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Eugene Victor Debs: A Person of Interest

Early American Socialist Leader Eugene Victor Debs (5 November 1855 -20 October 1926) Democratic Socialism in the USA – Eugene Victor Debs: A Person of Interest “Your Honor, Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings.  I say that while there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” ~ Eugene V. Debs on his sentencing in 1918 for opposition to U.S. participation in World War I. With the increasingly high profile of Senator Bernie Sanders in U.S. politics, the term “Democratic Socialist” has become increasingly used. Thus it is useful to look at the first person on the U.S. political scene to represent the term. Eugene Victor Debs was born in a family which had migrated to the U.S. Mid-West from Alsace. His father came from a Protestant family devoted to social reform. Thus, he was given his name from those of two writers who were well known for their social reform writings: Eugène Sue and Victor Hugo. From the same Alsace, the family came his cousin Albert Schweitzer of “reverence for life” fame. Although his parents were relatively well off in their Mid-West American context, Eugene Debs dropped out of school at 14 years of age and went to work on the local railroad. He realized quickly that the railroad workers were exploited and worked in harsh conditions. Thus, he joined in the early efforts to organize the railroad workers. Although he had only a primary school education, he had a natural talent for speaking and writing. He rose quickly to leadership in the newly-formed Railroad union. In 1894, he was a leader in the American Railway Union strike. President Grover Cleveland called out the...

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This post first appeared on OMTimes Magazine - Co-Creating A More Conscious Li, please read the originial post: here

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Eugene Victor Debs: A Person of Interest

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