What You Can Do
" You do things again and again, and nothing
happens. You have to do things, do things, do things,. You have
to light that match, light that match, light that match, not knowing
how often it's going to sputter and go out and at what point it's
going to take hold. Things take a long time. It requires patience,
but not a passive patience -- the patience of activism."
Howard Zinn, historian and author
" Every man of humane convictions must decide
on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all
Martin Luther King, Jr.
" Capitalism [is] a word that has gone largely
out of fashion. The approved reference now is to the market system.
This shift minimizes - indeed deletes - the role of wealth in
the economic and social system... It would be hard to think of
a change in terminology more in the interest of those to whom
money accords power. They have now a functional anonymity. "
John Kenneth Galbraith, economist and author
"... U. S. business wants a "favorable
climate of investment" abroad, and ... military regimes that
will crush labor unions and otherwise serve foreign business meet
Edward Herman, economist and media analyst
" If development was measured not by gross
national product, but a society's success in meeting the basic
needs of its people, Vietnam would have been a model. That was
its real "threat." From the defeat of the French at
Dien Bien Phu in 1954 to 1972, primary and secondary school enrollment
in the North increased sevenfold, from 700,000 to almost five
million. In 1980, UNESCO estimated a literacy rate of 90 percent
and school enrollment among the highest in Asia and throughout
the Third World. "
John Pilger, author
"Never doubt that a small group of committed
citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that
Margaret Mead. anthropologist
" We find comfort among those who agree with
us and growth among those who don't."
" We may not be strong enough to stop wars
when the powers that be want them, but at least we are wise and
humane enough to take political and moral stands as publicly as
possible. This is, after all, the foundation we must build from."
Leslie Cagan, anti-war activist
"First they came for the socialists, and I
did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came
for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was
not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not
speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and
there was no one left to speak out for me."
Martin Niemoller, German anti-Nazi pastor during World
" When small steps are taken by large numbers
of people momentous things can happen."
Vandana Shiva, environmental activist
" ... when you come back from the Third World
to the West - the U.S. in particular - you are struck by the narrowing
of thought and understanding, the limited nature of legitimate
discussion, the separation of people from each other. It's startling
how stultifying it feels, since our opportunities are so vastly
"The time is past when good men can remain
silent, when obedience can segregate men from public risk, when
the poor can die without defense."
Catholic priest and human rights activist Daniel Berrigan
" Free men of every generation must combat
renewed efforts of organized force and greed to destroy liberty."
Robert M. La Follette, Sr., 1856-1925, liberal activist
and founder of the Progressive magazine
"They are going to arrest us all and execute
us for Shell."
spoken by Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian democracy activist,
after reading a secret Nigerian military memo in May 1994. He
was executed by the Nigerian military dictatorship in 1995.
" It is the job of thinking people, not to
be on the side of the executioners."
Albert Camus, French writer and thinker, 1913-1960
"Social and economic well-being will become
a reality only through the zeal, courage, the non-compromising
determination of intelligent minorities, and not through the mass."
Emma Goldman, American anarchist and feminist, 1869-1940
" Human progress is neither automatic nor
inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires
sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and
passionate concern of dedicated individuals. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.
" Today enormous effort goes into convincing
the American public that we're just consumers of media manipulation
and sound-bites and spin doctors. That we care only about ourselves,
money, and "stuff". That acting out of passion and conviction
"doesn't make a difference". But all history shows that
Bernadine Dorn, Irish democracy activist
" All of us can do something. "
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador