By MIKE ALEWITZ

“While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” — E.V. Debs, (Nov. 5, 1855 – Oct. 20,1926)

Debs: Railroad Worker / Agitator / Industrial Unionist / Political Prisoner / Wobbly / Revolutionary Socialist

A staunch defender of revolutionary struggle, Eugene Debs was an eloquent voice for the working class. In 1920, while imprisoned for opposing World War I, he received almost a million write-in votes for president as the candidate (Prisoner #9653) of the Socialist Party (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/9653/). Debs was an implacable foe of capitalism, upholding the working-class principle of never supporting ruling-class parties or candidates.  

Today, the deepening social and economic crisis is leading many to consider the ideas of socialism. Career politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are attempting to ride the wave of interest in socialism and channel it back into the dead-end of meaningless capitalist electoral activity. The militarist Sanders has little in common with the genuine socialist tradition of principled fighters like Eugene V. Debs. Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are simply the newly designed, pre-packaged corporate attempt to save the Democratic Party.

Our future lies in the streets.

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Image: Mural Detail of EUGENE DEBS; Panel: WE FOLLOW THE PATH LESS TRAVELED; Mural: THE CITY AT THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORY, by Mike Alewitz / 2014

Mural commissioned for the Puffin Gallery of Social Activism, Museum of the City of New York. Censored by the museum and the Puffin Foundation.