Quotes from A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn


- “Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big beat…the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts.”
- “With fifty men we could subjugate them all”
                        - Christopher Columbus
- “When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone”…
                        - Christopher Columbus
- “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”
                        - Christopher Columbus
- The Founding Fathers “found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called theUnited States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire.”
- “poor men were always oppressed by the rich”
- Patrick Henry: “His pauses, which for their length might sometimes be feared to dispel the attention, riveted it more by raising the expectation.”
- At the time of the Revolution, George Washington was the richest man in America
- “As many as half the people in the country were not even considered by the Founding Fathers” (women)
- “Andrew Jackson was a land speculator, merchant, slave trader, and the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history.”
- “He encouraged white squatters to move into Indian lands, then told the Indians the government could not remove the whites and so they had better cede the lands or be wiped out.”
- “ Alabama itself was an Indian name, meaning ‘Here we may rest’.”
- “which they shall possess as long as grass grows or water runs”
            - Andrew Jackson, on the lands east of Mississippi and Alabama
- “Chiefs, head men, and warriors – will you then, by resistance, compel us to resort to arms? God forbid. Or will you, by flight, seek to hide yourselves in mountains and forests, and thus oblige us to hunt you down?”
            - Maj General Winfield Scott
- President Martin van Buren, to Congress, on the Trail of Tears;
“It affords sincere pleasure to apprise the Congress of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi . The measures authorized by Congress at its last session have had the happiest effects.”
- On the west:
-“President Polk had incited war by sending Americans into what was disputed territory, historically controlled and inhabited by Mexicans”
- “[Harriet Tubman] made nineteen dangerous trips back and forth, often disguised, escorting more than three hundred slaves to freedom, always carrying a pistol, telling the fugitives, “You’ll be free or die.” ”
- “How can slavery be described? Perhaps not at all by those who have not experienced it.”
- “There was no slavery in history, even that of the Israelites in Egypt , worse than the slavery of the black man in America Walker said. ‘…show me a page of history, either sacred or profane, on which a verse can be found, which maintains, that the Egyptians heaped the insupportable insult upon the children of Israel, by telling them that they were not of the human family.”
            - “ Walker ’s Appeal” 1829
- “human rights are mutual and reciprocal.”
            - David Walker, The Liberator letter
- “There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.”
            - Frederick Douglass, 1852 July 4
- “It was the Supreme Court of the United States that declared in 1857 that the slave Dred Scott could not sue for his freedom because he was not a person, he was property.”
- “My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.”                   - Abraham Lincoln
- “Northern men…no longer denounce the suppression of the Negro vote… The necessity of it under the supreme law of self-preservation is candidly recognized.”
            NYT editorial, 1900
- “[The 1849 Supreme Court Luther v. Borden] decision reinforced the essentially conservative nature of the Supreme Court: that on critical issues – war and revolution – it would defer to the President and Congress.”
- “To give people a choice between two different parties and allow them, in a period of rebellion, to choose the slightly more democratic one was an ingenious mode of control.”
- “Our public system of Education, which so liberally endows those seminaries of learning, which…are only accessible to the wealthy, while our common schools…are so illy provided for… Thus even in childhood the poor are apt to think themselves inferior…”
            - Boston “Trades’ Union’, 1834
- “the Conscription Act of 1863 provided that the rich could avoid military service: they could pay $300 or buy a substitute.”
- “A newspaper in North Carolina in August 1855 spoke of ‘hundreds of thousands of working class families existing upon half-starvation from year to year’.”
- “Is it not murder when, compelled by want, people are forced to fester in squalid, germ-filled tenements, where the sunlight never enters and where disease finds a prolific breeding-place? Untold thousands went to their deaths in these unspeakable places. Yet, so far as the Law was concerned, the rents collected by the Astors, as well as by other landlords, were honestly made.”
            - History of the Great American Fortunes, by Gustavus Myers
- “The law of ‘eminent domain’ was used to take farmers’ land and give it to canal companies or railroad companies as subsidies.”
- “In premodern times, the maldistribution of wealth was accomplished by simple force. In modern times, exploitation is disguised – it is accomplished by law, which has the look of neutrality and fairness. By the time of the Civil War, modernization was well underway in the United States.”
- “In the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the tenements fell so fast, one after another, that people said it sounded like an earthquake.”
- “In Chicago , twenty thousand unemployed marched through the streets to City Hall asking “bread for the needy, clothing for the naked, and houses for the homeless.” Actions like this resulted in some relief for about ten thousand families.”
- “Control in modern times requires more than force, more than law. It requires that a population dangerously concentrated in cities and factorites, whose lives are filled qith cause for rebellion, be taught that all is right as it is. And so, the schools, the churches, the popular literature taught that to be rich was a sign of superiority, to be poor a sign of personal failure, and that the only way upward for a poor person was to climb into the ranks of the rich by extraordinary effort and extraordinary luck.”
- “It was in the middle of the late nineteenth century that high schools developed as aids to the industrial system, that history was widely required in the curriculum to foster patriotism. Loyalty oaths, teacher certification, and the requirement of citizenship were introduced to control both the educational and the political quality of teachers. Also, in the latter part of the century, schools officials – not teachers – were given control over textbooks.”
- “in 1880 there were 1,180,000 children under sixteen (one out of six) at work in the United States.”
- “Workingmen of all lands, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains; you have a world to win!”
            - Communist Manifesto, 1848, Karl Marx + Frederick Engels
- “C. Vann Woodward notes (Origins of the New South) that the city with the highest rate of tenancy in the United States was Birmingham, with 90 percent. And the slums of the southern cities were among the worst, poor whites living like the blacks, on unpaved dirt streets “choked up with garbage, filth and mud,” according to a report of one state board of health.”
- “A life purpose of mine has been the federation of railroad employees. To unify them into one great body is my object… Class enrollment fosters class prejudices and class selfishness… It has been my life’s desire to unify railroad employees and to eliminate the aristocracy of labor…and organize them so all will be on an equality…”
                                    - Eugene Debs, 1893
- “Debs was arrested for contempt of court, for violating the injunction that said he could not do or say anything to carry on the strike. He told the court: “It seems to me that if it were not for resistance to degrading conditions, the tendency of our whole civilization would be downward; after a while we would reach the point where there would be no resistance, and slavery would come.”        ”
- “And always, as a way of drowning class resentment in a flood of slogans for national unity, there was patriotism… The supreme act of patriotism was war. Two years after McKinley because President, the United States declared war on Spain.”
            à didn’t he die in office?
- “All the great masterful races have been fighting races… No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war.”
                                                - Teddy Roosevelt, 1893
- “It is a terrible thing to think that the poor workers of this country shall be sent to kill and wound the poor workers of Spain merely because a few leaders may incite them to do so.”
                                                - Voice of Labor, San Francisco
- “Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for kill, and he replied, ‘Everything over ten.’ ”
            - A war crimes trial, on America’s conquest of the Philippines
- “In the province of Batangas , the secretary of the province estimated that of the population of 300,000, one-third had been killed by combat, famine, or disease.”
- “How our hearts burned with indignation against the atrocious Spaniards!... But when the smoke was over, the dead buried, and the cost of the war came back to the people in an increase in the price of commodities and rent – that is, when we sobered up from our patriotic spree – it suddenly dawned on us that the cause of the Spanish-American war was the price of sugar…that the lives, blood, and money of the American people were used to protect the interests of the American capitalists.”
            - Emma Goldman, on the Spanish-American war
- “Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, published in 1906, brought the conditions in the meatpacking plants of Chicago to the shocked attention of the whole country, and stimulated demand for laws regulating the meatpacking industry.”
- “If the workers of the world want to win, all they have to do is recognize their solidarity. They have nothing to do but folds their arms and the world will stop. The workers are more powerful with their hands in their pockets than all the property of the capitalists.”
            - International Workers of the World (IWW) organizer Joseph Ettor
 à - “their energy, their persistence, their inspiration to others, their ability to mobilize at one place, one time, made then an influence on the country far beyond their numbers.”
- “                    Long-haired preachers come out every night,
                        Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
                        But what asked how ‘bout something to eat
                        They will answer with voices so sweet:
                        You will eat, bye and bye,
                        In that glorious land above the sky;
                        Work and pray, live on hay,
                        You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
                                    - Joe Hill, “The Preacher and the Slave”
- “There was an idea in the air, becoming clearer and stronger, an idea not just in the theories of Karl Marx but in the dreams of writers and artists through the ages: that people might cooperatively use the treasures of the earth to make life better for everyone, not just a few.”
- “[In strikes] Law and military force again and again took the side of the rich.”
- “ “War is the health of the state,” the radical writer Randolph Bourne said, in the midst of the First World War. Indeed, as the nations of Europe went to war in 1914, the governments flourished, patriotism bloomed, class struggle was stilled, and young men died in frightful numbers on the battlefield.”
- WWI:            “Ten million were to die on the battlefield; 20 million were to die of hunger and disease related to the way. And no one since that day has been able to show that the war brought any gain for humanity that would be worth one human life.”
- “One day after the English declared war, Henry James wrote to a friend: “The plunge of civilization into the abyss of blood and darkness…is a thing that so gives away the whole long age during which we have supposed the world to be…gradually bettering.” In the First Battle of the Marne, the British and French succeeded in blocking the German advance on Paris . Each side had 500,000 casualties.”
- “At the beginning to 1917, a member of the National Civic Federation had complained that “neither workingmen nor farmers” were taking “any part or interest in the efforts of the security or defense leagues or other movements for national preparedness.”   ”
- “They tell us that we live in a great free republic; that our institutions are democratic; that we are a free and self-governing people. That is too much, even for a joke… Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder… And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the war; the subject class has always fought the battles.”
                                                - Eugene Debs, 1918
- “Debs refused at this trial to take the stand in his defense, or to call a witness on his behalf.” [on trial for speaking against the government]
- “Is this a popular war, why conscription?”
                        - anti-war banner
- “I do not recognize the right of a government to draft me to a war whose purposes I do not believe in.”
                        - Max Eastman, The Masses newspaper
- “So, Son, instead of crying, be strong, so as to be able to comfort your mother…take her for a long walk in the quiet country, gathering wild flowers here and there… But remember always, Dante, in the play of happiness, don’t you use all for yourself only…help the persecuted and the victim because they are your better friends. In this struggle of life you will find more and love and you will be loved.”
            - Nicola Sacco, last message before he was executed, in 1927
            (he was an anarchist [antigovernment] framed for a murder)
à this chapter, “The Health of the State”, is basically an anti-war essay centered on WWI
- “                    What scares them most is
                        That NOTHING HAPPENS!               ”
                        - a poet on the 100,000 strikers in Seattle , 1919
- “And a homeless hungry man, driving the road with his wife besides him and his thin children in the back seat, could look at the fallow fields which might produce food but not profit, and that man could know how a fallow field is a sin and the unused land a crime against the thin children…”
            - John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (about the Depression)
- “ Indiana HarborIndiana August 5, 1931. Fifteen hundred jobless men stormed the plant of the Fruit Growers Express Company here, demanding that they be given jobs to keep from starving. The company’s answer was to call the city police, who routed the jobless with menacing clubs.”
            - Mauritz Hallgren, Seeds of Revolt
- “ Chicago April 1, 1932. Five hundred school children, most with haggard faces and in tattered clothes, paraded through Chicago ’s downtown section to the Board of Education offices to demand that the school system provide them with food.”
            - Ibid.
- Addressing homelessness: “In Seattle , the fishermen’s union caught fish and exchanged them with people who picked fruit and vegetables, and those who cut wood exchanged that.”
àA system of trade remove the problem of many. “Trade areas” could be located out-doors of the homeless shelter: an area for farming, carpentry, shoemaking, spinning cloth, etc.
- “Twenty-two locals [chapters], each with a commissary where food and firewood were exchanged for other goods and service: barbers, seamstresses, and doctors gave of their skills in return for other things.”
- “These were simple actions, taken out of a practical need, but they had revolutionary possibilities.”
- “Committees organized recreation, information, classes, a postal service, sanitation. Courts were set up to deal with those who didn’t take their turn washing dishes or who threw rubbish or smoked where it was prohibited or brought in liquor. The ‘punishment’ consisted of extra duties; the ultimate punishment was expulsion from the plant. A restaurant owner across the street prepared three meals a day for two thousand strikers. There were classes in parliamentary procedure, public speaking, history of the labor movement. Graduate students at the University ofMichigan gave courses in journalism and creative writing.”
                        - The organization of a sit-in movement, 1937, FlintMichigan
- “The New Deal gave federal money to put thousands of writers, artists, actors, and musicians to work – in a federal Theatre Project, a Federal Writers Project, a Federal Art Project: murals were put on public buildings; plays were put on for working-class audiences who had never seen a play; hundred of books and pamphlets were written and published. People heard a symphony for the first time. It was an exciting flowering of arts for the people, such as had never happened before in American history, and which has not been duplicated since.”
- “In Harlem Hospital in 1932, proportionately twice as many people died as in Bellvue Hospital, which was in the white area downtown.”
- “In August 1945 a State Department officer said that “a review of the diplomatic history of the past 35 years will show that petroleum has historically played a larger part in the external relations of the United States than any other commodity.”                ”
- “Executive Order 9066, in February 1942, [gave] the army the power, without warrants or indictments or hearings, to arrest every Japanese-American of the West Coast – 110,000 men, women, and children – to take them from their homes, transport them to camps far into the interior, and keep them there under prison conditions.”
- “Of every six men in federal prison [during WWII], one was there as a conscientious objector.”
- “Red found himself carried away. “What have I against the [expl.] Japs? You think I care if they keep this fuggin jungle? What’s it to me if Cummings gets another star?”
“General Cummings, he’s a good man,” Martinez said.
“There ain’t a good officer in the world,” Red stated.  ”
                        - Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead
- “A few voices continued to insist that the real war was inside each nation: Dwight Macdonald’s wartime magazine Politics presented, in early 1945, an article by the French worker-philosopher Simone Weil:
“Whether the mark is labelled [sic] Fascism, Democracy, or Dictatorsihip of the Proletariat, our great adversary remains the Apparatus – the bureaucracy, the police, the military.”
- “A.J. Muste, the revolutionary pacifist, had predicted in 1941; “The problem after a war is with the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?”
- Korean War: “Napalm was dropped, and a BBC journalist described the result:
“In front of us a curious figure was standing, a little crouched, legs straddled, arms held out from his sides. He has no eyes, and the whole of his body, nearly all of which was visible through tatters of burnt rags, was covered with a hard black crust speckled with yellow pus… He had to stand, because he was no longer covered with skin, but with a crust-like crackling which broke easily… I thought of the hundreds of villages reduced to ash which I personally had seen and realized the sort of casualty list which must be mounting up along the Korean front.”        ”
- “The United States is not so strong, the final triumph of the democratic ideal is not so inevitable that we can ignore what the world thinks of us or our record.”
            - Truman’s Committee on Civil Rights
- “Despite the failure to find subversion, the broad scope of the official Red hunt gave popular credence to the notion that the government was riddled with spies. A conservative and fearful reaction coursed the country. Americans became convinced of the need for absolute security and the preservation of the established order.”
- “In the fifties, schoolchildren all over the country participated in air raid drills in which a Soviet attack on Americans was signaled by sirens: the children had to crouch under their desks until it was “all clear”. It was an atmosphere in which the government could get mass support for a policy of rearmament.”
- “At the start of 1950, the total US budget was about $40 billion, and the military part of it was about $12 billion. But by 1955, the military part alone was $40 billion, out of a total of $62 billion.”
- In 1962 “The US had the equivalent, in nuclear weapons, or 1500 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs, far more than enough to destroy every major city in the world – the equivalent, in fact, of 10 tons of TNT for every man, woman, and child on earth.”
- “In Guatemala , in 1954, a legally elected government was overthrown by an invasion force of mercenaries trained by the CIA…the government that the United States overthrew was the most democratic Guatemala had ever had.”
- “Even outward subservience – Uncle Tom behavior in real situations, the comic fawning Negro on the state, the self-ridicule, the caution – concealed resentment, anger, energy.”
- “let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood.”
            - Margaret Walker, “For My People”
- After Rosa Parks: “ Montgomery blacks called a mass meeting. A powerful force in the community was E.D. Nixon, a veteran trade unionist and experienced organizer. There was a vote to boycott all city buses. Carpools were organized to take Negroes to work; most people walked. The city retaliated by indicting one hundred leaders of the boycott, and sent many to jail. White segregationists turned to violence” but blacks did not back down.
- “don’t even let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for that hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.”
- “In the spring of 1963, the rate of unemployment for whites was 4.8 percent. For nonwhites it was 12.1 percent. According to government estimates, one-fifth of the white population was below the poverty line, and one-half of the black population was below that line.”
- “Liberties are not given, they are taken.”
            - Aldous Huxley [white writer]
- “When you stay radical long enough and get enough people to be like you, you’ll get your freedom.”
                        - Malcolm X
- “…it’s inevitable that we’ve got to bring out the question of the tragic mixup in priorities. We are spending all of this money for death and destruction and not nearly enough money for life and constructive development…when the guns of war become a national obsession, social needs inevitably suffer.”
                        - Dr. MLK, Jr.
- “By 1954, the United States had given 300,000 small arms and machine guns, enough to equip the entire French army in Indochina, and $1 billion; all together, the US was financing 80 percent of the French war effort.”
- “Diem again and again blocked the elections requested by the Viet Minh, and with American money and arms his government became more and more firmly established. As the Pentagon Papers put it: “South Viet Nam was essentially the creation of the United States.”
- “One day in June 1963, a Buddhist monk sat down in the public square in Saigon and set himself afire. More Buddhist monks began committing suicide by fire to dramatize their opposition to the Diem regime. Diem’s police raided the Buddhist pagodas and temples, wounded thirty monks, arrested 1400 people, and closed down the pagodas.”
- “The Tonkin “attack” [it did not happen] brought a congressional resolution, passed unanimously in the House, with only two dissenting votes in the Senate, giving Johnson the power to take military action as he saw fit in Southeast Asia.”
- “The Tonkin Resolution gave the President the power to initiate hostilities without the declaration of war by Congress that the Constitution required. The Supreme Court, supposed to be the watchdog of the Constitution, was asked by a number of petitioners in the course of the Vietnam war to declare the war unconstitutional. Again and again, it refused even to consider the issue.”
- “As the Communists withdrew from Quangngai last Monday, United States jet bombers pounded the hills into which they were headed. Many Vietnamese – one estimate is as high as 500 – were killed by the strikes. The American contention is that they were Vietcong soldiers. But three out of four patients seeking treatment in a Vietnamese hospital afterward for burns from napalm, or jellied gasoline, were village women.”
- “Large areas of South Vietnam were declared “free fire zones”, which means that all persons remaining within them – civilians, old people, children – were considered an enemy, and bombs were dropped at will.”
- “The CIA in Vietnam, in a program called “Operation Phoenix”, secretly, without trial, executed at least twenty thousand civilians in South Vietnam who were suspected of being members of the Communist underground.”
- “By the end of the Vietnam war, 7 million tons of bombs had been dropped on Vietnam, more than twice the total bombs dropped on Europe and Asia in World War II – almost one 500-pound bomb for every human being in Vietnam.”
- “On March 16, 1968, a company of American soldiers went into the hamlet of My Lai 4, in Quang Nai province. They rounded up the inhabitants, including old people and women with infants in their arms. These people were ordered into a ditch, where they were methodically shot to death by American soldiers.”
- “Colonel Oran Henderson, who had been charged with covering up the My Lai killings, told reporters in early 1971: “Every unit of brigade size has its My Lai hidden someplace.”
- “   “Destruction of locks and dams, however – if handled right – might…offer promise. It should be studied. Such destruction doesn’t kill or drown people. By shallow-flooding the rice, it leads after a time to widespread starvation (more than a million?) unless food is provided – which we could offer to do” at the conference table”…”
                        - Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton, 1966
- “The holes! The holes! During that time we needed holes to save our lives. We who were young took our sweat and our strength, which should have been spent raising food in the ricefields and forests to sustain our lives, and squandered it digging holes to protect ourselves…”
                                    - Xiang Khouang
- “Nixon’s policy was “Vietnamization” – the Saigon government, with Vietnamese ground troops, using American money and air power, would carry out the war. Nixon was not ending the war; he was ending the most unpopular aspect of it, the involvement of American soldiers on the soil of a faraway country.”
- “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam … I speak for those whose land is being laid to waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam . I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in the war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.”
                        - Dr. MLK, Jr.
- “In 1971, twenty thousand came to Washington to commit civil disobedience, trying to tie up Washington traffic to express their revulsion against the killing still going on in Vietnam. Fourteen thousand of them were arrested, the largest mass arrest in American history.”
- “In London , two young Americans gate-crashed the American ambassador’s elegant Fourth of July reception and called out a toast: “To all the dead and dying in Vietnam .” They were carried out by guards.”
- “The time is past when good men can remain silent…”
                        - Dan Berrigan, “Meditation”
- “Underground newspapers sprang up at military bases across the country; by 1970 more than fifty were circulating.”
- “the illegalization of abortion clearly worked against the poor, for the rich could manage either to have they baby or to have their abortion under safe conditions.”
- “As Adrienne Rich said (Of Women Born): “Women are controlled by lashing us to our bodies.” She wrote” “I have a very clear, keen memory of myself the day after I was married: I was sweeping a floor. Probably the floor did not really need to be swept; probably I simply did not know what to do with myself. But as I swept that floor I thought: “Now I am a woman. This is an age-old action, this is what women have always done.” I felt I was bending to some ancient form, too ancient to question. “This is what women have always done. As soon as I was visibly and clearly pregnant, I felt, for the first time in my adolescent and adult life, not-guilty. The atmosphere of approval in which I was bathed – even by strangers on the street, it seemed – was like an aura I carried with me, in which doubts, fears, misgivings met with absolute denial. “This is what women have always done…”””
- “The prison had risen in the United States as an attempt at Quaker reform, to replace mutilation, hanging, exile – the traditional punishment during colonial times. The prison was intended, through isolation, to produce repentance and salvation, but prisoners went insane and died during that isolation.”
- “In the early 1960’s, prisoners on a work gang in Georgia smashing rocks used the same sledgehammers to break their legs, to call attention to their situation of daily brutality.”
- “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
                        - Dostoevski
- “Every program that we get is used as a weapon against us. The right to go to school, to go to church, to have visitors, to write, to go to the movies. They all end up being weapons of punishment. None of the programs are ours. Everything is treated as a privilege that can be taken away from us. The result is insecurity – a frustration that keeps eating away at you.”
                        - inmate of Walpole prison, MA
- “There were more studies or crime and punishment, a growing movement for the abolition of prisons on the grounds that they did not prevent crime or cure it, but expanded it. Alternatives were discussed: community houses in the short run (except for the incorrigibly violent); guaranteed minimum economic security, in the long run.”
 - “In 1978 the Supreme Court ruled that the news media do not have guaranteed rights of access to jails and prisons. It ruled also that prison authorities could forbid inmates to speak to one another, assemble, or spread literature about the formation of a prisoners’ union.”
- “The United States government had signed more than four hundred treaties with Indians and violated every single one.”
- “A local judge [Washington State, 1965] ruled that the Puyallup tribe did not exist, and its members could not fish on the river named for them, the Puyallup River.”
- “                    You think I have visions
                        because I am an Indian.
                        I have visions because
                        there are visions to be seen.                                                      ”
                                                                        - Buffy Sainte-Marie
- “In the sixties and seventies, it was not just a women’s movement, a prisoner’s movement, an Indian movement. There was general revolt against oppressive, artificial, previously unquestioned ways of living. It touched every aspect of personal life: childbirth, childhood, love, sex, marriage, dress, music, art, sports, language, food, housing, religion, literature, death, schools.”
- “There was a new suspicion of big business, of profiteering as the motive for ruining the environment. There was a reexamination of the ‘death industry,’ of moneymaking funerals and profitable tombstones, as in Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death.”
- “The whole nation heard the details of the quick break-in at the Watergate apartment; there was never a similar television hearing on the long-term break-in in Vietnam.”
- “Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, February 19, 1963: “Victory is in sight.”    ”
- The CIA “had introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971, bringing disease and then slaughter to 500,000 pigs.”
- [Samuel] “Huntington further said that the President, to win the election, needed the support of a broad coalition of people. However: “The day after his election, the size of his majority is almost – if not entirely – irrelevant to his ability to govern the country. What counts then is his ability to mobilize support from the leaders of key institutions in a society and government… This coalition must include key people in Congress, the executive branch, and the private-sector “Establishment.” ’  ”
- “Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has formally initiated a policy of selecting for cutbacks in American aid those nations that have sided against the US in votes in the United Nations. In some cases the cutbacks involve food and humanitarian relief.” [1975]
- “In 1979, while the poor were taking cuts, the salary of the chairman of Exxon Oil was being raised to $830,000 a year and that of the chairman of Mobil Oil to over a million dollars a year. That year, while Exxon’s net income rose 56 percent to more than $4 billion, three thousand small independent gasoline stations were out of business.”
- “In June 1992 more than a hundred countries participated in the Earth Summit environmental conference in Brazil . Statistics showed that the armed forces of the world were responsible for two-thirds of the gases that depleted the ozone layer. But when it was suggested that the Earth Summit consider the effects of the military on environmental degradation, the United Statesdelegation objected and the suggestion was defeated.”
- “Despite the tax cuts and the military appropriations, Reagan insisted he would still balance the budget because the tax cuts would so stimulate the economy as to generate new revenue. Nobel Prize-winning economist Wassily Leontief remarked dryly: “This is not likely to happen. In fact, I personally guarantee that it will not happen.”           ”
- “Much of the public did not know, and were not informed by either political leaders or the media, that welfare took a tiny part of the taxes, and military spending took a huge chunk of it.”
- “In a two-party system, if both parties ignore public opinion, there is no place voters can turn.”
- “At the end of the eighties, at least a third of African-American families fell below the official poverty level.”
- “The crime rate among blacks, instead of being seen as a crying demand for the elimination of poverty, was used by politicians to call for the building of more prisons.”
- “To admirers of free enterprise and laissez-faire, those people were poor who did not work and produce, and so had themselves to blame for their own poverty. They ignored the fact that women taking care of children on their own were working very hard indeed.”
- “The Trident submarine, which is capable of firing hundreds of nuclear warheads, cost $1.5 billion. It was totally useless except in a nuclear war, in which case it would only add several hundred warheads to the tens of thousands already available. That $1.5 billion was enough to finance a five-year program of child immunization around the world against deadly diseases, and prevent five million deaths.”
- “I want to scare the hell out of the rest of the world. I don’t say that in a bellicose way.”
            - Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell
- “Poll Shows Plunge in Public Confidence: Bush’s Rating Plummets” – Washington Post headline, October 16, 1990
“Some observers in his own party worry that the president will be forced to initiate combat to prevent further erosion of his support at home.”   PostOctober 28, 1990
- “After the war, fifteen Washington news bureau chiefs complained in a joint statement that the Pentagon exercised “virtual total control…over the American press” during the Gulf War.”
- “Dear Mr. President: On July 23, 1980, I…am expected to report to my local post office for the purpose of registering with the Selective Service System. I hereby inform you, Mr. President, that I will not register on July 23, or at any time thereafter… We have tried militarism, and it has failed the human race in every way imaginable.”
                                                - James Peters, to Jimmy Carter (open letter)
- “To the Editor: Thirty-six years ago I stood in front of the crematorium. The ugliest force in the world had promised itself that I should be removed from the cycle of life – that I should never know the pleasure of giving life. With great guns and great hatred, this force thought itself the equal of the force of life. I survived the great guns, and with every smile of my son, they grow smaller. It is not for me, sir, to offer my son’s blood as lubricant for the next generation of guns. I remove myself and my own from the cycle of death.”
                                    - Isabella Leitner, letter to NYT
- “[in 1992] 59 percent of all voters wanted a 50 percent cut in defense spending in five years. Neither of the major parties was willing to make major cuts in the military budget.”
- “Abnormal rates of cancer for farmworkers in California aroused the Chicano community. Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers fasted for thirty-five days in 1988 to call attention to this conditions.”
- “On the west Coast, a young activist named Keith McHenry and hundreds of others were arrested again and again for distributing free food to poor people without a license. They were part of a group called Food Not Bombs. More Food Not Bombs groups sprung up in communities around the country.” [1990s]
- “FBI Agent Jack Ryan, a twenty-one-year veteran of the bureau, was fired when he refused to investigate peace groups. He was deprived of his pension and for some time had to live in a shelter for homeless people.”
- “When Bush became President, he was determined to overcome what came to be called the Vietnam syndrome – the resistance of the American people to a war desired by the Establishment. And so, he launched the air war against Iraq in mid-January 1991 with overwhelming force, so the war could be over quickly, before there was time for a national antiwar movement to develop.”
- “Yes, we need to support our men and women under arms. But let’s support them by bringing them home; not by condoning this barbarous, violent policy.”
- “I intend to support my son and his fellow soldiers by doing everything I can to oppose any offensive American military action in the Persian Gulf.”  
- Alex Molnor, NYT, Gulf War I
- “For the first time in all the years that the country had celebrated Columbus Day, there were nationwide protests against honoring a man who had kidnapped, enslaved, mutilated, murdered the natives who greeted his arrival with gifts and friendship.” [1992 quincentennial]
- [conventional history books] “teach us that the supreme act of citizenship is to choose among saviors, by going into a voting booth every four years to choose between two white and well-off Anglo-Saxon males of inoffensive personality and orthodox opinions.”
- “One perfect of the nation owns a third of the wealth.”
- “The pretense continued over the generations, helped by all-embracing symbols, physical or verbal: the flag, patriotism, democracy, national interest, national defense, national security. The slogans were dug into the earth of American culture like a circle of covered wagons…”
- “How skillful to tax the middle class to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of humiliation!”
- “…the wealth of the nation, doled out carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar aircraft carriers.”
- “In every period of history, people have found ways to help one another – even in the midst of a culture of competition and violence – if only for brief periods, to find joy in work, struggle, companionship, nature.”
- The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world      p. 647
- “Immigrants were a convenient object of attack, because as nonvoters their interests could be safely ignored.”
- “Illegal immigrants fleeing poverty in Mexico began to face harsher treatment in the early nineties.”
- “By early 1997, the United States was selling more arms abroad than all other nations combined.”
- “At a UN conference in Rome in 1999, the United States opposed the establishment of a permanent international war crimes court. There was fear that American officials and military leaders who, like Henry Kissinger, had been responsible for policies leading to the deaths of large numbers of people might be brought before such a court.”
- “In 1996, on the television program 60 Minutes, US Ambassador to the United Nations Madeline Albright was asked about the report that “a half million children have died as a result of sanctions against Iraq… That is more children that died in Hiroshima… Is the price worth it?” Albright replied; “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.”          ”
- “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Census Bureau, in 1998, one of every three working people in the United States had jobs paying at or below the federal poverty level.”
- “Instead of giving out contracts for jet bombers and nuclear submarines contracts could be offered to nonprofit corporations to hire people to build homes, construct public transportation systems, clean up the rivers and lakes, turn our cities into decent places to live.”
- “But opinion surveys in the eighties and early nineties indicated that Americans favored bold policies that neither Democrats nor Republicans were willing to put forward: universal free health care, guaranteed employment, government help for the poor and homeless, with taxes on the rich and cuts in the military budget to pay for social programs.”
- “This meant a culture where the young no longer were taught to strive for “success” as a mask for greed.”
- “In Boston, homeless people joined to publish the newspaper Spare Change, to tell their stories, print their poems, and then to sell the newspapers on the streets of Boston and Cambridge as a way of making some money.”
- “The idea spread to other parts of the country, and soon there were street newspapers in 40 different cities, which formed the North American Street Newspaper Association. The National Coalition for the Homeless, set up in the nation’s capital, distributed a monthly newsletter.”
- “The United States , by such a drastic change in its policies, would no longer be a military superpower, but it could be a humanitarian superpower, using its wealth to help people in need.”
- “We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies those things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have down has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism… Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children…
In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear.”
            - Robert Bowman, National Catholic Reporter, 1998
- “Is there a “national interest” when a few people decide on war, and huge numbers of others – here and abroad – are killed or crippled as a result of such a decision? Should citizens not ask in whose interest we are doing what we are doing?”

No comments:

Post a Comment