Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts

8.31.2014

"humility is the foundation of all learning"

My grandmother had always referred to the universe as the Great Mystery.

"What does it mean?" I asked her once.

"It means all things."

"I don't understand."

She took my hand and sat me down on a rock at the water's edge. "We need mystery," she said, "Creator in her wisdom knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning. So we do not seek to unravel this. We honour it by letting it be that way forever."

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse (2013)

8.19.2014

revolutionary thoughts of the day: kareem abdul-jabbar, the new yorker, howard zinn

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has an excellent essay in Time, something only a big-name writer can get away with in the mainstream media. Abdul-Jabbar names the stark truths behind the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. And the mere fact that this appears on Time.com is reason for hope.
This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.

And that’s how the status quo wants it.
Solidarity with Ferguson in Times Square, NYC

The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals. So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control so they never stop to wonder how they got so screwed over for so long.

One way to keep these 50 million fractured is through disinformation. PunditFact’s recent scorecard on network news concluded that at Fox and Fox News Channel, 60 percent of claims are false. At NBC and MSNBC, 46 percent of claims were deemed false. That’s the “news,” folks! During the Ferguson riots, Fox News ran a black and white photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the bold caption: “Forgetting MLK’s Message/Protestors in Missouri Turn to Violence.” Did they run such a caption when either Presidents Bush invaded Iraq: “Forgetting Jesus Christ’s Message/U.S. Forgets to Turn Cheek and Kills Thousands”?

How can viewers make reasonable choices in a democracy if their sources of information are corrupted? They can’t, which is exactly how the One Percent controls the fate of the Ninety-Nine Percent.
This excellent essay from The New Yorker recognizes what's coalescing beneath the so-called riots.
In the eight days since Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old, was killed by a police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, what began as an impromptu vigil evolved into a sustained protest; it is now beginning to look like a movement. The local QuikTrip, a gas station and convenience store that was looted and burned on the second night of the protests, has now been repurposed as the epicenter for gatherings and the exchange of information. The front of the lot bears an improvised graffiti sign identifying the area as the “QT People’s Park.” With the exception of a few stretches, such as Thursday afternoon, when it was veiled in clouds of tear gas, protesters have been a constant presence in the lot. On Sunday afternoon the area was populated by members of local churches, black fraternity and sorority groups, Amnesty International, the Outcast Motorcycle Club, and twenty or so white supporters from the surrounding area. On the north side of the station, a group of volunteers with a mobile grill served free hot dogs and water, and a man stood on a crate, handing out bright yellow T-shirts with the logo of the National Action Network, the group led by Al Sharpton.

Solidarity with Ferguson in Howard University, Washington DC
The conversation here has shifted from the immediate reaction to Michael Brown’s death and toward the underlying social dynamics. Two men I spoke with pointed to the disparity in education funding for Ferguson and more affluent municipalities nearby. Another talked about being pulled over by an officer who claimed to smell marijuana in the car as a pretense for searching him. “I’m in the United States Navy,” he told me. “We have to take drug tests in the military so I had proof that there were no drugs in my system. But other people can’t do that.” Six black men I spoke to, nearly consecutively, pointed to Missouri’s felon-disfranchisement laws as part of the equation. “If you’re a student in one of the black schools here and you get into a fight you’ll probably get arrested and charged with assault. We have kids here who are barred from voting before they’re even old enough to register,” one said. Ferguson’s elected officials did not look much different than they had years earlier, when it was a largely white community.
Last year, I made a list of these disparate, but related events.
The Occupy movement

The uprising in Wisconsin

The Arab Spring: Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and other countries

The Quebec student strikes and demonstrations

Walmart workers organizing and striking

Fast-food workers in New York City organizing and striking

Ongoing mass demonstrations and general strikes throughout Europe

Miners in South Africa on a wildcat strike

100 million people striking in India

The Chicago teachers' strike

The global environmental movement

Idle No More
Some of these now seem bittersweet. The Arab Spring cycled into militarism and repression, but that story is still being written. Other movements - like low-wage workers organizing in the US - have burgeoned and thrived. Now we add Ferguson, Missouri, and the solidarity demonstrations we're seeing all over the world.

I remind myself that no one can predict the future.
There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

Howard Zinn

1.14.2014

"in the midst of madness, one soldier has refused to participate": let them stay week, revolutionary thought of the day, and other coincidences

Don't you love it when everything comes together? It's Let Them Stay Week 2014, I'm thinking about the US war resisters in Canada, and about war resistance in general. And I'm reading a terrific youth novel, Flight, by Sherman Alexie, both fast-paced and rich with insight and meaning. And I come upon this passage. And if this doesn't qualify as a Revolutionary Thought of the Day, I don't know what does.
Without stopping, the white soldier reaches down and picks up Bow Boy. Cradles the child in one arm. And the white soldier keeps running. He's running towards the faraway hills. Toward those faraway trees. Toward cover. Toward safety. Carrying an Indian child, a white soldier is running with Indians.

I can't believe it. It can't be true. But it is true.

That white soldier, a small saint, is trying to save Bow Boy.

I wonder if the other escaping Indians see this. I wonder if it gives them hope. I wonder if this act of love makes it easier for them to face death.

In the midst of all this madness and murder, one soldier has refused to participate.

Sherman Alexie, Flight (2007)

12.16.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
...something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children's lives to settle its differences.

Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

12.08.2013

herbert: mandela and king were not warm and fuzzy, they were hard-core revolutionaries

Bob Herbert in Jacobin:
I knew that the tributes would be pouring in immediately from around the world, and I also knew that most of them would try to do to Mandela what has been done to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: turn him into a lovable, platitudinous cardboard character whose commitment to peace and willingness to embrace enemies could make everybody feel good. This practice is a deliberate misreading of history guaranteed to miss the point of the man.

The primary significance of Mandela and King was not their willingness to lock arms or hold hands with their enemies. It was their unshakable resolve to do whatever was necessary to bring those enemies to their knees. Their goal was nothing short of freeing their people from the murderous yoke of racial oppression. They were not the sweet, empty, inoffensive personalities of ad agencies or greeting cards or public service messages. Mandela and King were firebrands, liberators, truth-tellers – above all they were warriors. That they weren’t haters doesn’t for a moment minimize the fierceness of their militancy.

Unlike King, Mandela accepted violence as an essential tool in the struggle. He led the armed wing of the African National Congress, explaining: “Our mandate was to wage acts of violence against the state… Our intention was to begin with what was least violent to individuals but most damaging to the state.” Ronald Reagan denounced him as a terrorist and Dick Cheney opposed his release from prison.

King was hounded by the FBI, repeatedly jailed, vilified by any number of establishment figures who despised his direct action tactics, and finally murdered. He was only 39 when he died. When King spoke out against the Vietnam war, characterizing the American government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” the New York Times took him to task in an editorial headlined, “Dr. King’s Error.”

. . . . These were not warm and fuzzy individuals, fantasy figures for the personal edification of the clueless and the cynical. They were hard-core revolutionaries committed with every ounce of their being to the wholesale transformation of their societies. When giants like Mandela and King are stripped of their revolutionary essence and remade as sentimental stick figures to be gushed over by all and sundry, the atrocities that sparked their fury and led to their commitment can be overlooked, left safely behind, even imagined never to have occurred.

It’s a way for people to sidestep the everlasting shame of past atrocities and their own collusion in the widespread horrors of racism that are still with us.
Read it here.

12.05.2013

nelson mandela, 1918-2013


"The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight.

That time has now come to South Africa.

We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.

Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war.

Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or take over the Government.

We chose to defy the law.

We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer with violence."

-- Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

11.07.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
The Gilded Age returned with a vengeance in our time. It slipped in quietly at first, back in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan began a "massive decades-long transfer of national wealth to the rich." As Roger Hodge makes clear, under Bill Clinton the transfer was even more dramatic, as the top 10 percent captured an ever-growing share of national income. The trend continued under George W. Bush – those huge tax cuts for the rich, remember, which are now about to be extended because both parties have been bought off by the wealthy – and by 2007 the wealthiest 10% of Americans were taking in 50% of the national income. ...

You will hear it said, "Come on, this is the way the world works." No, it’s the way the world is made to work. This vast inequality is not the result of Adam Smith’s invisible hand; it did not just happen; it was no accident. As Hodge drives home, it is the result of a long series of policy decisions "about industry and trade, taxation and military spending, by flesh-and-blood humans sitting in concrete-and-steel buildings."

Bill Moyers
October 29, 2010, in the Howard Zinn Lecture Series at Boston University. See the entire speech and following Q&A here.)

8.02.2013

rtod

This Revolutionary Thought of the Day brought to you by my abiding hero, Clarence Darrow.
Darrow dismissed many of the remedial bandages that he and the labor movement had battled for: eight-hour-day laws, women's suffrage, child labor legislation. "We are busy patching and tinkering, and doing a poor job patching and tinkering at that."

The working class must seize the earth's natural resources and the means of production, he said. "There can never be any proper distribution of wealth in the world while a few own the earth - a few men own the mines, the railroads, the forests, while the great mass of men are bound to compete with each other for a chance to toil," Darrow told them. "There will never be a solution until all men are capitalists and all men workingmen.. . . . There can be no peace without it."

From Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned by John A. Farrell

7.01.2013

everything else is either public relations or a misattributed quote

I saw this:



and thought: that doesn't sound like Orwell.

I have read almost everything Orwell ever published, and will eventually read everything, including all the published letters. While no one could remember every line from every essay, this just doesn't sound like our man Eric Blair to me. Orwell wasn't given to aphorisms or one-liners. It doesn't fit in the theme of any book or essay. The essay that seems most relevant, "Politics and the English Language," does not contain this line. I was skeptical.

I did several internet searches, hoping to find a source that attributed the quote to a specific book or essay. Nothing. The quote, attributed to Orwell, is all over the internet, but not one site ever indicates where it comes from. That seemed very significant. On this Wikiquote page, other people are asking the same question, and also not finding any attribution to specific work.

I posted about it on Facebook, hoping someone might have an idea on how to research it. One friend had the excellent idea of asking an Orwell expert.

I emailed six people who have either written books about Orwell, curated exhibits about him, or run websites relating to his work. Two authors responded and told me that in their research, they never came upon the quote, anywhere. That's likely the closest we can ever come to ruling out that Orwell wrote that line.

Finally, La Zerbisias, as I like to call her, turned me on to the fascinating rabbit-hole Quote Investigator. Check out QI's extensive research on the "everything else is public relations" line. Similar quotes have been attributed to: George Orwell, Alfred Harmsworth, William Randolph Hearst, Brian R. Roberts, Malcolm Muggeridge, Katharine Graham, Lord Rothermere, and Lord Northcliffe. Their conclusion: anonymous.

It's tempting to blame the internet age for all this misattribution, but that's just shooting the messenger. As QI clearly shows, false attributions were common long before the digital age. The internet just spreads them faster.

If you enjoy fake-quotation research, you might like to read (or re-read) this wmtc post about some famous lines Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson never said: you can look it up. If nothing else, scroll down to enjoy the pics and the comments.

6.21.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
This war is murder, this conquest is robbery... If this war be called patriotism then blessed be treason.

Clarence Darrow, 1898, on the Spanish-American war

6.16.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
No healthy democracy can endure when the most consequential acts of those in power remain secret and unaccountable.

คาสิโนออนไลน์ แจกเครดิตฟรี 2019Glenn Greenwald

4.27.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
I can’t stop looking at Rue, smaller than ever, a baby animal curled up in a nest of netting. I can’t bring myself to leave her like this. Past harm, but seeming utterly defenseless. To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

Gale’s voice is in my head. His ravings against the Capitol no longer pointless, no longer to be ignored. Rue’s death has forced me to confront my own fury against the cruelty, the injustice they inflict upon us. But here, even more strongly than at home, I feel my impotence. There’s no way to take revenge on the Capitol. Is there?

Then I remember Peeta’s words on the roof. “Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to . . . to show the Capital they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.” And for the first time, I understand what he means.

I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can’t own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.

A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers. Perhaps they are really weeds of some sort, but they have blossoms in beautiful shades of violet and yellow and white. I gather up an armful and come back to Rue’s side. Slowly, one stem at a time, I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors.

They’ll have to show it. Or, even if they choose to turn the cameras elsewhere at this moment, they’ll have to bring them back when they collect the bodies and everyone will see her then and know I did it. I step back and take a last look at Rue. She could really be asleep in that meadow after all.

“Bye, Rue,” I whisper. I press the three middle fingers of my left hand against my lips and hold them out in her direction. Then I walk away without looking back.

. . . .

I open the parachute and find a small loaf of bread. It’s not the fine white Capitol stuff. It’s made of dark ration grain and shaped in a crescent. Sprinkled with seeds. I flash back to Peeta’s lesson on the various district breads in the Training Center. This bread came from District 11. I cautiously lift the still warm loaf. What must it have cost the people of District 11 who can’t even feed themselves? How many would’ve had to do without to scrape up a coin to put in the collection for this one loaf? It had been meant for Rue, surely. But instead of pulling the gift when she died, they’d authorized Haymitch to give it to me. As a thank-you? Or because, like me, they don’t like to let debts go unpaid? For whatever reason, this is a first. A district gift to a tribute who’s not your own.

Suzanne Collins
From The Hunger Games

2.25.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
Across the road at the sawmill smoke was coming out of the chimney and Anselmo could smell it blown toward him through the snow. The fascists are warm, he thought, and they are comfortable, and tomorrow night we will kill them. It is a strange thing and I do not like to think of it. I have watched them all day and they are the same men that we are. I believe that I could walk up to the mill and knock on the door and I would be welcome except that they have orders to challenge all travellers and ask to see their papers. It is only orders that come between us. Those men are not fascists. I call them so, but they are not. They are poor men as we are. They should never be fighting against us and I do not like to think of the killing.

Ernest Hemingway
from For Whom the Bell Tolls

2.05.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
"Mankind. Ready to kill. I wonder how humanity managed to survive."

"We overcame our instinct for violence."

-- Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk, "Spectre of the Gun", Star Trek, original air date December 31, 1969

2.04.2013

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

Oscar Wilde
from The Soul of Man under Socialism

11.11.2012

rtod

Today's revolutionary thought of the day brought to you by one of the world's more famous revolutionaries.
A bayonet is a tool with a worker at both ends.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

11.03.2012

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don't want and get it.

Eugene V. Debs

9.22.2012

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
And all the criminals in their coats and ties
Are free to drink martinis
And watch the sun rise
- Bob Dylan

A woman refuses to kill people, and she is torn from her family and put in jail.

A man orders some people to kill some other people, and he enjoys a position of great power and prestige.

A shameful human condition.

9.01.2012

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
I'd rather go to prison for desertion than kill a child by mistake.

Camilo Mejia, US War Resister

8.26.2012

rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day:
A voice cried out, I was killed in Maryland in 1877
When the railroad workers made their stand
Well, I was killed in 1963 one sunday morning in Birmingham
Well, I died last year crossing the southern desert
My children left behind in San Pablo
Well they left our bodies here to rot
Oh please let them know

We are alive
Oh, and though we lie alone here in the dark
Our souls will rise to carry the fire and light the spark
To fight shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart

Bruce Springsteen
"We Are Alive"