Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs

By Eugene V. Debs | Go to book overview

Is it any wonder that railroad employees are breaking their leading strings and beginning to think for themselves? Is it any wonder that they remember my prediction of two years ago, and recalling their past experiences, are coming over to Socialism by hundreds and thousands? Is it any wonder that they are beginning to say to themselves, "Debs may be a failure as a labor leader, but on this question of Socialism he is eternally right"?

The leaders of the dominant parties have sounded a note of alarm at the so-called "apathy" of the voters, and there is reason for their fear. Torchlight processions and unintelligible disquisitions from campaign spellbinders will no longer answer the insistent questionings of the slowly awakening labor giant. The full dinner pail idol has been crushed to earth through failure of the "party of prosperity" to make good its professions, and the workers are refusing to enthuse over the tariff, the currency, injunctions, our foreign policy, and the many other fake issues which were wont to thrill them into paroxysms of enthusiasm in aforetime campaigns.

All these fake issues dwarf into insignificance before the very practical question of "What are you going to do about the problem of the unemployed?" to which questions the Republicans answer only, "God knows!" and the Democrats, "We hope for restored confidence as a result of the policies announced in our platform."

The Socialist Party is the only one that gives the worker a practical and logical answer to his elemental question. He is flocking by thousands to its standard, and it is my prediction that the ides of November holds in store a surprise for both Republicans and Democrats that will compel a revision of their political methods, as well as a demonstration that the railroad employees of the United States have at last become conscious of their true position in the scheme of capitalist industrialism, and have resolved upon a master stroke for liberty.


THE SOCIALIST PARTY'S APPEAL1

At a public meeting in New York City some months ago the present presidential candidate of the Republican Party was asked this question: "What is a man to do who is out of work in a financial panic and is starving?"

This is an intensely human as well as a very practical question. It epitomizes the problem of the unemployed and places it in bold

____________________
1
The Independent, July-December, 1908.

-317-

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