Connexions Quotations

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The walls have ears. Your ears have walls.
- Graffiti, Paris May 1968


We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all – by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians – be participating in its destruction? 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. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us.

How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing.


- Wendell Berry


We are beginning to understand that the world is always being made fresh and never finished; that activism can be the journey rather than the arrival; that struggle doesn’t always have to be confrontational but can take the form of reaching out to find common ground with the many others in our society who are also seeking ways out from alienation, isolation, privatization, and dehumanization by corporate globalization.
- Grace Lee Boggs


We are being occupied by the marketeers as the French and Norwegians were occupied by the Germans. We have, as they did, puppet governments who run the country for the benefit of the occupiers.... One of the things that anyone who has lived under a military occupation will tell you is that the resistors often refused to speak the language of the occupier.... We too should refuse to speak the language of the occupier i.e. the language of the market. It’s a language that reflects, as all languages do, the moral values of those who speak. For the marketeers, there are only economic values – whatever cannot be bought and sold, is not of value. One path of resistance is to refuse to communicate in the language of the occupier. So don’t talk about ‘stakeholders’ and ‘users’, ‘healthcare providers’ or ‘consumers of education’. For us, they are our ‘teachers’ and ‘students’, ‘doctors’ and ‘nurses’, ‘patients’ and ‘communities’; they are our ‘families’ and ‘friends’.
- Ursula Franklin


We are part of a movement for justice that stretches across continents and across generations. People have always resisted injustice, and always sought to create a world based on values of community, sharing, freedom and justice. We are part of a continuum.
- Ulli Diemer


We can’t select our ancestors, but they, often in ways never to be guessed, can select pieces of our future.
- William Least Heat Moon


We don’t know if we’ll win: history is made by human beings, and where human beings are concerned, nothing is inevitable. But because people do make history, we know that it is possible to build a new world, and we strive to realize that possibility.
- Ulli Diemer


We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.
- Cesar Chavez


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
- Aesop


We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
- Tom Paine


We know that without solidarity nothing is possible, that with it nothing is impossible.
- Eugene V. Debs


We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.
- R.D. Laing


We need only look at activities of the thousands of people working in grassroots groups across this country, and around the world, to see that people do join with others to block what they see as harmful and to fight for what they consider to be desirable and just. When they do, that which seemed impossible to achieve starts to become possible.
- Ulli Diemer


We need all the help we can get in overthrowing capitalism, including the help of people who are dead.
- Ulli Diemer


We’re not going to stop working for justice just because we’re dead.
- Ulli Diemer


We’re taking possession. So move out!
- Workers at the Hormel Packing Company tell managers they are taking over the plant


What makes Capital so exciting is that, more than anything else Marx wrote, it brings to life his vision of modern life as a totality. This vision is spread out on an immense canvas: more than a thousand pages in the first volume alone; hundreds of characters – shopkeepers and sharecroppers, miners and millowners, poets and publicists, doctors and divines, philosophers and politicians, the world-famous and the anonymous – speaking in their own voices. The amazing multiplicity of real voices that Marx brings forth, and the skill with which he propels and deploys them, carry us back to the glorious days of the nineteenth-century novel, back to Lost Illusions and Bleak House and War and Peace. Some of the most vivid characters appear for only a moment; others stay with us for long stretches and engage Marx in long passionate argument; others disappear for hundreds of pages, only to return transformed. The people in Capital have a life that will outlive capitalism itself.
- Marshall Berman
  Adventures in Marxism


What we do need to worry about is the possibility that we will be reduced, in the face of the enormities of our time, to silence or to mere protest.
- Wendell Berry


Whatever rights one thinks there ought to be, or whatever rights people are said to have, the rights that people actually have are achieved and protected only by struggle. Rights are won. And they can be lost.
- Ulli Diemer


When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.
- African proverb


When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.
- Dom Helder Camara


Whenever a particular freedom is put in question, freedom in general is put in question.
- Karl Marx


Whenever people say, “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.
- Brigid Brophy


Whenever the cause of the people is entrusted to professors, it is lost.
- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


Wherever they burn books they will also end up burning people.
- Heinrich Heine


While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


While we’re talking, envious time is fleeing: seize the day, put no trust in the future.
- Horace, Odes


Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.
- George Orwell
  Nineteen Eight-Four


Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.
- George Orwell


Why do people who know the least know it the loudest?
- George Carlin


The wisest of the wise may err.
- Aeschylus


With the end of empire, we are coming to an end of the epoch of rights. We have entered the epoch of responsibilities, which requires new, more socially-minded human beings and new, more participatory and place-based concepts of citizenship and democracy.
- Grace Lee Boggs


Without contraries is no progression. Attractions and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.
- William Blake
  The Marriage of Heaven and Hell


Without effort and change, human life cannot remain good. It is not a finished Utopia that we ought to desire, but a world where imagination and hope are alive and active.
- Bertrand Russell


Without music life would be a mistake.
- Friedrich Neitzsche


Without rebellion, mankind would stagnate, and injustice would be irremediable.
- Bertrand Russell


Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.
- Studs Terkel


The work we are going about is this, To dig up Georges Hill and the waste Ground thereabouts, and to Sow Corn, and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows. And the First Reason is this, That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor, That every one that is born in the Land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation. Not Inclosing any part into any particular hand, but all as one man, working together, and feeding together as Sons of one Father, members of one Family; not one Lording over another, but all looking upon each other, as equals in the Creation.
- The True Levellers Standard Advanced, April 1649


The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
- Thomas Paine


The world’s two major propaganda systems did not agree on much, but they did agree on using the term socialism to refer to the immediate destruction of every element of socialism by the Bolsheviks. That’s not too surprising. The Bolsheviks called their system socialist so as to exploit the moral prestige of socialism. The West adopted the same usage for the opposite reason: to defame the feared libertarian ideals by associating them with the Bolshevik dungeon, to undermine the popular belief that there really might be progress towards a more just society with democratic control over its basic institutions and concern for human needs and rights. If socialism is the tyranny of Lenin and Stalin, then sane people will say: not for me. And if that’s the only alternative to corporate state capitalism, then many will submit to its authoritarian structures as the only reasonable choice.
- Noam Chomsky


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