Quotations!         I - J

(in alphabetical order by author)

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we want?" - CEO Lee Iacocca

"The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population — the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority." - Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), An Enemy of the People; Norwegian playwright, poet

Saying grace at Thanksgiving: "Thanks for letting us white people kill all the Indians and steal all their stuff." - The Ice Storm (1997 U.S. film), directed by Ang Lee (b. 1954, Taiwan)

"Soldier" (1968)
David Ignatow (1929-1994);
American Poet

In his hands the submachine gun is excited,
pouring its life out; he is detached,
searching for bodies. I am detached,
wondering whether to stuff and hang him
on my wall a trophy. From behind,
I could put a bullet through his head
and as he sinks dropping his gun,
rip off his clothes, slice him down in the middle,
pull out his liver, heart, spleen,
the whole works from head to bowels,
his brain poked out through his nostrils
to keep his skull intact.
I'd leave his eyes in,
treat them chemically to last
for their lustrous quality.
I'd stuff with dried grass the cavities of his body
to achieve their natural proportions,
then glue him to the surface of a board
the length of his frame, hang him on the wall
in my study, the submachine gun stuck back
in his hands, his mouth straightened
in a killer's line, except
I lack his calculating way to do it,
and can only write this to say
in any case
he is finished.

"In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy." - Ivan Illich (b. 1926); Austrian-born philosopher

Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity (Le Monde, early 1973)

Ivan Illich, "Social Effects of Motorized Transport" (Energy and Equity [Le Monde, early 1973])

Ivan Illich, "A Consitution for Cultural Revolution" [from: Ivan Illich: Celebration of Awareness. London: Calder & Boyas, 1971]

"Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school." - Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society (1971) (In saying "we," Illich is referring to his fellow teacher, Everett Reimer, author of School Is Dead [1974])

Ivan Illich with Aaron Falbel, "Foreword to Deschooling Our Lives," edited by Matt Hern (New Society Publishing)

- Immediast International, "Seizing The Media" (Spring 1992)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695); Mexican nun, poet

"Of all tyrannies a country can suffer, the worst is the tyranny of the majority." - William R. Inge (1860-1954), English churchman

"Let's see 'em, then, these clankers of yours. Let's see what you got...Listen, you got a kind of pair that men are carrying around, you practically wear 'em on your sleeve. That's what business is all about - who's sporting the nastiest sack of venom and who's willing to use it." - In the Company of Men (U.S.-Canadian film, 1997), written and directed by Neil LaBute (b. 1963, U.S.)

"I don't go out of my way to find or invent things that are bizarre. It just seems to me that I notice more and more how commonplace the bizarre is." - John Irving, "The Salon Interview," by Joan Smith, March 3, 1997 (Salon Magazine); U.S. novelist, critic

"It has been the lot of the unfortunate aborigines of America, in the early periods of colonization, to be doubly wronged by the white men. They have been dispossessed of their hereditary possessions by mercenary and frequently wanton warfare..." - Washington Irving (1783-1859), "Traits of Indian Character" (The Sketch Book, 1820); U.S. writer

"That proud independence, which formed the main pillar of savage virtue, has been shaken down, and the whole moral fabric lies in ruins. Their spirits are humiliated and debased by a sense of inferiority, and their native courage cowed and daunted by the superior knowledge and power of their enlightened neighbors. Society has advanced upon them like one of those withering airs that will sometimes breed desolation over a whole region of fertility." - Washington Irving, "Traits of Indian Character" (The Sketch Book, 1820)

"Thus do we too often find the Indians on our frontiers to be the mere wrecks and remnants of once powerful tribes, who have lingered in the vicinity of the settlements, and sunk into precarious and vagabond existence. Poverty, repining and hopeless poverty, a canker of the mind unknown in savage life, corrodes their spirits, and blights every free and noble quality of their natures...They loiter like vagrants about the settlements, among spacious dwellings replete with elaborate comforts, which only render them sensible of the comparative wretchedness of their own condition. Luxury spreads its ample board before their eyes; but they are excluded from the banquet. Plenty revels over the fields; but they are starving in the midst of its abundance: the whole wilderness has blossomed into a garden; but they feel as reptiles that infest it." - Washington Irving, "Traits of Indian Character" (The Sketch Book, 1820)

"The moral laws that govern him are, to be sure, but few; but then he conforms to them all; - the white man abounds in laws of religion, morals, and manners, but how many does he violate?" - Washington Irving, "Traits of Indian Character" (The Sketch Book, 1820)

"The eastern tribes have long since disappeared; the forests that sheltered them have been laid low, and scarce any traces remain of them in the thickly-settled states of New England, except here and there the Indian name of a village or a stream. And such must, sooner or later, be the fate of those other tribes which skirt the frontiers...In a little while, and they will go the way that their brethren have gone before...They will vanish like a vapor from the face of the earth; and their very history will be lost in forgetfulness..." - Washington Irving, "Traits of Indian Character" (The Sketch Book, 1820)

"If, perchance, some dubious memorial of them should survive, it may be in the romantic dreams of the poet, to people in imagination his glades and groves, like the fauns and satyrs and sylvan deities of antiquity. But should he venture upon the dark story of their wrongs and wretchedness; should he tell how they were invaded, corrupted, despoiled, driven from their native abodes and the sepulchres of their fathers, hunted like wild beasts about the earth, and sent down with violence and butchery to the grave, posterity will either turn with horror and incredulity from the tale, or blush with indignation at the inhumanity of their forefathers." - Washington Irving, "Traits of Indian Character" (The Sketch Book, 1820)

"They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." - Isaiah (c. 742-700 B.C.) 2:4 (Old Testament, King James Version)

"Who makes the white man prosper,
grow big-bellied - get much money?
- Who?"

- Antonio Jacinto (b. 1924), "Monangamba," in The Penguin Book of
Modern African Poetry
, edited by Gerald Moore and Ulli Beier;
Angolan poet, revolutionary

John Andrew Jackson, The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina (1862); African-American slave, abolitionist, lecturer

"I was ordered to go for flowers, that my mistress's house might be decorated for an evening party. I spent the day gathering flowers and weaving them into festoons, while the dead body of my father was lying within a mile of me. What cared my owners for that? He was merely a piece of property. Moreover, they thought he had spoiled his children, by teaching them to feel that they were human beings. This was blasphemous doctrine for a slave to teach; presumptuous in him, and dangerous to the masters." - Harriet A. Jacobs (alias Linda Brent, 1813-1897), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself (1861); U.S. African-American slave, diarist

"Could you have seen that mother clinging to her child, when they fastened the irons upon his wrists; could you have heard her heart-rending groans, and seen her bloodshot eyes wander wildly from face to face, vainly pleading for mercy; could you have witnessed that scene as I saw it, you would exclaim, Slavery is damnable!" - Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself (1861)

"I can testify, from my own experience and observation, that slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks. It makes the white fathers cruel and sensual; the sons violent and licentious; it contaminates the daughters, and makes the wives wretched. And as for the colored race, it needs an abler pen than mine to describe the extremity of their sufferings, the depth of their degradation." - Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself (1861)

Bianca Jagger, "Letter to the President," The Nation ('98)

"If we pretend to respect the artist at all, we must allow him his freedom of choice, in the face, in particular cases, of innumerable presumptions that the choice will not fructify. Art derives a considerable part of its beneficial exercise from flying in the face of presumptions." - Henry James (1843-1916)

Henry James

Please see: "El Rancho Lounge and Twist Place," by Mary Ann James

"We are now openly engaged in crushing out the sacredest thing in this great human world - the attempt of a people long enslaved to attain to the possession of itself, to organize its laws and government, to be free to follow its internal destinies according to its own ideals. War...aims at destruction, and at nothing else. And splendidly are we carrying out war's ideal. We are destroying the lives of these islanders by the thousand, their villages and their cities...It is horrible, simply horrible...Could there be a more damning indictment of that whole bloated idol termed 'modern civilization' than this amounts to? Civilization is, then, the big, hollow, resounding, corrupting, sophisticating, confusing torrent of mere brutal momentum and irrationality that brings forth fruits like this!...The issue is perfectly clear at last. We are cold-bloodedly, wantonly and abominably destroying the soul of a people who never did us an atom of harm in their lives." - William James (1842-1910), "The Philippine Tangle" (Boston Evening Transcript, March 1, 1899), U.S. psychologist, philosopher, anti-imperialist

"We used to believe that we were of a different clay from other nations, that there was something deep in the American heart that answered to our happy birth, free from that hereditary burden which the nations of Europe bear, and which obliges them to grow by preying on the neighbors. Idle dream! pure Fourth of July fancy, scattered in five minutes by the first temptation [war in The Philippines]...It is good to rid ourselves of cant and humbug, and to know the truth about ourselves...The country has once for all regurgitated the Declaration of Independence and the Farewell Address, and it won't swallow again immediately what it is so happy to have vomited up...We are objects of fear to other lands." - William James, "Address at the Annual Meeting of the New England Anti-Imperialist League" (November 30, 1903)

"What society requires from art...is that it function as an early warning system." - Elizabeth Janeway, Between Myth and Morning (1974)

Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), The Antliaclasts; French playwright

Richard Jefferies, After London; Or, Wild England

"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American revolution will occur when the government falls into the hands of banking institutions and monied incorporations." - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826); third prez of the U.S.A., slave-owner

"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." - Thomas Jefferson

"The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction...I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity...is but swindling futurity on a large scale." - Thomas Jefferson

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever..." - Thomas Jefferson, "Commerce between Master and Slave" (1782)

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson

"War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses." - Thomas Jefferson

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

"The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."

"[The present king of Great Britain] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivatng and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people for whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.] - Thomas Jefferson, "The Declaration of Independence" (original first draft, edited, rejected and modified by the States representatives)

"I hear that my country [Morocco], disguised and made-up, offers itself to tourists." - Tahar Ben Jelloun, Solitaire (1976); Moroccan-French novelist and poet

"Don't make my body a living statue. Let it be a song which banishes loneliness from every town. Don't register my body anywhere - let it belong to all horizons. Its only demands are laughter and the intoxication of dance." - Tahar Ben Jelloun, Solitaire (1976)

"They buy everything on credit: their soul (a rag), their bodies (fat and false), they buy their death and whip children who speak of hard times to come...Money, money everywhere, in their hearts, on their heads, between their legs...My country's treasure is fritted away in banquets...Justice? Ha! Woe betide you; woe betide you who live off the poor..." - Tahar Ben Jelloun, Solitaire (1976)

"Racism is everywhere. We are all susceptible to it. There is not one society 'specialised' in racism. Some white people don't like black people, but also some black people don't like whites. Everybody can be racist or be a victim of racism. Racism is not hidden in a corner, it is all around us, it is everywhere. We have to understand that and fight against it to stop it." - Tahar Ben Jelloun, "Le racisme expliqué à ma fille" (1998; translation: 'Racism Explained to My Daughter')

"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Jesus (Matthew 6:24; New Testament, King James Version)

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." - Jesus (Matthew 6:19-21)

by Juan Ramón Jiménez
(1881-1958, Spain)
Nobel Prize in Literature, 1956

I am like a distracted child
whom they drag by the hand
through the fiesta of the world.
My eyes cling, sadly,
to things...
And what misery when they tear me away from them.

by Juan Ramón Jiménez

If they give you ruled paper
write the other way.

Paulin Joachim (b. 1931); Benin-born French poet

"Why We Should Drop the Bombs" (1981)
By Alia Johnson

it would be so exciting
it would be so powerful
it would punish us for our sins
things wouldn't be so boring anymore
we could get back to basics
we could remember who we love
it would be so loud
it would be so hot
the mushroom clouds would rise up
we could start over
we wouldn't have to be afraid of it anymore
we wouldn't have to be afraid anymore
we would finally have done it better than Raskolnikov
it would release our anger in the ultimate tantrum
then we could rest

Eyvind Johnson (1900-1976); Swedish writer, Nobel Prize Laureate

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (1900); African-American Harlem Renaissance poet, civil rights leader

"The amendment is another attempt to enforce mandatory patriotism and define the boundaries of correct political dissent...The proposed constitutional amendment is a desperate and fascist 'end-of-the-empire' amendment. It's meant to protect and exalt the flag. It's meant to enforce the view od the U.S. over the world, whites over oppressed nationalities, men over women. It means 'English only', the rounding up of immigrants. It is part of the cruel 'Contract On America' war on the poor, blacks, youth, and working people. The flag amendment is an act of a sick and dying empire clutching at its symbols which rest on genocide and slavery. This is truer today than in 1984. For those who stand up for equality and justice, it's time to stand up against this amendment. If it becomes law, defy it, along with the whole shut 'em up, lock 'em up, deport 'em official atmosphere the amendment is a part of." - Gregory "Joey" Johnson, "Notorious Flagburner Joey Johnson Denounces Fascist Flag Amendment"; defendant in the 1989 Supreme Court flagburning case, Texas v. Johnson

"The word 'socialism' is probably one of the misused terms in the history of words. When a lot of people talk about socialism, they don't really mean people power. As far as I'm concerned, socialism means more power to the people, more democracy, more freedom. What they had in the Soviet Union was a one-party state. Once you have the one-party state, that's the end of democracy. It creates all the conditions for corruption, nepotism. It has nothing to do with socialism." - Linton Kwesi Johnson (b. 1952), "Interview with Billy Bob Hargus," Perfect Sound Forever magazine (January 1997); Jamaican-born British reggae singer, poet, activist

"all oppression
can do is bring
passion to de heights of eruption,
an songs of fire we will sing"

- Linton Kwesi Johnson, "All Wi Doin is Defendin"

"Inglan is a bitch
dere's no escapin it"

- Linton Kwesi Johnson,
"Inglan is a Bitch"

"We're living in a garbage heap. All our values are going down the drain..." - Bill T. Jones (b. 1952), New York Times (November 4, 1990); African-American dancer and choreographer

Leon Jones, "Imitating the Enemy" (The American Feminist, Winter 1995); President, Blacks for Life

"K a ' B a"
By LeRoi Jones (Imamu Amiri Baraka)
African-American poet, playwright
(b. 1934)

A closed window looks down
on a dirty courtyard, and Black people
call across or scream across or walk across
defying physics in the stream of their will.

Our world is full of sound
Our world is more lovely than anyone's
tho we suffer, and kill each other
and sometimes fail to walk the air.

We are beautiful people
With African imaginations
full of masks and dances and swelling chants
with African eyes, and noses, and arms
tho we sprawl in gray chains in a place
full of winters, when what we want is sun.

We have been captured,
and we labor to make our getaway, into
the ancient image; into a new

Correspondence with ourselves
and our Black family. We need magic
now we need the spells, to raise up
return, destroy, and create. What will be

the sacred word?

"I have wondered many times recently what Patrick Henry would say, Patrick Henry who said, 'Give me liberty or give me death,' and who also said, 'Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,' if he could witness the things that are done in West Virginia in this day and age, in a state that is supposed to be under the Constitution of the United States? I say with him, 'Give me liberty or give me death, for for liberty I shall die, even if they riddle my body with bullets after I am dead. My friends, you must emancipate the miners of West Virginia; they should be the barometer for you in the future. You have a task; go bravely home and take it up like men. Each one of you should constitute himself a missionary, each one should do his duty as a miner and as a member of this organization. Do your duty also as citizens of the United States, do your duty as men who feel a responsibility upon you, and remember, friends, that it is better to die an uncrowned free man than a crowned slave. You and I must protest against this injustice to the American people that we are suffering under in West Virginia and in Pennsylvania, and in other fields." - Mother Jones (aka Betsy Harvey Kraft Mary Harris; 1830-1930), Speaking before the Convention of the UMWA, Indianapolis, IN (1902); Irish-born U.S. labor leader, union organizer, humanitarian

"When we come to consider that the American capitalists are investing in China with the idea of crushing out the unions of America it is time for use to wake from our slumbers. It is not alone in China they are doing this, but across our borders in Mexico you will find a $50,000,000 steel plant and a million dollar smelter. All along the line they are making moves. They do not go there to establish schools..." - Mother Jones, Speech to the UMWA, 1910

"On their side the workers had only the Constitution. The other side had bayonets." - Mother Jones, in Linda Atkinson, Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America (1978)

"I always slept in my clothes, for I never knew what might happen. Not even my incarceration in a damp underground dungeon will make me give up the fight in which I am engaged for liberty and for the rights of the working people. To be shut from the sunlight is not pleasant but...I shall stand firm. To be in prison is no disgrace." - Mother Jones (Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America, by Linda Atkinson, 1978)

Mother Jones, "Civilization in Southern Mills" (International Socialist Review, March, 1901)

Thomas H. Jones (1806-?), The Experience of Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years (1862)

Thomas H. Jones, "Correspondence of Thomas H. Jones"

"Solitude is un-American." - Erica Jong (b. 1942), Fear of Flying (1973); U.S. novelist, poet

"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads." - Erica Jong, The Craft of Poetry (1974), edited by William Packard

"We did not need affirmative action. NO! We needed freedom: We needed overthrow, revolution...But for two hundred years this crazy land the law and the bullets behind the law continued to affirm the gospel of God-given White supremacy..." - June Jordan, "JIM CROW: The Sequel"; African-American poet, essayist

"Our chiefs are killed...The little children are freezing to death. My people...have no blankets, no food...My heart is sick and sad...I will fight no more forever." - Chief Joseph (1840-1940), Native American leader

"History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awake." - James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish writer

"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you." - Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

"This terrifying power which nobody and nothing can check is mostly explained as fear of the neighbouring nation, which is supposed to be possessed by a malevolent fiend. Since nobody is capable of recognizing just where and how much he is himself possessed and unconscious, he simply projects his own condition upon his neighbour, and thus it becomes a sacred duty to have the biggest guns and the most poisonous gas. The worst of it is that he is quite right. All one's neighbours are in the grip of some uncontrollable fear, just like oneself. In lunatic asylums it is a well-known fact that patients are far more dangerous when suffering from fear than when moved by rage or hatred." - C.G. Jung, Psychology and Religion (1937)


Quotations: K
i fratelli de Socio