Socialism and the Class Struggle
Edited by William A Pelz
With an introduction by Mark A Lause
and an original introduction by Howard Zinn

A collection of writings and speeches by one of the most radical of America's early 20th century labour leader which brings to life a once powerful Socialist movement. Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926), one of America's most famous socialists, was an important political figure on the American political landscape in the early 20th century. He ran as the Socialist Party's (SP) presidential candidate five times and obtained nearly a million votes in 1912 and 1920.
Debs was born into a family from Alsace and started on work on the railways. He was an elegant and fiery writer and orator. His literature is a pleasure to read. Throughout the book, Debs rails against the injustices of capitalism, arguing for a socialist system based on political and industrial democracy. He defends workers and trade unions that are being assaulted by employers while advocating the formation of industrial unions and rejecting craft unions that only included skilled workers. At a time when Blacks faced segregation and hostility from whites, Debs, in several speeches and articles, makes it clear that class and not skin colour was the only important factor. "Foolish and vain is the working man who makes the colour of his skin the stepping stone to his imaginary superiority," laments Debs.
His writings witness to a broad and tolerant socialism. In "Sound Socialist Tactics" he opposes the SP leadership's attempts to limit debate. In "A Plea for Solidarity" Debs believed that the anarchist-led Industrial Workers of the World (for whom he had great respect) and their campaign of direct action and industrial sabotage alienated workers. The book is biographical in the sense that the speeches and articles paint a broader canvass of Debs' life. He writes that it was during his first time in jail, in 1894 for leading a strike of railroad workers, that he was led to become a socialist.

Contents: New Introduction, Mark A. Lause; Preface, William A. Pelz; Introduction, Howard Zinn. Writings of EV Debs: The Martyred Apostles of Labor; Prison labour; How I became a Socialist; What's the Matter with Chicago?; The Negro in Class Struggle; The Negro and His Nemesis; The Socialist Party and the Working Class; An Ideal Labour Press; The Crimson Standard; Revolutionary Unionism; John Brown: History's Greatest Hero; Mother Jones; Thomas McGrady; Revolution; Letter from Debs on Immigration; Working class Politics; Danger Ahead; The Crisis in Mexico; Sound Socialist Tactics; Speech of Acceptance; A plea for solidarity; ; The Gunman and the Miners; Knights of Columbus; The Prospect for Peace; Politicians and Priests; Ruling Class Robbers; The I.W.W. Bogey; The Canton, Ohio Speech; Address to the Jury; Statement to the court; The Day of the People; "Preacher Sherriff" hangs victim; Woman - Comrade equal; Sacco and Vanzetti; The Negro workers.

'This selection of Debs' words will help introduce a new generation to an authentic American hero whose vision is as powerful today as in years past.... Today, when capitalism, the free market, and private enterprise are being hailed as triumphant in the world, it is a good time to remember Debs and to rekindle the idea of socialism.' - Howard Zinn

'This collection of writings and speeches by one of the most radical of America's early 20th century labour leader brings to life a once powerful Socialist movement figure.' Socialist History Newsletter

ISBN. ISBN 978-0-85036-613-6

Paperback approx. 256 pages

Published March 2014