Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs

By Eugene V. Debs | Go to book overview
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ance, long-deferred hope, experience that scars, denial, self-pity, hunger of the spirit, STARVATION OF A CHILD'S SOUL FOR LOVE, HOME, HOPE, HELP."

Fantine is the greatest character in fiction and the highest type of social martyrdom. The face of Fantine, in which we behold "the horror of old age in the countenance of a child," is the mirror which reflects society's own sin and shame.

The Fantines have been raped of their virtue, robbed of their womanhood, dishonored, branded, exiled; the ignorance of childhood is with them still, but not its innocence; they have been shamelessly prostituted, but they are not prostitutes. They are girls, women who have walked the path of thorns and briers with bare and bleeding feet; who know the ways of agony and tears, and who move in melancholy procession as capitalist society's sacrificial offering to nameless and dishonored graves.

The very flower of womanhood is crushed in capitalism's mills of prostitution. The girls who yield are the tender, trusting, loving ones, the sympathetic and unsuspecting, who would make the truest of wives and the noblest of mothers. It is not the hard, cold, selfish and suspicious natures that surrender to the insidious forces of prostitution, but the very opposite, and thus is the motherhood of the race dwarfed and deformed and denied its highest functioning and its divinest expression.

The system which condemns men to slavery, women to prostitution, children to poverty and ignorance, and all to hopeless, barren, joyless lives must be uprooted and destroyed before men may know the meaning of morality, walk the highlands of humanity, and breathe the vitalizing air of freedom and fellowship.


LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE1

By the unanimous voice of my comrades I have been chosen as the candidate of the Socialist Party for Congress for the Fifth District of Indiana.

When I first became a Socialist and a member of the party it was with the determination to serve the cause with such zeal and ardor as to consume all selfish desire, and to avoid even the appearance of self-seeking by declining to be a candidate for any public office. Later there came a time when I was made to realize that my com

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1
American Socialist, April 2, 1916.

-395-

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