A few things to think about…
It seems to be a universal fact that minorities, especially when their individuals are recognizable because of physical differences, are treated by majorities among whom they live as an inferior class.
The tragic part of such a fate, however, lies not only in the automatically realized disadvantage suffered by these minorities in economic and social relations, but also in the fact that those who meet such treatment themselves, for the most part, acquiesce in the prejudiced estimate because of the suggestive influence of the majority, and come to regard themselves as inferior.
This second and more important aspect of the evil can be met through closer union and conscious educational enlightenment among the minority, and so an emancipation of the soul of the minority can be attained.
The determined effort of the American Negroes in this direction deserves every recognition and assistance.
Albert Einstein, 1931
Our society doesn’t promote self-acceptance and it never will. First of all, self-acceptance doesn’t sell products. Capitalism would fall if we liked ourselves the way we are now. Also, people who feel shamed and inadequate themselves tend to pass it on. I’m sure you’ve noticed that many individuals and groups try to enhance their self-esteem by diminishing others.
Harriet Lerner, PhD.
“Fear and Other Uninvited Guests” (2004)
It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.
Marianne Dashwood was born into an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favorite maxims.
Love, work and knowledge are the wellsprings of our life.
They should also govern it.
Wilhelm Reich, M.D.
The foolish and the dead alone never change their positions.
James Russell Lowell, poet
I would rather love what I cannot have, than have what I cannot love.
I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and duty for I understand that duty and have the courage to carry it out the duty of preventing the United States from spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from empowering with that additional strength our lands of America. All I have done so far, and all I will do, is for this purpose. I have had to work quietly and somewhat indirectly, because to achieve certain objectives, they must be kept under cover; to proclaim them for what they are would raise such difficulties that the objectives could not be attained.
José Martí, May 19, 1895
(Letter to Manuel Mercado, the final words Marti ever wrote.)
Hacer es lo mejor manera de decir
(Doing it is the best way to say it.)
When all men think alike, no one thinks very much.
Walter Lippmann (other one)
Perfectionism spells paralysis.
Knowledge is too precious to hoard.
In this world we presume many ambitions. We make many observations such as (a) everyone’s aloneness (there really are no categories, you know. Everyone is so alone — the basic, essential state of humankind); (b) the paradox that is communication – the built-in answer to that feeling of aloneness.
Communication itself is what baffles the multitude. It is both so difficult and so simple. Of all man’s fears. Of all man’s fears, I think men are most afraid of being what they are — in direct communication with the world at large. They fear reprisals, the most personal of which is that they “won’t be understood.”
How can anyone expect to be understood unless he presents his thoughts with complete honesty? This situation is unfair because it asks too much of the world. In effect, we say, “I don’t dare show you what I am anyway because I don’t trust you for a minute but please love me anyway because I need you to. And, of course, if you don’t love me anyway, you’re a dirty dog, just as I suspected, so I was right in the first place.” Yet, every time God’s children have thrown away fear in pursuit of honesty — trying to communicate themselves, understood or not — miracles have happened.
September 16, 1965
Fidel Castro at the University of Havana
November 17, 2005
Here is a conclusion I’ve come to after many years: among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone really knew something about socialism, or that someone actually knew how to build socialism. It seemed to be a sure fact, as well-known as the electrical system conceived by those who thought they were experts in electrical systems. Whenever they said: “That’s the formula”, we thought they knew. Just as if someone is a physician. You are not going to debate anemia, or intestinal problems, or any other condition with a physician; nobody argues with the physician. You can think that he is a good doctor or a bad one, you can follow his advice or not, but you won’t argue with him. Which of us would argue with a doctor, or a mathematician, or a historian, or an expert in literature or in any other subject? But we must be idiots if we think, for example, that economy is an exact and eternal science and that it existed since the days of Adam and Eve, and I offer my apologies to the thousands of economists in our country.
All sense of dialectics is lost when someone believes that today’s economy is identical to the economy 50 or 100 or 150 years ago, or that it is identical to the one in Lenin’s day or to the time when Karl Marx lived. Revisionism is a thousand miles away from my mind and I truly revere Marx, Engels and Lenin.
Fidel Castro: “The Epiphany Gift”
January 15, 2008
Writing, as many people know, is an instrument of expression that lacks speed, tone and the intonation of spoken language, and it doesn’t use gestures. It also takes several times our scarce available time. Writing has the advantage that it can been done at any time, day or night, but one doesn’t know who will read it; very few can resist the temptation to improve it, to include what was not said or to cross out what was said; sometimes one has the urge to throw it all in the wastebasket since you don’t have the interlocutor there in front of you. All my life I have transmitted ideas about events as I was seeing them, from the darkest ignorance until today when I have more time available and I have the possibility of observing the crimes being committed against our planet and our species.
To the youngest of our revolutionaries, in particular, I recommend to be extremely demanding with themselves and to observe an iron-clad discipline. They should avoid being ambitious for power, presumptuous or boasters. They should be watchful about bureaucratic methods and mechanisms and avoid succumbing to simple slogans. They should recognize bureaucratic procedure for the worst obstacle they are and use science and computation without falling prey to the excessively technical and unintelligible jargon of the elitist specialists. They should always be hungry for knowledge; and perseverance, and both physical and mental exercises should be part of their lives.
In this new era in which we live, capitalism is not even a useful instrument. It is like a tree with rotten roots, from whence only the worst forms of individualism, corruption and inequality sprout. Nor should we give away anything to those who could be producing and who don’t produce, or who produce very little. Reward the merits of those who work with their hands or their minds.
Just as we have universalized higher education, we must also universalize simple physical labor; it helps us to at least carry out a part of the infinite investments demanded by everyone, as if there was an enormous reserve of money and labor force. Be especially wary of those inventing State enterprises with just any excuse and then managing the easy profits as if they had been capitalists all their lives, sowing egoism and privileges.
U.S. President John F. Kennedy
October 24, 1963
“I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent, it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.”
interview with Jean Daniel, 24 October 1963
Some people just can’t take “yes” for an answer.
— Walter Lippmann (author of this website)
Todo bien, excepto por las malas cosas.
Everything’s good, except for the bad stuff.
— Walter Lippmann (yes, that’s me again)
by Max Roach and C. Bayen
Mendacity, mendacity, it makes the world go round.
A politician makes a speech and never hears the sound.
The campaign trail winds on and on in towns from coast to coast.
The winner ain’t the one who’s straight, but he who lies the most.
Now voting rights in this fair land we know are not denied.
But if I tried in certain states, from treetops I’d be tied.
Mendacity, mendacity, it seems is everywhere.
But try and tell the truth, and most folks scream “Not Fair!”
“You don’t fight fire with fire. You fight fire with water. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We’re not gonna fight capitalism with Black capitalism. We’re gonna fight capitalism with socialism. Socialism is the people. If you’re afraid of socialism, you’re afraid of yourself.” FRED HAMPTON, SR.
Consider well your action,
What’s done you can’t recall,
No use to pull the trigger
Then try to stop the ball.
The forest was shrinking,
but the trees kept
voting for the axe.
For the axe was
clever and convinced
the trees that because his handle
was made of wood he was one of them.
—West African fable