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      1922 May Day Salutations
      Eugene V. Debs

      May Day greeting by labour leader Eugene Debs, who had recently been released from prison for opposing World War I. A significant thinker, organizer and speaker, he was one of the fundamental early leaders of the labour movement in the United States – helping to found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the American Railway Union (ARU) and the Socialist Party.

      Once more we celebrate May Day, the international holiday of the working class! With heads erect, with spirits undaunted, and with hearts attuned to the future we hail our proletarian comrades of all lands and send our greetings to the sons and daughters of toil all around the world.

      For eight long years the revolutionary movement of the workers has been on trial for its life. It has withstood the fire and slaughter, the ruin and dissolution precipitated by capitalism, the archenemy of mankind, upon the world, and today it faces the future with its militant hosts once more in battle array, their crimson banners unfurled, and with supreme confidence in its power to conquer the forces of despotism and darkness and triumphantly fulfill its mission of emancipation.

      The appalling savagery let loose by capitalism upon the world could but temporarily halt the majestic march of the revolutionary movement of the masses toward the dawn. It is true that its ranks were shaken in the fierce red tempest that swept and devastated the earth, but only that they might be reorganized more compactly and wrought of the sterner stuff of which invincible warriors are made.

      Throughout the world the proletarian movement is today readjusting itself to the chaotic conditions created by the world upheaval. Capitalism is bankrupt and in ruins and socialism is mounting to power to rebuild the shattered social fabric and save civilization.

      Internal differences growing out of the war are being composed, and the bitter antagonisms engendered during that tempestuous period are subsiding. All these tests and trials, however severe and costly, had to be met and overcome. It is in this process that the rank and file are tempered and fitted for their revolutionary mission, and before another year we shall have a more thoroughly unified, aggressive, and uncompromisingly revolutionary international than we ever had before.

      When we come to see the process of events with clear eyes, with discerning vision and understanding hearts, we must realize that all things that come to pass, even the seemingly most adverse, feed the fires of revolt and foster the forces that make for the social revolution.

      All hail, then, to the International Proletariat, to the industrial and political solidarity of the workers in the class struggle, and to the triumph of the social revolution throughout the world!

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