• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

The Battle of Algiers
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Fassbinder
Omar
Destiny by Youssef Shahine
Bab Al-Hadid by Youssef Shahine
Gangs of New York
Papillion
Ivan the Terrible
Amistad
Frida
Jamon Jamon by Bigas Luna
Schindler's List
Of Mice and Men
Animal Farm
Dr Strangelove by Stanley Kubrik
Clockwork Orange
Apocalypse Now
Full Metal Jacket
Rosa Luxemburg
Sophie Scholl
Wilhelm Reich
Lolita
Midnight Express
Potemkine
Querel de Brest by Fassbinder
The Great Revival
Life of Brian
Oliver Twist
Motorcycle Diaries
1984
The War on Democracy (a documentary by John Pilger)
Land of Freedom by Ken Loach
Bread and Roses
Michael Collins
Strike by Eiseinstein
Dr Strangelove by Stanley Kubrik
Al-Massir by Youssef Shahine
Persepolis
Germinal
Caution, Lust



Friday, September 27, 2002

Quotes

"[A]ll who benefit from the structural violence of the stateare implicated in its cruelty." — Karen Armstrong, Fields of Blood

"Conventional Western literature on Arab and other Middle Eastern societies has persistently avoided any serious discussion of social class structure. Instead, it has conceived of Arab societies simply as a mosaic. At the margin of this mainstream discourse, however, there has been some occasional speculation on problems of social stratification. Whenever a discussion of this nature has taken place, it has evolved into a heated exchange. One point of view reaffirms the conclusions of the mosaic model and questions the relevance of class analysis. For instance, C. A. O. van Niewenhuijze and James Bill, in separate works, dismiss class analysis in economic terms and instead use Weberian concepts of status and power. Similarly, Iliya Harik has more recently dismissed the thesis put forward by some writers that the Lebanese civil war is actually a class struggle and expressed his "belief that class distinctions in Lebanon are too obscure to sustain the class struggle argument...

My own view is that the persistence of communal cleavages complicates rather than nullifies social class consciousness and struggle. This persistence of communal cleavages and vertical loyalties in some Arab countries is owing to the perpetuation of traditional systems in which communities are linked to their local za'ims (traditional leaders) through patron-client relationships. To the extent that constructive change can be introduced in these areas, such traditional systems will give way, increasingly, to other social and class relationships."  — Halim Barakat, The Arab World, 1993.

"I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected. 
from Companion Volume 4, Part 1 of the official biography, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, by Martin Gilbert (London: Heinemann, 1976)

Talking about the Bengal famine in 1943, Churchill said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”



"What happened was what always happens when a state possessing great military strength enters into relations with primitive, small peoples living their independent lives. Either on the pretext of self-defence, even though any attacks are always provoked by the offences of the strong neighbour, or on the pretext of bringing civilization to a wild people, even though this wild people lives incomparably better and more peacefully than its civilizers . . . the serv- ants of large military states commit all sorts of villainy against small nations, insisting that it is impossible to deal with them in any other way."
Leo Tolstoy, 1902 draft of Hadji Murat 

" مزايا " الفرنسيين ... و" الانجليز " و" الامريكان " ...سابقة على " مزايا" كل العرب و المسلمين ...اليس كذلك ...؟! والتحية تستلزم الرد عليها،" بأدعش منها " كم قتلوا من الاطفال ...؟! كم اجهضوا من حوامل ؟ كم شوهوا من " شبيبة " ؟ كم شوهوا من تاريخ....؟ ( مزاياكم سابقة . ما نعيش كونيا هي نتائج تراتيت الديمقراطيات المزيفة . هل تفرض الديمقراطية بخراطيم الدبابات ؟ والاطاحة بالرؤساء بوصفة من الخارج الارادي للشعب .؟! هل يمكن تصدير الديمقراطية كما تصدير الموز او حفاظات الأطفال ؟ اليس الاستعمار بكل تلويناته يتوسل بقناع " الدفاع عن النور والأنوار " ... ؟! هل الذين خططوا ويخططون لإراقة الدماء لا يستعملون عقولهم وهم يتوسلون باحدث التقنيات ؟! اين تربى " الفكر الارهابي " وخطط وقدر وحكر ؟!( لمن تبيع داعش البترول بابخس الأثمان . مثلا ،،،

ها ان صناع " الفوضى الخلاقة " ...في الشرق الاوسط الجديد ...يغرقون العالم في ما كنت قد اسميته من زمان " بالثورة/ الفوضى الخناقة " ...

كم " نحن" على شقاقنا وتشقق ذواتنا حضاريا عالميا ووطنيا في مسيس الحاجة الى وعي ايكولوجي عاطفي يوفر الحد من شروط امكان الحب... الأدني من حب البشر للبشر ..بتأسيس ما يمكن لي تسميته .." العقد الحضاري للإقتصاد في العنف والنذالة كونيا" ...

سليم دولة، تونس 14 /11/2015 إثر الهجوم الإرهابي في باريس


W H Auden: "Those to whom evil is done / do evil in return".

"This fantastic state of mind, of a humanity that has outrun its ideas, is matched by a political scene in the grotesque style, with Salvation Army methods, hallelujahs and bell-ringing and dervish-like repetition of monotonous catchwords, until everybody foams at the mouth. Fanaticism turns into a means of salvation, enthusiasm into epileptic ecstasy . . . and reason veils her face."
Thomas Mann, “An Appeal to Reason” in The Berliner Tagg, October 1930

"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself. (Karl Marx, "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right")


الايمان بالنسبة للمتدينين ليس الايمان بالله بل بالموروث الديني. فلا قيمة لكونك تؤمن بالله حقا أم لا، المهم هو الاعتقاد الراسخ في الموروث وتطبيق التعاليم
‎التي سنها. وهكذا فكل تشكيك في هذا الموروث، أي وضعه على محك النقد التاريخي، يعتبر كفرا بالله نفسه. وبهذه الحيلة يتم وضع كل ما خطه القدامى وما نسبوه لهذا أو ذاك هو المقدس وليس الله. وهذا الأخير لا يعود سوى تعلة لتقديس سلطة الموروث.
‎فعندما تشكك مثلا في مصداقية سيرة محمد بن عبد الله لأنها سيرة غير عقلانية ومتناقضة وذات طابع أسطوري وهي بالصيغة الموروثة لدينا مستحيلة من زاوية التاريخ الفعلي، فإنك تكون بنظر المتدينين كافرا بالله وليس بالسيرة التي هي مجرد صياغة بشرية لا تتوفر على أدنى مقومات المصداقية. وهكذا تتحصن السيرة بقداسة ايمانية لا يمكن القدح فيها بدون القدح في الله نفسه.
‎فلو أعلنت تكذيبك لرواية نزول جبريل على محمد لقبض روحه والحوار المنفرد الذي دار بينهما (والذي لم يسمعه أحد) فإنك إنما بمنظور المتدينين قد كذبت الله نفسه لا تلك الحكاية الساذجة والتي لا تستقيم مع أبسط مقومات الوثيقة التاريخية. واذا كانت السيرة وعموم الموروث الديني هو على تلك الشاكلة فمن الطبيعي أنك ستجد نفسك ملحدا حتى لو كنت من أكثر المؤمنين بالله.
‎أما اذا اردنا الذهاب الى أبعد فالله نفسه هو مجرد نتاج لذلك الموروث....وهذا موضوع آخر"
محمد مثلوثي على الفايسبوك


Capital has comprehensively beaten back all threats to its rule,” Anderson wrote in that first issue of the redone journal. “No collective agency able to match the power of capital is yet on the horizon. The striking fact remains that the neoliberal consensus—what the French call la pensée unique—has not so far really been shaken,”

Unlike Joseph my grandfather, who merely took an occasional nip of brandy, Gregor was a real drinker, a quality he had probably inherited from my great-grandmother. He didn’t drink because he was sad. And even when he seemed cheerful, a rare occurrence, for he was given to melancholia, he didn’t drink because he was happy. He drank because he was a thorough man, who liked to get to the bottom of things, of bottles as well as everything else. As long as he lived, no one ever saw Gregor Koljaiczek leave so much as a drop in the bottom of his glass."
 Oskar in Gunter Grass's The Tin Drum.

 They can’t have my front, they can’t have my rear. They’ve turned me down for another year “

" The term speciesism 'was coined to make the claim that the issue of animal rights is on a par with the struggles for women’s rights, or Black people’s rights, or civil rights. But these human struggles are those in which the oppressed themselves rise up to demand justice and equality, to insist that they are not the objects but the subjects of history.' The biologist Steven Rose. Animals, no matter what Singer and other animal rights activists may want to claim, are objects of history. To compare them with humans who have suffered and do suffer oppression — and, importantly, consciously resist that oppression — is factually wrong, not to mention reactionary. Memes — and serious political arguments — that compare factory farms to slavery and genocide are profoundly racist. The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is notorious for employing lynching and Holocaust imagery; in 2009, PETA members dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes outside Madison Square Garden to protest the “eugenic” breeding practices promoted by the Westminster Dog Show. Animal-rights activists also routinely appropriate the vocabulary of the nineteenth-century antislavery movement, referring to themselves, for example, as “abolitionists.”
From an article on Jacobin.com


"We resist evil by not being swept away by the surface of things, by stopping ourselves and beginning to think—that is, by reaching another dimension than the horizon of everyday life."
Hannah Arendt

"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower." Karl Marx


"Under these circumstances of social and political disintegration, we should expect a decline in civility in any case, and a growth in barbarism. And yet what has made things worse, what will undoubtedly make them worse in future, is that steady dismantling of the defences which the civilization of the Enlightenment had erected against barbarism... For the worst of it is that we have got used to the inhuman. Wehave learned to tolerate the intolerable.

"Total war and cold war have brainwashed us into accepting barbarity. Even worse: they have made barbarity seem unimportant, compared to more important matters like making money." Eric Hobsbawm

"Barbarity is a by-product of life in a particular social and historical contet." Eric Hobanwam

"...the British and other governments of the democratic and liberal world, so far from protesting (Saddam Hussein's regime which killed several thousands of his citizens with poison-gas bombs), kept quiet and did their best to keep their citizens in the dark, as they encouraged their businessmen to sell Saddam more arms including the equipment to gas more of his citizens. They were not outraged, until he did something genuinely insupportable...he attacked the oil fields thought vital by the USA." Eric Hobsbawm, On History, p. 350

"Even when a Left government really controls state branches and apparatuses, it does not necessarily control the one or ones which play the dominant role in the State and which therefore constitute the central pivot of real power. The centralised unity of the State does not rest on a pyramid whose summit need only be occupied for effective control to be ensured. Moreover, even when a Left government manages to gain control of the hitherto dominant apparatus, the state institutional structure enables the bourgeoisie to transpose the role of dominance from one apparatus to another. In other words, the organization of the bourgeois State allows it to function by successive dislocation and displacement through which the bourgeoisie's power may be removed from one apparatus to another: the State is not a monolithic bloc, but a strategic field. Given that their rigidity makes the state apparatuses resistant to straightforward manipulation by the bourgeoisie, this permutation of apparatus dominance evidently takes place not overnight but according to a relatively lengthy process; this lack of malleability may thus act to the disadvantage of the bourgeoisie and create a breathing-space for the Left in power. Still, the very process of permutation tends to reorganize the centralized unity of the State around the newly dominant apparatus - an apparatus which thereby becomes the supreme refuge-centre of bourgeois power in the State, remaining in operation as such throughout the period of Left government. This complex mechanism may assume several forms, certain of which appear paradoxical. Thus, institutions-apparatuses that normally have an altogether secondary, or purely decorative function may suddenly take on a decisive role: the British House of Lords recently blocked nationalization bills of the Labour government; under Allende, the law courts suddenly discovered an irresistible vocation for guaranteeing 'legality'; and various constitutional councils have at times played a similar role." - Nicos Poulantzas, State, Power, Socialism. London & New York: Verso. pp. 126-128

“Thus, while capital must on one side strive to tear down every spatial barrier to intercourse, i.e. to exchange, and conquer the whole earth for its market, it strives on the other side to annihilate this space with time, i.e. to reduce to a minimum the time spent in motion from one place to another. The more developed the capital, therefore, the more extensive the market over which it circulates, which forms the spatial orbit of its circulation, the more does it strive simultaneously for an even greater extension of the market and for greater annihilation of space by time." Karl Marx

Large masses of people, greater in number and hopes than ever before, want to eat better and more frequently; large numbers also want to move, talk, sing, dress. If the old system cannot respond to those demands, the gigantic media-hastened images that provoke administered violence and rapid xenophobia will not serve either. They can be counted on to work for a moment, but then they lose their power. There are too many contradictions between reductive schemes and overwhelming impulses and drives" (Edward Said, Culture and imperialism"Large masses of people, greater in number and hopes than ever before, want to eat better and more frequently; large numbers also want to move, talk, sing, dress. If the old system cannot respond to those demands, the gigantic media-hastened images that provoke administered violence and rapid xenophobia will not serve either. They can be counted on to work for a moment, but then they lose their power. There are too many contradictions between reductive schemes and overwhelming impulses and drives" (Edward Said, Culture and imperialism, 1994 ed. p. 399)

“We attacked a foreign people and treated them like rebels. As you know, it's all right to treat barbarians barbarically. It's the desire to be barbaric that makes governments call their enemies barbarians.”
― Bertolt Brecht

"A physician, in order to be admitted to practice, must demonstrate his theoretical and practical knowledge of medicine. A politician, on the other hand, who, unlike the physician, purposes to decide the fate not of hundreds of people, but of millions, does not have to show such proof of knowledge. This fact seems to be one of the
fundamental reasons for the tragedy which, for thousands of years, has devastated human society with periodic outbreaks.

The practical worker, no matter whether he comes from a rich or a poor home, has to go through a certain schooling. He is not elected "by the people." Working people who have proved themselves over years in their profession should determine whether or not the future worker should be a socially potent factor. This demand may be ahead of the facts, but it is indicative of a tendency. Every cobbler, carpenter, mechanic, electrician, mason, etc., has to fulfill very strict demands made on his abilities.

A politician, on the other hand, is not subject to the necessity of such legitimation. All he needs to reach the highest positions in human society—particularly when social conditions are chaotic—are a good dose of cleverness, neurotic ambition, and ruthlessness." (Wilhelm Reich)

« If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. » Bertrand Russell
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."

Only when we recognize the [war] criminals in our midst, will the blood begin to dry up." John Pilger

The accursed power which stands on privilege (and goes with women, champagne and bridge)
Broke - and democracy resumed her reign which goes with bridge and women and champagne.
Hilaire Belloc


‎ما أكثر الأوطان التي يبدأ فيها سجن المواطنين بالنشيد الوطني والعلم الوطني

If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible. Wilhel Reich.


Keeping the big picture in mind:
"The growth of large-scale migration is after all part of the system of corporate globalisation that took hold in the past 30 years and widened inequality both within and between countries. It's also been fuelled by 15 years of western wars and intervention from Afghanistan to Somalia. And in Eastern Europe, the exploitation and migration of low-waged and skilled workers has been central to the neoliberal model imposed after 1989."
Seumas Milne, the Guardian online, 01 January 2013

"War is god's way of teaching Americans geography."
Ambrose Bierce.


"If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather then by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless, and will therefore resort to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called "education". This last is particularly dastardly, since it takes advantage of the defencelessness of immature minds. Unfortunately it is practiced in greater or less degree in the schools of every civilised country."
Bertrand Russell

R.I.P Gabriel García Márquez
"...the day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole” (The Autumn of the Patriarch)

"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but ... life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

“The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.” (Memories of My Melancholy Whores)

“Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale..”

“Morality, too, is a question of time.”

“Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?"
What other reason could there be?" Colonel Gerineldo Marquez answered. "For the great Liberal party."
You're lucky because you know why," he answered. "As far as I'm concerned, I've come to realize only just now that I'm fighting because of pride."
That's bad," Colonel Gerineldo Marquez said.
Colonel Aureliano Buendia was amused at his alarm. "Naturally," he said. "But in any case, it's better than not knowing why you're fighting." He looked him in the eyes and added with a smile:
Or fighting, like you, for something that doesn't have any meaning for anyone.”
( One Hundred Years of Solitude)

“One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories.”

Revolution, terror
On this day Mark Twain passed away. All what I knew of him when I was at university was Huckleberry Finn (and hardly remember it). From time to time I get across some of his quotes. Here is an interesting one:
"Why, it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood -- one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two "Reigns of Terror," if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the "horrors" of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror -- that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves."
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)

Patriotism

"Citizenship? We have none! In place of it we teach patriotism which Samuel Johnson said ...was the last refuge of the scoundrel -- and I believe that he was right. I remember when I was a boy and I heard repeated time and time again the phrase, 'My country, right or wrong, my country!' How absolutely absurd is such an idea. How absolutely absurd to teach this idea to the youth of the country." True Citizenship at the Children's Theater 1907

Nazism
Ukraine/west
Why when one looks at the Western regimes' position towards the Ukranian regime in Kiev should not be surprised. Here is a lesson from the past:
""When one thinks of all the people who support or have supported Fascism, one stands amazed at their diversity. What a crew! Think of a programme which at any rate for a while could bring Hitler, Petain, Montagu Norman, Pavelitch, William Randolph Hearst, Streicher, Buchman, Ezra Pound, Juan March, Cocteau, Thyssen, Father Coughlin, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Arnold Lunn, Antonescu, Spengler, Beverley Nichols, Lady Houston, and Marinetti all into the same boat! But the clue is really very simple. They are all people with something to lose, or people who long for a hierarchical society and dread the prospect of a world of free and equal human beings. Behind all the ballyhoo that is talked about ‘godless’ Russia and the ‘materialism’ of the working class lies the simple intention of those with money or privileges to cling to them."
― George Orwell, Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War, 1943.
Propaganda/media

The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News - but beneath a liberal halo. When the New York Times published claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, its fake evidence was believed, because it wasn't Fox News; it was the New York Times.

The same is true of the Washington Post and the Guardian, both of which have played a critical role in conditioning their readers to accept a new and dangerous cold war. All three liberal newspapers have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a malign act by Russia - when, in fact, the fascist led coup in Ukraine was the work of the United States, aided by Germany and Nato. John Pilger

Environment

"A social system based on private ownership of production can’t support the kind of planning that could avert environmental catastrophe. The owners of capital are fragmented and compelled by competition to look after their own interests first, and any serious planning would have to override property rights — an action that would be aggressively resisted." Sam Gindin


Police

British Marxist historian E. P. Thompson summed all this up when he wrote that 19th century English police were impartial, attempting to sweep off the streets with an equable hand street traders, beggars, prostitutes, street-entertainers, pickets, children playing football and freethinking and socialist speakers alike. The pretext very often was that a complaint of interruption of trade had been received from a shopkeeper.

Socialism
"In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated.
"I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism." Orwell

Opinions
"Public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law." Orwell

"It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason."
—Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871

“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.” Orwell

War and propaganda
"One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting."
—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1938

" Un peuple qui élit des corrompus, des rénegrats, des imposteurs, des voleurs et des traîtres n'est pas victime!il est complice." George Orwell

Homelessness
"Spending the night out of doors has nothing attractive about it in London, especially for a poor, ragged, undernourished wretch. Moreover sleeping in the open is only allowed in one thoroughfare in London. If the policeman on his beat finds you asleep, it is his duty to wake you up. That is because it has been found that a sleeping man succombs to the cold more easily than a man who is awake, and England could not let one of her sons die in the street. So you are at liberty to spend the night in the street, providing it is a sleepless night. But there is one road where the homeless are allowed to sleep. Strangely, it is the Thames Embankment, not far from the Houses of Parliament. We advise all those visitors to England who would like to see the reverse side of our apparent prosperity to go and look at those who habitually sleep on the Embankment, with their filthy tattered clothes, their bodies wasted by disease, a living reprimand to the Parliament in whose shadow they lie.
Orwell, "Beggars in London", in Le Progrès Civique

"Scientific education for the masses will do little good, and probably a lot of harm, if it simply boils down to more physics, more chemistry, more biology, etc to the detriment of literature and history. Its probable effect on the average human being would be to narrow the range of his thoughts and make him more than ever contemptuous of such knowledge as he did not possess." Orwell, What is Science, 1945

‎يموت ببطء..
‎من لا يسافر..
‎من لا يقرأ..
‎من لا يسمع الموسيقى..
‎من لا يعرف كيف يجد شيئا..
‎بفضل عينيه..
‎يموت ببطء..
‎من يحطم كبرياءه..
‎من لا يرغب في مساعدة أحد..
‎يموت ببطء..
‎من يصبح عبدا للعادة..
‎يعاود كل يوم نفس المسافات..
‎من لا يغير أبدا معلمته..
‎لا يجازف أبدا بتغيير لون ملابسه..
‎أو لا يتحدث أبدا مع غريب..
‎يموت ببطء..
‎من يتجنب العواطف..
‎وزوبعتها الانفعالية..
‎التي تمنحنا النور في العيون..
‎وتصلح القلوب الجريحة..
‎يموت ببطء..
‎من لا يغير المكان..
‎عندما يكون حزينا..
‎في العمل أو في الحب..
‎من لا يركب المخاطر..
‎لتحقيق أحلامه..
‎عش الآن ..جازف اليوم .. بادر بسرعة .. لا تترك نفسك تموت ببطء ..
‎لا تحرم نفسك من السعادة !
‎****بابلو نيرودا****


"The hegemonic force produces a moral, cultural and symbolic order within whose terms and on which terrain the subaltern layers and even its opponents must operate, this now having become the common sense that cannot be challenged except from a position of absolute exteriority condemned to irrelevance."


"...now it's the opposite, the regime is a democratic one, but that indoctrination, that homologation that fascism couldn't obtain, the power of today, which is the consumer civilization, instead realizes it perfectly, destroying all the specific reality, taking away reality to the different ways of being human that Italy storically produced in such differentiated ways, It's this indoctrination that is destroying Italy for real, I can say without a doubt that the true fascism is exactly this power of the consumerist civilization."
P. P. Pasolini

"... in bourgeois society, where a central social organisation of production is lacking, the representation of the social interest always falls to some single organisation, to a group of people, to a single class. This single social class declares its partial interests to be the interests of the whole society and lends its ideas ‘the form of universality’. The particular interest is expressed as the general interest and the general as the dominant."
K. Marx

"Forgetting, even getting history wrong, is an essential factor in the formation of a nation, which is why the progress of historical studies is often a danger to nationality." Ernest Renan, quoted by Hobsbawm in On History, p. 357

"Total war and cold war have brainwashed us into accepting barbarity. Even worse: they have made barbarity seem unimportant, compared to more important matters like making money." Hobsbawm, On History, 349

"Actually the only real threat to liberal capitalism in its heartlands, apart from its breakdown after 1914, came from the right. Between 1920 and Hitler's fall no regime anywhere was overthrown by communist or socialist revolution. But the communist threat, being to property and privilege, was more frightening...
"... The Belfast riots and battles of 1921 killed more people than had been killed in the entire nineteenth century in that tumultous city: 428 lives...
" Three-quarters of the Nazi stormtroopers of 1933 were too young to have been in the war...
"The barbarism of Nazi Germany was far greater against Russians, Poles, Jews and other people considered sub-human than against West Europeans.
"As the Cold War phrase went, 'Better dead than red', which, in any liberal sense, is an absurd statement."
Hobsbawm, On History, 339-41

Barbarism is "a by-product of life in a particular social and historical context..." Hobsbawm, On History, 334

From Chomsky's Deterring Democracy (1991): "Human rights concerns are fine when they can be used as an ideological weapon to undermine enemies or to restore popular faith in the nobility of the state. But they are not to interfere with serious matters, such as dispersing and crushing the rascal multitude forming associations against the interests of the men of best quality."

"As every cell in Chile will tell, the cries of the tortured men. Remember Allende in the days before, before the army came. Please remember Victor Jara, in the Santiago Stadium. Es Verdad, those Washington Bullets again." The Clash


"...voting with one's feet can be as effective a way of expressing one's opinion as voting in the ballot box." Hobsbawm paraphrasing Lenin, On History, 2013, p. 274

"Do people demand a really just system? Well, we'll arrange it so that they'll be satisfied with one that's a little less unjust ... They want a revolution, and we'll give them reforms -- lots of reforms; we'll drown them in reforms. Or rather, we'll drown them in promises of reforms, because we'll never give them real ones either!!
The Italian playwright DARIO FO, Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Greek atomism and deductive geometry are part of the foundations on which the new European science of the seventeenth century rested, just as the womb of modern capitalist society gave birth in the nineteenth century to the modern science of our immediate forefathers, a science that offered a totally mechanical and materialistic view of the universe." An abridgement by Colin A. Ronan of Joseph Needham's original text, The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: 1, p. 188-9

"Gunpowder, the magnetic compass, and paper and printing, which Francis Bacon considered as the three most important inventions facilitating the West's transformation from the Dark Ages to the modern world, were invented in China." Lin, Justin (January 1995). "The Needham Puzzle: Why the Industrial Revolution Did Not Originate in China". Economic Development and Cultural Change 43 (2): 269–292.

"...[A]lthough Chinese civilisation could not of itself produce modern natural science, natural science could not perfect otself without ther help of the characteristic philosophy of Chinese civilisation." An abridgement by Colin A. Ronan of Joseph Needham's original text, The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: 1, p. 189

On Lenin
"I had gastritis for about fifteen years until I read Lenin and other writers, who showed me what was wrong with our society and how to cure it. Since then I have needed no magnesia." J. B. S. Haldane

"I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: i) This is worthless nonsense, ii) This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view, iii) This is true, but quite unimportant, iv) I always said so." Haldane

Religion
"For it is not the bare Words, but the Scope of the writer that giveth true light, by which any writing is to bee interpreted; and they that insist upon single Texts, without considering the main Designe, can derive no thing from them clearly; but rather by casting atomes of Scripture, as dust before mens eyes, make everything more obscure than it is; an ordinary artifice of those who seek not the truth, but their own advantage." Hobbes

"And for Incoherent Speech, it was amongst the Gentiles taken for one sort of Prophecy, because the Prophets of their Oracles, intoxicated with a spirit, or vapor from the cave of the Pythian Oracle at Delphi, were for a time really mad, and spake like mad-men; of whoose loose words a sense might be made to fit any event, in such sort, as all bodies are said to be made of Materia prima."


"If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather then by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless, and will therefore resort to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called "education". This last is particularly dastardly, since it takes advantage of the defencelessness of immature minds. Unfortunately it is practiced in greater or less degree in the schools of every civilised country."
Bertrand Russell

Charity
"And whereas many men, by accident unevitable, become unable to maintain themselves by their labour; they ought not to be left to the Charity of private persons; but to be provided for, (as far-forth as the necessities of Nature require,) by the Lawes of the Common-wealth. For as it is Unchariablenesse in any man, to neglect the impotent; so it is in the Soveraign of a Common-wealth, to expose them to the hazard of such uncertain Charity."

"For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other men's at a distance." Hobbes

"So that in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of Power after power, that ceaseth only in Death. And the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to, or that he cannot be content with a moderate power: but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without the acquisition of more." Thomas Hobbes

The Value or WORTH of a man, is as of all other things, his Price; that is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his Power...
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, The First Part, Chapter 10, p. 42
And as in other things, so in men, not the seller, but the buyer determines the Price.
Hobbes, Leviathan, The First Part, Chapter 10, p. 42

"If this superstitious fear of Spirits were taken away, and with it, Prognostiques from Dreams, false Prophecies, and many other things depending thereon, by which, crafty ambitious persons abuse the simple people, men would be much more fitted then they are for civill Obedience." Thomas Hobbes

"A naturall foole that could never learn by heart the order of numerall words, as one, two, and three, may observe every stroak of the Clock, and nod to it, or say one, one, one; but can never know what houre it strikes." Thomas Hobbes


"For I doubt not, but if it had been a thing contrary to any man's right of domination, or to the interest of men that have dominion that the three angles of a triangle should be equal to two angles of a square; that doctrine should have been, if not disputed, yet by the burning of all books of geometry, suppressed, as far as he whom it concerned was able." Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan.

William Butler Yeats’ “Second Coming” seems perfectly to render our present predicament: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” This is an excellent description of the current split between anemic liberals and impassioned fundamentalists. “The best” are no longer able fully to engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism. Slavoj Zizek, 03 September 2014

"Never give children a chance of imagining that anything exists in isolation. Make it plain from the very beginning that all living is relationship. Show them relationships in the woods, in the fields, in the ponds and streams, in the village and in the country around it. Rub it in." Huxley

"An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex." Huxley

On Religion
"Jehovah, Allah, the Trinity, Jesus, Buddha, are names for a great variety of human virtues, human mystical experiences human remorses, human compensatory fantasies, human terrors, human cruelties. If all men were alike, all the world would worship the same God." Huxley, “One and Many,” p. 3

"The nature of power is such that even those who have not sought it, but have had it forced upon them, tend to acquire a taste for more." Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (1958)


"Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of central government." Huxley, Brave New World Revisited , 1958

"In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual....Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature." Huxley, B N W R (1958)

On propaganda
"In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies—the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distraction." Huxley


Under the relentless thrust of accelerating over-population and increasing over-organization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms—elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest—will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial—but Democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, published 1958


That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach." Huxley

"So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable. Huxley

"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." Aldoux Huxley

"The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior "righteous indignation" — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats."
Aldous Huxley

All war propaganda consists, in the last resort, in substituting diabolical abstractions for human beings. Similarly, those who defend war have invented a pleasant sounding vocabulary of abstractions in which to describe the process of mass murder." Huxley

"Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.
Hilaire Belloc
"Epitaph on the Politician Himself"


Travel
"I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." Hilaire Belloc

"Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death." Hilaire Belloc

Islam

"Islam is a religion adapted to Orientals, especially Arabs, i.e., on one hand to townsmen engaged in trade and industry, on the other to nomadic Bedouins. Therein lies, however, the embryo of a periodically recurring collision. The townspeople grow rich, luxurious and lax in the observation of the "law." The Bedouins, poor and hence of strict morals, contemplate with envy and covetousness these riches and pleasures. Then they unite under a prophet, a Mahdi, to chastise the apostates and restore the observation of the ritual and the true faith and to appropriate in recompense the treasures of the renegades. In a hundred years they are naturally in the same position as the renegades were: a new purge of the faith is required, a new Mahdi arises and the game starts again from the beginning. That is what happened from the conquest campaigns of the African Almoravids and Almohads in Spain to the last Mahdi of Khartoum who so successfully thwarted the English. It happened in the same way or similarly with the risings in Persia and other Mohammedan countries. All these movements are clothed in religion but they have their source in economic causes; and yet, even when they are victorious, they allow the old economic conditions to persist untouched. So the old situation remains unchanged and the collision recurs periodically. In the popular risings of the Christian West, on the contrary, the religious disguise is only a flag and a mask for attacks on an economic order which is becoming antiquated. This is finally overthrown, a new one arises and the world progresses."
F. Engels

Islamic fundamentalism
it is a " symptom of the disease of which it pretends to be the cure."
John Gray, Straw Dogs

Marxism
"Whether or not people positively believe in the Marxist scheme, no coherent, well-articulated rival pattern has emerged, West or East, and as people must need think against some kind of grid, even (or perhaps especially) those who do not accept the Marxist theory of history tend to lean upon its ideas when they wish to say what they do positively believe." Ernest Gellner, Times Literary Supplement, 16 March 1984, quoted in Hobsbawm's On History, 2013 ed., pp. 42-3 "in other words, no serious discussion of history is possible which doesn't refer back to Marx or, more exactly, which does not start where he starts. And that means, basically - as Gellner accepts - a materialist conception of history." Hobsbawm, On History, p. 42
"For much the greater part of the human past - indeed even in Western Europe, until the eighteenth century - it was assumed that it could tell us how that society, any society, should work. The past was the model for the present and the future." Hobsbawm, On History, 2013 ed., 35

Zionism
"The Zionist claim to return to the pre-diaspora past in the land of Israel was in practice the negation of the actual [in italics] history of the Jewish people for more than 2,000 years." Hobsbawm, On History, 2013 ed., p. 21

"Zionism, or for that matter any modern nationalism, could not conceivably be a return to a lost past, because the sort of territorial nation-states with the sort of organization it envisaged simply did not exist before the nineteenth century. It had, in fact, to invent the history it claimed to bring to fruition. As Ernest Renan said a century ago: 'Getting history wrong is an essential part of being a nation.' It is the professional business of historians to dismantle such mythologies, unless they are content - and I am afraid national historians have often been - to be the servants of ideologists." Hobsbawm, On History, 2013 ed., pp. 34-5


"The bourgeois ... is tolerant. His love for people as they are stems from his hatred of what they might be."Theodor Adorno

"In the end, glorification of splendid underdogs is nothing other than the glorification of the splendid system that makes them so." Adorno

"The phrase, the world wants to be deceived, has become truer than had ever been intended. People are not only, as the saying goes, falling for the swindle; if it guarantees them even the most fleeting gratification they desire a deception which is nonetheless transparent to them. They force their eyes shut and voice approval, in a kind of self-loathing, for what is meted out to them, knowing fully the purpose for which it is manufactured. Without admitting it they sense that their lives would be completely intolerable as soon as they no longer clung to satisfactions which are none at all." Adorno


From the Commune in the French revolution
"But the work for which the Commune is most famous is the establishment of the new Cultus – the Worship of Reason. The Hébertists, as the party of the Commune were called, and among whom was Anarcharsis Clootz, were rightly convinced that deliverance from the dogmas of supernatural religion was the necessary complement of deliverance from the thraldom of privilege and wealth." E. B. Bax

On the French revolution
"The assembly, which was sitting en permanence, was about to send one more deputation to the king (it had already sent two) when he appeared in person in its midst. On being informed of the events that had taken place by the “grand master of the wardrobe,” he exclaimed “It is a revolt.” “No, Sire!” replied the “grand master,” “it is a revolution.” E.B. Bax

At the beginning of State and Revolution Lenin points out how, after great revolutionaries have died, “attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonise them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the ‘consolation’ of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it.”

"... popular art has no chance of a healthy life, or, indeed, of a life at all, till we are on the way to fill up this terrible gulf between riches and poverty. Doubtless many things will go to filling it up, and if art must be one of those things, let it go." William Morris

"It should be remembered by those who shudder at the words of Marat, that at this very period, and for long after, the common law of England caused dozens of human beings to be hanged every week, for trivial offences, such as stealing a loaf of bread; and yet the supporters of these laws are not execrated as monsters, but are merely described as unnecessarily severe in their views of justice." E. B. Bax in Jean Paul Marat

"The fact is, Robespierre was a petit bourgeois, a Philistine to the backbone, who desired a Republic of petit bourgeois virtues, with himself at the head, and was prepared to wade through a sea of blood for the accomplishment of his end." E. B. Bax

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

"Do not let your sorrow for Ilyich find expression in outward veneration of his personality. Do not raise monuments to him, or palaces to his name, do not organize pompous ceremonies in his memory." Krupskaya, 21 January 1924


"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." Aldous Huxley.

“This violent and chaotic society, even when it wants peace, even when it is in a state of apparent rest, carries war inside it in the same meaner as sleeping clouds bring the storm.” Jean Jaures in celebrated and prophetic speech before parliament in 1895.

"One ends up creating a danger by shouting, each morning, that it exists. By regularly waving a scarecrow at the people, one creates the true monster.” Those words were written by Emile Zola in 1869, amid the Dreyfuss affair, in an article published in French daily Le Figaro, and which was entitled ‘For the Jews’.
Zola had the luminous prescience of those who know how to put themselves in the place of others and who, as a result, understand revolts, desire for revenge and the will to resist that is nourished by a heavy load of humiliation.

As Eric Foner, Corey Robin, and others have written, “freedom” is the keyword of American politics. Control the concept, and you control the ideological ground of social struggle.

"Self-contempt is a serpent that ever gnaws at one's breath, sucking the life-blood from one's own heart and mixing it with the poison of misanthropy and despair." ― Karl Marx


" Let us look at ourselves, if we can bear to, and see what is becoming of us. First, we must face that unexpected revelation, the strip-tease of our humanism. There you can see it, quite naked, and it’s not a pretty sight. It was nothing but an ideology of lies, a perfect justification for pillage; its honeyed words, its affectation of sensibility were only alibis for our aggressions. A fine sight they are too, the believers in non-violence, saying that they are neither executioners nor victims. Very well then; if you’re not victims when the government which you’ve voted for, when the army in which your younger brothers are serving without hesitation or remorse have undertaken race murder, you are, without a shadow of doubt, executioners. And if you chose to be victims and to risk being put in prison for a day or two, you are simply choosing to pull your irons out of the fire. But you will not be able to pull them out; they’ll have to stay there till the end. Try to understand this at any rate: if violence began this very evening and if exploitation and oppression had never existed on the earth, perhaps the slogans of non-violence might end the quarrel. But if the whole regime, even your non-violent ideas, are conditioned by a thousand-year-old oppression, your passivity serves only to place you in the ranks of the oppressors."

"Try to understand this at any rate: if violence began this very evening and if exploitation and oppression had never existed on the earth, perhaps the slogans of non-violence might end the quarrel. But if the whole regime, even your non-violent ideas, are conditioned by a thousand-year-old oppression, your passivity serves only to place you in the ranks of the oppressors."

Sartre in the Preface of Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, 1961



[Some 2,000 year old Latin maxims by Ovid]

"Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim."
(Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you)

"Fas est ab hoste doceri."
(One should learn even from one's enemies)

"Nitimur in vetitum."
(We strive after the forbidden)

"Exitus acta probat."
(The result justifies the deed)

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit."
(Everything changes, nothing perishes)

"Tempus edax rerum."
(Time, the devourer of all things)

"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.” -- Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852. Here is Danny Glover reading an excerpt in a Voices of a People's History of the United States event: http://bit.ly/1zcRRtxImage: Douglass by Samuel J Miller, ca 1847-52.

"We do not change ourselves to Homo horribilis after Auschwitz, or to Homo ridiculosis after Tonya Harding - but remain, however dubiously, Homo sapiens, now and into whatever forever we allow ourselves.) Gould, the Richness of Life, 619

"Goethe told us to 'love those who yearn for the impossible.' But Pliny the Elder, before dying of curiosity by staying too close to Mount Vesuvius at the worst of all possible moments, urged us to treat impossibility as a relative claim: 'How many things, too, are looked upon as quite impossible until they have been actually effected'." Gould, 617

"A somewhat cynical, but sadly accurate, principle of human history states that when things look bad, they can still get far worse."
S. J. Gould. The Richness of Life, 604

We get the age of rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens work, and they determine how to go to heaven.

"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
(Proverbs 25:25)

‎الاضطراب القيمي لدى البشر يستمد وجوده من الواقع المادي الذي يعيشونه. لا يمكننا فهم الاضطراب هذا و التخلص من تأثيره علينا دون اكتشاف جحور مشاكلنا و التعمق فيها. فالعنصرية و القومجية و الطائفية و التطرف المذهبي او العرقي وغيرها ليست ظواهر فكرية بحتة ناتجة عن معتقدات فكرية بل هي تجليات لاضطرابات في القيم في عالم ينخره الفساد و لازمات.
‎عدم فهمنا للظواهر الاجتماعية و الاقتصادية يقودنا الى التوصل الى استنتاجات لا منطقية و الى استعدادنا للانجرار وراء اي فكرة ساذجة او حتى خطيرة و مدمرة. بالتالي نندفع نحو اتخاذ مواقف خاطئة. هذا هو مصدر مهم من مصادر الاضطراب في القيم لدى البشر.

‎انه اضطراب ناتج عن ارتباك في الربط الصحيح بين الأسباب و النتائج، لذلك و على سبيل المثال مارسنا طقوسا على غرار دق الطبول و عمل الضجيج لطرد الشياطين عن الشمس او القمر عندما لم نفهم اسباب الخسوف و الكسوف. و قدمنا القرابين طلبا للمطر. هذا السلوك نمارسه في مواقفنا السياسية و الاجتماعية ايضا.

‎لنفترض ان احدنا اصيب بمرض فايروسي مثلا و لنفترض ان من اعراضه الصداع و الاسهال. و اذا به يقول ذات يوم ان الصداع اهون من الاسهال و يبدأ تدريجيا بالتعاطف مع الصداع ضد الاسهال, و شيئا فشيئا يصاب باضطراب يدفعه الى استنتاج اشياء غريبة, فيتهيأ له بان طريقة التخلص من الاسهال هو الصداع. يوما بعد يوم تتدهور صحته و يصاب بالصدمة من استمرار الاسهال و عدم توقفه برغم مساندته الشديدة للصداع. فيذهب الى الطبيب الذي سيبلغه باخبار لن تسره, سيقول له الطبيب ان مساندته للصداع كانت فكرة ساذجة من البداية, باعتبار ان ذلك لا يساعد في حل المشكلة و ان عليه ان يقف ضد المرض, ولكي يتمكن من ذلك عليه ان يتخلص من اوهامه. و سيتعاطف الطبيب معه و يتفهم وضعه, و يقول انا اعلم ان الاسهال خطير و لكن الصداع لا يستطيع ايقاف الاسهال لانه فقط مظهر اخر من مظاهر المرض نفسه الذي تسبب في الاسهال. و سيشرح له الطبيب ان التعامل مع الاعراض سيقلل من الامه مؤقتا و لكن الامور ستزداد سوء فيما بعد عندما ينتشر المرض. سيكون هنالك المزيد من الاسهال و المزيد من الصداع طالما لم تتعامل مع المرض نفسه.

‎هذا الامر يجري في عالمنا للاسف دون ان ينتبه اليه اغلبية الناس. نحن لا نفهم اسباب مشاكلنا و نندفع بشدة لمعالجة الاعراض و اتخاذ مواقف منها. بل الاسوأ من هذا كله هو ان الاغلبية التي ستقرأ هذه الكلمات سوف تغضب منه. لان الاغلبية قد حددوا مواقفهم مسبقا اما الى جانب الصداع او الى جانب الاسهال في الصراعات الدائرة.

‎حسنا الان ابدأ من البداية و اقرأ ما قراته للتو مرة اخرى و حاول ان تتعمق في الفكر التالية.

‎اغلبية الناس الان يساندون الصداع لانه افضل من الاسهال او العكس و تدريجيا يعتقدون بانه بدون وجود الصداع لا يمكن التخلص من الاسهال.
‎هل بدات تفهمني؟ هل بدات تفهم محنة البشر؟

"I would seriously recommend to the government of the United States that when a man commits a crime so heinous that the law provides no adequate punishment for it, they make him Consul General of Tangier." Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, p. 56

"To choose a somewhat silly example which actually played an important role in recent American foreign policy, the Cold War 'domino theory' held that communism must be stopped everywhere because if one country turned red, then others would do so as well, for countries are like dominoes standing on their ends and placed one behind the other - so that the toppling of one must propagate down the entire line to topple all. Now if you devised a general formula (an algorithm) to describe the necessary propagation of such toppling, and wanted to cite algorithm as a general rule for all systems made of a series of separate objects, then the generality of your algorithm would depend upon substrate neutrality - that is, upon the algorithm's common working regardless of substrate (similarly for dominoes and nations in this case). The domino theory failed because differences in substrate affect the outcome, and such differences can even derail the operation of the algorithm. Dominoes must topple, but the second nation in a line might brace itself, stay upright upon impact, and therefore fail to propagate the collapse." Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 451

"The number of E. coli cells in the gut of each human being exceeds the total number of human beings that have never lived." Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 450

"Reading and writing are now highly adaptive for humans, but the mental machinery for these crucial capacities must have originated as spandrels that were co-opted later, for the brain reached its current size and conformation tens of thousands of years before any human invented reading or writing." Gould, The Richness of Life, 449

"Just get them away. Get them away from things that matter. And for that it's important to reduce their capacity to think.

Take, say, sports -- that's another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it -- you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that's of no importance. [audience laughs] That keeps them from worrying about -- [applause] keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it's striking to see the intelligence that's used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in -- they have the most exotic information [more laughter] and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.

You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? [laughter] I mean, I don't know anybody on the team, you know? [audience roars] I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn't mean any -- it doesn't make sense. But the point is, it does make sense: it's a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements -- in fact, it's training in irrational jingoism. That's also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that's why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on."
Excerpts from Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky on Sport

"But as my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position -- namely, at the close of the Introduction -- the following words: "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification." This has been of no avail. Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure." The Origin of Species

"False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness." Darwin, quoted by Gould in The Richness of Life, p. 372

"I would say...that honorable errors do not count as failures in science, but as seeds for progress in the quintessential activity of correction." Gould, The Richness of Life, 372

"Primates are visual animals par excellence, and the iconography of persuasion strikes even closer than words to the core of our being. Every demagogue, every humorist, every advertising executive, has known and exploited the evocative power of a well-chosen picture." Stephen Jay Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 356

“Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”

‎"أعتقد أنه ينبغي علينا قراءة الكتب اللادغة اللاسعة . إذا كان الكتاب الذي نقرأه لا يعطينا لكمة عنيفة على رؤوسنا لنستيقظ فلماذا نقرأه بالأساس الأنه لأنه يجعلنا سعداء أي إلاهي ، يمكن أن تكون سعداء من دون كتب، ، يمكن أن نكتب بأنفسنا الكتب التي تجعلنا سعداء. ولكن ما نحتاج إليه، هو الكتب التي تصل إلينا كسوء طالع، مثل وفاة شخص أغلى علينا من أنفسنا، مثل النفي إلى الجزء المجهول من الغابة، بعيداً عن كل إنسان، أو كالانتحار. الكتاب يجب أن يكون الفأس التي تكسر الجليد الذي بداخلنا. هذا ما أؤمن به ".
‎رسالة كافكا إلى صديقة أوسكار بولاك في عام 1904، ونقلها مانجول ألبرتو في "تاريخ القراءة"، ص 118، بابل

‎فَشُرطِيُّ لهُ أسماؤهُ العربيّةُ الحُسْنَى
‎على كَرْباَجِهِ الحِرْباَءُ تَشْربُ من دمي
‎لوناً فَبُورِكَتِ الزّناَزِينُ
‎التّي صَارت ْلناَ وطَناَ
‎وبورِكَ إِسْمُهُ العَجَبُ
‎ولاَ عجَبُ
‎فَشُرْطِيُّ عَنْ الأكْتَافِ قد نَزَلاَ
‎و شُرْطِيُّ على الأكْتاَفِ قدْ ركِباَ
‎و شُرْطِيُّ على جاَوِيشِهِ انْقَلَباَ
‎وَجاَويشٌ على جِنِرَالِهِ قُلِباَ
‎وَمُخْصِيُّ على المخْصِيِّ قَدْ وَثَباَ
‎وَأنْجَبَ مَسْخَهُ العَجَباَ
‎ولاَ عجبُ
‎هُمُ العربُ ولاَ عربُ .....

"Karl Ernst von Baer remarked with bitter irony that every triumphant theory passes through three stages: first it is dismissed as untrue; then it is rejected as contrary to religion; finally, it is accepted as dogma and each scientist claims that he had long appreciated its truth." S. J. Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 290


Emma Goldman come to mind: "Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. ... Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others."

"A year after publishing his worm book, Darwin died on April 19, 1882. He wished to be buried in the soil of his adopted village, where he would have made a final and corporeal gift to his beloved worms. But the sometimes (and politicking) of fellow scientists and men of learning secured a guarded place for his body within the well-mortared floor of Westminster Abbey. Ultimately the worms will not be cheated, for there is no permanence in history, even for cathedrals. But ideas and methods have all the immortality of reason itself. "Darwin has gone [for 132 years], yet he is with us whether we choose to think about them." Stephen Jay Gould.

"It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism [read religion in general] produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science." Darwin in a letter to Edward Aveling.

"Western understanding of China has never greatly progressed beyond Charles de Gaulle’s statement that: “China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese”.


"People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises." Lenin

d they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises."

‎لقد كان الناس و سيظلون أبدا ضحايا ساذجة يخدعون الآخرون و يخدعون أنفسهم ما لم يتعلموا استقراء المصالح الطبقية بين أسطر الخطب و البيانات و المواعظ و الدواعي الدينية و الأخلاقية و السياسية و الاجتماعية".
‎فلاديمير لينين
"
I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: "O Lord, make our enemies quite ridiculous!" God granted it." Voltaire

"Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours." Voltaire

"Who steals my purse steals trash...
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.
Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare

"Bless all the women of this world who nurture our heritage while too many men rush off to kill for ideals that might now be deeply and personally held, but will often be viewed as repugnant by later generations." Stephen Jay Gould, The Richness of Life, Vintage 2007, p. 20

"As a longtime worshipper at the altar of detail, nothing niggles me more than a dangling little fact - partly, I confess, from a sense of order, but mostly because big oaks do grow from tiny acorns, and one can never know in advance which acorn will reach heaven." Gould, ibid., p. 20

"Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death." Hilaire Belloc, quoted by Gould, ibid., p. 27

"[T]rying to keep an intellectual away from literature works about as well as recommending chastity to Homo sapiens, the sexiest primate of all." Gould, 27

See p. 36 on the "quandary of our lives"

EL Amine Albouazizi
25 March 2014
‎- اليساري الذي يُسقط معركة الصراع الطبقي من معاركه اليومية ينتهي استئصاليا، فقوّادا على أعتاب دولة البوليس واللصوص.
‎- القومي الذي يسقط قرن معركتي التصدي للطغاة والغزاة معا، ينتهي قوّادا على أعتاب مخابرات الانقلابيين والتوريثيين.
‎- الاسلامي الذي يُسقط معركة تحرير البشر من آلهة الأرض وآلهة السوق، ينتهي كاهنا في محاريب القتلة الاقتصاديين.

1. "Ask the powerful five questions:

What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you exercise it?
To whom are you accountable?
How can we get rid of you?

Only democracy gives us that right. That is why no-one with power likes democracy and that is why every generation must struggle to win it and keep it; including you and me, here and now."

2. "In Labour Governments we did our best to make capitalism work in a civilised way. And we failed. It never can work. It will always exploit and oppress the people.”

RIP Tony Benn


"Large masses of people, greater in number and hopes than ever before, want to eat better and more frequently; large numbers also want to move, talk, sing, dress. If the old system cannot respond to those demands, the gigantic media-hastened images that provoke administered violence and rapid xenophobia will not serve either. They can be counted on to work for a moment, but then they lose their power. There are too many contradictions between reductive schemes and overwhelming impulses and drives" (Edward Said, Culture and imperialism"Large masses of people, greater in number and hopes than ever before, want to eat better and more frequently; large numbers also want to move, talk, sing, dress. If the old system cannot respond to those demands, the gigantic media-hastened images that provoke administered violence and rapid xenophobia will not serve either. They can be counted on to work for a moment, but then they lose their power. There are too many contradictions between reductive schemes and overwhelming impulses and drives" (Edward Said, Culture and imperialism, 1994 ed. p. 399)

“We attacked a foreign people and treated them like rebels. As you know, it's all right to treat barbarians barbarically. It's the desire to be barbaric that makes governments call their enemies barbarians.”
― Bertolt Brecht

« If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. » Bertrand Russell
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."

Only when we recognize the [war] criminals in our midst, will the blood begin to dry up." John Pilger

‎إن من يملك شهادة جامعية لا يعني انه مثقف واع وإن شخص بلا تعليم او شهادة قد يكون اكثر وعياً وثقافة وثورية ..
‎انطونيو غرامشي

The accursed power which stands on privilege (and goes with women, champagne and bridge)
Broke - and democracy resumed her reign which goes with bridge and women and champagne.
Hilaire Belloc



‎ما أكثر الأوطان التي يبدأ فيها سجن المواطنين بالنشيد الوطني والعلم الوطني

If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible. Wilhel Reich.


Keeping the big picture in mind:

"The growth of large-scale migration is after all part of the system of corporate globalisation that took hold in the past 30 years and widened inequality both within and between countries. It's also been fuelled by 15 years of western wars and intervention from Afghanistan to Somalia. And in Eastern Europe, the exploitation and migration of low-waged and skilled workers has been central to the neoliberal model imposed after 1989."
Seumas Milne, the Guardian online, 01 January 2013


"If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather then by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless, and will therefore resort to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called "education". This last is particularly dastardly, since it takes advantage of the defencelessness of immature minds. Unfortunately it is practiced in greater or less degree in the schools of every civilised country."
Bertrand Russell


"...the day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole” (Gabriel García Marquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch)

"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but ... life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” Gabriel García Márquez

“The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.” (Gabriel García Márquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores)

“Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale..” Gabriel García Marquez

“One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories.” Gabriel García Márquez

Revolution, terror
On this day Mark Twain passed away. All what I knew of him when I was at university was Huckleberry Finn (and hardly remember it). From time to time I get across some of his quotes. Here is an interesting one:
"Why, it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood -- one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two "Reigns of Terror," if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the "horrors" of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror -- that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves."
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)


"It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason."
—Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871

“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.” Orwell

War and propaganda
"One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting."
—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1938

" Un peuple qui élit des corrompus, des rénegrats, des imposteurs, des voleurs et des traîtres n'est pas victime!il est complice." George Orwell


"Scientific education for the masses will do little good, and probably a lot of harm, if it simply boils down to more physics, more chemistry, more biology, etc to the detriment of literature and history. Its probable effect on the average human being would be to narrow the range of his thoughts and make him more than ever contemptuous of such knowledge as he did not possess." Orwell, What is Science, 1945

"The hegemonic force produces a moral, cultural and symbolic order within whose terms and on which terrain the subaltern layers and even its opponents must operate, this now having become the common sense that cannot be challenged except from a position of absolute exteriority condemned to irrelevance."


"Gunpowder, the magnetic compass, and paper and printing, which Francis Bacon considered as the three most important inventions facilitating the West's transformation from the Dark Ages to the modern world, were invented in China." Lin, Justin (January 1995). "The Needham Puzzle: Why the Industrial Revolution Did Not Originate in China". Economic Development and Cultural Change 43 (2): 269–292.

"...[A]lthough Chinese civilisation could not of itself produce modern natural science, natural science could not perfect otself without ther help of the characteristic philosophy of Chinese civilisation." An abridgement by Colin A. Ronan of Joseph Needham's original text, The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: 1, p. 189

On Lenin
"I had gastritis for about fifteen years until I read Lenin and other writers, who showed me what was wrong with our society and how to cure it. Since then I have needed no magnesia." J. B. S. Haldane

"I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: i) This is worthless nonsense, ii) This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view, iii) This is true, but quite unimportant, iv) I always said so." Haldane

Religion
"For it is not the bare Words, but the Scope of the writer that giveth true light, by which any writing is to bee interpreted; and they that insist upon single Texts, without considering the main Designe, can derive no thing from them clearly; but rather by casting atomes of Scripture, as dust before mens eyes, make everything more obscure than it is; an ordinary artifice of those who seek not the truth, but their own advantage." Hobbes

"And for Incoherent Speech, it was amongst the Gentiles taken for one sort of Prophecy, because the Prophets of their Oracles, intoxicated with a spirit, or vapor from the cave of the Pythian Oracle at Delphi, were for a time really mad, and spake like mad-men; of whoose loose words a sense might be made to fit any event, in such sort, as all bodies are said to be made of Materia prima."


"If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather then by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless, and will therefore resort to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called "education". This last is particularly dastardly, since it takes advantage of the defencelessness of immature minds. Unfortunately it is practiced in greater or less degree in the schools of every civilised country."
Bertrand Russell

"Jehovah, Allah, the Trinity, Jesus, Buddha, are names for a great variety of human virtues, human mystical experiences human remorses, human compensatory fantasies, human terrors, human cruelties. If all men were alike, all the world would worship the same God." Huxley, “One and Many,” p. 3


"The nature of power is such that even those who have not sought it, but have had it forced upon them, tend to acquire a taste for more." Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (1958)


"Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of central government." Huxley, Brave New World Revisited , 1958

"In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual....Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature." Huxley, B N W R (1958)


That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach." Huxley

"So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable. Huxley

"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." Aldoux Huxley

"The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior "righteous indignation" — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats."
Aldous Huxley

All war propaganda consists, in the last resort, in substituting diabolical abstractions for human beings. Similarly, those who defend war have invented a pleasant sounding vocabulary of abstractions in which to describe the process of mass murder." Huxley

"Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.
Hilaire Belloc
"Epitaph on the Politician Himself"


Islamic fundamentalism
it is a " symptom of the disease of which it pretends to be the cure."
John Gray, Straw Dogs


"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." Aldous Huxley.

“This violent and chaotic society, even when it wants peace, even when it is in a state of apparent rest, carries war inside it in the same meaner as sleeping clouds bring the storm.” Jean Jaures in celebrated and prophetic speech before parliament in 1895.

"One ends up creating a danger by shouting, each morning, that it exists. By regularly waving a scarecrow at the people, one creates the true monster.” Those words were written by Emile Zola in 1869, amid the Dreyfuss affair, in an article published in French daily Le Figaro, and which was entitled ‘For the Jews’.
Zola had the luminous prescience of those who know how to put themselves in the place of others and who, as a result, understand revolts, desire for revenge and the will to resist that is nourished by a heavy load of humiliation.

As Eric Foner, Corey Robin, and others have written, “freedom” is the keyword of American politics. Control the concept, and you control the ideological ground of social struggle.

"Self-contempt is a serpent that ever gnaws at one's breath, sucking the life-blood from one's own heart and mixing it with the poison of misanthropy and despair." ― Karl Marx


" Let us look at ourselves, if we can bear to, and see what is becoming of us. First, we must face that unexpected revelation, the strip-tease of our humanism. There you can see it, quite naked, and it’s not a pretty sight. It was nothing but an ideology of lies, a perfect justification for pillage; its honeyed words, its affectation of sensibility were only alibis for our aggressions. A fine sight they are too, the believers in non-violence, saying that they are neither executioners nor victims. Very well then; if you’re not victims when the government which you’ve voted for, when the army in which your younger brothers are serving without hesitation or remorse have undertaken race murder, you are, without a shadow of doubt, executioners. And if you chose to be victims and to risk being put in prison for a day or two, you are simply choosing to pull your irons out of the fire. But you will not be able to pull them out; they’ll have to stay there till the end. Try to understand this at any rate: if violence began this very evening and if exploitation and oppression had never existed on the earth, perhaps the slogans of non-violence might end the quarrel. But if the whole regime, even your non-violent ideas, are conditioned by a thousand-year-old oppression, your passivity serves only to place you in the ranks of the oppressors."


"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.” -- Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852. Here is Danny Glover reading an excerpt in a Voices of a People's History of the United States event: http://bit.ly/1zcRRtxImage: Douglass by Samuel J Miller, ca 1847-52.

"We do not change ourselves to Homo horribilis after Auschwitz, or to Homo ridiculosis after Tonya Harding - but remain, however dubiously, Homo sapiens, now and into whatever forever we allow ourselves.) Gould, the Richness of Life, 619

"Goethe told us to 'love those who yearn for the impossible.' But Pliny the Elder, before dying of curiosity by staying too close to Mount Vesuvius at the worst of all possible moments, urged us to treat impossibility as a relative claim: 'How many things, too, are looked upon as quite impossible until they have been actually effected'." Gould, 617

"A somewhat cynical, but sadly accurate, principle of human history states that when things look bad, they can still get far worse."
S. J. Gould. The Richness of Life, 604

We get the age of rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens work, and they determine how to go to heaven.

"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
(Proverbs 25:25)


"I would seriously recommend to the government of the United States that when a man commits a crime so heinous that the law provides no adequate punishment for it, they make him Consul General of Tangier." Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, p. 56

"To choose a somewhat silly example which actually played an important role in recent American foreign policy, the Cold War 'domino theory' held that communism must be stopped everywhere because if one country turned red, then others would do so as well, for countries are like dominoes standing on their ends and placed one behind the other - so that the toppling of one must propagate down the entire line to topple all. Now if you devised a general formula (an algorithm) to describe the necessary propagation of such toppling, and wanted to cite algorithm as a general rule for all systems made of a series of separate objects, then the generality of your algorithm would depend upon substrate neutrality - that is, upon the algorithm's common working regardless of substrate (similarly for dominoes and nations in this case). The domino theory failed because differences in substrate affect the outcome, and such differences can even derail the operation of the algorithm. Dominoes must topple, but the second nation in a line might brace itself, stay upright upon impact, and therefore fail to propagate the collapse." Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 451

"The number of E. coli cells in the gut of each human being exceeds the total number of human beings that have never lived." Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 450

"Reading and writing are now highly adaptive for humans, but the mental machinery for these crucial capacities must have originated as spandrels that were co-opted later, for the brain reached its current size and conformation tens of thousands of years before any human invented reading or writing." Gould, The Richness of Life, 449

"Just get them away. Get them away from things that matter. And for that it's important to reduce their capacity to think.

Take, say, sports -- that's another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it -- you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that's of no importance. [audience laughs] That keeps them from worrying about -- [applause] keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it's striking to see the intelligence that's used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in -- they have the most exotic information [more laughter] and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.

You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? [laughter] I mean, I don't know anybody on the team, you know? [audience roars] I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn't mean any -- it doesn't make sense. But the point is, it does make sense: it's a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements -- in fact, it's training in irrational jingoism. That's also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that's why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on."
Excerpts from Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky on Sport

"But as my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position -- namely, at the close of the Introduction -- the following words: "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification." This has been of no avail. Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure." The Origin of Species

"False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness." Darwin, quoted by Gould in The Richness of Life, p. 372

"I would say...that honorable errors do not count as failures in science, but as seeds for progress in the quintessential activity of correction." Gould, The Richness of Life, 372

"Primates are visual animals par excellence, and the iconography of persuasion strikes even closer than words to the core of our being. Every demagogue, every humorist, every advertising executive, has known and exploited the evocative power of a well-chosen picture." Stephen Jay Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 356

“Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”


‎"أعتقد أنه ينبغي علينا قراءة الكتب اللادغة اللاسعة . إذا كان الكتاب الذي نقرأه لا يعطينا لكمة عنيفة على رؤوسنا لنستيقظ فلماذا نقرأه بالأساس الأنه لأنه يجعلنا سعداء أي إلاهي ، يمكن أن تكون سعداء من دون كتب، ، يمكن أن نكتب بأنفسنا الكتب التي تجعلنا سعداء. ولكن ما نحتاج إليه، هو الكتب التي تصل إلينا كسوء طالع، مثل وفاة شخص أغلى علينا من أنفسنا، مثل النفي إلى الجزء المجهول من الغابة، بعيداً عن كل إنسان، أو كالانتحار. الكتاب يجب أن يكون الفأس التي تكسر الجليد الذي بداخلنا. هذا ما أؤمن به ".
‎رسالة كافكا إلى صديقة أوسكار بولاك في عام 1904، ونقلها مانجول ألبرتو في "تاريخ القراءة"، ص 118، بابل

‎فَشُرطِيُّ لهُ أسماؤهُ العربيّةُ الحُسْنَى
‎على كَرْباَجِهِ الحِرْباَءُ تَشْربُ من دمي
‎لوناً فَبُورِكَتِ الزّناَزِينُ
‎التّي صَارت ْلناَ وطَناَ
‎وبورِكَ إِسْمُهُ العَجَبُ
‎ولاَ عجَبُ
‎فَشُرْطِيُّ عَنْ الأكْتَافِ قد نَزَلاَ
‎و شُرْطِيُّ على الأكْتاَفِ قدْ ركِباَ
‎و شُرْطِيُّ على جاَوِيشِهِ انْقَلَباَ
‎وَجاَويشٌ على جِنِرَالِهِ قُلِباَ
‎وَمُخْصِيُّ على المخْصِيِّ قَدْ وَثَباَ
‎وَأنْجَبَ مَسْخَهُ العَجَباَ
‎ولاَ عجبُ
‎هُمُ العربُ ولاَ عربُ .....

"Karl Ernst von Baer remarked with bitter irony that every triumphant theory passes through three stages: first it is dismissed as untrue; then it is rejected as contrary to religion; finally, it is accepted as dogma and each scientist claims that he had long appreciated its truth." S. J. Gould, The Richness of Life, p. 290


Emma Goldman come to mind: "Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. ... Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others."

"A year after publishing his worm book, Darwin died on April 19, 1882. He wished to be buried in the soil of his adopted village, where he would have made a final and corporeal gift to his beloved worms. But the sometimes (and politicking) of fellow scientists and men of learning secured a guarded place for his body within the well-mortared floor of Westminster Abbey. Ultimately the worms will not be cheated, for there is no permanence in history, even for cathedrals. But ideas and methods have all the immortality of reason itself. "Darwin has gone [for 132 years], yet he is with us whether we choose to think about them." Stephen Jay Gould.

"It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism [read religion in general] produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science." Darwin in a letter to Edward Aveling.

"Western understanding of China has never greatly progressed beyond Charles de Gaulle’s statement that: “China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese”.


"People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises."

‎لقد كان الناس و سيظلون أبدا ضحايا ساذجة يخدعون الآخرين و يخدعون أنفسهم ما لم يتعلموا استقراء المصالح الطبقية بين أسطر الخطب و البيانات و المواعظ و الدواعي الدينية و الأخلاقية و السياسية و الاجتماعية".
‎فلاديمير لينين
"
I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: "O Lord, make our enemies quite ridiculous!" God granted it." Voltaire

"Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours." Voltaire

"Who steals my purse steals trash...
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.
Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare

"Bless all the women of this world who nurture our heritage while too many men rush off to kill for ideals that might now be deeply and personally held, but will often be viewed as repugnant by later generations." Stephen Jay Gould, The Richness of Life, Vintage 2007, p. 20

"As a longtime worshipper at the altar of detail, nothing niggles me more than a dangling little fact - partly, I confess, from a sense of order, but mostly because big oaks do grow from tiny acorns, and one can never know in advance which acorn will reach heaven." Gould, ibid., p. 20

"Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death." Hilaire Belloc, quoted by Gould, ibid., p. 27

"[T]rying to keep an intellectual away from literature works about as well as recommending chastity to Homo sapiens, the sexiest primate of all." Gould, 27. See The Richness of Life, p. 36 on the "quandary of our lives"


2. "In Labour Governments we did our best to make capitalism work in a civilised way. And we failed. It never can work. It will always exploit and oppress the people.”

RIP Tony Benn

Ask the powerful five questions:

What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you exercise it?
To whom are you accountable?
How can we get rid of you?

Only democracy gives us that right. That is why no-one with power likes democracy and that is why every generation must struggle to win it and keep it; including you and me, here and now.'

"Ellen, only last night, asked, 'Daddy, when will we be rich?' But I did not say to her what I know: 'We will be rich soon, and you who handle poverty badly will handle riches equally badly.' And that is true. In poverty she is envious. In riches she may be a snob. Money does not change the sickness, only the symptoms."
John Steinbeck, Our Winter of Discontent, 1961

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
Bertrand Russell

''Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.”
Herman Melville, 1854.

" A middle-class fake is more magical than a priceless painting, precisely because it’s everywhere at once." Elif Batuman

Des sots batissent sur le sable
En affaires peux scrupuleux;
De science un peuple incapable
A son endroit toujours crasseux;
Quelques milliers de cerveaux creux
D'une betise indecrottable.

Idiots building on sand
None too honest in business
A people who'll never know anything invariably living in squalor
Several thousand vacant brains
Of an incorrigible stupidity.

Jules Verne on Nantes, France

Unless an actor is satisfied to be a parrot or a monkey he must master our period's knowledge of human social life by himself joining the war of the classes. Some people may feel this is degrading, because they rank art, once the money side has been settled, as one of the highest things; but mankind's highest decisions are in fact fought out on earth, not in the heavens; in the 'external world', not inside people's heads. Nobody can stand above the warring classes, for nobody can stand above the human race. Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring classes. Thus for art to be 'unpolitical' means only to ally itself with the 'ruling' group. Bertolt Brecht, Kleines Organon für das Theater (written 1948, published 1949)

All the gang of those who rule us
Hope our quarrels never stop
Helping them to split and fool us
So they can remain on top.
Brecht, Solidarity Song, 1931

People will observe you to see
How well you have observed.
The man who only observes himself however never gains
Knowledge of men. He is too anxious
To hide himself from himself. And nobody is
Cleverer than he himself is.
Brecht, "Speech to Danish working-class actors on the art of observation" [Rede an dänische Arbeiterschauspieler über die Kunst der Beobachtung] (1934),

In its pure form, fascism is the sum total of all irrational reactions of the average human character. To the narrow-minded sociologist who lacks the courage to recognize the enormous role played by the irrational in human history, the fascist race theory appears as nothing but an imperialistic interest or even a mere "prejudice." The violence and the ubiquity of these "race prejudices" show their origin from the irrational part of the human character. The race theory is not a creation of fascism. No: fascism is a creation of race hatred and its politically organized expression. Correspondingly, there is a German, Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Saxon, Jewish and Arabian fascism. Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible. Wilhelm Reich


"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." Samuel P. Huntington

General Rawlinson, the commander in chief in India, said in 1920, "You may say what you like about not holding India by the sword, but you have held it by the sword for 100 years and when you give up the sword you will be turned out. You must keep the sword ready to hand and in case of trouble or rebellion use it relentlessly. Montagu calls it terrorism, so it is and in dealing with natives of all classes you have to use terrorism whether you like it or not."
"The Iranian revolution was described by eyewitness Edward Mortimer in the Spectator as "a genuine popular revolution in the fullest sense of the word: the most genuine, probably since 1917."

"In 14 years of reporting Yugoslavia neither BBC, ITN or any major newspaper has reported that Alia Izetbegovic (Bosnia's Moslem leader) was a wartime supporter of Hitler or that he had publically said "there can be no peace or co-existence with non-Moslems" or that Tudjman (our Croatian ally) had said "genocide is commanded by the word of the Almighty". Instead they have reported that Izetbegovic at least is a moderate multi-culturist and Serbs are the bad guys."
N Craig reviewing Michael Parenti's "To Kill a Nation".

"We are able to keep his arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt." Condaleeza Rice, former US Secretary of State

“The Middle East has often been represented as an area in the world where one cannot speak about classes and where class analysis is least relevant…A survey of leading historical studies of the Middle East reveals a surprising reliance upon the class approach. Such prominent Orientalists and Islamic historians as Hamilton A.R. Gibb, W. Montgomery Watt, Bernard Lewis, Gustav E. von Grunbaum, S.D. Goitein, Roger Le Tourneau, Reuben Levy, and Jacques Berque have sporadically analysed the Middle East in terms of class. Yet, none of these scholars have endeavored (1) to examine systematically the meaning and relevance of this concept within the Islamic setting; and (2) to define rigorously and reshape the concept according to the area under consideration and the problems at issue.” James A. Bill
On Tiananman Square 1989: “Almost everything fell within its scope: campaigns against corruption, nepotism, inflation, police brutality, bureaucracy, official privilege, media censorship, human rights abuses, cramped student dormitories and the smothering of democratic urges. But to say the demonstrations were to ‘demand democracy’ is an oversimplification.
“The truth is that the students in the square had only the haziest understanding of western-style democracy. To the extent that the protests were directed at abuses of an existing system by an emerging elite, they were motivated more by outrage at the betrayal of socialist ideals than by aspirations for a new system.” (James Kynge, FT 4th June 2009)

On the conquest of St. Domingue (1793) by the British:
"Then, as now, however, stated war aims had to be lofty. The conquest of St. Domingue, [Henry] Dundas said - sounding like many an American President since then - was "not a war for riches or local aggrandisement, but a war for security." (Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains)

"In the face of the facts that modern man lives more wretchedly than the cave-man, and that his power is a thousand times greater than that of the cave-man, no other conclusion is possible than that the capitalist class has mismanaged ... criminally and selfishly mismanaged." (Jack London, The Iron Heel)

"The New York Commercial Advertiser, at first against war [the American-Spanish war of 1898], by March 10 asked intervention in Cuba for "humanity and love of freedom, and above all, the desire that the commerce and industry of every part of the world shall have full freedom of development in the whole world's interest." (Quoted in Howard Zinn's The Twentieth Century)


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

Beijing was particularly alarmed by an “indigenisation” law effectively seizing majority control of foreign-owned businesses and companies,...