Connexions Quotations

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Making revolution also means breaking our internal chains.
- Graffiti, Paris May 1968


Many good ideas have been shipwrecked because people insisted that they were universally applicable, failing to distinguish between situations to which they applied and ones to which they didn’t.
- Ulli Diemer


Marx was relentlessly critical, always seeking new knowledge and deeper understanding, never feeling that his own understanding of any subject was adequate – hence his well-known difficulties in finishing any work because he was never finished investigating the subject matter in its infinite ramifications. It was Marx who scoffed “I am not a Marxist” and who said that “Since it is not for us to create a plan for the future that will hold for all time, all the more surely what we contemporaries have to do is the uncompromising critical evaluation of all that exists, uncompromising in the sense that our criticism fears neither its own results nor the conflict with the powers that be.”
- Ulli Diemer


Marxism came into being, in self-conscious struggle against the advocates of the Educational Dictatorship, the Savior-Dictators, the revolutionary elitists, the communist authoritarians, as well as the philanthropic do-gooders and bourgeois liberals. This was Marx’s Marxism... “It was Marx who finally fettered the two ideas of Socialism and Democracy together” because he developed a theory which made the synthesis possible for the first time. The heart of the theory is this proposition: that there is a social majority which has the interest and motivation to change the system, and that the aim of socialism can be the education and mobilization of this mass-majority. This is the exploited class, the working class, from which comes the eventual motive-force of revolution. Hence a socialism-from-below is possible, on the basis of a theory which sees the revolutionary potentialities in the broad masses.
- Hal Draper


Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.
- Rosa Parks


Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
- Aeschylus


The memory of the vanquished is dangerous for the conquerors.
- Pia Barros


[M]emory, that force which our humanity, our humanness, our civilization, our lives and lives, proceed. We can survive without morality or arithmetic or logic, but without memory, we haven’t a chance. We are who we are and where we are in no insignificant measure because of immaterial memories.
- William Least Heat Moon


Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes, turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.
- William Morris
  A Dream of John Ball


’Merry Christmas. You no shoot, we no shoot.’
- German, British and French soldiers disobey their superiors and fraternize with ‘the enemy’, 1914


Militarism – which to society as a whole represents a completely absurd economic waste of enormous productive forces – and which for the working class means a lowering of its standard of living with the objective of enslaving it socially – is for the capitalist class economically the most alluring, irreplaceable kind of investment and politically and socially the best support for their class rule.
- Rosa Luxemburg


The more I make love, the more I want to make revolution. The more I make revolution, the more I want to make love.
- Graffiti, Paris May 1968


“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
- George Orwell


The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question.
- Stephen Jay Gould


Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it.
- Wendell Berry


Most of us are not living the lives we would choose to live, but the existing order insists there are no alternatives to itself, and most of us are sufficiently convinced or pre-occupied or discouraged to keep society from coming unglued. Many, many people wish there were alternatives, or think there ought to be, but are resigned to the conclusion that it is utopian to entertain any hopes for real change.... Yet despite the pervasive feeling that ‘nothing can be done’, people do join together to act in common when they feel threatened or wronged, or when they have a goal in sight which they desire passionately enough. Sometimes they organize quietly and gradually. At other times a mass movement explodes into being, seemingly out of nothing, despite the risks and the odds.
- Ulli Diemer


Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out for longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone’s individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.
- Wendell Berry


The mullahs of the Islamic world and the mullahs of the Hindu world and the mullahs of the Christian world are all on the same side. And we are against them all.
- Arundhati Roy


“My good friends, things cannot go on well in England, nor ever will until everything shall be in common, when there shall be neither vassal nor lord, and all distinctions levelled; when the lords shall be no more masters than ourselves. How ill they have used us! They have wines, spices and fine bread, when we have only rye and the refuse of fine straw; and if we drink, it must be water. They have handsome seats and manors, when we must brave the wind and rain in our labours in the field; but it is from our labour they have the wherewith to support their pomp”.
- John Ball


My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace; but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother. Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun. Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear to us? I know you will cry with me, Never! NEVER!.
- Tecumseh


The myth that playgrounds and grass and hired guards or supervisors are innately wholesome for children and that city streets, filled with ordinary people, are innately evil for children, boil down to a deep contempt for ordinary people.
- Jane Jacobs


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