Eugene Debs was a hardcore socialist, founder of the Wobblies, and brilliant orator. He was jailed in 1918 for opposing U.S. entry into World War I, ran for president from prison in 1920 and received 3.4%, nearly one million votes. In 1894, he was imprisoned for leading the Pullman Strike. He never stopped agitating.
What he said then still applies today.
“The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles.”
“If it had not been for the discontent of a few fellows who had not been satisfied with their conditions, you would still be living in caves. Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization. Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation.”
“I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don’t want and get it.”
“Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization. Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation.”
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
“As we have said, the bankers are for bullets—for the fool patriots that enlist at paupers’ wages to stop the bullets, while the bankers clip coupons, boost food prices, increase dividends, and pile up millions and billions for themselves. Say, Mr. Workingman, suppose you have sense enough to be as patriotic as the banker, but not a bit more so. When you see the bankers on the firing line with guns in their hands ready to stop bullets as well as start them, then it is time enough for you to be seized with the patriotic itch and have yourself shot into a crazy-quilt for their profit and glory.”
“I do not oppose the insane asylum—but I abhor and condemn the cutthroat system that robs man of his reason, drives him to insanity and makes the lunatic asylum an indispensable adjunct to every civilized community.”