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Struggles for justice are not a fringe phenomenon.
They are a force that has changed the world, that can
change the world, and that will change the world.
– Ulli Diemer
One of the things past movements can tell us – in detail,
not just in general – is that people have always resisted
injustice, and always sought to create a world based on
values of community, sharing, freedom and justice.
– Ulli Diemer
The shadow which haunts the power structure is the danger
that those who are controlled will come to realize that they
are powerless only so long as they think they are.
Once people stop believing they are powerless, then the
whole edifice which they support is in danger of collapse.
– Ulli Diemer
The fallacy of national “self-determination”
The hidden meaning, the real essence, of the slogan
“the right to self-determination”, is the belief that it is
neither possible or desirable for two or more ethnic
or language groups to live together in one country.
I cannot imagine a more pessimistic and less socialist
point of view.
– Ulli Diemer
Self-Determination in the Real World
In the real world it is rarely possible to draw political
boundaries that correspond with nationality. Nearly every
nation-state and aspiring nation-state contains its own
national minorities with conflicting nationalist claims on
the same territory. These national groups are usually
intermingled and intermarried, sharing the same physical
territory, the same cities and towns, the same streets,
the same bedrooms.... As a result “self-determination”
for the majority frequently amounts to denying minorities
their “right to self-determination”.
– Ulli Diemer
It is a fundamental fallacy to think that because something
is bad, or appears to some to be bad, it ought to be banned.
– Ulli Diemer
The NDP and the Left:
The Left has engaged in the futile pursuit of ‘moving
the NDP to the left’ since 1933, achieving pretty
much the same result as a dog chasing its tail.
– Ulli Diemer
The left has always been attracted to the state the way
a moth is attracted to a flame, and the darker it gets,
the more it is attracted to statist and nationalist illusions.
– Ulli Diemer
Many good ideas have been shipwrecked because
people insisted that they were universally applicable,
failing to distinguish between situations to which they
applied and ones to which they didn’t.
– Ulli Diemer
Neoliberal house of horrors
If Hitchcock had made a film about neoliberal economics,
the Chicago School of Economics would be the Bates Motel,
Milton Friedman would be the demented proprietor, and
Friedrich Hayek would be the dead mother in the attic.
– Ulli Diemer
One of the problems with our society is that we believe
everything has to be new and different. I don’t apologize
for having ideas that are “old”. Some of the ideas I’m
fondest of aren’t just 25 or 100 years old, they’re 2,000
years old or even older.
– Ulli Diemer
The social transformation we are working for is a long revolution
– a process that requires the efforts of generations of activists.
– Ulli Diemer
We are part of a movement for justice that stretches
across continents and across generations. People have
always resisted injustice, and always sought to create
a world based on values of community, sharing,
freedom and justice. We are part of a continuum.
– Ulli Diemer
We don’t know if we’ll win: history is made by human
beings, and where human beings are concerned,
nothing is inevitable. But because people do make
history, we know that it is possible to build a new
world, and we strive to realize that possibility.
– Ulli Diemer
We need only look at activities of the thousands of
people working in grassroots groups across this country,
and around the world, to see that people do join with
others to block what they see as harmful and to fight
for what they consider to be desirable and just.
When they do, that which seemed impossible to
achieve starts to become possible.
– Ulli Diemer
Whatever rights one thinks there ought to be, or
whatever rights people are said to have, the rights
that people actually have are achieved and protected only
by struggle. Rights are won. And they can be lost.
– Ulli Diemer
We need all the help we can get in overthrowing capitalism,
including the help of people who are dead.
– Ulli Diemer
Marx was relentlessly critical, always seeking new knowledge
and deeper understanding, never feeling that his own
understanding of any subject was adequate – hence his
well-known difficulties in finishing any work because he was
never finished investigating the subject matter in its infinite
ramifications. It was Marx who scoffed “I am not a Marxist”
and who said that “Since it is not for us to create a plan
for the future that will hold for all time, all the more surely
what we contemporaries have to do is the uncompromising
critical evaluation of all that exists, uncompromising in the
sense that our criticism fears neither its own results nor
the conflict with the powers that be.”
– Ulli Diemer
Most of us are not living the lives we would choose to live,
but the existing order insists there are no alternatives
to itself, and most of us are sufficiently convinced or
pre-occupied or discouraged to keep society from coming
unglued. Many, many people wish there were alternatives,
or think there ought to be, but are resigned to the conclusion
that it is utopian to entertain any hopes for real change....
Yet despite the pervasive feeling that ‘nothing can be done’,
people do join together to act in common when they feel
threatened or wronged, or when they have a goal in sight
which they desire passionately enough. Sometimes they
organize quietly and gradually. At other times a mass
movement explodes into being, seemingly out of nothing,
despite the risks and the odds.
– Ulli Diemer
We’re not going to stop working for justice
just because we’re dead.
– Ulli Diemer