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Almost a Century Ago, Another Democratic Socialist Ran for President of the United States—from His Prison Cell


Almost a Century Ago, Another Democratic Socialist Ran for President of the United States—from His Prison Cell

Lawrence Wittner

In the early twentieth century, roughly a century before Bernie Sanders’s long-shot run for the White House, another prominent democratic socialist, Eugene V. Debs, waged his own campaigns for the presidency.


" Bernie Sander's long- shot run for the White House."

I am not a Democrat, I am a third party Independent that has supported Dr. Jill Stein, but for all his foreign policy faults, Bernie is an Earth Angel compared to HRC and it seems to me the Democrats have to form a broad coalition to counter the Wall Street selection that has made Bernie " a long-shot". There is no doubt, in my mind, that Bernie would win the election for POTUS, in a landslide, mainly because Bernie would bring out so many Independents and other people that never vote. Unfortunately, the power elite in the democratic party have selected their whore!

The only way Bernie may be able to stop Wall Street and their oligarchs, I would argue, is for millions and millions of voters to sign a petition stating that they will refuse to vote if HRC wins the nomination for POTUS!


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The forum purists live in their own vacuum. Of course, based on the regulars who promote nuclear power, protect the reputation of Monsanto, joined the attack chorus on challenging the motives and bona fides of persons like Edward Snowden... the question of tainted loyalties is very real.

One thing that the purists never mention in their scathing rebukes of Sanders is what the climate is like in this country. In every way but direct mention, a veritable McCarthy campaign is underway.

The long lists of truth-tellers and whistleblowers either in exile, facing prosecution, under house or real arrest demonstrate how little tolerance there is for anyone who DARES to challenge the make-war state.

F.A.I.R has documented how few voices are allowed on-air to criticize the so-called military solution for things like wars & terrorism... which obviously spread wars and terrorism.

When people like Trump, Cruz, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh are given phenomenal air time to push fascist Hate Speech (under the banner of patriotic fervor), it is dangerous for anyone to directly oppose this military mindset that is so intent on making the U.S. (military) right, and everyone else wrong.

Dr. King was killed because he tied militarism to the nation's domestic policies and priorities... those that consigned millions to poverty.

IF we lived in an era of honest elections, and media was open to diverse voices, and Free Speech still meant something, and journalists were not all pressured into aligning with patently false narratives, and truth tellers were honored, and law and justice meant something... then perhaps there would be fertile soil to "grow" the next crop of Eugene Debs.

Indoctrination, and much of it has come through the now ubiquitous TV set, has gone on for 7 decades. Fewer people read. Mass media uses subliminal tools that manipulate mass emotions. Opinions are expertly shaped... and any truly compelling challenge to THOSE expensive (repeated often) narratives will not BE tolerated.

Just as there are Left Gatekeepers who, for instance, pretend to critique the M.I.C. by analyzing why wars are not being won--instead of challenging the whole raison d'etre of the Beast--the political stage has its gatekeepers, too.

Sanders is stretching the boundaries. THAT is a good thing. For the forum purists, he doesn't go far enough. However, for the reasons I've outlined, it's a miracle that he's gone as far as he has.


Without apology to the self appointed exegetes of some sacred Socialist text, I support Bernie Sanders. Throughout the years, and more than I care to recall, I've heard the same boilerplate. Politics is the art of the possible, and the possibility for change today lies in a Sanders presidency. At least one of these exegetes, not too many moons ago, said he supported Bernie. Who cares. Bernie is the best bet for change in the present. Let these sour people go, political decisions are practical and are based on one's best judgment, each to his/her own, I'm for Bernie. In the real world, the upshot of their exegesis, is a Clinton as president.


When the matter was Obama, the case was clear.

Sanders is not Obama.

You purists are so rigid in your analysis that you fail to notice the following:

Trudeau in Canada
Corbyn in U.K.
A VERY open-minded Pope who talks about poverty, climate change, the need for peace
Sanders in the U.S.

I have found this argument to be dishonest and odious since day 1 and I've been ALL over it before with Two Americas and other Professional Marxists:

"By continually sacrificing their core values, so-called "Progressives" have gradually leveraged themselves into being enablers of war, death and destruction."

I don't know if a CIA disinformation specialist came up with this meme, or his double... but the LOGIC of such a comment is akin to blaming the community that could not stop the brutal cop for his murdering an innocent Black kid.

Power that does not respect law or persons does what it will. I do not hold those--who are unable to stop it--accountable for what the shock jocks do now and have done in many prior eras.

And similar trends in Spain, Iceland, and hopefully... Australia.

Since the wars are largely global in scope, and the ecological and financial rape of trans-national corporations are also global in scope, and climate ravages are global in scope... movements of citizens all over the world ARE coalescing and moving the conversation back to where it belongs: on what makes for a quality of life for average working persons and their families.

When THAT conversation takes hold, it will naturally lead to questions about:

  1. Corporate personhood
  2. Corporations making decisions for real people
  3. Corporations defining trade agreements and thus dictating the policies of sovereign nations
  4. Corporate--including war profiteers-profits and what these mean to citizens' quality of life

You want to cut this movement off before it has a chance to grow because it hasn't emerged, in full form, from the head of Zeus to meet all of the standards that you demand.

Wake up.


Your purity test will not generate the results you seem to imagine.


I have argued this with Two Americas, Iowa Blackbird, and other Professional Leftists--and by that I mean, those whose textbook Marx is so perfected as to make them seem--to me--like Intelligence Agents thrown into community comment boards to make the problem that of Left-leaning Progressives.

They have that same rigidity--that same arrogant assurance of their own rightness--that smacks of McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Allen Dulles and the other white males who have set military, financial, and government policy for generations.

They HATE people who challenge the hegemonic controls of Big Business.

They hate people who stand up for human rights.

When peace-loving persons are unable to stop thugs who come into their communities--from doing harm--it is not those who are unable to stop the actors who are responsible for the actions. That's why the reflexive need to pin all of the sins of right wing corporations, and right wing religious institutions, and the ultimate authoritarian bastion of all--the military industrial complex's sins onto Progressives is so reminiscent of J. Edgar Hoover, McCarthy, and other control freaks.

I didn't vote for Obama. In the past I voted for both Nader and Jill Scott. But we also see how far that 3rd party protest vote goes. Mr. Sanders gets a LOT right, and I don't believe that he is a militarist. He has a soul and he cares about human beings. THAT is unique and hasn't been heard much since the people you sound like shot down JFK.

This is not Obama II.


You are a liar. I did not support Obama.

I realize that Trudeau isn't a radical. But he's better than that climate-change denying maniac Harper.

You want what you want and sound like an enfant terrible.

Your sense of yourself is appalling. And for all your self-proclaimed superiority, you don't even get the distinction between it's and its.

I am not going to spend a beautiful day taking on the anti-Sanders attack squad.

Rigidity of the sort you reflect is usually the mark of a right wing zealot.


I am sorry but precedent and history has shown your position to be wrong. That endless compromise in opposition to the "purists" has pulled all Left leaning parties THE WORLD OVER far to the right.

In Canada, in virtually every European Country and in Latin America what were once true parties of the left are now indistinguishable from where the right wing parties were 20 years ago. This is not conjecture. Hollande in France just as an example represents what claimed to be the left when its policies match those of any Republican or Conservative leader you could care to name of 20 years ago.

In Greece , Portugal and Spain in Germany and virtually any country you can name what were once true parties of the left have become like Blairs Labor party in England. Corbyn came to power of the same only because purists refused to compromise on that issue even as party leadership in that labor party insisted they must because Corbyn not electable.

Without those purists demanding a return to true politics of the left those politicans will move ever more to the right so as to garner the support of the monied interests and the Corporations. Their voice must continue to be heard .


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Sioux, Maxwell and friends are the purists, whose numbers nationwide might fit in a phone booth, that is why Michael Harrington said, decades ago, a better tactic for socialists would be to take over the Democratic Party. Again, they are the purists, they are as inflexible as any conservative theologian, they continue with Latin as the world uses the vernacular.


Then it appears that those with your perspective will need to leave the U.S. and move elsewhere as the political landscape will not change enough within our lifetimes to come close to your expectations. It took decades, if not longer, to get where we are, and it will take at least that long, if ever, to "correct" the situation.


Hard to say. Sanders is a man of his word. He might keep his word and lip that he supports her, but will he campaign for her? I doubt it.

There's also the possibility that Sanders will be put into an important cabinet position like Secretary of State (the second most powerful position in the world), or have new never-before seen clout in the Senate.

Not enough of a consolation, I know. I personally, will never support or vote for the prostitute Dynasty Families of Bush or Clinton.

What do you think about this idea: What if we all registered as Democrats and then voted for Sanders in the Primary? Would that work? I don't know squat about the Dem political machine. Anyone know? I've never joined a party in my life, so these things are mysterious to me.

Then we should all send Sanders at least $30 bucks since he has no Wall-Street SuperPAC, and then go into a General Strike if Sanders calls strongly for a Revolution again?????

The timing on these things is very, very tricky. We've got to get the word out with fliers high-lighting Sanders platform and demands of greedy Wall Street. Most Americans who are still mesmerized by the Boob-Tube don't even really know who is phucking them (Bankers and CEO's) and don't know who Bernie is and what he stands for, imho.

(but then again, I'm been out of the U.S. for six years, so don't really have the real picture anymore.)



The fear of the ruling class is Sen. Sanders wins the Democratic nomination and loses by less than 3% of the popular vote. ( Oh my, instant legitimacy for a new and much better deal. ) But, creates a new Congress of sorts, on the center-left, left spectrum. Then, angrily, they'll have to buy and promote even more Fascists/Corporatists like the 14 + 1 still running amok, currently. Or, go for the whole enchilada and have Trump or Cruz declare real martial law, like we saw in Ferguson and Baltimore. And then, repurchase, like a hocked wrist watch, the current Democratic Leadership at a much higher price. And, the cost of SCOTUS appointments; real money ( $$$ cha-ching spins the crooked Vegas roulette wheels ). That gets to be very expensive, legally sketchy and damnably time consuming. It might not work, either. It's better for them to swallow hard, send more money to the DNC, HRC and John Podesta's bunch and have them do the corrupt, dirty, rough, political arm twisting it takes to stay as close to the present status quo, as possible. Let's all heave a big sigh for these ruthless, worthless bastards.:wink: Keep giving them hell, Bernie & Co.; the slimeballs are sweating and for real, too.



I just love the way you craft the English Language. It is truly intoxicating. You have succinctly distilled the problem down to it's core structure. I'm going to re-post it here in the hopes that the purists will re-read it and let it's truth sink in:


Common Dreams' removal of Maxwell's post(s) from this discussion is sad ... really sad.

The supporters of Senator Sanders have free reign -- with nothing being out of bounds -- to disparage anyone who is not a supporter of Senator Sanders.

There are several posts in this discussion by supporters of Senator Sanders that deserve to be flagged. Yet, those posts have not been removed as several were made by a "privileged" Common Dreams' poster.

As this particular discussion on the Common Dreams discussion board clearly documents, only the supporters of Senator Sanders enjoy free speech. Any post that questions or challenges Senator Sanders' historical voting record, agenda, or campaign rhetoric is subject to having his/her post(s) removed/deleted.

Censorship is a tool of the capitalist ruling class to control and limit the narrative. Dissenting truth is a threat.


What a crock of balderdash.



Maybe I got that idea from you (to register Dem and vote Sanders in the Primary). Not sure! We are kind of like a collective mind here at CD, and that's the kind of thing that has cross-pollinated Sanders new platform, perhaps. He sensed a growing disillusion, especially at Left sites, with Wall Street, and decided to go more radical in his language.

It's been working for him pretty good on turnout. I've got to get but over to the Embassy and register Dem if I can. I have no state, so not sure how that figures in since state rules apply to Primaries?

But I very much like your idea. It's worth a shot to dethrone the heir apparent, Killary.



What nonsense, for months these pages have been dominated by the Greens, the very mention of Bernie, if only in passing, leads to entire threads being dominated by these people to the point of making the pages unreadable. I do not support censorship, but Maxwell was exceptionally personal today, with his, "you are uneducated, or unaware, or dumb," or some such, I stopped reading him as the best way to avoid his arrogance today.