1912 Debs Presidential campaign » 1912 Debs Presidential campaign
Eugene Victor Debs (1855 – 1926) was an American union leader, one of the founding members of the International Labor Union and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), as well as candidate for President of the United States as a member of the Social Democratic Party in 1900. Later he was a presidential candidate as a member of the Socialist Party of America in 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920. Debs helped motivate political opposition to corporations. He is honored for his compassion.
“Years ago,” he said, “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.”
He fought vigorously for the labor movement, but as he told an audience in Utah in 1910: “I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.”
His running mate was Emil Seidel, the mayor of Milwaukee from 1910 to 1912, the first Socialist mayor of a major city in the United States. Reproduction of public domain campaign poster.
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