Debs, Eugene Victor

(1855–1926)
   Born in Indiana in the United States, Debs is one of the most significant and well-known American socialists. He was an organizer and leader of various labor organizations and stood as a socialist candidate for the U.S. presidency five times. Initially his activism was in the labor movement, notably as grand secretary and treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen from 1880 to 1893, and from 1893 to 1897 as organizer and president of the American Railways Union. With the latter he was involved in two major strikes, successfully in 1894 against the Great Northern Railroad, but unsuccessfully later on that year against the Pullman Palace Car Company. The Pullman strike saw Debs imprisoned for six months for conspiring to interfere with the passage of federal mail. While in jail he was introduced to socialism via the visits of American Socialist editor Victor Berger, and through his readings of socialist authors including Karl Kautsky and Karl Marx. In 1896 Debs joined the Socialist Brotherhood of Cooperative Commonwealths, and in June 1897 was instrumental in the forming of the Social Democratic Party of America (SDPA). The party demanded nationalization of monopolies, public works for the unemployed, and an eight-hour working day. In 1901 the SDPA merged with other socialist groups to form the Socialist Party of America (SPA). Debs stood as presidential candidate for the SDPA in 1900, and for the SPAin 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920, gaining close to a million votes in the 1920 election. Debs also played an important role in the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905, but left in 1908 due to policy disputes. In addition, his political views gained him a further jail sentence in 1918 for a speech expressing his pacifist-inspired opposition to U.S. involvement in World War I that was deemed to be a violation of the Espionage Act. He served three years of a 10-year sentence before being pardoned by President Warren G. Harding in 1921. He spent the remaining years of his life lecturing and promoting the SPA.
   Debs was influenced by Marxism and its criticisms of capitalism. He believed in the necessity of overthrowing capitalism and its replacement by communism. He criticized Marxism for failing to pay attention to the project of constructing a socialist society, and put forward ideas for a socialist state to be created in the west of the United States. This showcase for socialism would be based on common ownership of the means of production and distribution according to need, and would demonstrate the superiority of socialism, thus winning workers over to the socialist cause. Debs was also a great advocate of education for the workers as the key element, along with organization, in the emancipation of the working class.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Debs,Eugene Victor — Debs (dĕbz), Eugene Victor. 1855 1926. American labor organizer and socialist leader who ran unsuccessfully for President five times between 1900 and 1920. * * * …   Universalium

  • Eugene Victor Debs — Eugene Debs (1912) Eugene Victor Debs (* 5. November 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana; † 20. Oktober 1926 in Elmhurst[1]) war ein US amerikanischer Sozialist, der in der Arbeiterbewegung aktiv war u …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Eugene Victor Debs — Eugene V. Debs en 1912 Eugene Victor Debs (né le 5 novembre 1855 et décédé le 20 octobre 1926) est un homme politique américain, syndicaliste et socialiste, un des fondateurs du syndicat des Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, Les travailleurs… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Debs, Eugene V. — ▪ American social and labour leader in full  Eugene Victor Debs  born November 5, 1855, Terre Haute, Indiana, U.S. died October 20, 1926, Elmhurst, Illinois  labour organizer and Socialist Party candidate for U.S. president five times between… …   Universalium

  • Eugene Victor Debs — noun United States labor organizer who ran for President as a socialist (1855 1926) • Syn: ↑Debs, ↑Eugene V. Debs • Instance Hypernyms: ↑organizer, ↑organiser, ↑labor organizer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Eugene Victor Debs — ➡ Debs * * * …   Universalium

  • ROSTOW, EUGENE VICTOR DEBS — (1913–2002), U.S. lawyer, economist, and government official; brother of walt whitman rostow . Born in New York City, Rostow graduated from Yale University in 1933. He began teaching law in 1938 at Yale, where in 1944 he was appointed professor… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Eugene V. Debs — Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 ndash; October 20, 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Eugene Debs — (1912) Eugene Victor Debs (* 5. November 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana; † 20. Oktober 1926 in Elmhurst[1]) war ein US amerikanischer Sozialist, der in der Arbeiterbewegung aktiv war u …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Eugene V Debs — [Eugene V Debs] (Eugene Victor Debs 1855–1926) a US ↑socialist politician and trade union leader. In 1893 he established the American Railway Union. He helped organize the Social Democratic Party of America in 1897 and was its candidate for US… …   Useful english dictionary

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