By now, most of us know about the assassination of Eugene V. Debs in 1919.
But until now, the history of the movement for socialism has been a bit hazy.
The most common theory for Debs’ death was that the socialists had betrayed him and were plotting to take over the world.
The New York Times, for example, described Debs as “a leader of the New Deal” who “sought to extend American power and wealth to the rest of the world, while making it possible for the United States to remain the most powerful nation on earth.”
But a new book argues that the socialist movement was not so committed to world domination.
Instead, it had a utopian vision of socialism, according to Robert Fisk, a professor of political science at the University of Texas at Austin.
“A socialist society is not a state, but a system of free communities that are free to live and work as they see fit,” Fisk told the Huffington Post.
Fisk said that many socialists were actually socialists of their own making, not just a part of the Socialist Party.
That would have left them vulnerable to the machinations of foreign governments, which were often hostile to socialism.
Fisk added that this was the case for all socialist parties.
There was an ideological component to socialism, but not as much as some of the traditional ideas.
For example, he said, socialists did not see capitalism as the cause of all social ills, but rather as a tool for solving them.
In the past, Fisk said, many socialists thought socialism was simply about making people wealthier.
Now, he believes that the party is a powerful force in the world and has the ability to change people’s perceptions.
He added that, while the socialist left has largely lost the battle over the U.S. election in the past year, the socialist right has found new ways to appeal to people, particularly young people.
While many people may not agree with Fisk’s views, he added that they should be heard.
This story originally appeared on The Huffington View.