of the poor. Debs was fortunately released in 1921.

Debs died in Elmhurst, Illinois, on October 20, 1926, but he is remembered to this day by countless labor activists from all over the political spectrum. The Eugene V. Debs Foundation works to continue his legacy into the 21st century...

To learn more about Debs and his life, read Stephen Marion Reynolds’ Biography of Eugene V. Debs for a full accounting of his life and times.

A full collection of Biographies, Critiques, and Memiors of Eugine V. Debs is located here: Biographies and Critiques of E.V. Debs

Table of Contents

1878–1887 | 1888–1895 | 1896–1899 | 1900–1902 | 1903–1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913–1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917–1918 | 1919–1920 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924–1927

Special Section on the American Railway Union (ARU)
(Includes some documents not written by E.V.D.)


Closing Address to the5th Annual Convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen: Buffalo, NY — Sept. 14, 1878

The Coming Convention (1880)

Letter to the 7th Convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (1880)

Organize! (1880)

The Power of Persistent Effort (1881)

A Gentleman (1881)

United Again (1881)

The Square Man (1882)

Benefit of the BLF (1882)

Lost Time (1882)

United Efforts (1882)

Beginning Life (1882)

Personal Honor (1882)

Masterful Men (1882)

Do Things Well (1882)

Editorial on the B of LF (1882)

Strong Drink (1882)

Sand (1882)

Labor’s Reward (1882)

Editorial Message to the 9th Annual Convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (1882)

The Last Ride (1882)


Life of Eugene V. Debs, Grand Secretary and Treasurer (1888)

The Common Laborer (1890)

What Can We Do for Working People? (1890)

Agitation and Agitators (1890)

Powderly and Gompers (1890)

A.M. 5894 — A.D. 1891 (1891)

To The Brotherhood [Regarding Future Resignation] (1891)

The Editor is Responsible [A Disclaimer] (1891)

Living Issues (1891)

The Policy of the Magazine [A Polemic] (1891)

A Question of Veracity (1891)

Free Speech (1891)

Foreign Pauper Immigration (1891)

The ORC and the B of RC (1891)

The New Republic (1891)

Cause and Effect (1891)

Conditions (1891)

A Plutocratic Government (1891)

The Tramp (1891)

Carnegie as a Squeezing Philanthropist (1891)

The People’s Party (1891)

The Unity of Labor (1891)

From Americans to Slavs and from Independence to Slavery (1891)

Persecution Because of Religious Opinions in Labor Organizations (1891)

The Lessons Taught by Labor Day (1891)

Caste (1891)

An Odious Comparison (1891)

Revolution and Rebellion vs. Stagnation (1891)

Something to Think About (1891)

Proclamation to American Railway Union (1895)

Liberty (1895)

Labor Omnia Vincits (1895)

Russian Methods: Letter from Woodstock Jail (1895) [PDF]

The Ways of Justice (1895) [PDF]

“Socialism is the Only Remedy”: An Interview with Eugene V. Debs, Woodstock Jail June 26, 1895 (1895) Interview with imprisoned American Railway Union leader Eugene Debs by a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer reveals Debs as a fully committed socialist by the time he left jailhouse doors: “Socialism is the only remedy. The philosophy of cooperation is rational, humane, and all-embracing, and I subscribe to it without reservation. The trend is toward the cooperative commonwealth. It is the hope of the world.” Debs declares his faith in the inevitability of socialism, “as certain as the earth revolves upon its axis,” and looks for it “soon after the sunrise of the 20th Century.”

“A Day With Debs in Jail at Woodstock: How the Imprisoned Labor Leader and His Associates Lived in Confinement,” by A.C. Cantley [July 6, 1895] Cantley, a correspondent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, visits jailed American Railway Union leader Eugene V. Debs and his associates at Woodstock Jail and finds a very liberal jail regime under the supervision of the county sheriff, a former grocery. Debs and his associates constituted themselves as the “Cooperative Colony of Liberty Jail,” Cantley reports, and engaged in a regular self-directed program of military drill, economics study, exercise, journalism, and debate. The 7 jailed trade unionists were allowed to take meals inside the sheriff’s private quarters — unlike the other 5 prisoners sitting at the same time at the McHenry County Jail. Despite the structured, studious, communitarian regime, Debs indicates intense displeasure with the situation of he and his associates during a two-hour interview: “We feel that a cruel wrong has been perpetuated upon us in that we have been denied a trial by jury in flagrant disregard of the Constitution.... We committed no crime, we violated no law, we have not been tried, and yet we are sentenced to a term in jail, and the Supreme Court of the United States gives its negative affirmation to this outrageous proceeding by declaring that the court below had final jurisdiction and that its monstrous perversion of justice can not, therefore, be reversed. Every Federal Judge now constitutes a Tsar.” Debs expresses a belief that the ongoing development of machine industry would press increasing numbers out of work, thereby shaking economic foundations. “The competitive system is nearing its close — the death gurgle is in its throat,” Debs declares. “It is dying hard, but it has got to go, for the Eternal Truth is pledged to destroy every system not founded upon its immutable laws.–



Address to the Christian Labor Union, Sherman Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Milwaukee (1896) [PDF]

Speech to the 13th Convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen Minneapolis — Sept. 18, 1886 [quoted excerpt] (1896) [PDF]

Milwaukee Enthused: Debs Speaks to Tremendous Meetings in the Cream City (1897)

A Call to the People (1897)

To the Hosts of the Social Democracy of America (Labor Day Message—1897)

The Future (1898)

The American Movement (1898)

Labor’s Martyred Heroes (1898)

Against Fusion: Debs Reiterates his Declaration for the Benefit of Doubters: He Urges the Importance of the Convention, Where a National Platform Will Be Adoptedt (1898)

Speech to the First Annual Convention of the Social Democracy of America, June 9, 1898 - excerpt.t (1898)

Prison Labor Speech (1898)



Martin Irons, Martyr (1900)

Outlook for Socialism in the United States (1900)

Speech to the First Annual Convention of the Social Democracy of America, June 9, 1898 - excerpt,
Speech at Canton, Ohio, (1900)

The Vital Issue (1900)

Competition vs. Cooperation: Speech delivered at Central Music Hall, Chicago, IL — Sept. 29, 1900 (1900) This speech launched the 1900 candidacy of Eugene Debs for President of the United States under the banner of the Social Democratic Party of America. Debs takes aim at the Republican and Democratic parties, calling the former the party of big capital and the latter the party of petty capital and asserting no fundamental difference between the two, both being for continuation of the wage system of capitalism even if they disagreed on the question of imperialism. To this was opposed the new Socialist organization, representing the working class and “declaring in favor of collective ownership of the means of production” as the only possible solution to unemployment and chronic economic stagnation. Debs holds up radical abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Elijah Lovejoy as role models, noting that in their time they were subjected to severe criticism and physical attack, only to be acknowledged as heroes by a later generation. Debs appeals for support in the voting booth, declaring that “It is infinitely better to vote for freedom and fail than to vote for slavery and succeed.” He sees “wage slavery” as a comparable modern evil to the chattel slavery defeated by the abolition movement and argues that only socialism provides an escape, professing “absolute confidence” in achieving a socialist future.

The July Convention (1901)

Socialists Who Would Emasculate Socialism (1901)

Mission of the Socialist Party Speech at Coliseum Hall Arena, Denver, CO — May 26, 1902(1902)
“We Must Gain Possession of the Tools of Trade” Speech at Butte Auditorium, Butte, Montana — June 16, 1902
How I Became a Socialist (1902)

Stopped the Blacklist (1902)

The Western Labor Movement (1902) [PDF version]

What’s the Matter with Chicago? (1902)



Auguries for the New Year: E.V. Debs Writes of His Late Tour (1903)

On the Color Question (1903)

The Negro In The Class Struggle (1903) [PDF version]

The Negro and His Nemesis (1904)

The Socialist Party & the Working Class (1904)

The Federal Government and the Pullman Strike: Eugene V. Debs’ Reply to Grover Cleveland’s Magazine Article, (1904)

To The Socialist and Its Readers (1904)

The Ideal Labor Press (1904)

Labor Day Greeting (1904)

Apostrophe to Liberty (1904)

Unionism and Socialism (1904) [PDF version of original pamphlet here.]



The Coming Union (1905) [PDF version]

Childhood (1905)

Revolutionary Unionism (1905)

Class Unionism (1905) [pdf version here]

Berger and His Opponents (1905)

Industrial Unionism (1905)

Speech to the IWW Founding Convention (1905)

Growth of the Injunction (1905)

The Industrial Convention (1905) [PDF version]

Craft Unionism (1892)

Berger and His Opponents (1905)

The Industrial Workers: The Convention and Its Work (1905)

Winning a World (1905)



Arouse, ye slaves! (1906) [ PDF version]

Open Letter to President Roosevelt (1906)

You Railway Men (1906) [PDF version of original pamphlet]

The Growth of Socialism (1906)

The Socialist Party and the Trade Unions: Contribution to a Symposium in The Worker (1906)

Railway Employees and the Class Struggle (1906) [PDF]

A Glimpse into the Future (1906) [PDF]



John Brown: Americ’s Greatest Hero (1907)

Mother Jones (1907)

Roosevelt’s Labor Letters (1907)

Roosevelt and His Regime (1907)

Revolution (1907)

Looking Backward (1907)

December 2, 1859 (1907)

The Red Flag (1907) [PDF]

Thomas McGrady (1907



Railroad Employees and Socialism (1908)

A Short Speech Amongst Friends: Girard, Kansas (May 21, 1908)

Unity and Victory (1908)

The Issue (1908)

The Socialist Party’s Appeal (1908)

Letter to Frank Bohn, National Secretary, Socialist Labor Party (1908)

Notes of a Labor Agitator
Progress by Prohibition
Great Achievements
Open Letter to the Members of the Socialist Party, May 17, 1908
Campaign Speech in Kansas City, Missouri, September 2, 1908 [extract]
Statement in Reply to Samuel Gompers: Press Release Distributed September 4, 1908
Open Letter to Readers of the Appeal to Reason, September 5, 1908
Statement to the Watsonville Pajaronian, September 11, 1908
Campaign Speech at Spokane, Washington, September 16, 1908
Said By Debs: Quotations from Speeches Made on the 1908 Campaign Trail
Statement to the New Ulm Review, Sept. 20, 1908
Remarks to Children in Trenton, Ohio, Sept. 29, 1908
Socialist Ideals Socialist Party leader Gene Debs completely conflates philosophical and economic materialism in this article for B.O. Flower’s liberal monthly magazine The Arena. As Socialism "pays chief attention to the bread-and-butter problem, [it] has been called materialistic," says Debs. Rather: "it is really the most idealistic movement of the centuries. So idealistic is it in its aims that, while having no specific religious tendency or purpose, it partakes somewhat of the nature of a religious movement and awakens something of a religious enthusiasm among its adherents." Debs calls Socialism "an extension of the ideal of democracy into the economic field" and remarks that unlike the founders of the democratic movement of 1776, "we do not need, like them, to resort to arms, but may use the democracy they bestowed on us as a means for obtaining further democracy." In Debs’ vision, a simple change of ownership of productive machinery from private to public hands would result in productive labor for all wanting it at any time, a banishing of want from the earth, and education, homes, and income for all. Moreover, Debs promises that under Socialism the mind and soul will flourish, as will literature and art, fear of war will vanish, a new divinity will emerge in religion, and domestic bliss will reign triumphant.


“This Plot Must Be Foiled: Conspiracy to Murder Mexican Comrades Now Imprisoned in This Country by Order of Diaz,” by Eugene V. Debs [Oct. 17, 1908] American Socialist icon Gene Debs looks beyond American borders to rise to the defense of Mexican revolutionaries imprisoned by the country’s military strongman, Porfirio Díaz. Debs alleges the existence of a “satanic international conspiracy” between the Roosevelt and Díaz governments to capture and execute Mexican revolutionaries-in-exile Juan Sarabia, Ricardo Flores Magón, Antonio I. Villarreal, Librado Rivera, and L. Gutierrez de Lara. He explicitly likens the situation faced by the Mexican radicals to that recently faced by Big Bill Haywood, Charles Moyer, and George Pettibone of the Western Federation of Miners. “These comrades have been engaged in a peaceful agitation in behalf of their wretched and suffering countrymen. Forced into exile by the ruling class, they came to the United States, but they soon found that their dream of security was a delusion and a snare,” declares Debs. Debs calls upon the American working class to “arouse” to stop this “dastardly international conspiracy of capitalists to murder labor leaders who can not be silenced in any other way.”


Susan B. Anthony: A Reminiscence (1909)

Industrial Unionism (1909)

Fred Warren Convicted by a Packed Jury (1909)

Trial and Conviction of Fred D. Warren: Summary of the Celebrated Case—Liberty of the Press the Issue—Two Years in the Federal Courts and the Motive Behind It (1909)

Women — Comrad and Equal (1909) [PDF]



Industrial Unionism: A Letter to Tom Mann (1910) PDF version

A Letter from Debs on Immigration (1910) PDF version

The Little Lords of Love (1910)

Working Class Politics: Extracts of a Campaign Speech for Local Cook Co. SPA at Riverview Park, Chicago, Sept. 18, 1910 (1910)

The Fred D. Warren Case: Speech at Orchestra Hall — Chicago, IL, Jan. 14, 1910, by Eugene V. Debs [excerpt] In this 1600 word excerpt from a speech delivered in support of jailed Appeal to Reason editor Fred Warren, Socialist Party leader Gene Debs takes aim at the judiciary, declaring the jurist in the case, John C. Pollock, to be “infamous and corrupt.” Debs recounts the story of his own jailing in 1895 and the way in which the judge in the case abruptly terminated the case upon discovery that the association of railroad general managers had met with officials of the Pullman Corporation in order to “crush the employees in the Pullman service and to destroy the American Railway Union.” The whole of the 131 member federal bench and the 9 members of the Supreme Court owe their positions to corporate service, Debs contends. Citing the poverty and misery produced by capitalism, Debs calls for his listeners to unite behind the principles of industrial unionism in the shop and joint political action at the ballot box.



The Secret of Efficient Expression (1911)

Help! Help!! Help!!! (1911)

Danger Ahead (1911) PDF version

Labor’s Struggle For Supremacy (1911)

The Eight Hour Work Day (1911)

Mexico (1911)

The Crime Of Craft Unionism (1911)



The McNamara Case and the Labor Movement (1912)
This is Our Year: But Two Parties And But One Issue (1912)

The Socialist Party’s Appeal (1912)

Political Appeal to American Workers (1912)

Capitalism and Socialism (1912)

A Message to the Children (1912)

A Contrast Presented by Presidential Candidates of the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Party (1912)

The Fight for Freedom (1914)

“The Socialist Party’s Appeal” (1914)

Telegram Read at the Funeral of Julius Augustus Wayland: Girard, Kansas—Nov. 13, 1912 (1912)

Pioneer Women in America (1912)

The Results of the 1912 Election: A Statement (1912)



The Rights of Working Women Socialist Party publicist Eugene Debs takes aim at Cardinal James Gibbons and other members of the conservative Catholic hierarchy for an address in opposition to woman suffrage. Gibbons and his peers are deemed by Debs to be “pious agents of the master class who admonish their subjects to obey their masters and be content with their lot.” Moreover, “Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Ireland, and other high priests have not only declared against the right of women to vote but they have announced their opposition to the initiative and referendum, the recall, and every other measure that has to do with democracy and self-government,” Debs declares. “These gentlemen in gowns speak for Wall Street, for the plutocracy, the ruling class. They traffic in the ignorant reverence of the masses. At heart they hold the common people in contempt. They pretend to be chosen of God and to be his representatives on earth, a pious invention that has served in every age to keep the ignorant masses at their mercy.” Blind obedience “is not religious duty but debasing slavery,” says Debs, and he urges working women to end their passivity and submission and to insist upon their rights. “The day of awakening is at hand,” Debs pronounces. “The workers of all the world are breaking away from kingcraft and priestcraft and swelling the conquering hosts of the international army of emancipation.” (1913)

The Old Umbrella Mender (1913)

The Coppock Brothers: Heroes of Harper’s Ferry (1914)

Jesus, the Supreme Leader (1914)

On the Death of Daniel De Leon (1914)

American Socialist Forerunner of Powerful Revolutionary Press (1914)

The Gunmen and the Miners (1914)

The Butte Affair Reviewed Eugene Debs rushes to the defense of Charles Moyer and the Western Federation of Miners in the wake of the bombing of the Butte Miners’ Union hall in Butte, Montana, ostensibly by dissidents in the union. Debs castigates the bombers as attempted assassins who had participated in a “treasonable, cowardly, and disgraceful plot” in the service of the mine owners who intended to rupture the organized labor movement. Debs notes that the WFM is the most fully democratic of unions and if Moyer was the head of a “self-perpetuating machine,” as some had charged, then “the rank and file have themselves to blame and they but add crime to stupidity when they blow up the union with dynamite to destroy the alleged machine.” To charges that the bombers were associated with the IWW, Debs notes that “it should not be forgotten that the workers at Lawrence and at Akron were most basely betrayed, sold out, and treacherously delivered to their enemies by IWW Judases, who while passing as industrial unionists were at the same time on the payrolls of the detective agencies in the service of the corporations.” Debs predicts a return of the Butte Miners’ Union as a united, militant, progressive union in the aftermath of the bombing and disruption.



Industrial and Social Democracy (1915)

Louis Tikas: Ludlow’s Hero and Martyr (1915)

Peace on Earth (1915)

Socialist Sunday School (1915)

The Social Spirit (1915)

My Ideal, [April 3 1915] Short piece of Socialist enthusiasm by Indiana SPA publicist Gene Debs. Not a particularly important piece on the face of it, this is most interesting for its opening line ("My ideal is a thinker in overalls.") and for a bit of unconscious reflection on the price paid in his own life for his activism. Debs writes: “Whittier, the Quaker poet, once said that any great cause is bitterly opposed in its incipient stages. This has always been an established fact. It is easy for a person to be a nobody and drift along with the flow of the tide. But it takes a bit of courage to step out and join the despised minority.” Debs notes that “united force” of the working class is “absolutely essential” for its triumph, calls the wage system “the final form of servitude,” and professes a belief in the imminence of the fall of “capitalism and wage slavery.” (1915)

Open Letter on Poverty, [Aug. 7, 1915] The flame of moral indignation burns white and hot in the breast of Terre Haute, Indiana ’s most famous Socialist, four time Presidential candidate Eugene Debs, as he fumes in this letter to his local newspaper. Local ministers, it seems, had advised their parishoners against providing money or sustinance to the so-called “unworthy” poor — a position which Debs found to be hypocritical, morally repugnant, callous, and brutal. Debs asks such “Christian gentlemen” whether “the great Teacher they profess to follow ever made any discrimination between the ‘worthy ’ poor and the ‘unworthy ’ poor.” Rather, Debs declars, Jesus Christ sprang from the poor himself, lived his life with the poor and moreover “when he made any distinction among them it was wholly in favor of the ‘unworthy ’ poor, by forgiving them much because they had suffered much. He did not condemn them to starvation and suicide upon the hypocritical pretext that they were ‘unworthy, ’ but he did apply the lash of scorpions without mercy to those self-righteous and “eminently respectable” gentlemen who robbed the poor and then despised them for their poverty; who made long prayers, where they could be see of men, while they devoured widows’ houses and bound burdens upon the backs of their victims that crushed them to the earth.” Debs declares that if he himself were consigned to misery as were so many “I, too, would probably get drunk as often as I had the chance.” He insists that the poor should no more be blamed for their situation “than if he were the victim of cancer or epilepsy.” In Debs ’ vision, Socialism would bring about a new democracy in which “men will be brothers, war will cease, poverty will be a hideous nightmare of the past, and the sun of a new civilization will light the world.” (1915)

War and Hell or Peace and Starvation, [Aug. 14, 1915] Socialist publicist Gene Debs argues that the options facing the working class under the rule of capitalism are not war and death vs. peace and prosperity — but rather war and death vs. unemployment and starvation. He quotes an AP press report dealing with the dire situation faced by families in Southern Ohio mining country owing to the closure of the mines. Debs bitterly observes that in large measure the suffering miners have nobody but themselves to blame, as the “overwhelming majority” of them have helped perpetuate the broken economic system with their own votes — “belong[ing] to the same capitalist party their masters do and cast[ing] their votes with scrupulous fidelity to perpetuate the boss ownership of the mine in which they work and their own exclusion and starvation at their master’s will.” Debs waxes sarcastic: “Blessed be the private ownership of the mines, for without it the miners and their wives would lose their individuality, their homes would be broken up, their morality destroyed, their religion wiped out, and they would be denied forever the comfort and solace of poverty and starvation!” Workers ’ power is needed to change the situation, in Debs ’ view: “When the miners themselves control the mines, once they have learned how to control themselves, they will not lock themselves out and starve themselves and their loved ones to death.... The bosses lose their power and along with it their jobs when the workers find theirs.” (1915)

My Political Faith, [Aug. 28, 1915] Debs revisits and expands a piece published in 1913 called “Labor, the Life of the Race” to expound his millennial political philosophy.] “The emancipation of labor is essential to the freedom of humanity,” Debs declares. For centuries across many societies, those who have toiled have been exploited and abused by parasitical masters. “There can be no morals in any society based upon the exploitation and consequent misery of the class whose labor supports society,” Debs pronounces, “There can be no freedom while workers are in fetters.” Competition has “engendered the spirit of selfishness, jealousy, and hate,” while the cooperative future will lead to the practice of “mutual kindness and mutual aid,” Debs indicates — poverty, ignorance, disease, and crime will disappear in the new society of universal prosperity. The rulers are few and the workers many, Debs observes: “When the workers realize the power that is inherent in themselves, when they cut loose from capitalist parties and build up their own, when they vote together against the capitalist instead of voting for the capitalist, there will be a change.” He urges the “brawny-armed millions” of workers to “get together in the union of your class and in the party of your class for emancipation!” (1915)

The School for the Masses: The People’s College of Fort Scott, Kansas, (1915)



On Liquor and Prohibition, by Eugene V. Debs [Feb. 2, 1916] Citing personal experiences gained during his seven years of frequent residency in the dry state of Kansas, Gene Debs offers a pragmatic view of prohibition and the liquor question. This article, originally written for his hometown newspaper, was part of an ongoing debate over the liquor question between Debs and a local Methodist minister. Debs argues forcefully that prohibition leads to the closure of otherwise healthy businesses and the consequent decrease of tax revenues, while at the same time boosting costs of government operation. Moreover, prohibition only leads to an illegal economy, Debs indicates: “There are 19 prohibition states in the country and every one of them swarming with bootleggers; not one of them in which you cannot buy all the whiskey you want if you have the money to pay for it. There is not an actually dry county in all these states and there never will be.” As for the social gains of prohibition, Debs states these are non-existent, there being “not a particle of difference between so-called wet and dry states so far as the workers are concerned.” Debs argues that only the elimination of profit from the liquor trade and its operation by the state would eliminate the ill effects associated with the industry, citing the late temperance leader Frances Willard’s belief that the economic system which causes exploitation and poverty was the root cause of drunkenness and Socialism the solution.

Preparedness Will Crush You, by Eugene V. Debs [April 8, 1916] Accusing steel magnates Charles Schwab and Andrew Carnegie of being the vocal nucleus of the so-called “preparedness” movement, Socialist leader Gene Debs warns his readers of the future effects of militarism in their daily lives. For the industrialists “the more preparedness the more profit,” declares Debs, adding that “If war follows preparedness, as intended, all the better.” But for the working class preparedness was, in Debs’ view, “a fraud and a sham in so far as it means an army and navy controlled by the capitalist state,” which “will respond to the commands of the ruling class and the workers need expect nothing from it except to be crushed by it when they revolt against starvation.” Debs instead calls for an alternative “working class preparedness” based upon education and organization — “preparing the working class, in every way that may be necessary for the class struggle, however it may be fought, and the overthrow, by whatever means, of the capitalistic system that now enslaves and robs them.”

On the Proposed National Platform, by Eugene V. Debs [Aug. 4, 1916] With the Presidential nomination already to be made by referendum vote, in an effort to conserve scarce party funds the 1916 national convention of the Socialist Party was canceled. The job of writing a new party platform was delegated to the staid party veterans of the National Executive Committee. The document which these moderates returned raised a firestorm of protest by the Socialist Party’s center and left, including this impassioned letter to the rank and file from iconic party leader Gene Debs. Debs lists three deficiencies in the platform: a failure to clearly stand for the class struggle, a failure to clearly stand for “the revolutionary industrial union as against the reactionary craft union,” and two passages which indicated the legitimacy of a war of self-defense. “This is putting the party back upon the same ground it occupied in Europe when on that very account it was swept into the hell of slaughter in which our comrades by the millions are now perishing,” Debs observes, adding “Every nation in Europe, taking its own word for it, is fighting a war of defense and resisting invasion.” Debs views this a “deadly peril” for the Socialist Party and urges the planks’ defeat. “If the Socialist Party is true to itself and the working class it will take its stand staunchly in favor of the class war, the only war that can put an end to all war, and quite as staunchly against every war waged by the ruling class to rob and kill and enslave the working class,” Debs insists.

Russell and His War Views: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist (1916)

Politicians and Preachers (1916)

Social Reform (1916)

Peace (1916)

James Connolly’s Foul Murder (1916)



The Majority Report (1917)

‘Men Shall Marvel That This Could Be’ (1917)

The IWW Bogey (1918)
Face to Face with Facts (1918)

Towards the Rising Sun (1918)

Views on the Double Attack on Russia (1918)

Indicted, Unashamed and Unafraid (1918)

Marx and Young People (1918)

The Canton, Ohio Anti-War Speech (1918)

The Campaign This Year (1918)

The Strike That Should Have Won (1918)

“Marx and Young People” (1918)

Karl Marx the Man: An Appreciation (1918)

Statement to the Court Upon Being Convicted of Violating the Sedition Act (1918)

A Convention to Restate, Not Apologize (1918)



Verbal Authorization of David Karsner’s Book (1919) [Spoken work, recorded in David Karsner, Debs: His Authorized Life and Letters. (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919; pp. vii-ix.]

The Day of the People (1919)

The Situation in Ohio (1919)

Letter to Arthur E. Elmgreen in Chicago from Eugene V. Debs in Terre Haute, Jan. 11, 1919. (1919)

The Wall Street Explosion (1920)

Why Are We Not Stronger? (1920)

The Power of the Press, Eugene V. Debs [Feb. 20, 1920] This short and fluffy article by Socialist leader Gene Debs makes for useful blurb material for radical publishers of any ages. The ruling class are “keenly alive to the power of the press in molding public sentiment and in shaping affairs in accordance with their interests” and thus their press is adequately funded, Debs states. The working class press, on the other hand, is underfunded and its newspapers and periodicals quick to starve and die. Particularly in times of labor strife is felt the unbalance between the ruling class and working class press, Debs indicates: “If the working people had a press the slugging methods of corporations in a strike and the activities of their murderous gunmen would not only be impossible but unthinkable.” “The working class can expect nothing from the press of the capitalist class but misrepresentation and injustice in the struggle for its rights,” Debs writes, and he deems the development of a vital working class press essential to the liberation of the proletariat from wage slavery.



Debs Appeals for Prisoners:Leader Requests that All Trade Unions and Societies Work for Release of War Prisoners (1922)

Review and Personal Statement (1922)

Debs Calls the Jury of the People to Try Indiana Governor (1922)

An Appeal for Russian Famine Relief (1922)

The United Front:Shall We Have Solidarity Or Be Slaughtered? (1922)

Sacco-Vanzetti:Socialist Leader Makes Stirring Plea for Two Italian Labor Men (1922)

The New Age Anniversary: The Socialist Leader Says Support Labor Press that Opposed the War (1922)

God’s Masterpiece: Woman (1922)

From Atlanta Prison: A Letter from a Prisoner with a Warning (1922)

Railroad Unions General Strike:Debs Says Concerted Action of Rail Unions Can Bring Victory to All Strikers (1922)

1922 May Day Salutation, by Eugene V. Debs [April 29, 1922] Routine May Day greeting sent out to the labor press by recently freed Federal prisoner and Socialist Party icon Gene Debs. Debs acknowledges that the Socialist movement’s “ranks were shaken” by World War I, but was in the aftermath “readjusting itself” to the new conditions. “Capitalism is bankrupt and in ruins and socialism is mounting to power to rebuild the shattered social fabric and save civilization,” Debs hopefully offers. He additionally indicates that “bitter antagonisms engendered during that tempestuous period are subsiding” and that “before another year we shall have a more thoroughly unified, aggressive, and uncompromisingly revolutionary international than we ever had before.”

Review and Personal Statement (1922)

Embattled Liberators (1922)



Getting Together (1923)

Michigan in the Muck (1923)

Let Us Build (1923)

A Sheriff I Loved (1923)



Socialist Party Due to Make Greatest Gains in its Entire History, Eugene Debs Declares: National Chairman of the Socialist Party Outlines Political Situation (1924)

The American Labor Party (1924)

The American Labor Party (1925)

Speech at 1925 Conference for Progressive Political Action (1925)

As to the Labor Defense Council (1925)


Unknown dates of publication

Flea and Donkey (unknown)

Eye to Eye (unknown)

Prince and Proletaire (unknown)