November 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Eugene Debs


"While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal class, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
Eugene Debs

Have you seen the new Writer's Almanac yet? 
If not, you can read about Eugene Debs, here.
Just after a lovely poem by Kathe L. Palka.

Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison under the Espionage Act during World War I for saying "The rich start the wars, the poor fight them." 
How many times have I said the same thing?

Also, "When we are in partnership and have stopped clutching each other's throats; when we've stopped enslaving each other, we will stand together, hands clasped, and be friends."

Why do such words scare people? When most people know nothing of Socialism why are they afraid of it? 

Hopefully, there will come a day soon when we can all be friends around the world.

71 comments:

  1. Eugene Debs is one of my heroes. Thank you for honoring him with this post.

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    1. Yelp, he gave us an ideal to strive toward.

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  2. Pristine.

    The bold embolden.

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  3. I cannot understand why socialist ideals strike fear in the heart of people. Heck, based on my reading, Jesus was a total socialist, but you'd never know it the way the GOP represents would you?
    Great post.

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    1. I think it may come from the "dirty commie" days and the idea of the Iron Curtain. I remember in church classes they used to try and scare us with how bad communism was because you couldn't be religious in communist countries and they also made you carry ID papers. Maybe some religions are continuing to do this, and most people equate socialism with communism while having no idea what either is about. Go Jesus.

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    1. Is Henny in the union?

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    2. Haha! Henny's too little. She doesn't know what one is ;)

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  5. Hello Rubye Jack:
    We completely identify with Debs' words which you have included here. If there is to be any future in today's world, then there must be justice and equality of opportunity for all irrespective of race, colour, class or creed. And we all have a duty to assist at all times those who, for whatever reason, are unable to cope with life's daily round and who find it an impossible struggle.

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  6. Don't know of this person, so, I'm off to learn something new. The internet is amazing.

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  7. why do people never learn? not even the most obvious and least frightening things seem to penetrate!

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    1. imho they don't learn due to greed and brainwashing.

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    2. and selfishness. it's just easier to only look after yourself.

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    3. It certainly feels easier. However, I believe what I'm told -that helping others makes us feel better with ourselves and so is indeed not so altruistic as some would like to think.

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  8. The other day someone was making fun of people who say that Obama is a socialist Muslim.
    "I wish!" I said.

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  9. What a fitting post the day before the election, an election in which there is a clear choice between the power of money/class and hope for the majority who have only their numbers to defend themselves with. Now if people are only smart enough to vote their own self interests ......

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    1. Thanks Jim!
      It's anybody's ball game isn't it?

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  10. One of my sons wrote a paper about him in high school. Before that I didn't know much about him. I enjoy reading the Writers Almanac too.

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    1. Hi Jen.
      I've gotten to where I hit the "listen" link lately.

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  11. we live in a world of thoughtforms that are fueled on fear. we also live in a world where words and labels take on significance beyond their original meaning and can be used as weapons. powerful political engines know how to use both to their advantage, and this election has been a virtuoso performance. before sandy hit romney made a bungling statement about fema's necessity. i ask - was he planning to replace it with the trickle down theory?

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    1. It does seem like words and labels are taken out of context more and more. It's hard not to fall into it; a bit of a trap for all of us on this stressful day.
      Who knows what will be lost if Romney is elected.

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  12. A communist by any other name ... I once had a postcard with a not-quite-exactly-remembered quote from a slum priest in Sth America along the lines of 'When I feed the children, they call me a saint. When I ask why the children have no food, they call me a communist'.

    I hope your election day gives you the results you hope for.

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    1. Nice quote Red!
      Oh my gosh, I hope so too. Personally, I'm very anxious about it.

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  13. here's what Wikepedia says about Socialism: Socialism refers to various theories of economic organization advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with an egalitarian method of compensation.

    Hmm, doesn't sound like such a bad idea, imo.

    And yes, Romney is a jerk, a rich out of touch jerk who has no clue how the 99% live or who the 47% are.

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    1. Sounds like a good enough definition to me. Thanks for this MS.

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  14. You know what makes me sad...people in their comments and replies and posts calling each other jerks...and saying unless you are rich you can't think for yourself. So talk about labels and words???......

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    1. You're right Cheryl about the name calling stuff. For me, I'm tired and scared for the country. Personally, I think wealth and class have nothing to do with being able to think critically.

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  15. Is there a deep seated fear of/resentment of government in the US? Perhaps one that started with the War of Independence, and grew when a succession of groups immigrated to escape oppression? From here, it certainly looks as though the extreme right wing is anti-government full stop.
    Ironic, then, that Emma Goldman was persecuted for speaking about anarchy.

    It sounds like Debs was a worthy man:- if only more of us could see past our own fears and connect with real people.

    Holding my breath today about your election.

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    1. Just don't know FC. It makes a lot of sense what you say here with regard to immigrants and oppression. A lot. The right doesn't like big government because they think it costs too much money. At this point, all most of us can do is to hold our breath. Ha.

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  16. I'm really anxious about this election as well. The fear of socialism is greed based- and theres sometimes a bit of confusing it with Fascism as well as communism as you said already.
    Whoever said it up thread, that Jesus looks like a socialist....dead right. He also ministered to the poor...the conservative version of Christianity is pretty far off the mark spiritually speaking.
    I grew up in a half Catholic, half atheist, all Socialist household....with the idea that no matter what we believed, we worked for social justice and for the common good.

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    1. At least it's almost over.
      Jesus cared about the everyday common person and threw the Pharisees (big banks, Wall Street, and Romney) out of the temple for money changing.
      If only we can throw them all out tomorrow. We shall soon see shan't we?

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  17. Not only do I love your post...loved all the comments. I'm holding my breath and keeping fingers xxx'd that the fearless get out and vote tomorrow.

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    1. Thanks TM!
      I'm telling myself it's just another day.

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  18. Thanks for the introduction. I had never heard of him until this post. I like his thought that no one can lead anyone anywhere; that we all must decide for ourselves. And yes, socialism representing the interests of the common man, has been so vilified. We, in the antipodes, are watching the US election with everything crossed and hoping that the pharisees don't take over. Christine

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    1. No one can lead anyone anywhere. I like that very much also.
      Usually I watch the news every morning. Today it seems it is all nothing but noise. I don't think I will turn it back on until tomorrow.

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  19. Hi Rubye .. I hadn't heard of Eugene Debs - interesting to read about him and the comments ... and I too echo the words above and hope there will come a day soon when we can all be friends around the world.

    Today is an important day for the States and the rest of the world ... Hilary

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    1. I don't understand why we all have to be so competitive except that it must be a survival thing. Thanks for being here Hilary.

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  20. I'm another who hasn't heard of Eugene Debs, but I'm with Jane and Lance in their beliefs. Coming from a working-class background in the industrial north of England, these ideals are in my blood and bone.

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    1. It seems those on the continent are more accepting of socialism than those here in America, land of the free. Or perhaps, land of the spoiled.

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  21. Why indeed. Why do those that have more than they need live in fear of losing it? I saw that around me as a young adult and knowing that through my chosen work I would never ba able to afford the things that kept my friends and aquaitences nervous and fearful I adopted the 'less is more' philosophy and it has served me well. I don't fear losing things I don't have.

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  22. In the end you have to be in favor of any idea system which stresses equality, the sharing of and reasonable use of resources and the idea that no one should be left hungry and homeless.

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  23. Dear Rubye Jack, I just read Teresa Evangeline's posting on Debs. At the end of it she provided a link to your blog. I'd lost your blog link and so was happy to find it again.

    Thank you for directing us to Writer's Almanac and it's background on Eugene Debs. His words resonate today so strongly. Peace.

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  24. I had never heard of Debs! I assume his story has been buried because he was *gasp* a socialist! But what an upstanding citizen!

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    1. I think so Cherie. Yes, he was very upstanding.

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  25. I am in a literal state of terror about this election. This is as close as we've come to fascism since the Nixon years.

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    1. I agree Hattie. It's gotten to where liberals are afraid of being placed in a camp if they stand up for their beliefs. That is scary. Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison simply for saying the wealthy start wars and the poor fight them. Crazy!

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  26. We could use Debs right now. How right you are to celebrate him.

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    1. Hey there Susan.
      We could use many of him. Yes indeedy.

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  27. Massachusetts has just called for Elizabeth Warren, so that's a hopeful sign. Debs might approve . . .

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    1. It seems to be inch by inch or blow by blow and I can't stand to watch it. So, it is nice to hear a bit of good news. I'm watching House re-runs rather than the election re-runs. Different names, same mean baloney.

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  28. So much depended on this race. We can have hope for the next four years but that is not long enough. We need big changes -- I feel the real people spoke last night! Do you think the earth moved last night? -- barbara

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    1. Thank goodness reason prevailed, but look how narrowly. Half the people in this country don't really seem to understand that the Republicans have only the wealthy on their agenda. The earth did indeed move on the side of caring and good conscience.

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  29. Here, here. Wise words, Rubye.
    -Cathy from Muskoka, goofing around at work. Shhhh....

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    1. He was a very wise man indeed.

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  30. Delighted with the election result. The Republicans seemed so backward-looking, so out of touch, so un-inclusive. But scary just how much of the popular vote they got.

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    1. Me too SW!
      Living in a red state it is really scary at times. We need more and better education.

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  31. Debs is new to me too, but the ideas are familiar, and there is always room for another inspiration. I will follow the link and learn :-)
    So relieved that Obama won!

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    1. I can't help but wonder where are the Debs of our generation. In prisons?

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  32. "Yes, I am my brother's keeper," he wrote. "I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by maudlin sentimentality, but by the higher duty I owe myself."
    Beautiful. Thank you.

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    1. Yes, absolutely beautiful sentiments.

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  33. It's probably already been said in this thread above, but I'll answer your "Why?" anyway: Greed, Ru. Pure and simple. If a few more people just tried, or even pretended, to be friends, that might be a good start in nudging them in the right direction. ;)

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    1. It does seem to be that basic doesn't it? Pure unadulterated greed.

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  34. Well said. From one unrepentant Socialist to another, fraternal greetings.

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