Eugene V. Debs

My weekend begins and as usual I have something different to post…..I do not usually do book or movie reviews but I will make an exception in this case.

In my past I was a member and organizer of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and as a member I learned all about the early days of the workers movement of the early 20th century and one of the giants of the labor movement in those days was Eugene V. Debs.

Tuesday was May Day and a new movie was released about the life of Eugene V. Debs and since I live in a jerkwater town in Mississippi it will not show here so I will have to wait for streaming or the DVD.

I did find a good review of the movie in The American Conservative…….

May Day is a workers’ holiday in socialist history, greeted with joy, celebration, picnics and speeches since at least the 1880s. In contrast, and exactly a century ago, May 1918 was a time of trepidation. The government of Woodrow Wilson, reacting to opposition of US entry into WWI, set out to squelch the free speech of antiwar protesters. At the same time, labor struggles had reached a point that threatened the administration, and so Wilson also set out to drive the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World out of business entirely, if possible.

Imagine the great socialist hero Eugene Debs at this moment. Sixty-two years old and physically worn out, discouraged because the socialist presidential vote two years earlier had fallen sharply from 1912, he nevertheless rallied his energies. He would speak about the horrors of war and the hopes of socialism, no matter the dangers to himself.

If you live where the movie is showing then you should go watch if you like American history and the people that made this country great and see just what the American worker had to go through to get to where they are today.

Time for a breakfast and a walk……TTFN


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