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Interesting political speech from years past.

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by jterrell, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war.

    The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose--especially their lives.

    They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.

    And here let me emphasize the fact--and it cannot be repeated too often--that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. Yours not to reason why; Yours but to do and die. That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation. If war is right let it be declared by the people. You who have your lives to lose, you certainly above all others have the right to decide the momentous issue of war or peace....

    You need at this time especially to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and cannon fodder. You need to know that you were not created to work and produce and impoverish yourself to enrich an idle exploiter. You need to know that you have a mind to improve, a soul to develop, and a manhood to sustain....

    They are continually talking about your patriotic duty. It is not their but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches. And now among other things they are urging you to "cultivate" war gardens, while at the same time a government war report just issued shows that practically 52 percent of the arable, tillable soil is held out of use by the landlords, speculators and profiteers. They themselves do not cultivate the soil. Nor do they allow others to cultivate it. They keep it idle to enrich themselves, to pocket the millions of dollars of unearned increment....

    And now for all of us to do our duty! The clarion call is ringing in our ears and we cannot falter without being convicted of treason to ourselves and to our great cause.

    Do not worry over the charge of treason to your masters, but be concerned about the treason that involves yourselves. Be true to yourself and you cannot be a traitor to any good cause on earth.


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    I am intentionally withholding the author's name for now as to see what whats folks think of the speech. I will note this person ran for President more than once so it isn't some complete unknown.
  2. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember his name - but he went to jail and lost his US citizenship for saying it.
  3. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    George Washington?

    :laugh2:
  4. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Eugene Debs
  5. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

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    hmmm, that doesn't sound familiar.
  6. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Debs is correct.

    He went to jail for 10 years and actually ran for US President and received 1 million votes while IN jail.
  7. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    He was a Socialist and Marxist .... A hero to the left. His followers called him King Debs.

    Thats his speech.
  8. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Labor bosses wield lots of power.
  9. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    On June 16, 1918, Debs made a speech in Canton, Ohio in opposition to World War I and was arrested under the Espionage Act of 1917. He was convicted, sentenced to serve ten years in prison and disenfranchised for life. While the photo pictured on the left of this page has for decades been reported to be of Debs giving his speech in Canton, it is actually a picture of Debs giving a speech to a large crowd in Chicago in 1912.

    Debs made his best-remembered statement at his sentencing hearing:
    “ Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. ”

    Debs appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court. In its ruling on Debs v. United States, the court examined several statements Debs had made regarding World War I. While Debs had carefully guarded his speeches in an attempt to comply with the Espionage Act, the Court found he still had the intention and effect of obstructing the draft and recruitment for the war. Among other things, the Court cited Debs's praise for those imprisoned for obstructing the draft. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. stated in his opinion that little attention was needed since Debs' case was essentially the same as that of Schenck v. United States, in which the Court had upheld a similar conviction. In the decision Holmes wrote that free speech does not include "the right to shout 'fire' in a crowded theater."

    He went to prison on April 13, 1919. In protest of his jailing, Charles Ruthenberg led a parade of unionists, socialists, anarchists and communists to march on May 1 (May Day) 1919, in Cleveland, Ohio. The event quickly broke into the violent May Day Riots of 1919.
    Debs in the Atlanta Penitentiary
    Debs in the Atlanta Penitentiary

    Debs ran for president in the 1920 election while in prison in Atlanta, Georgia at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. He received 913,664 votes (3.4 percent), the most ever for a Socialist Party presidential candidate in the U.S. and slightly more than he had won in 1912, when he obtained six percent of the vote. This stint in prison also inspired Debs to write a series of columns deeply critical of the prison system, which appeared in sanitized form in the Bell Syndicate and was collected into his only book, Walls and Bars, with several added chapters (published posthumously).

    On December 25, 1921, President Warren G. Harding commuted Debs' sentence to time served and Debs was released from prison. Debs died five years later at the age of 70 in Elmhurst, Illinois.

    In 1924, Eugene Debs was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Finnish Communist Karl H. Wiik on the ground that "Debs started to work actively for peace during World War I, mainly because he considered the war to be in the interest of capitalism.
  10. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

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    Would anybody to this day still support jailing a man for such a speech?
  11. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Which party was in power in 1918? Which President? Who would allow this atrocity to happen?

    :p:
  12. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    I would think not. With the internet and multiple media outlets (not just the alphabet networks) available, the news of this would spread faster and wider than in the past. The ACLU would jump on it quicker than you could say "see you in court".

    Even with the passing of the Patriot Act, the loss of civil liberties is nowhere near the level of what happened during WWII, WWI, or the Civil War. No McCarthy-style witchhunts, either.
  13. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

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    McCarthy witchhunts is a socialist biased media fabrication.

    The House was engaged in hollywood witchhunts, not the senate.

    McCarthy was a senator only concerned with communists in government positions. Declassified documents have shown McCarthy's concerns to of been quite real.
  14. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    I wouldn't doubt that.

    I remember reading though that a lot of the names he cited were already known communists or known to be associated with them. No new information.
  15. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    With all the damage soviet agents did to us during the cold war- and what Aldrich Ames and others did- McCarthy was a lot more correct then many will ever admit. He was a slimy SOB but correct in THAT area.
  16. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    WW1 was totally avoidable. It was the incredible network of mutal treaties that caused it to grow from a spat in the Balkans to the worst war in history up to that time. And then after its all over the Germans are blamed for it. And that whole process virtually made WW2 inevitable.

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