Jeff Bezos wants us to believe that allowing billionaires to wield enormous power makes us all better off. Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party, founded 120 years ago this summer, had a very different vision for society: one of empowered workers and freedom from domination.
Shawn Gude is a senior editor at Jacobin. He is currently writing a biography of Eugene Debs.
Immediately after last year’s right-wing coup in Bolivia, US elites, including many liberals, celebrated or excused the putsch against Evo Morales. Yesterday’s resounding electoral win for Morales’s party is a rebuke to all of their bloviating nonsense — and a massive triumph for democracy in Bolivia.
Let’s say we accept capitalism’s defenders’ claims that their system created mass economic growth and pulled countless people out of poverty. Even if that’s true, we have clearly reached a point in human development where we can rid ourselves of capitalism’s relations of hierarchy and domination — without inviting immiseration.
Eugene Debs’s unswerving commitment to democracy and internationalism was born out of his revulsion at the tyranny of industrial capitalism. We should carry forth that Debsian vision today — by recognizing that class struggle is the precondition for winning a more democratic world.
A pair of leftist historians has undertaken a massive project: compiling a six-volume collection of Eugene Debs’s writings and speeches. We spoke with one of them, who detailed Debs’s extraordinary journey from moderate young trade union leader to courageous socialist militant.
On June 16, 1918, Eugene Debs gave the anti-war speech that would soon send him to prison. His arrest sparked a nationwide movement to secure his release — and forced the government to finally recognize the free speech rights of wartime dissenters.
Joseph Schumpeter saw firsthand the transformative power of democracy in Red Vienna Austria and New Deal America. But as a conservative, he recoiled at workers’ challenges to traditional hierarchies — reminding us that the Right has always loathed democracy.
Through dogged organizing and a class-based message, Bernie Sanders cleaned up among young and nonwhite voters in last week’s Iowa caucus. It’s proof that the coalition he’s assembling has the multiracial working class at its center.
Whatever happens today in Iowa, we must think beyond one campaign. Our aim is to deliver on what W. E. B. Du Bois championed so many decades ago: breaking capital’s dictatorial power over our society, so all can flourish and all can control the forces that shape their lives.
Political scientists are discovering something that today’s Democrats refuse to understand: social policy is about more than technocratic tinkering — it defines who counts as a full citizen. And means testing tears apart the very fabric of society.
Dwarfed by the Communist Party, the 1930s Socialist Party is often seen as a marginal force. But its successes laid the groundwork for the next generation of organizing — and its politics help us understand Bernie Sanders’s campaign today.
Billionaires typically stay quiet about their politics. But don’t mistake their silence for moderation — the uber-rich tend to be extremely politically active and extremely conservative.
Though often forgotten today, the National Negro Congress forged a black-led, labor-based coalition in New Deal America that fought white supremacy and the economic exploitation that undergirded it.
Elizabeth Warren’s political tradition is the left edge of middle-class liberalism; Bernie Sanders hails from America’s socialist tradition. Don’t confuse the two.
All around the world, it wasn’t capitalist elites who gave us democracy. It was organized workers.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the nationwide prison strike. But we do know one thing: the legitimacy of American prisons is on the decline.
Defenders of capitalism say that socialism will squelch minority rights. But the only minority groups we seek to unseat are those who trample the rights of others.
At the core of democratic socialism is a simple idea: democracy is good, and it should be expanded.
How one of the greatest American socialists ended up on the wrong side of history.