The anti-war presidential candidate

By Deirdre Griswold
February 24, 2020

Campaign button for Eugene Debs.

Eugene V. Debs ran for president in 1920 from a prison cell where he had been thrown because of his opposition to World War I. Debs, a militant labor leader and a socialist, got a million votes, even though he wasn’t endorsed by either of the two “major” parties. His campaign button, shown here, proudly included his prisoner ID number.

Debs’ strong opposition to imperialist war was shared by many workers, who knew exactly what he was talking about when he said: “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.”

Now, many, many U.S. wars later, there is more reason than ever for any candidate professing socialism to come out strongly and clearly in opposition to the monstrous U.S. military machine that has ravaged so many areas of the globe in the name of “peace” and “democracy.”

— Report by Deirdre Griswold