This aspect of Debs is fascinating indeed but in the final analysis, I am less than convinced of a ‘socialist Jesus’. Just who Jesus was is and always has been a guarded mystery. The snapshots we have are intriguing in that respect and I see no real harm in the notion of a kind of ur-socialism. The evidence is telling but I was never really clear about it.
In the final analysis, the citation of Jesus as a socialist will backfire because we know almost nothing about him, and are blocked by the confusion over the resurrection and many other such questions, and if we affirm such questions we are stuck in the era of Constantine and if we negate them we are heretics, etc, etc… You end up in a quagmire of ambiguity.
The whole question is hopelessly muddled. And this is not secular humanism, it more like the world of Gurdjiee and the fanatics antimodern fascists. The ‘real jesus’ if he existed at all was not a modern democrat or liberal, was closer I suspect to the type of the sufi, the man of god who speaks in parables. Such people are indeed radicals after a fashion. In the case of Jesus we see the ‘socialist’ option in the Zealots. But was Jesus a Zealot. It might be the case that Jesus had a radical bent, but in the end he is part of the kind of world the dark side figures like Gurdjieff proposed, and he proposed ‘esoteric Christianity’ which is reactionary, anti-modern, subversive of secularism, plying occult arts of obscure range.Jesus was clearly a kind of occultist and no secular humanist. I think he was indeed a radical of some kind, but that is far away now. The problem is that if you affirm jesus you also affirm his ‘magic’ about which we know nothing but which might have been as deadly as that of the Sufi Gurdjieff.
Still, the socialist fans of Jesus are probably right. But the larger picture shows not Jesus but the ‘Christ’ which was some kind of angelic kingdom of ghosts and such are also well documented in the legacy of the Church as a worldly mafia.
A few years earlier, in a characteristically unsubtle essay entitled “Jesus the Supreme Leader,” Debs made a more detailed case for Christ as the ultimate socialist agitator. “He was of the working class and loyal to it in every drop of his hot blood to the very hour of his death,” wrote Debs, a fan of artist Art Young’s sketches depicting Jesus as a labor organizer and revolutionary, some of which were used to illustrate Debs’s published essays. “Pure communism was the economic and social gospel preached by Jesus Christ, and every act and utterance which may properly be ascribed to him conclusively affirms it. Private property was to his elevated mind and exalted soul a sacrilege and a horror; an insult to God and a crime against man.”
We know very little about Christianity. I am not even sure of its early monotheism, as the essay below makes obvious.