Quotes



The best story I've ever heard about the Communist Manifesto came from Hans Morgenthau, the great theorist of international relations who died in 1980. It was the early seventies at City University of New York, and he was reminiscing about his childhood in Bavaria before World War I. Morgenthau's father, a doctor in a working-class neighborhood of Coburg, often took his son along on house calls. Many of his patients were dying of TB; a doctor could do nothing to save their lives, but might help them die with dignity. When his father asked about last requests, many workers said they wanted to have a Manifesto buried with them when they died. They implored the doctor to see that the priest didn't sneak in and plant the Bible on them instead. ... As the nineties end, we find ourselves in a dynamic global society ever more unified by downsizing, de-skilling, and dread - just like the old man said. ... At the dawn of the twentieth century, there were workers who were ready to die with the Communist Manifesto. At the dawn of the twenty-first, there may be even more who are ready to live with it."
-Marshall Berman

"You ask me why the I.W.W. is not patriotic to the United States. If you were a bum without a blanket; if you had left your wife and kids when you went west for a job, and had never located them since; if your job had never kept you long enough in a place to qualify you to vote; if you slept in a lousy, sour bunkhouse, and ate food just as rotten as they could give you and get by with it; if deputy sheriffs shot your cooking cans full of holes and spilled your grub on the ground; if your wages were lowered on you when the bosses thought they had you down; if there was one law for Ford, Suhr, and Mooney, and another for Harry Thaw; if every person who represented law and order and the nation beat you up, railroaded you to jail, and the good Christian people cheered and told them to go to it, how in hell do you expect a man to be patriotic? This war is a business man's war and we don't see why we should go out and get shot in order to save the lovely state of affairs that we now enjoy."
- I.W.W. member, testifying during a seditiion trial during WWI

“For every dollar the boss has and didn’t work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it.”
- I.W.W. leader Big Bill Haywood

"A liberal is the guy who leaves the room when a fight starts."
- Big Bill Haywood

"The barbarous gold barons do not find the gold, they do not mind the gold, they do not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belongs to them."
- Big Bill Haywood

"While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-Eugene V. Debs

"Those would make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The weapon of criticism can never replace the criticism of weapons."
- Karl Marx

"If one word had to be chosen to characterize the culture of the New Communist Movement [of the 1970s] that word would be INTENSE. The sheer amount of time, passion and energy that movement cadre threw into political work made movement life nearly all-consuming. Today it is fashionable to attribute such signle-mindedness to some combination of top-down structures, ideological brainwashing, and psychological aberration. But the willingness - indeed, eagerness - of young Marxist-Leninists to devote most of their waking hours to revolutionary activity was not the result of manipulation, orders from above or unmet emotional needs. It was the expression of deeply held convictions. Even at the height of late-sixties radicalism it was no casual, risk-free or faddish decision to declare oneself a communist. Those who turned to party building weighed their options carefully and decided the only way to realize their dreams of a better world was to build an organization capable of waging revolutionary struggle. Radicalized amid surging mass movements, these young people had come to eat, sleep and dream politics. They had the enthusiasm and intellectual curiousity of youth. They had grown accustomed to enduring official hostility, and often jail and police violence. That activism required sacrifice was a given; it was the notion of a meaningful political life WITHOUT sacrifice that seemed wildly unrealistic."
- Max Elbaum, Revolution in the Air

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."
-Adam Smith

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
-Frederick Douglass

"The law will punish a man or woman who steals the goose
from the hillside, but lets the greater robber loose
who steals the hillside from the goose."

- Anonymous poet in the 1700s

"Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks the whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip."
-George Orwell

"The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind....We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they promise us any substantial reform.....They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires."
-People's Party

"I say one evil empire down... one to go."
-Michael Moore

"Fighting crime by building more jails is like fighting cancer by building more cemeteries."
-Paul Kelly

"Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
-Tom Lehrer

"That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everwhere else."
-H.L. Mencken

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-Steven Biko

"Those who put out the people's eyes, reproach them for their blindness."
-John Milton

"If human equality is to be forever averted -- if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently -- then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity."
-George Orwell

"The basis of irreligous criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man... Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people... The demand to give up illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions... Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man will wear the chain without any fantasy or consolation but so that he will shake off the chain and cull the living flower... Thus the criticism of heaven turns into a criticism of earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of right and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics."
-Karl Marx

"If we do not believe in freedom of expression for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all."
-Noam Chomsky

"Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of government."
-Pierre Joseph Proudhon

"Who controls the past controls the present, who controls the present controls the future."
-George Orwell

"One class now owns the tools while another class uses them. One class is small and rich and the other large and poor. One wants more profit and the other more wages. One consists of capitalists and the other of workers. These two class are at war. Every day of truce is at the expense of labor. There can ben no peace and good will between these two essentially antagonistic economic classes. Nor can this class conflict be covered up or smoothed over."
-Eugene V. Debs

"I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden."
-Richard Rumbold, on the gallows, Englandd,, 1685)

"The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historic events. In ordinary times the state... elevates itself above the nation, and history is made by specialists in that line of business - kings, ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, journalists. But at those crucial points when the old order becomes unendurable to the masses, they break over the barriers excluding them from the political arena, sweep aside their traditional representatives, and create by their own interference the initial groundwork for a new regime. ... The history of a revolution is for us first of all a history of the forcible entrance of the masses into the realm of rulership over their own destiny."
-Leon Trotsky

"Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education."
-Bertrand Russell

"The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
-Lily Tomlin

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have these three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence to practice neither."
-Mark Twain

"When the mass media in some foreign countries serve as megaphones for the rhetoric of their government, the result is ludicrous propaganda. When the mass media in our country serve as megaphones for the rhetoric of the U.S. government, the result is responsible journalism."
-Normon Solomon

"Right is only in question between equals, and while the strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must."
-Thucydides

"The most serious threat to democracy is the notion that it has already been achieved."
-unknown

"From the social point of view, the educational systems are oriented to maintaining the existing social and economic structures instead of transforming them."
Wilhelm Von Humboldt

"There is not 'two sides' to every issue. That statement is a ridiculous slogan invoked by vested interests and perpetuated by minds of limited scope."
-Anton LaVey

"Actual defense of the United States costs about 10% of the military budget and is the lest expensive function that the Pentagon does..."
-Rear Admiral Gene LaRoque, U.S. Navy rettiired

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow a very lively debate within that spectrum -- even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people a sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of debate."
-Noam Chomsky

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
-George Orwell

"The revenge of history is more powerful than the revenge of the most powerful General Secretary."
-Leon Trotsky

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
-Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

"Philosophers have merely interpreted the world; the point, is to change it."
-Karl Marx

"Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence and enjoy it to the full."
- Leon Trotsky



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