Eugene V. Debs

A Contrast Presented by Presidential Candidates of the
Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Party

Written/Published: Thursday, September 5, 1912
Source: Daily People, Vol. XIII, No. 67. Thursday, September 5, 1912. (Reprinted from the Pittsburgh, Pa.Press, August 27, 1912, under the heading, “A Contrast Presented by Presidential Candidates of the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Party,” i.e., Arthur E. Reimer and Eugene V. Debs.)
Online Version: E.V. Debs Internet Archive, 2006
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Robert Bills for the Socialist Labor Party of America and David Walters, December, 2006

The supreme issue in this campaign is Capitalism versus Socialism. The Republican hosts under Taft, the Democratic cohorts under Wilson and the Progressive minions under Roosevelt are but battalions of the army of capitalism.

Opposed to them are the ever augmenting phalanxes of the world's workers, organizing in the ranks of the Socialist party, to do battle for the cause of Socialism and industrial emancipation.

Nothing in the political history of the world has presented so inspiring a vision as the formation of the battle lines for the campaign in America.

For the first time since the civil war there is a political cleavage upon a great moral question. It is the question of the right of one class of human beings exploiting another class of human beings to the very point of physical existence.

It is a question of human freedom versus human slavery.

This question its as old as the race, but for the first time in human history the issue is stripped of all subterfuge and the exploited class have the political power in their own hands to accomplish by peaceful means their own emancipation.

No longer can the political harlots of capitalism betray the workers with issues manufactured for that purpose. The beating of tariff tom-toms, the cry for control of corporations, the punishment of “malefactors of great wealth,” the wolf cry of civic righteousness under capitalism, will not avail the politicians in this campaign.

Neither will the purely political issues of direct legislation, the recall, direct election of senators, or the economic reforms promised, of old-age pensions, minimum wage, industrial insurance and welfare of labor, about which the politicians of capitalism are now so much concerned, bring aid or comfort to them, for the people know that all of these are a part of the program of Socialism and that they are only seized upon by designing men who are not Socialists in an effort to deceive the people and prolong the reign of capitalism.

Taft may have stolen delegates enough to secure his nomination, but it remained for Roosevelt to burglarize the Socialist platform in order to secure his election under false pretenses.

The millions of American tillers of the soil and toilers of factory, mine and railroad, have abandoned once and forever all political parties of whatever name which do not challenge the very existence [of capitalism] as an institution, and they are in open, organized revolt against the system.

They have bunched all the so-called issues of all the capitalist parties, along with wage slavery, poverty, ignorance, prostitution, child slavery, industrial murder, political rottenness and judicial tyranny, and they have labeled it “Capitalism.” They are bent upon the overthrow of this monstrous system and upon establishing in its place an industrial and social democracy in which the workers shall be in control of industry and the people shall rule.

The Socialist party offers the only remedy, which is Socialism.

It does not promise Socialism in a day, a month, or a year, but it has a definite program with Socialism as its ultimate end. Its advocates are men and women who think for themselves and have convictions of their own and they are in deadly earnest.

The hour has struck! The die is cast and Socialism challenges the institution of Capitalism.