Mar 20, 2012

'... in this high noon of Christian civilization'


Eugene V. Debbs released from Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, Christmas Day, 1921. While in the penitentiary, Debbs ran for president on the Socialist ticket, receiving 3.4 percent of the vote.

Eugene V. Debbs, Statement to the Court Upon Conviction of Violation of the Sedition Act:
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, 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.

"... I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and the factories; of the men in the mines and on the railroads. I am thinking of the women who for a paltry wage are compelled to work out their barren lives; of the little children who in this system are robbed of their childhood and in their tender years are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the monster machines while they themselves are being starved and stunted, body and soul. I see them dwarfed and diseased and their little lives broken and blasted because in this high noon of Christian civilization money is still so much more important than the flesh and blood of childhood. In very truth gold is god today and rules with pitiless sway in the affairs of men."

See also: "How I Became a Socialist," and the seditious speech, called "the Canton, Ohio speech." The whole archive of Debbs speeches can be found at the Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive.