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Eugene V. Debs and the Urgent Need for a New Anti-War Movement


Eugene V. Debs and the Urgent Need for a New Anti-War Movement

Jake Johnson

Eugene Debs became a socialist in prison.


The problem with people like Debs is that they are visionaries.
In the old days folks like Debs were called prophets and were routinely put to death. We like to refer to these people as martyrs.
Most people are in love with the status quo. Called stability.
Debs would never vote for Hillary or Trump.
Debs would label Johnson/Weld the ultimate in Capitalist criminals. He’d would never vote for the Libertarians.

Debs would support Jill Stein and cast his vote for her.
Debs would also vote ‘against’ every incumbent, Democrat or Republican, on the ballot. Turn them out.


“But no matter who is elected in November, our hopes cannot remain tethered to presidential politics; the changes that are necessary to take on a military-industrial complex that has extended its reach beyond what Eisenhower could have envisioned cannot come from the top-down.”

Elections seem to be about whom the citizens choose to lie to them. Inertia guides the policies…


Given my chosen moniker for this and other forums, I guess I need to chime in here. Clearly, the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex knew what it was doing at the end of the Vietnam War when the military draft was ended in the United States. The generals had come to hate mass conscription of young male adults. First, their limited service tours necessitated a need for constant training and the indoctrination of new troops, which was “inefficient”. Second, since they were not totally “bought-in” as to the righteousness of the cause, they did not unquestioningly follow orders. Their discontent also led to high levels of substance abuse in the field. No, going to an all-volunteer military of young people made the general’s jobs so much easier. At the same time, it took away the urgency of the masses to oppose our military adventurism. If your chances of being sent to a foreign country to die in a war you opposed suddenly did not exist, then there really was no need for you to interrupt your life or studies to take to the streets to oppose that war. Even though millions of people around the World opposed our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it didn’t amount to enough push-back to prevent them from happening. In the end, those of us opposed to the wars were right, but the system won and got the war they needed to make more money for the purveyors of death and destruction. At this point, with war hawk Hillary Clinton poised to become the next POTUS, I don’t see that changing any time soon. All we can do is work to get the Green Party to 5% of the vote in November, as a start to building a party devoted to ending our endless wars and working to end our destruction of the planet we call home. Stein/Baraka 2016!


Jake says, "Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton offer anything resembling an alternative; indeed, as Matthew Hoh has observed, ‘both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unabashed militarists, seeing no shame or dysfunction in America’s wars overseas, and seemingly promising to escalate current wars or begin new ones.’ "

Couldn’t quite bring yourself to follow it to the logical conclusion, especially in a piece extolling Debs? How do you not arrive at drawing the appropriate parallel to the campaign efforts of Dr Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka? They are the true inheritors of Deb’s tradition. As you quote, “The people are awakening. In due time they will and must come to their own.” Well, get the sleep out of your eyes and take it to the next step and acknowledge the authentic voices of peace.


Slightly OT, but I would love CD to carry this article by Kevin Gosztola (as they have others by Kevin) “Your vote for Stein is not a wasted vote


Our occupation of Vietnam was the high water mark of the peace movement. In addition to the changes that Eugenedebs noted in this thread, we had a so-called mainstream media. People saw live combat on their television screens and the Vietnamese sent 58,000 body bags home, some of which were seen on screens in living rooms in the United States. Now the television networks are owned by the military contractors whose job is to keep the money flowing. the news is in essence censored. What did you see on our screens about the decimation and insurgency in Iraq? What do you hear about assassination by drones?

At the the beginning of our occupation of Iraq, our combat troops were deployed from the ranks of the National Guards and Reserves. They were un- or underemployed young people who were supplementing their incomes as weekend warriors. They represented only about 1 1/2 per cent of the population, so the people of this country are not invested in this conflict. Anyone interested in what their government is doing must be on the internet, reading the likes of Common Dreams. We have a Catholic peace group in town, but demonstrations that we have are not covered by the local news and are seen by very few people. We are in contact with our congressional representative, and his community liaison person.


In their efforts to enslave the Taino people of Puerto Rico, some 500 years ago, the Conquistadors claimed that they were gods and could not be killed. They told the Taino people to accept their fate as slaves since any resistance to the Conquistadors would be bring them greater suffering. Agueybana II sought to challenge the notion that the Tainos would make things worse if they refused to fall in line with the demands of the Conquistadors. Agueybana II organized a number of Tainos to capture a Conquistador and hold him under water in a lake until he died. By showing that Conquistadors could be defeated, Agueybana inspired the Tainos in his village to reject Conquistador repression and revolt.

I will vote for Jill Stein, and encourage others to vote for her, in part to highlight the lie that progressives will make things worse by refusing to fall in line with the demands of the Democrat Party.


Would that like make Agueybana II one of the earliest rational skeptics?


You are right about the fact that Bernie ran only half a campaign.
Bernie never talked about foreign policy because he sides with the Zionists too closely and on too many issues to be an independent voice.
Bernie doesn’t like to talk about the State of Israel because he knows that it’s a fascist state run by a terrorist. That fact is uncomfortable for him to confront publically.


“…and if that target is not within your reach, keep your ballot in your pocket.” That is a problem.
What’s the target?
Voting is an act of mobilization. Never NOT vote.


Jake writes articles that capture the reality we live in, I love it. This one echoes the question, where is our anti-war movement? Indeed, where is it?
Each group protest has a piece of it maybe but there is no organized movement that I know of.
I will vote for Stein/Baraka but they are not the movement. I remember the anti-war movement in the sixties. It was loud and spread quickly across the country. Now, since there is no draft, we have let our guard down. It’s time for another one. It’s time we fight for the right to stop the wars, the destruction of the Middle East and the misappropriation of tax dollars for their endless wars.


One of the major differences (besides the draft) between Viet Nam and today’s wars of choice, was the MSM reporting. We saw images of horror on television and in periodicals. Journalism meant something besides pablum in those days. The devastation was visible.

I remember early in the 2nd Iraq invasion when the MSM decided to no longer show images of American bodies coming home in flag-draped caskets, because it ‘upset’ people. Today we rarely hear anything at all about the misery that we inflict upon the world. We bomb hospitals and it gets a five-second sound bite, with no grief or distress attached to it - business as usual.

We see nothing about the Standing Rock Sioux or the 23,000 bombs we dropped on the Middle East last year. Even if there were to be an anti-war movement, it would be unlikely to be covered. Participants would be pepper-sprayed and arrested long before it could get enough traction for the clarion call to be heard.

It is, unfortunately, very human to fail to consider things that we don’t see. The ordinary lives of most take all the time and attention we have to make a living and raise families. It takes a commitment to know what’s really going on in the world, and time. Many of us posting on this site are older and retired, we have the time now, and hopefully we can pass our sense of urgency on to our children and grandchildren, because they are the ones who will need to take action.

I am not without hope. As the PTB become ever more blatant in their corruption and greed, as the ever increasing War Budget takes away from everything else, they come ever closer to the point where the majority will say NO MORE. I pray that time will come soon.


In the aftermath of the Vietnam War the Pentagon and MIC recognized that public sentiment and those mass protests played a great role in ending it.

They then spent 10s and millions of dollars hiring firms that would condition the population into the blind acceptance of same.One of their defined goals was to condition the population into the blind acceptance of the phrase “support our troops”.

PR firms worked at this ensuring every sporting event or public gathering had the military present with words always stated towards that end, a never ending repetition of support our troops,

The result we see today. Contrast those football players going out of their way to indicate their protests in no way shape or form are intended to “dishonour” the veterans with Muhammed Ali and his opposition to Vietnam and his “no Viet cong ever called me a nigger”.

Even anti-war articles will often have the writer indicating they do not want to disparage the sacrifice of veterans.

A Buffy St Marie and her universal soldier song would never become the anthem that it was nor would songs like War , what is it good for.

When people feel they must go out of their way to indicate their support for the sacrifice of veterans even as they speak out against war , they are acting as they have been conditioned to act.

Couple that with the assassinations of anti-war leaders and an anti-war movement that can be effective becomes all but impossible


i remember as a Flower Child of the Anti-war movement of Vietnam, and the City of Berkeley, California, and was Tear-Gassed via aircraft by Ronald Reagan’s orders. Ronald Reagan not a good guy!


'Dem damn Dem donation dollars.


The way the vigorous anti-war movement and its members totally folded their tents and went home on January 21, 2009 - or maybe it was the night of November 4, 2008 among all those idiotic tears shed in Grant Park - will have to go down as one of the most shameful episodes of USAn activism.

When will USAns get over their cult-of-personality/savior/devil complexes regarding US presidents?


Images of violence and devastation are now shown only to rouse us against the enemy responsible for such horrors.

It’s time for our three minute hate against Assad.


Very true. But some presidents provide at least a more favorable socio-political terrain for organizing - even if their positions on war and interventions are virtually same as the opponent. But to take advantage of this terrain the organizing effort needs to be even more vigorous. This was certainly the case with the election of Obama compared to the alternative McCain. But what happened instead? The organizations declared Obama their savior (some, like UFPJ weren’t even subtle about it) folded up and went home. Idiocy.


Yes, Assad is a glorious Man of the People.

Curious, have met or ever talked to any Syrians? I do every day.