Eugene V. Debs

Labor Day Greeting

Written: September, 1904
First Published: September, 1904, Social Democratic Herald
Source: DEBS: His Life Writings and Speeches 1908 by The Appeal to Reason newspaper, Girard, Kansas. Pages 289-290
Online Version: E.V. Debs Internet Archive, 2008
Transcribed/HTML Markup: David Walters, August, 2008
Public Domain: The E. V. Debs Internet Archive follows the advice of the original copyright (now expired and in the public domain) published in the title page of the 1908 edition: “Copyright by The Appeal to Reason: “NOTE—Copyright protection is taken upon this volume for the sole purpose of protecting the work of Comrade Debs from prejudiced misuse by pirate Capitalist publishers, and will not be invoked against Socialist and Labor Publications and Comrade publishers, they giving us notice.—Appeal to Reason

The workingman is the only man in whose presence I take off my hat. As I salute him, I honor myself.

The workingman—and this is the day to write him in capital letters—has given me what I have, made me what I am, and will make me what I hope to be; and I thank him for all, and above all for giving me eyes to see, a heart to feel and a voice to speak for the workingman.

Like the rough hewn stone from which the noble statue is chiseled by the hand of man, the Toiler is the rough—hewn bulk from which the perfect Man is being chiseled by the hand of God.

All the workingmen of the earth are necessary to the whole Workingman—and he alone will survive of all the human race.

Labor Day is a good day to rest the hands and give the brain a chance—to think about what has been, and is, and is yet to be.

The way has been long and weary and full of pain, and many have fallen by the wayside, but the Unconquerable Army of Labor is still on the march and as it rests on its arms today and casts a look ahead, it beholds upon the horizon the first glowing rays of the Social Sunrise.

Courage, comrades! The struggle must be won, for Peace will only come when she comes hand in hand with Freedom.

The right is with the labor movement and the gods of battle are with the Working Class.

The Socialist Party and the Trade Union Movement must be one today in celebration of Labor Day and pledge each other their mutual fidelity and support in every battle, economic and political, until the field is won and the Workingman is free. Forget not the past on Labor Day! Think of Homestead! Think of Latimer! Think of Buffalo! Think of Coeur d’Alene! Think of Croton Dam! Think of Chicago! Think of Virden! Think of Pana! Think of Leadville! Think of Cripple Creek! Think of Victor! Think of Telluride!

These are some of the bloody battles fought in the past in the war of the Workers for Industrial Freedom and Social Justice.

How many and how fierce and bloody shall be the battles of the future?

Comrades, this is the day for Workingmen to think of the Class Struggle and the Ballot—the day for Labor to clasp the hand of Labor and girdle the globe with the International Revolutionary Solidarity of the Working Class.

We are all one—all workers of all lands and climes. We know not color, nor creed, nor sex in the Labor Movement. We know only that our hearts throb with the same proletarian stroke, that we are keeping step with our class in the march to the goal and that the solidarity of Labor will vanquish slavery and Humanize the World.