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Labor and Freedom

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A collection of writings and speeches of socialist leader Eugene Debs.


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A collection of writings and speeches of socialist leader Eugene Debs.

30 review for Labor and Freedom

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    I hadn’t read much of Debs’ work when I visited his home in Terre Haute, Indiana, a few years ago. I’m glad that has changed. Labor and Freedom is an impressive collection of essays and speeches from a progressive voice from the late 19th century and early 20th century. Debs is a champion of the working class. That rings loud and clear in everything in this collection. While Debs is sometimes a bit over the top (in terms of his rhetoric), his arguments for freedom and his appeals to equality are I hadn’t read much of Debs’ work when I visited his home in Terre Haute, Indiana, a few years ago. I’m glad that has changed. Labor and Freedom is an impressive collection of essays and speeches from a progressive voice from the late 19th century and early 20th century. Debs is a champion of the working class. That rings loud and clear in everything in this collection. While Debs is sometimes a bit over the top (in terms of his rhetoric), his arguments for freedom and his appeals to equality are as applicable today as they were 100 years ago. One of his most interesting essays is on Theodore Roosevelt; Debs blasts the hero worship of Roosevelt while providing a counterbalance to our current popular image of this president. Debs also writes about women’s suffrage (and Susan B. Anthony) in this collection as well as the abuses of power inherent in the economy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I just finished reading Bernie’s Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, which name-drops Debs, and while picking through the contradictions of Social Democracy I was prompted to explore how much the modern American Social Dem/Progressive differs from a Socialist/Wobbly like Debs. The Missing --This is a collection of essays/speeches on labor/socialism/women's rights/capitalist US parties; the format offered fiery rhetoric but limited analysis. --What I really came for is to see what Debs has to I just finished reading Bernie’s Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, which name-drops Debs, and while picking through the contradictions of Social Democracy I was prompted to explore how much the modern American Social Dem/Progressive differs from a Socialist/Wobbly like Debs. The Missing --This is a collection of essays/speeches on labor/socialism/women's rights/capitalist US parties; the format offered fiery rhetoric but limited analysis. --What I really came for is to see what Debs has to offer on American foreign policy and the global division of labor, as this is a major flaw in American Social Dems (more on this here) while Debs was jailed for protesting WWI and was a founding member of the Wobblies (IWW - International Workers of the World). This was missing; perhaps it can be found here: Walls and Bars: Prisons and Prison Life in the Land of the Free --Reading historical works is fine, but always helpful to tie historical lessons together (in this case, thinking of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Man, this guy could write a speech. Also: The free audio version available on Librivox is pretty good. Recommended, especially as most of these essays were written to be read out loud. https://librivox.org/labor-and-freedo... Man, this guy could write a speech. Also: The free audio version available on Librivox is pretty good. Recommended, especially as most of these essays were written to be read out loud. https://librivox.org/labor-and-freedo...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matjaz

    It's an interesting collection of writings to get a glimpse into American trials and tribulations of the working class, the equality of people of color,women and the widening gap between the "rich white elite" around the turn of the 20th century. But at the end of the day it's just another socialist propaganda that aims for the low-hanging fruit with accusatory and aggressive writing. But some of the thinking is eerily fresh and crisp today as it was 100+ years ago along with the contemporary st It's an interesting collection of writings to get a glimpse into American trials and tribulations of the working class, the equality of people of color,women and the widening gap between the "rich white elite" around the turn of the 20th century. But at the end of the day it's just another socialist propaganda that aims for the low-hanging fruit with accusatory and aggressive writing. But some of the thinking is eerily fresh and crisp today as it was 100+ years ago along with the contemporary state of affairs: oppressed workers and minorities, a president with very questionable moral standards and the money dictating the course of history. This one paragraph is an especially potent food for thought: You may, at times, temporarily better your condition within certain limitations, but you will still remain wage-slaves, and why wage-slaves? For just one reason and no other--you have got to work. To work you have got to have tools, and if you have no tools you have to beg for work, and if you have got to beg for work the man who owns the tools you use will determine the conditions under which you shall work. As long as he owns your tools he owns your job, and if he owns your job he is the master of your fate. You are in no sense a free man. You are subject to his interest and to his will. He decides whether you shall work or not. Therefore, he decides whether you shall live or die. And in that humiliating position any one who tries to persuade you that you are a free man is guilty of insulting your intelligence. You will never be free, you will never stand erect in your own manly self-reliance until you are the master of the tools you work with, and when you are you can freely work without the consent of any master, and when you do work you will get all your labor produces. Hot damn... Also today I learned that Jesus was the original communist :)) Solid 3/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a collection of articles and speeches by Debs. It covers a variety: strike-breaking, socialism, women's rights, John Brown, Theodore Roosevelt's anti-labor record, Jesus as a working class leader (?), etc. The first article tells about a 65-year-old former railroad worker / unionist who now scrapes by repairing people's umbrellas. When he encounters Debs he is excited and tells Debs about his dedication to unions. In some ways, the article is emotive, but I also was uncomfortable about De This is a collection of articles and speeches by Debs. It covers a variety: strike-breaking, socialism, women's rights, John Brown, Theodore Roosevelt's anti-labor record, Jesus as a working class leader (?), etc. The first article tells about a 65-year-old former railroad worker / unionist who now scrapes by repairing people's umbrellas. When he encounters Debs he is excited and tells Debs about his dedication to unions. In some ways, the article is emotive, but I also was uncomfortable about Debs recounting that the worker was such a big fan of Debs, and describing how much shabbier the repairer's clothes were than Debs' clothes. Perhaps, the best is Unity and Victory, a speech Debs gave to a state convention of the American Federation of Labor in 1908. He discusses the importance of unions that cover all employees rather than craft unions - noting how bosses made contracts with the craft unions which forbid them to honor other unions' picket lines. He discusses the importance of socialism and politics for working people, but says the unions shouldn't cause internal divisions by backing candidates and parties. Generally, he gives a fairly wide view of what working people need to do and work toward.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    It's hard not to love Debs. This collection of speeches and other works covers mostly the first two decades of the 20th century, a time when the hope for the end of capitalism in the US seemed at its highest. This hope, whether Debs truly felt it or not, is the main focus of the pieces included here. He is passionate, consistent, and clear: capitalism is undemocratic. The only "problematic" aspect here may be Debs' praise of the leaders women's suffrage movement - he quotes some of their more obnox It's hard not to love Debs. This collection of speeches and other works covers mostly the first two decades of the 20th century, a time when the hope for the end of capitalism in the US seemed at its highest. This hope, whether Debs truly felt it or not, is the main focus of the pieces included here. He is passionate, consistent, and clear: capitalism is undemocratic. The only "problematic" aspect here may be Debs' praise of the leaders women's suffrage movement - he quotes some of their more obnoxious statements about race though, when he addresses race himself, he only does so in noting that membership in the Socialist Party is open to all. He specifically states that the party is open to all regardless of race, sex, creed, etc. Of course, I'm writing my review in the year 2020 on Goodreads, a platform owned by Amazon, one of the most powerful and exploitative corporations in history. I bought the eBook itself via Amazon (though it was free). A thoroughly corrupt and inept gang of the wealthy are selling the United States for scrap -- and Debs' vision, like that of Upton Sinclair though not as joyfully naive, feels no closer to fulfillment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad

    The lineal descendants of Caiaphas and Judas and the pharisees and money-changers of old are still parroting the same miserable falsehood to serve the same miserable ends, the only difference being that the brood of pious perverts now practice their degeneracy in the name of the Christ they betrayed and sold into crucifixion twenty centuries ago. The laws of evolution have decreed the downfall of the capitalist system. The handwriting is upon the wall in letters of fire. The trusts are transformi The lineal descendants of Caiaphas and Judas and the pharisees and money-changers of old are still parroting the same miserable falsehood to serve the same miserable ends, the only difference being that the brood of pious perverts now practice their degeneracy in the name of the Christ they betrayed and sold into crucifixion twenty centuries ago. The laws of evolution have decreed the downfall of the capitalist system. The handwriting is upon the wall in letters of fire. The trusts are transforming industry and next will come the transformation of the trusts by the people. Socialism is inevitable. Capitalism is breaking down and the new order evolving from it is clearly the Socialist commonwealth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mare

    A fine introduction to Debs and his philosophy of socialism in the U.S. Obviously, it is a bit dated, but it is a great primary source to give context to understanding of the 1912 election and labor in that era. EDIT: This is public domain and thus available for free. I listened to the audiobook on Librivox. J complained that the reader sounded like Rev. Lovejoy, but other than that 👍

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brenmlaws

    I listened to the Librovox audiobook version. This book leaves a lot to be desired for revolutionary socialists today, but it is important to think about it in its historical context. It presents a Socialist Party which is a step forward from syndicalism and being explicitly political and explicitly revolutionary. However it does not go into much detail over what it means to be revolutionary: sometimes focusing heavily on elections and how different a workers party is from a capitalist party some I listened to the Librovox audiobook version. This book leaves a lot to be desired for revolutionary socialists today, but it is important to think about it in its historical context. It presents a Socialist Party which is a step forward from syndicalism and being explicitly political and explicitly revolutionary. However it does not go into much detail over what it means to be revolutionary: sometimes focusing heavily on elections and how different a workers party is from a capitalist party sometimes it talks about how the process of building the party is revolutionary itself. It is vague enough to be presented as revolutionary for revolutionaries and reformist for reformists. It has nice fiery rhetoric though and gives an interesting insight into the political and labour conflicts at an understudied period of us history leading up to the war, of the some of the language is dated and weirdly macho at times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Mullen

    Eugene V. Debs writes and speaks passionately and eloquently on the class struggle in the US, in a way that is still relatable and stirring in modern America. That is in equal parts due to the disappointment of the nation's current situation and how it hasn't changed for the better in a meaningful way in over a century as well as the masterful oration and linguistics on display from this largely forgotten American Hero. Eugene V. Debs writes and speaks passionately and eloquently on the class struggle in the US, in a way that is still relatable and stirring in modern America. That is in equal parts due to the disappointment of the nation's current situation and how it hasn't changed for the better in a meaningful way in over a century as well as the masterful oration and linguistics on display from this largely forgotten American Hero.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paige McLoughlin

    a collection of inspiring writings and speeches by Eugen Debs, Socialist and American Original. Ran for President from jail in 1920 during the red scare and the palmer raids on the socialist party ticket. I admire Bernie a great deal but he hasn't topped Debs's exploits. Lost history more people should be acquainted with. a collection of inspiring writings and speeches by Eugen Debs, Socialist and American Original. Ran for President from jail in 1920 during the red scare and the palmer raids on the socialist party ticket. I admire Bernie a great deal but he hasn't topped Debs's exploits. Lost history more people should be acquainted with.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sunwyn

    THE WRONG BOOK!! I bought what I thought was Labor and Freedom by Eugene Debs and what I got was The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper! What the hell is going on here? The cover says one thing but the contents are another thing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Hill

    A truly great American that more people need to learn about. A solid collection of his thought that is supremely relevant today.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacob North

    Revealing writing from an inspiring American labor activist. Debs offers beautiful, rocking prose that forces the reader to cling to the truth he brings with his words. Fantastic read!

  15. 4 out of 5

    The Lazy Reader

    In the words of Eugene V Debs himself: "Such has been the fate of all who, like the great souls, loved principles better than popularity, and humanity more than themselves." In the words of Eugene V Debs himself: "Such has been the fate of all who, like the great souls, loved principles better than popularity, and humanity more than themselves."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Travis Williams

    This is the message. Read it. Reflect on it. REPEAT!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    It's still going on Debs confronts the problems caused by capitalism and discusses a socialist movement. Things haven't changed much in the last 100 years. It's still going on Debs confronts the problems caused by capitalism and discusses a socialist movement. Things haven't changed much in the last 100 years.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alec

    The umbrella mender is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Luís Garcia

    One of the best and more committed work I have read. Read it!!! (lido no Cadaval, Portugal)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Arctic Flamingo

    Eugene V. Debs had a way with words, and these orations are as important now as they were when penned.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Eugene Debs can write like no other politician! I am usually a cool-headed person, and I also disagree with him on his revolutionary stance, but his way with words simply managed to instill a bit of revolutionary fervor in me. I'm just glad that no modern-day politician has the incredible oratory, and writing skills of Eugene Debs, otherwise, I just might fall for their political rhetoric. Beauty of prose aside, this collection of articles, and speeches exposes a long forgotten, or dare I say sup Eugene Debs can write like no other politician! I am usually a cool-headed person, and I also disagree with him on his revolutionary stance, but his way with words simply managed to instill a bit of revolutionary fervor in me. I'm just glad that no modern-day politician has the incredible oratory, and writing skills of Eugene Debs, otherwise, I just might fall for their political rhetoric. Beauty of prose aside, this collection of articles, and speeches exposes a long forgotten, or dare I say suppressed, struggle of the US working class to gain a more decent standard of living. Few people today know that workers (including children) used to be shamelessly exploited for up to 12-14 hours a day by an economic system not all that different from the one we find ourselves in now. Few people know about the Ludlow Massacre, and even fewer people know about a myriad of other similar struggles. His views on the plight of the common people are extremely progressive for his time, he was staunch supported of Susan B Anthony's efforts, he spoke out against systematic racism; and at no time did he support abolishing of democracy (as people with misconceptions about socialism are wont to believe), on the contrary, he argues for a world where the workers directly, and democratically control their workplace environments, rather than the private owners, or the state. This collection of essays is probably a must read for anyone who doesn't understand what socialism, in the original sense, meant. Also, the following passage is written in 1912, does it sound familiar? There is one infallible test that fixes the status of a political party and its candidates. Who finances them?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Travis Dicken

    An excellent summary of Debs. Of the few works available on the United States most important labour leader, this collection of Eugene Victor Debs selected essays and speeches provides an excellent if brief introduction to his thought, his view of socialism, women's emancipation, the Socialist Party, and other issues. By presenting the man in his own words, it also allows the reader to grasp just why Debs was such an inspiring figure for the labour movement, as well as one of the best examples of An excellent summary of Debs. Of the few works available on the United States most important labour leader, this collection of Eugene Victor Debs selected essays and speeches provides an excellent if brief introduction to his thought, his view of socialism, women's emancipation, the Socialist Party, and other issues. By presenting the man in his own words, it also allows the reader to grasp just why Debs was such an inspiring figure for the labour movement, as well as one of the best examples of a genuinely socialist man. Highly recommended for all comrades, students of American history, and anyone with a desire to encounter socialism first hand, as opposed to through the demagoguery of the Republican and Democratic parties.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mickey Hernandez

    Debs is an eloquent and talented reader. He knows how to use his pen and writes in such a way that one cannot help to be stirred, wherever they may fall on the political spectrum. However, this collection of writings has no detailed and compelling arguments for why communism is, in Debs eyes, the best system of governing. This book simply offers a collection of speeches and essays (possibly originally published in pamphlets) that were handed out to common working people, and they serve no other Debs is an eloquent and talented reader. He knows how to use his pen and writes in such a way that one cannot help to be stirred, wherever they may fall on the political spectrum. However, this collection of writings has no detailed and compelling arguments for why communism is, in Debs eyes, the best system of governing. This book simply offers a collection of speeches and essays (possibly originally published in pamphlets) that were handed out to common working people, and they serve no other purpose than to touch at the emotional sphere of the argument for socialism. While still a good read, if one is looking for essays that discuss the economic advantages of socialism then look elsewhere.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Larkin

    Quite good. I've always been a fan of Debs, and while this doesn't contain some of his best speeches, it's a great collection to introduce others to Debs with. Especially relevant given the current political climate in America. Quite good. I've always been a fan of Debs, and while this doesn't contain some of his best speeches, it's a great collection to introduce others to Debs with. Especially relevant given the current political climate in America.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jakob

    Charming, inspiring collection of articles and speeches.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    It is interesting to read this 100 years later, not much has changed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Christy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bluecatblues

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex Pace

  30. 4 out of 5

    Delia

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