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Oppression QUOTES

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* The truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad also. Every outcry against the oppression of some people by other people, or against what is morally hideous is the affirmation of the principle that a human being as such is not to be violated. A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered.”
-- Felix Adler

Viewed with one disposition, history has so far been a horrible accumulation of oppression and suffering. Viewed with another disposition, however, history has chronicled humans discovering their own finer potentials and together mounting heroic offensives to attain them - against monarchy, feudalism, slavery, Jim Crow racism, apartheid, sexual subjugation, second class citizenship, sexism, heterosexism, dictatorship, one party rule, capitalism, and coordinatorism (calling itself socialism) - and seeking, in their place, equity, justice, and freedom. The gains humans have made have been steady and plentiful. Now a major leap is possible. Consistent with past efforts, we can now attain fully liberatory goals, including, I think, participatory economics and also alternative structures for polity, culture, and kinship. We have only to make the effort.
-- Michael Albert

* "In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed... It means facing a system that does not lend its self to your needs and devising means by which you change that system."
-- Ella Baker

* "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-- Stephen Biko

"Spirituality is that attitude which puts life at the center, and defends and promotes life against all the mechanisms of death, desiccation, or stagnation. The opposite of spirit, in this sense, is not the body but death and everything associated with the system of death, understood in the widest sense of biological, social, and existential death (failure, humiliation, and oppression). Nourishing spirituality means cultivating the inward space, the basis of which all things can be brought together. It means overwhelming deadness and stagnation and living reality in terms of values, inspiration, and symbols of higher meaning. The spiritual person is one who is always in a position to see the other side of reality, and who is always capable of perceiving that profundity by which we are referred to the Ultimate Reality that religions call God.
-- Leonardo Boff long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.
-- Noam Chomsky

* I think the only choice that will enable us to hold to our vision. . . is one that abandons the concept of naming enemies and adopts a concept familiar to the nonviolent tradition: naming behavior that is oppressive
-- Barbara Deming

A liberation movement that is nonviolent sets the oppressor free as well as the oppressed.
-- Barbara Deming

* Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
-- Frederick Douglass
"No guarantees come with children's liberation. But neither the promise of great benefits to all nor the prediction of great difficulties ahead can serve as the reason for granting or denying rights to children. Rights will be granted because without them children are incapacitated, oppressed, and abused."
-- Richard Farson

"When I see the migrant workers' broken bodies and eyes without hope, I want to embrace and wipe away their fears. It makes me angry and helps me to keep fighting the oppressive system."
-- Irene Fernandez

History has a long-range perspective. It ultimately passes stern judgment on tyrants and vindicates those who fought, suffered, were imprisoned, and died for human freedom, against political oppression and economic slavery. -- Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.
-- Gustavo Gutierrez

* Let us never cease to feel compassion for those in want. Let us never tire of helping victims of injustice and oppression. He who puts his faith in the restoration of human dignity cannot be wrong.
-- Poul Hartling

Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
~ Thomas Jefferson

* I reject the notion that I sit idly by while our cities rot; our minority people are oppressed, our elderly demeaned by semi-starvation and pauperism.
-- Mary Metlay Kaufman

* A truly free society must not include a "peace" which oppresses us. We must learn on our own terms what peace and freedom mean together. There can be no peace if there is social injustice and suppression of human rights, because external and internal peace are inseparable. Peace is not just the absence of mass destruction, but a positive internal and external condition in which people are free so that they can grow to their full potential.
-- Petra Kelly

* "Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others."
-- John F. Kennedy

* It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
-- Robert F. Kennedy

"The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

* I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr
"Regardless of what the law or your teachers have to say about this, you are as human as anyone over the age of 18 or 21, yet, 'minors' are one of the most oppressed groups of people in the world, and certainly the most discriminated against legally."
-- Grace Llewellyn

* “To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”
-- James Madison

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
-- James Madison

* Wars are bred by poverty and oppression. Continued peace is possible only in a relatively free and prosperous world.
-- George C. Marshall

* The cost in human lives and suffering is so high that we all have to work to end violence and oppression once and for all. We have to proclaim that every human being is equal, in dignity, in freedom —and, as the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, we have to live “in a spirit of brotherhood.”
-- Federico Mayor
* It is a good moment to repeat that a war is never won. Never mind that history books tell us the opposite. The psychological and material costs of war are so high that any triumph is a pyrrhic victory. Only peace can be won and winning peace means not only avoiding armed conflict but finding ways of eradicating the causes of individual and collective violence: injustice and oppression, ignorance and poverty, intolerance and discrimination. We must construct a new set of values and attitudes to replace the culture of war which, for centuries, has been influencing the course of civilization. Winning peace means the triumph of our pledge to establish, on a democratic basis, a new social framework of tolerance and generosity from which no one will feel excluded.
-- Federico Mayor

* We have learned that change cannot come through war. War is not a feasible tool to use in fighting against the oppression we face. War has caused more problems. We cannot embrace that path.
-- Rigoberta Menchú

* The greatest step forward in human evolution was made when society began to help the weak and the poor, instead of oppressing and despising them.
Maria Montessori

When all the people in the world love one another, then the strong will not overpower the weak, the many will not oppress the few, the wealthy will not mock the poor, the honored will not disdain the humble, and the cunning will not deceive the simple.
-- Motsi (463-401 BC)

He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich
--both come to poverty.
-- Proverbs 22:16

It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away
than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home. 
-- Carl T. Rowan
* What shall we choose? Violence or non violence? …We have to choose knowing that when we are violent to our enemies, we do violence to ourselves. When we brutalize others, we brutalize ourselves. And eventually we run the risk of becoming our oppressors.
-- Arundhati Roy

* "I want my child to walk in a world guided by love. This means that everybody will have a job, or the resources to take care of basic needs. A world where families are not oppressed and are connected to their neighbors and their communities, where the best in humanity is honored. That's when we will truly be at peace."
-- Malika Sanders

...all human beings have a right, and duty, to be joyful. Anything that thwarts this spiritual human right goes against the very purpose of human being. Spirituality mandates us to wage a relentless war to eradicate these forces of oppression and disempowerment. -- Swami Agnivesh

"On the collective level, we have unwittingly shifted from being a nation of liberators, defenders of freedom, into becoming a nation of arms dealers and mercenaries, fabricating our own weapons of mass destruction and arming tyrants with the tools to oppress their own people. Within our own society, we jail more prisoners than any other country in the world, 85 percent of them people of nonwhite races — red, black, brown, and yellow. We are one of the few nations that still indulge in the death penalty for increasing numbers of these prisoners. We must become mindful of these negative things, since we need not support these actions of our nation to be affected negatively by their evolutionary impact, unless we mentally, verbally, and ultimately physically, disassociate ourselves from them."
-- Robert Thurman

* "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
--Archbishop Desmond Tutu

* "It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. And never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant."
-- Bishop Desmond Tutu

"I've seen miracles in post-war situations, in famines, in places of horrendous brutal subjugation and oppression, when women step forward and play their rightful role in co-equal partnership with men. It's not the answer all by itself, but it is a powerful and incredibly effective step to give women their rightful role and voice and the resources to back it up."
-- Lynne Twist

* “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentors, not the tormented Wherever anyone is persecuted for their race or political views, that place must become the center of the universe.”
-- Elie Wiesel

* Humor is the weapon of unarmed people: it helps people who are oppressed to smile at the situation that pains them.
-- Simon Wiesenthal

* "We need to rethink our position in the world. We need to stop sending weapons to countries that oppress other people. We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times."
-- Howard Zinn

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