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Mon May 30, 2016, 02:18 PM

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, socialists honor the victims of war and struggle for a world free of it.

“The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles." — Eugene Debs

In June 1918, Eugene Debs gave a speech that would land him in prison. Speaking in Canton, Ohio, the Socialist Party leader denounced President Woodrow Wilson and the Great War he had led the United States into.

For Debs, the mass slaughter that had raged across Europe for four bloody years was a conflict waged in the interests of capitalists, but fought by workers. In each country it was the rich who had declared war and stood to profit from it; but it was the poor who were sent to fight and die by the millions.

This, Debs told his audience, was how it had always been, as long as armies had been sent to battle one another in the name of king or country. “Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder,” he said. “The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.”

Debs’s message to workers was a simple one: their enemy was not the people of Germany, the working-class soldiers they were being shipped off to murder; it was the rulers, on both sides, who ordered the troops into battle. It was the capitalists and their representatives in the American and German governments, whose wealth and power gave them control over the fates of millions ..

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/war-socialists-debs-vietnam-internationalism/

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Mon May 30, 2016, 10:02 PM

1. Howard Zinn on Memorial Day


"The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication.

No politician who voted for war -- no business contractor for the military, no general who looked the other way while torture was taking place, no cabinet member who made excuses for the bombing of civilians -- should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of all our wars be honored. Let the living pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.

Memorial Day should be a day to put flowers on graves and plant trees. Also a day to honor all those people striving for peace, including those men and women who have come back from Iraq and called for an end to the war and the occupation.

Let us not, this Memorial Day, when the traffic in lies will be heavier than ever, set out on the same old reckless drive to death."

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