Quotes About Radical Politics

Quotes tagged as "radical-politics" (showing 1-7 of 7)
Howard Zinn
“I was astonished, bewildered. This was America, a country where, whatever its faults, people could speak, write, assemble, demonstrate without fear. It was in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. We were a democracy...

But I knew it wasn't a dream; there was a painful lump on the side of my head...

The state and its police were not neutral referees in a society of contending interests. They were on the side of the rich and powerful. Free speech? Try it and the police will be there with their horses, their clubs, their guns, to stop you.

From that moment on, I was no longer a liberal, a believer in the self-correcting character of American democracy. I was a radical, believing that something fundamental was wrong in this country--not just the existence of poverty amidst great wealth, not just the horrible treatment of black people, but something rotten at the root. The situation required not just a new president or new laws, but an uprooting of the old order, the introduction of a new kind of society--cooperative, peaceful, egalitarian.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Terry Eagleton
“What we have witnessed in our own time is the death of universities as centres of critique. Since Margaret Thatcher, the role of academia has been to service the status quo, not challenge it in the name of justice, tradition, imagination, human welfare, the free play of the mind or alternative visions of the future. We will not change this simply by increasing state funding of the humanities as opposed to slashing it to nothing. We will change it by insisting that a critical reflection on human values and principles should be central to everything that goes on in universities, not just to the study of Rembrandt or Rimbaud.”
Terry Eagleton

“Labelling is no longer a liberating political act but a necessity in order to gain entrance into the academic industrial complex and other discussions and spaces. For example, if so called “radical” or “progressive” people don’t hear enough “buzz” words (like feminist, anti-oppression, anti-racist, social justice, etc.) in your introduction, then you are deemed unworthy and not knowledgeable enough to speak with authority on issues that you have lived experience with. The criteria for identifying as a feminist by academic institutions, peer reviewed journals, national bodies, conferences, and other knowledge gatekeepers is very exclusive. It is based on academic theory instead of based on lived experiences or values. Name-dropping is so elitist! You're not a "real" feminist unless you can quote, or have read the following white women: (insert Women's Studies 101 readings).”
Krysta Williams, Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism

Christopher Hitchens
“Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committed’.

Traditionally then, or tediously as some will think, I saw no reason to discard the Orwellian standard in considering modern literature. While a sort of etiolation, tricked out as playfulness, had its way among the non-judgemental, much good work was still done by those who weighed words as if they meant what they said. Some authors, indeed, stood by their works as if they had composed them in solitude and out of conviction. Of these, an encouraging number spoke for the ironic against the literal mind; for the generously interpreted interest of all against the renewal of what Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’—tribe and Faith, monotheist and polytheist, being most conspicuous among these new/old disfigurements. In the course of making a film about the decaffeinated hedonism of modern Los Angeles, I visited the house where Thomas Mann, in another time of torment, wrote Dr Faustus. My German friends were filling the streets of Munich and Berlin to combat the recrudescence of the same old shit as I read:

This old, folkish layer survives in us all, and to speak as I really think, I do. not consider religion the most adequate means of keeping it under lock and key. For that, literature alone avails, humanistic science, the ideal of the free and beautiful human being. [italics mine]


The path to this concept of enlightenment is not to be found in the pursuit of self-pity, or of self-love. Of course to be merely a political animal is to miss Mann’s point; while, as ever, to be an apolitical animal is to leave fellow-citizens at the mercy of Ideolo’. For the sake of argument, then, one must never let a euphemism or a false consolation pass uncontested. The truth seldom lies, but when it does lie it lies somewhere in between.”
Christopher Hitchens, For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports

George Eliot
“I have to determine for myself, and not for other men. I don’t blame them, or think I am better than they; their circumstances are different. I would never choose to withdraw myself from the labour and common burden of the world; but I do choose to withdraw myself from the push and the scramble for money and position. Any man is at liberty to call me a fool, and say that mankind are benefited by the push and the scramble in the long-run. But I care for the people who live now and will not be living when the long-run comes. As it is, I prefer going shares with the unlucky.”
George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical

Liza Featherstone
“A Hillary Clinton presidency would symbolically break the glass ceiling for women in the United States, but it would be unlikely to break through the military-industrial complex that has been keeping our nation in a perpetual state of war--killing people around the world, many of them women and children.”
Liza Featherstone, False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton

Liza Featherstone
“The right to choose to abort a fetus is critical, as is the ability to effect that choice in real life, so it's great that Hillary Clinton wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment. But without welfare, single-payer health care, a minimum wage of at least $15--all policies she staunchly opposes--many people have to forgo babies they'd really love to have. That's not really a choice.

It seems ill-conceived to have tethered feminism to such a narrow issue as abortion. Yet it makes sense from an insular Beltway fundraising perspective to focus on an issue that makes no demands--the opposite, really--of the oligarch class; this is probably a big reason why EMILY'S List has never dabbled in backing universal pre-K or paid maternity leave; a major reason 'reproductive choice' has such a narrow and negative definition in the American political discourse.

The thing is, an abortion is by definition a story you want to forget, not repeat and relive. And for the same reason abortion pills will never be the blockbuster moneymakers heartburn medications are, abortion is a consummately foolish thing to attempt to build a political movement around. It happens once or twice in a woman's lifetime.

Kids, on the other hand, are with you forever. A more promising movement--one that goes against everything Hillary Clinton stands for--might take that to heart.”
Liza Featherstone, False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton

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