Early American Marxism: Document Download Page by Year: 1914

Early American Marxism

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“Jesus, the Supreme Leader,” by Eugene V. Debs. [March 1914] An underappreciated aspect of Eugene Debs’ ideology was his interpretation of Christianity and conscious emulation of the central figure of that religion. For Debs, Jesus Christ was in no way a fictitious or allegorical personage but rather a thoroughly admirable historical figure advancing a truly sacred cause—the class-conscious struggle of the downtrodden and oppressed against “Mammon.” For Debs, Jesus was a radical political leader whose tradition ran down the ages to John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and Karl Marx—and served as a model for the way in which a righteous person should live. This firey article is probably Debs’ fullest statement of his radical religious faith.