No, This Is What a Socialist Says: Eugene Debs Would Kick Your Ass:
For Labor Day, as people who don't actually understand a thing about socialism keep spouting that vaguely moderate Barack Obama is some unholy descendant of Cesar Chavez or Emma Goldman (did she ever go to Kenya?), the Rude Pundit is offering some quotes from a real socialist, Eugene Debs, who ran for president as, you know, a Socialist Party candidate five times between 1900 and 1920, getting nearly a million votes in 1908. See, real socialists aren't exactly known for subtlety in their rhetoric. They don't want to trick workers into uniting. They want to show workers the failure of the capitalist system, which will make them willingly join. And, as you can see below, Debs will kick your ass (and he'll take your name, since organizing was the foundation of the socialist movement):
From an August 27, 1912 campaign speech in Fergus Falls, Minnesota:
"[Capitalism is] a confidence game the professional politicians have been playing with the workers of all nations all these years. To keep them in subjection by playing upon their ignorance is the rule that governs their campaigns for votes among the workers. The 'issues' upon which they keep the workers divided into hostile camps are of their own making."
From a June 16, 1912 campaign speech in Chicago:
"The baseness, hypocrisy and corruption of these twin political agencies of Wall Street and the ruling class cannot be expressed in words. The imagination is taxed in contemplating their crimes. There is no depth of dishonor to which they have not descended - no depth of depravity they have not sounded.
"To the extent that they control elections the franchise is corrupted and the electorate debauched, and when they succeed in power it is but to execute the will of the Wall Street interests which finance and control them. The police, the militia, the regular army, the courts and all the powers lodged in class government are all freely at the service of the ruling class, especially in suppressing discontent among the slaves of the factories, mills and mines, and keeping them safely in subjugation to their masters.
"How can any intelligent, self-respecting wageworker give his support to either of these corrupt capitalist parties? The emblem of a capitalist party on a working man is the badge of his ignorance, his servility and shame."
From a February 21, 1925 speech in Chicago:
"The class now in power cannot rule honestly. They must rule corruptly. They are in the minority. They have not the votes of their own to put them in power, but they have the money with which to corrupt the electorate. They have the money with which to corrupt the courts and to buy the legislators, and to debauch all our institutions. They have the power to do this because they have the money, and they have the money because they own the means of production and distribution. The great mass of the workers depend upon them for employment. In this system no working man - we boast of every man having the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and yet in this system that has been alternately supported by both of the capitalist parties, no man has a right to work. He can only work on conditions that the master who owns the tools he works with grants him permission to work, and the man who works by permission lives by permission, and is in no sense a free man."
Yeah, Debs had his dreams, man, and most of them failed. The point is that because Debs and so many others were there, much got transformed for workers because of the fear of those in power that there might actually be a socialist uprising. Now, the loudest "movement" is a group of people who may as well be an army of scabs and Pinkertons, so slaveringly do they do the bidding of the powerful. They have been completely co-opted by those who despise them. They are lambs willingly announcing that the wolves are their friends. God, how Debs would wonder when a real leader will rise to the occasion. God, how he would wonder if we could rise to it.
(By the way, this is as good a time as any to say that a fine Labor Day gift would be the book Staged Action: Six Plays from the American Workers' Theatre, edited and with introductions by the Rude Pundit, and filled with rabble-rousing goodness from the 1920s and 1930s.)