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'learn The Real History Of This Land'

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EUGENE V. DE BS: THE MAK ING OF AN AMERICAN RADICAL by Ray Ginger Collier Books, paperback -$1.50-482 pages Tve gone through a million goddamn changes trying to write this book review, lts really important that i ció it, and its really important that I do it well, 'cause ts really important that people read this book. I know for myself that I have a tendency to sometrmes think that all the stuff thats going on today, like strikes, political trials and political prisoners, war protests, brothers and sisters getting shot down in the streets, benefits and rallies, underground newspapers, community organizing, all this stuff just started yesterday, or if not yeterday, then in 1967. Bul by reading books like the Debs book we begin to learn the real history of this land, a history that is thouroughly and systematically hidden from us, a history that shows that the working people, the poor people, young people, "f you ain't got nothin' you got nothin' to lose," people, were doing battle with the same foul monsters in yesteryear, as they say, the same beasts only different faces and different names, as we are doing battle with today. Debs locked ass with Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, Teddy Roosevelt, Hayes, J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller, George Pullman. We lock ass with Nixon, Rockefeller, GM, Ford, H.L. Hunt. But our high school history books don't teil us about Debs, they don't teil us about big Bill Haywood, Florence Kelley, Charles Moyer, Clarance Darrow, Kate O'Hare, and hundreds of other doublé bad revolutionaries of 60, 70, and 80 years ago. They don't teil us about the people's heros, they teil us about the people's enemies and try to make them heros. In 1861 Eugene V. Debs was 5 years old, the Civil War had just begun. Debs was bom and raised in Terre Haute, Ind. At 14 he went to work for the railroad scrapmg grease off engines, at 17 he became an engine fireman. His mother kept whining because the work was so dangerous, Debs quit, got a job as a clerk in a grocery store. At 18, while still a clerk he became the secretary for the local chapter of the Locomotive Firemen Brotherhood. Foi the next 52 years, until his death at 70, he spent his every breath on the planet working for Power to the People. In 1877 the railroad workers got down. They wanted decent wages, safety regulations, the end of "blacklisting" of union sympathizers. They struck. In West Virginia, and Maryland, President Hayes sent the army n to protect the scabs who were breaking the strike. In Maryland and Pennsylvania the strikers blocked the tracks to keep scabs from moving the trains. In Pittsburg the enraged people burnt 100 locomotives and 500 freight cars; the army, protecting the sacred private property, killed 26 unarmed people. All in all more than 100 strikers were killed and more than several hundred wounded. The railroads, state troopers, Pinkerton agents. Federal troops, tremblin' unions and starving poor people who would scab against their comrads united against the workers and broke the strike. At this time Debs was just developing, he had a long way to go, dig this statement compared to a statement he made 37 years later in 1914: "This continuo reduction of the price of labor wa the direct caue of the recent strikes which terrified the entire nation. A strike at the pretam time signifies anarchy and revolución, and the ons of but a few days ago win never be blotted from the records of memory. The question has often been asked. Does the Brotherhood encourage strikes? To this question we must emphatically answer, No, brothers. To disregard the laws which govern our land? To destroy the last vestige of order? To stain our hands with the crimson blood of our fellow beings7 We again say. No, a thousand times No!" (1877) But in 1914, in Ludlow Colorado, the Western Federation of Miners went out on strike. The mining companies sent in the militia and Pinkerton to protect the scabs. The striking miners abandoned the town, they set up a tent city. On April 20 the militia raked the tent city with machinegun fire and burned the tents. 1 1 children and 2 women were killed. Now it was Debs turn to get down. Debs urged the miners to raise a Gunman Defense Fund, "sufficient to provide each member with the La test high-power rifle, the same as used by corporation gunmen, and 500 rounds of cartridges". He called the company guards and militia "hired assassins, professional mankillers, you should have no more compunction in killing them than if they were so many mad dogs or rattlesnakes that menaced your homes and your community. It only remains to be said that we stand for peace, and that we are unalterably opposed to violence and bloodshed f by any possible means, short of absolute degradation and self-abasement, these can be prevented. We believe in law, the law that applies equally to all and is imparíially administered, and we prefer reason inf initely to brute force. But when the law fails, and in fact, becomes the bulwark of crime and oppression, then an appeal to force is not only morally justified, but becomes a patriotic duty." And in Michigan, Upper Península at Calumet, the copper miners went on strike. They put on a Christmas party. Crowded hall. Merry Christmas. Small children, mothers, hard working miners. Doors barred from the outside by company pig. "Fire1 Fire!" swine yells. 72 lives crushed out. Dead. No the high school history book ain't gong to teil you about that. They won't teil you about the National Rip-Saw, or the Appeal to Reason, The People, or the International Socialist Review, or the other un derground newspapers of that day. They won't teil you about the speech that Debs made n 1918 that got him 10 years in th; penitentiary, ttv;y probably won't teil you that Warren G. Harding, disguised as a cow, gave Debs and 23 other political prisoners a pardon after Debs did nearly 4 years in the Atlanta joint. The bastard learned scholars won't teil you much about the Haymarket Riots in Chicago when 40,000 working men and women struck to demand an eight hour working day. That was on May Day, 1886, the pólice shot and killed an unarmed striker at the McCormick reaper plant. On May 3rd, 7 pigs were killed by a bomb. Eight revolutionaries were convicted of murder in the classical railroad job of all time. One suicide, four hanged, three prison. "The first martyrs in the cause of Industrial Freedom, aye, I would take them, if I could, from peaceful slumber in their martyr graves- I would place joint to joint in their dislocated necks- I would make the halter the symbol of redemption- I would restore the flesh to their skeleton bones- their eyes should again flash defiance to the enemies of humanity, and their tongues, again, more eloquent than all the heros of oratorv should speak the truth to a gainsaying world." Thats what Eugene V. Debs said. He did. Debs was in Ann Arbor in 1915 at Hill Auditorium, why don't they teil us that? lts goddamn criminal what puke has been 1 passed off on us as history. So much has already been said, so much been done that we can learn from, be proud of, so much yet they give us so little. They give us Ike Easyhower, Rousevelt, Tarzan and John Wayne, Diana Shore, and Winston C. Churchhill. We need Debs, and the National Rip-Saw, we need the Wobblies and Jimmy Higgens, we need, lord have mercy, Vincent St. John. Dig this book and dig Debs: "The earth for alll the people. That is the demand. The machinery of production and distribution for all the people. That s the demand. "The collective ownership and control of ndustry and its democratie management in the interest of all the people. That is the demand. "The elimination of rent, interest and profit and the production of wealth to satisfy the wants of all the people. "Co-operative industry in which all shall work together in harmony as the basis of a new social order, a higher civilization, a real republic. That is the demand. "The end of class struggles and class rule, of master and slave, of ignorance and vice, of proverty and shame, of cruelty and crime- the birth of freedom, the dawn of brotherhood [sisterhood- P.P.], the beginning of MAN [WOMAN -PP.]. That is the demand. "This is socialism." And this: "It is one thing, ye uniformed slaves, to fight for your country and another thing to fight for Rockefeller's oil der ricks. "You never had a country to fight for and never will have so much as an inch of one so long as you are fooi enough to make a target of your bodies for the profit and glory of your masters. "Let the capitalists do their own fighting and furnish their own corpses and there will never be another war on the face of the earth." Power to the People Pun Plamondon Federal Penal Hospital Springfield, Missouri February 28, 1972