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Central to Luxemburg’s importance for me is her revolutionary perspective. She supports pressure for reforms within capitalism, but is utterly clear that reforms cannot bring about fundamental change, that socialism can only come about through revolution, and that the activity of socialists and socialist organizations must always be oriented to the ultimate goal of revolution, no matter what the exigencies of the present situation.
On Rosa Luxemburg

The era of the personal computer unleashed a torrent of hype about user-friendliness and productivity gains, and an equally endless flood of expensive 500-plus-page books to help frustrated users figure out how to use the easy-to-use software. The Internet, having become an overnight success some 25 years after its birth, has been similarly hyped, with absurd claims that all the information in the world is now at our fingertips.
Four Books About Online Research

Rocks in Gros Morne - Photo by Ulli Diemer

We need to make a real issue of democracy, to challenge our society to take seriously its oft-proclaimed commitment to democratic ideals. We have to make an issue of the fact that what currently passes for democracy is at best a two-dimensional shadow of what a democratic society ought to be.
What Do We Do Now?

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Quotations

  • I always have a quotation for everything – it saves original thinking.
  • – Dorothy Sayers

Samplings

The fact that people can be selfish and untrustworthy is an argument for democracy. That’s precisely why no one person or small group of people can be trusted to wield power over the rest of us. Those who hold power are usually corrupted by it because they are as selfish and untrustworthy as anyone else. That is one of the most compelling reasons for decentralizing and democratizing power - for sharing power as widely and equally as possible.
Interview - Democracy

What has actually happened in countless consensus groups is that the group has been prevented from doing what most people in it wanted to do - in other words, prevented from functioning - because one or a few people have blocked consensus or dragged discussions on past the willingness of most members to continue participating in the group. The social change movement is littered with the corpses of groups which fell apart for precisely such reasons.
One Vote for Democracy

Words of Wisdom

When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
— Mark Twain
Whenever a particular freedom is put in question, freedom in general is put in question.
— Karl Marx
Too much consistency is as bad for the mind as it is for the body. Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
— Aldous Huxley
I didn’t really say everything I said.
— Yogi Berra
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
— Albert Einstein
Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.
— George Orwell
“I've noticed,” said Mr. Keuner, “that a lot of people are put off by our teaching because we know the answer to everything. Couldn’t we, in the interests of propaganda, draw up a list of questions which appear to us quite unresolved?”
— Berthold Brecht, Anecdotes of Mr. Keuner
I believe in using words, not fists. I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex.
— Bertrand Russell
Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes, turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.
— William Morris, A Dream of John Ball
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
— Andre Gide
Democracy is the road to socialism.
— Karl Marx
Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
— Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics of Morals
Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
— Bertrand Russell
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
— Albert Schweitzer
He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars. General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer.
— William Blake
Every new onset and every fresh victory of the political struggle is transformed into a powerful impetus for the economic struggle, extending at the same time its external possibilities and intensifying the inner urge of the workers to better their position and their desire to struggle. After every foaming wave of political action a fructifying deposit remains behind from which a thousand stalks of economic struggle shoot forth. And conversely. The workers’ condition of ceaseless economic struggle with the capitalists keeps their fighting energy alive in every political interval.
— Rosa Luxemburg
I take criticism so seriously as to believe that, even in the midst of a battle in which one is unmistakenly on one side against another, there should be criticism, because there must be critical consciousness if there are to be issues, problems, values, even lives to be fought for... Criticism must think of itself as life-enhancing and constitutively opposed to every form of tyranny, domination, and abuse; its social goals are noncoercive knowledge produced in the interests of human freedom.
— Edward Said
The law, in all its magnificent equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, or the steal bread.
— Anatole France
Revolution is never practical until the roar of revolution strikes. Then it alone is practical, and all the efforts of the conservatives and compromisers become the most futile and visionary of human language.
— James Connolly
If you expect to see the final results of your work you have not asked a big enough question.
— I.F. Stone
Whenever people say, ‘We mustn’t be sentimental,’ you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, ‘We must be realistic,’ they mean they are going to make money out of it.
— Brigid Brophy
Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.
— Immanuel Kant
If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.
— Blaise Pascal
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.
— Karl Marx
Live as though you are going to die tomorrow; read as though you are going to live forever.
— Erasmus
Orthodoxy is the death of intelligence.
— Bertrand Russell
Agatha Christie has given more pleasure in bed than any other woman.
— Nancy Banks-Smith
Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.
— Romain Rolland, popularised by Antonio Gramsci
When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.
— Dom Helder Camara
I don't like what has happened over the last 500 years. We can’t do much about that. But what are we going to do about the next 500 years? What are we going to do about the next ten years?
— George Erasmus
The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
Abraham Lincoln
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
— Oscar Wilde
To Every Complex Problem there is a Simple Answer: Neat, Plausible, and Wrong.
— H.L. Mencken
Forests precede people. Deserts follow them.
— Chateaubriand
A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad.
— Albert Camus
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
— George Orwell
The issue that is not clear to organizers, missionaries, educators, or any outsider, is simply that if people feel they don't have the power to change a bad situation, then they do not think about it. Why start figuring out how you are going to spend a million dollars if you do not have a million dollars or are ever going to have a million dollars - unless you want to engage in fantasy? Once people are organized so that they have the power to make changes, then, when confronted with questions of change, they begin to think and to ask questions about how to make the changes.
— Saul Alinsky
The nationality question... cannot be settled by the use of some vague cliche, even such a fine-sounding formula as ‘the right of all nations to self-determination’. For such a formula expresses either absolutely nothing, so that it is an empty, noncommittal phrase, or else it expresses the unconditional duty of socialists to support all national aspirations, in which case it is simply false.
— Rosa Luxemburg
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead
The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.
— Samuel Johnson
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.
— Mark Twain
We may with advantage at times forget what we know.
— Publius Syrus
A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.
— Miguel de Cervantes
I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.
— Dorothy Sayers