Eugene Victor Debs led the Socialist Party in the early twentieth-century to federal and state office across the country, helped to pioneer a fighting union politics that organized all workers, and became the beloved figurehead of American radicalism. Imprisoned for speaking out against World War I, Debs ran for president from prison, receiving over one million votes. Debs’s story is the story of labor battles in industrializing America, of a socialist politics grown directly out of the American Midwest heartland, and of a distinctly American vision of socialism.
With the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the rise of mass movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and the Wall Street Crash of 2008, socialism has once again made itself felt in American politics. This graphic biography, published in collaboration with the Democratic Socialists of America—whose growing membership, spurred by Trump’s election and Bernie Sanders’ campaign, has reached heights not seen among socialist parties since the 1920s—is geared toward a new generation exploring socialist and working-class radicalism in the past and the present.
Noah Van Sciver's dynamic illustrations are paired with short, accessible framing essays by Paul Buhle, noted historian of the U.S. left, with Dave Nance and Steve Max.