Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs

By Eugene V. Debs | Go to book overview

RAILROAD EMPLOYEES AND SOCIALISM1

Railroad employees in train service are perhaps more thoroughly organized than are the workers in any other department of industry. According to the report of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in 1906, there were in round numbers 285,000 train service employees on the railroads of the United States, the classification including engineers, firemen, conductors, trainmen, and switchmen. In the same year the organizations of these respective classes of employees reported a combined membership of 279,000. A small percentage of this membership is no longer employed in railroad service, and another small percentage is employed in Canada and Mexico. Deducting 25,000 from the total membership to cover these items (and this may be taken as a liberal allowance) it will be seen that but 31,000 of the total number of train service employees in the United States are unorganized. It is perfectly safe to say that at least 95 percent of this unorganized body is composed of young and inexperienced men who have not been long enough in the service to become eligible for membership in the organizations of their respective classes. Probably not more than one percent of the train service employees on the railroads of the United States, who are eligible to membership in the various organizations, remains unorganized.

Notwithstanding this very complete organization it is somewhat paradoxical that railroad employees as a rule are densely ignorant of the real spirit and purpose of the trade union movement. They know very little concerning the traditions and principles of unionism and absolutely nothing of its history. Of economics they are as guiltless of knowledge as babes. It is true they have been taught that the man who takes the job of another who is on strike is a scab, but this teaching has its limitations and qualifications, as it is not considered disgraceful for the members of one organization to take the places of striking members of another organization when they have agreements with their employers establishing rates of wages and conditions of labor for a stated period of time. In other words, it is considered of more importance to maintain the so-called sacredness of contract than to lend assistance and support to fellow wage- workers in time of strike.

In line with this policy we find the engineers taking the places of striking firemen on the Southern Pacific, and assuring the managers of the Norfolk & Western during the recent threatened strike of the firemen that if the firemen went out they (the engineers)

____________________
1
International Socialist Review, October, 1908.

-311-

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Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents xv
  • Proclamation to American Railway Union 1
  • Labor Omnia Vincit 4
  • Liberty 6
  • The Martyred Apostles Of Labor 20
  • Prison Labor - Its Effect on Industry and Trade 24
  • Outlook for Socialism in the United States 34
  • Martin Irons, Martyr 41
  • How I Became a Soclialist 43
  • Stopped the Blacklist 47
  • What's the Matter with Chicago? 50
  • The Western Labor Movement 54
  • The Negro and His Nemesis 66
  • The rape-fiend? Horrible! 73
  • The American Movement 76
  • Unionism And Socialism 95
  • The Socialist Party and The Working Class 125
  • The Federal Government and the Chicago Strike Reply to the Article on "The Government in the Chicago Strike of 1894" in Mcclure's Magazine, July, 1904, by Grover Cleveland, Ex-President of the U. S. 140
  • An Edeal Labor Press 161
  • Labor Day Greeting 163
  • Childhood 165
  • The Crimson Standard 166
  • Growth of the Injunction 167
  • Craft Unionism 171
  • Class Unionism 189
  • Revolutionary Unionism1 209
  • You Railroad Men 242
  • Arouse, Ye Slaves! 256
  • The Growth of Socialism 259
  • Open Letter to President Roosevelt 268
  • Prince and Proletaire 271
  • Roosevelts Labor Letters 274
  • December 2. 1859 279
  • John Brown: History's Greatest Hero 280
  • Looking Backward 281
  • Mother Jones 285
  • Thomas Mcgrady 286
  • Revolution 291
  • The Issue 293
  • Railroad Employees and Socialism 311
  • The Socialist Party's Appeal 317
  • Industrial Unionism 323
  • A Letter from Debs 326
  • A Letter from Debs on Immigration 326
  • Industrial Unionism 328
  • Working Class Politics 331
  • Danger Ahead 333
  • The Crisis in Mexico 337
  • Labor's Struggle for Supremacy 340
  • The McNamara Case And The Labor Movement 343
  • Sound Socialist Tactics 350
  • This is Our Year 358
  • Speech of Acceptance 361
  • Revolt of the Railroad Workers 373
  • Homestead And Ludlow 378
  • The Gunmen And The Miners 383
  • The Knights of Columbus 387
  • The Prospect for Peace 391
  • Fantine in Our Day 392
  • Letter Of Acceptance 395
  • Politicians and Preachers 398
  • Ruling Class Robbers 399
  • The Class War And Its Outlook 400
  • Tom Mooney Sentenced To Death 403
  • The I. W. W. Bogey 405
  • John Swinton: Radical Editor and Leader 409
  • The Canton, Ohio Speech 417
  • Address To The Jury 433
  • Statement To The Court 437
  • The Day of the People 440
  • Serving the Labor Movement 443
  • Sacco and Vanzetti 450
  • Woman--Comrade And Equal 453
  • The Relation of Society to the Convict 456
  • My 1920 Campaign for President 463
  • Leaving The Prison 468
  • Capitalism and Crime 473
  • Poverty and the Prison 477
  • Socialism and the Prison 481
  • Bibliography 485
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