Leftism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "leftism" Showing 1-30 of 83
Michel Foucault
“Where there is power, there is resistance.”
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction

Christopher Hitchens
“I had become too accustomed to the pseudo-Left new style, whereby if your opponent thought he had identified your lowest possible motive, he was quite certain that he had isolated the only real one. This vulgar method, which is now the norm and the standard in much non-Left journalism as well, is designed to have the effect of making any noisy moron into a master analyst.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings.

I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Naomi Klein
“In Venezuela Chavez has made the co-ops a top political priority, giving them first refusal on government contracts and offering them economic incentives to trade with one another. By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 co-operatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers. Many are pieces of state infrastructure – toll booths, highway maintenance, health clinics – handed over to the communities to run. It’s a reverse of the logic of government outsourcing – rather than auctioning off pieces of the state to large corporations and losing democratic control, the people who use the resources are given the power to manage them, creating, at least in theory, both jobs and more responsive public services. Chavez’s many critics have derided these initiatives as handouts and unfair subsidies, of course. Yet in an era when Halliburton treats the U.S. government as its personal ATM for six years, withdraws upward of $20 billion in Iraq contracts alone, refuses to hire local workers either on the Gulf coast or in Iraq, then expresses its gratitude to U.S. taxpayers by moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai (with all the attendant tax and legal benefits), Chavez’s direct subsidies to regular people look significantly less radical.”
Naomi Klein

Noam Chomsky
“I am not too happy with terms like “the left”, to be honest. And I don’t use it much….if by “the left” you mean people who are committed to peace and justice and freedom and so on, there can’t be elements of the left opposed to workers’ movement, at least under that definition.”
Noam Chomsky

Tariq Ali
“This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.”
Tariq Ali, The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

“I find that I have more allies on the left than on the right, and that is because the left is, by and large, filled with people who are challenging the present paradigm and power structure. I’m interested in totally transforming the structure that exists now, because it is not sustainable.”
Winona LaDuke

Theodore J. Kaczynski
“It is obvious that [leftists] are not cool-headed logicians systematically analyzing the foundations of knowledge. They are deeply involved emotionally in their attack on truth and reality.”
Theodore Kaczynski

Christopher Hitchens
“If the counsel of the peaceniks had been followed, Kuwait would today be the nineteenth province of Iraq. Bosnia would be a trampled and cleansed province of Greater Serbia, Kosovo would have been emptied of most of its inhabitants, and the Taliban would still be in power in Afghanistan. Yet nothing seems to disturb the contented air of moral superiority of those that intone the "peace movement".”
Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

bell hooks
“One of the greatest difficulties the left faces in reaching out to masses of people in America is its profound disrespect of spirituality and religious life…people on the left need to acknowledge – we need to grapple with – the question of religion.”
bell hooks, Talking About a Revolution: Interviews with Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, bell hooks, Peter Kwong, Winona LaDuke, Manning Marable, Urvashi Vaid, and Howard Zinn

Christopher Hitchens
“George Bush made a mistake when he referred to the Saddam Hussein regime as 'evil.' Every liberal and leftist knows how to titter at such black-and-white moral absolutism. What the president should have done, in the unlikely event that he wanted the support of America's peace-mongers, was to describe a confrontation with Saddam as the 'lesser evil.' This is a term the Left can appreciate. Indeed, 'lesser evil' is part of the essential tactical rhetoric of today's Left, and has been deployed to excuse or overlook the sins of liberal Democrats, from President Clinton's bombing of Sudan to Madeleine Albright's veto of an international rescue for Rwanda when she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Among those longing for nuance, moral relativism—the willingness to use the term evil, when combined with a willingness to make accommodations with it—is the smart thing: so much more sophisticated than 'cowboy' language.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Theodore J. Kaczynski
“The leftist is anti-individualistic... He is not the sort of person who has an inner sense of confidence in his own ability to solve his own problems and satisfy his own needs.”
Theodore Kaczynski

Ian Buruma
“Anti-Americanism may indeed have grown fiercer than it was during the cold war. It is a common phenomenon that when the angels fail to deliver, the demons become more fearsome.”
Ian Buruma, A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq

Christopher Hitchens
“There is a tendency on the left, to think if someone in any way disagrees with the left it must be for the lowest possible reason and if you found the lowest possible motive you have found the right one. Theres this whole culture of no one would leave us or quarrel with us if they weren't a sellout. It is actually a very sick mentality and very widespread.”
Christopher Hitchens

George Orwell
“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. Ditto, though it contains a partial truth, with all the talk about the worthlessness of social reconstruction not accompanied by a ‘change of heart’. The pious ones, from the Pope to the yogis of California, are great on the’ change of heart’, much more reassuring from their point of view than a change in the economic system.”
George Orwell, England Your England and Other Essays

Maximilien Robespierre
“It has been said that terror is the principle of despotic government. Does your government therefore resemble despotism? Yes, as the sword that gleams in the hands of the heroes of liberty resembles that with which the henchmen of tyranny are armed ... The government of the revolution is liberty's despotism against tyranny. Is force made only to protect crime”
Maximilien Robespierre

Christopher Hitchens
“As to the 'Left' I'll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our 'national security' calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of 'Left' intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush's legitimacy. So I don't even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Christopher Hitchens
“My quarrel with Chomsky goes back to the Balkan wars of the 1990s, where he more or less openly represented the "Serbian Socialist Party" (actually the national-socialist and expansionist dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic) as the victim. Many of us are proud of having helped organize to prevent the slaughter and deportation of Europe's oldest and largest and most tolerant Muslim minority, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosovo. But at that time, when they were real, Chomsky wasn't apparently interested in Muslim grievances. He only became a voice for that when the Taliban and Al Qaeda needed to be represented in their turn as the victims of a "silent genocide" in Afghanistan. Let me put it like this, if a supposed scholar takes the Christian-Orthodox side when it is the aggressor, and then switches to taking the "Muslim" side when Muslims commit mass murder, I think that there is something very nasty going on. And yes, I don't think it is exaggerated to describe that nastiness as "anti-American" when the power that stops and punishes both aggressions is the United States.”
Christopher Hitchens

Theodore J. Kaczynski
“Art forms that appeal to [leftists] tend to focus on ... defeat and despair ... as if there were no hope of accomplishing anything through rational calculation.”
Theodore Kaczynski

Christopher Hitchens
“There is a noticeable element of the pathological in some current leftist critiques, which I tend to attribute to feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence. Not an attractive combination, because it results in self-hatred.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

“London is one of the world's centres of Arab journalism and political activism. The failure of left and right, the establishment and its opposition, to mount principled arguments against clerical reaction has had global ramifications. Ideas minted in Britain – the notion that it is bigoted to oppose bigotry; 'Islamophobic' to oppose clerics whose first desire is to oppress Muslims – swirl out through the press and the net to lands where they can do real harm.”
Nick Cohen

Christopher Hitchens
“The neo-cons, or some of them, decided that they would back Clinton when he belatedly decided for Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic, and this even though they loathed Clinton, because the battle against religious and ethnic dictatorship in the Balkans took precedence. This, by the way, was partly a battle to save Muslims from Catholic and Christian Orthodox killers. That impressed me. The neo-cons also took the view, quite early on, that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was impossible as well as undesirable. They were dead right about that. They had furthermore been thinking about the menace of jihadism when most people were half-asleep.

And then I have to say that I was rather struck by the way that the Weekly Standard and its associated voices took the decision to get rid of Trent Lott earlier this year, thus removing an embarrassment as well as a disgrace from the political scene. And their arguments were on points of principle, not 'perception.' I liked their ruthlessness here, and their seriousness, at a time when much of the liberal Left is not even seriously wrong, but frivolously wrong, and babbles without any sense of responsibility. (I mean, have you read their sub-Brechtian stuff on Halliburton....?) And revolution from above, in some states and cases, is—as I wrote in my book A Long Short War—often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Christopher Hitchens
“The last time that I consciously wrote anything to 'save the honor of the Left', as I rather pompously put it, was my little book on the crookedness and cowardice and corruption (to put it no higher) of Clinton. I used leftist categories to measure him, in other words, and to show how idiotic was the belief that he was a liberal's champion. Again, more leftists than you might think were on my side or in my corner, and the book was published by Verso, which is the publishing arm of the New Left Review. However, if a near-majority of leftists and liberals choose to think that Clinton was the target of a witch-hunt and the victim of 'sexual McCarthyism', an Arkansan Alger Hiss in other words, you become weary of debating on their terms and leave them to make the best of it.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Samuel P. Huntington
“The prevalence of anti-patriotic attitudes among liberal intellectuals led some of them to warn their fellow liberals of the consequences of such attitudes for the future not of America but of American liberalism. Most Americans, as the American public philosopher Richard Rorty has written, take pride in their country, but 'many of the exceptions to this rule are found in colleges and universities, in the academic departments that have become sanctuaries for left-wing political views.' These leftists have done 'a great deal of good for . . . women, African-Americans, gay men and lesbians. . . . But there is a problem with this Left: it is unpatriotic. It repudiates the idea of a national identity and the emotion of national pride.' If the Left is to retain influence, it must recognize that a 'sense of shared national identity . . . is an absolutely essential component of citizenship.' Without patriotism, the Left will be unable to achieve its goals for America. Liberals, in short, must use patriotism as a means to achieve liberal goals”
Samuel P. Huntington

Terry Eagleton
“The liberal state has no view on whether witchcraft is more valuable than all-in wrestling. Like a tactful publican, it has as few opinions as possible. Many liberals suspect passionate convictions are latently authoritarian. But liberalism should surely be a passionate conviction. Liberals are not necessarily lukewarm. Only the more macho leftist suspects that they have no balls. You can be ardently neutral, and fiercely indifferent.”
Terry Eagleton

Paul Krugman
“[W]hat possible purpose does this lashing-out serve? Will activists be shamed into recovering their previous enthusiasm? Will Republicans stop their vicious attacks because Obama is lashing out to his left? It was pure self-indulgence; even if he feels aggrieved, he has to judge his words by their usefulness, not by his desire to vent. This isn't about him.”
Paul Krugman

Christopher Hitchens
“Some readers may have noticed an icy little missive from Noam Chomsky ["Letters," December 3], repudiating the very idea that he and I had disagreed on the "roots" of September 11. I rush to agree. Here is what he told his audience at MIT on October 11:

I'll talk about the situation in Afghanistan.... Looks like what's happening is some sort of silent genocide.... It indicates that whatever, what will happen we don't know, but plans are being made and programs implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people in the next—in the next couple of weeks.... very casually with no comment.... we are in the midst of apparently trying to murder three or four million people.

Clever of him to have spotted that (his favorite put-down is the preface 'Turning to the facts...') and brave of him to have taken such a lonely position. As he rightly insists, our disagreements are not really political.”
Christopher Hitchens

“Al Qaeda's central political objective is the creation of an Islamic republic, not the progressive realignment of American foreign policy.”
Simon Cottee

Christopher Hitchens
“As 1968 began to ebb into 1969, however, and as "anticlimax" began to become a real word in my lexicon, another term began to obtrude itself. People began to intone the words "The Personal is The Political." At the instant I first heard this deadly expression, I knew as one does from the utterance of any sinister bullshit that it was - cliché is arguably forgiven here - very bad news. From now on it would be enough to be a member of a sex or gender, or epidermal subdivision, or even erotic "preference," to qualify as a revolutionary. In order to begin a speech or ask a question from the floor, all that would be necessary by way of preface would be the words: "Speaking as a..." The could follow any self-loving description. I will have to say this much for the old "hard" Left: we earned our claim to speak and intervene by right of experience and sacrifice and work. It would never have done for any of us to stand up and say that our sex or sexuality pr pigmentation or disability were qualifications in themselves. There are many ways of dating the moment when The Left lost - or I would prefer to say, discarded its moral advantage, but this was the first time that I was to see the sellout conducted so cheaply.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Charles Bukowski
“Being a common laborer all my life at poor and underpaid jobs, I had worked with more black men, known more black men, drank with more black men, fought with more black men than any theoretical liberal with books jammed between the ears.”
Charles Bukowski

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