Grassroots Justice Quotes

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Many conscientious environmentalists are repelled by the word "abundance," automatically associating it with irresponsible consumerism and plundering of Earth's resources. In the context of grassroots frustration, insensitive enthusing about the potential for energy abundance usually elicits an annoyed retort. "We have to conserve." The authors believe the human family also has to _choose_. The people we speak with at the recycling depot or organic juice bar are for the most part not looking at the _difference_ between harmony-with-nature technologies and exploitative practices such as mountaintop coal mining. "Destructive" was yesterday's technology of choice. As a result, the words "science and technology" are repugnant to many of the people who passionately care about health, peace, justice and the biosphere. Usually these acquaintances haven't heard about the variety of constructive yet powerful clean energy technologies that have the potential to gradually replace oil and nuclear industries if allowed. Wastewater-into-energy technologies could clean up waterways and other variations solve the problem of polluting feedlots and landfills.
Jeane Manning (Breakthrough Power: How Quantum-Leap New Energy Inventions Can Transform Our World)
issue a statement attacking the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. I announced that I would only nominate justices to the Supreme Court who publicly acknowledged their intention to overturn that terrible decision. I was glad to see Hillary Clinton make a similar statement a short time later. I also stated, “It is a national disgrace that billionaires and other extremely wealthy people are able to heavily influence the political process by making huge contributions. The Koch brothers alone will spend more than the Democratic and Republican parties to influence the outcome of next year’s elections. That’s not democracy, that’s oligarchy.” During this period, under the radar, our grassroots efforts were growing rapidly. Two examples come to mind:
Bernie Sanders (Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In)
The mixture of a solidly established Romance aristocracy with the Old English grassroots produced a new language, a “French of England,” which came to be known as Anglo-Norman. It was perfectly intelligible to the speakers of other langues d’oïl and also gave French its first anglicisms, words such as bateau (boat) and the four points of the compass, nord, sud, est and ouest. The most famous Romance chanson de geste, the Song of Roland, was written in Anglo-Norman. The first verse shows how “French” this language was: Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes, set anz tuz pleins ad estéd en Espaigne, Tresqu’en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne… King Charles, our great emperor, stayed in Spain a full seven years: and he conquered the high lands up to the sea… Francophones are probably not aware of how much England contributed to the development of French. England’s court was an important production centre for Romance literature, and most of the early legends of King Arthur were written in Anglo-Norman. Robert Wace, who came from the Channel Island of Jersey, first evoked the mythical Round Table in his Roman de Brut, written in French in 1155. An Englishman, William Caxton, even produced the first “vocabulary” of French and English (a precursor of the dictionary) in 1480. But for four centuries after William seized the English crown, the exchange between Old English and Romance was pretty much the other way around—from Romance to English. Linguists dispute whether a quarter or a half of the basic English vocabulary comes from French. Part of the argument has to do with the fact that some borrowings are referred to as Latinates, a term that tends to obscure the fact that they actually come from French (as we explain later, the English worked hard to push away or hide the influence of French). Words such as charge, council, court, debt, judge, justice, merchant and parliament are straight borrowings from eleventh-century Romance, often with no modification in spelling. In her book Honni soit qui mal y pense, Henriette Walter points out that the historical developments of French and English are so closely related that anglophone students find it easier to read Old French than francophones do. The reason is simple: Words such as acointance, chalenge, plege, estriver, remaindre and esquier disappeared from the French vocabulary but remained in English as acquaintance, challenge, pledge, strive, remain and squire—with their original meanings. The word bacon, which francophones today decry as an English import, is an old Frankish term that took root in English. Words that people think are totally English, such as foreign, pedigree, budget, proud and view, are actually Romance terms pronounced with an English accent: forain, pied-de-grue (crane’s foot—a symbol used in genealogical trees to mark a line of succession), bougette (purse), prud (valiant) and vëue. Like all other Romance vernaculars, Anglo-Norman evolved quickly. English became the expression of a profound brand of nationalism long before French did. As early as the thirteenth century, the English were struggling to define their nation in opposition to the French, a phenomenon that is no doubt the root of the peculiar mixture of attraction and repulsion most anglophones feel towards the French today, whether they admit it or not. When Norman kings tried to add their French territory to England and unify their kingdom under the English Crown, the French of course resisted. The situation led to the first, lesser-known Hundred Years War (1159–1299). This long quarrel forced the Anglo-Norman aristocracy to take sides. Those who chose England got closer to the local grassroots, setting the Anglo-Norman aristocracy on the road to assimilation into English.
Jean-Benoît Nadeau (The Story of French)
Pedagogy should work in tandem with students’ own knowledge of their community and grassroots organizations to push forward new ideas for social change, not just be a tool to enhance test scores or grades. Pedagogy, regardless of its name, is useless without teachers dedicated to challenging systemic oppression with intersectional social justice.
Bettina L. Love (We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom)
What are the actions for social justice and movement building that don’t center you as a protagonist?
Jordan Flaherty (No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality)
To radically change society, we must build mass movements that can topple systems of domination, such as capitalism. However, the NPIC encourages us to think of social justice organizing as a career; that is, you do the work if you can get paid for it. However, a mass movement requires the involvement of millions of people, most of whom cannot get paid. By trying to do grassroots organizing through this careerist model, we are essentially asking a few people to work more than full-time to make up for the work that needs to be done by millions.
Incite! Women of Color Against Violence (The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
Since the late 1970s, social justice organizations within the US have operated largely within the 501(c)(3) non-profit model, in which donations made to an organization are tax deductible, in order to avail themselves of foundation grants. Despite the legacy of grassroots, mass-movement building we have inherited from the 1960s and 70s, contemporary activists often experience difficulty developing, or even imagining, structures for organizing outside this model.
Incite! Women of Color Against Violence (The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
In the Christian tradition, the function of the “prophetic” (far from being about soothsaying the future) is about speaking truth to power in the face of injustice. The prophets in the Biblical tradition were disruptive voices in the face of systemic failures to protect the most vulnerable. In our context, the prophetic is a disruption of power and privilege in much the same way as a stick in the spokes- an attempt to immediately stop the forward momentum of harmful and oppressive dynamics. The disruption becomes necessary- even critical- when our mutual and social commitments (including grassroots realities, governmental systems, religious communities, etc.) fail to protect the marginalized- or worse, contribute to their oppression.
Jamie Arpin-Ricci
bigotry everyone is comfortable with. And there’s a reason for this. A dedicated, well-funded, dynamic cottage industry of “Islamophobes” and anti-Muslim bigots has been operating for years under the guise of research, academia and policy-making. In 2011 the D.C. think tank Center for American Progress published a landmark report called Fear, Inc. It traces, in painstaking detail, the millions of dollars that annually support the very strategic creation and dissemination of misinformation about Islam and Muslims to policy makers and media and the grassroots and state-level legislative organizing against Muslims.
Rabia Chaudry (Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial)
charismatic people movements that seek to change their world through the translation of Christian truth and the transfer of power. These grassroots movements are a combination therefore of a spiritual factor (the Spirit of God), a people factor (the transfer of power to the marginalized), a truth factor (the application of the gospel to the pressing questions of a people group and culture) and a justice factor (a mission to change one’s world in response to the gospel).
Philip Jenkins (The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Future of Christianity Trilogy))
the greatest hope for the transformation of the world lies in a grassroots revolution of love-in-action, will be a grueling one. The forces stacked against the success of our enterprise are brilliantly organized, dark, drunk on power, and lethal, and the situation we find ourselves in is already apocalyptic, with the environment in freefall, two billion people living close to starvation, hundreds of animal and plant species vanishing every day, politicians in the pay of corporations hell-bent on continuing their fundamentalism of the bottom line, a corporate-sponsored New Age addicted to a materialist and narcissistic pseudospirituality, and major world religions retreating whole-scale into divisive tribal dogmatism.
Chris Saade (Second Wave Spirituality: Passion for Peace, Passion for Justice (Sacred Activism))
Meanwhile, angered by white violence in the South and inspired by the gigantic June 23 march in Detroit, grassroots people on the streets all over the country had begun talking about marching on Washington. “It scared the white power structure in Washington, D.C. to death,” as Malcolm put it in his “Message to the Grassroots” and in his Autobiography.6 So the White House called in the Big Six national Negro leaders and arranged for them to be given the money to control the march. The result was what Malcolm called the “Farce on Washington” on August 28, 1963. John Lewis, then chairman of SNCC and fresh from the battlefields of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama where hundreds of blacks and their white student allies were being beaten and murdered simply for trying to register blacks to vote, was forced to delete references to the revolution and power from his speech and, specifically, to take out the sentence, “We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory.” Marchers were instructed to carry only official signs and to sing only one song, “We Shall Overcome.” As a result, many rank-and-file SNCC militants refused to participate.7 Meanwhile, conscious of the tensions that were developing around preparations for the march on Washington and in order to provide a national rallying point for the independent black movement, Conrad Lynn and William Worthy, veterans in the struggle and old friends of ours, issued a call on the day of the march for an all-black Freedom Now Party. Lynn, a militant civil rights and civil liberties lawyer, had participated in the first Freedom Ride from Richmond, Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1947 and was one of Robert Williams’s attorneys.8 Worthy, a Baltimore Afro-American reporter and a 1936–37 Nieman Fellow, had distinguished himself by his courageous actions in defense of freedom of the press, including spending forty-one days in the Peoples Republic of China in 1957 in defiance of the U.S. travel ban (for which his passport was lifted) and traveling to Cuba without a passport following the Bay of Pigs invasion in order to help produce a documentary. The prospect of a black independent party terrified the Democratic Party. Following the call for the Freedom Now Party, Kennedy twice told the press that a political division between whites and blacks would be “fatal.
Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography)
the Shower Posse solely as the U.S. embassy cable did—as an “international criminal syndicate”—is to describe only a small part of the group’s role. The Shower Posse was (and is) both local and transnational, a nonstate armed group that nests within a marginalized and poor but tightly knit local community in Kingston, yet is connected both to the Jamaican government and to a far broader international network. It was and is as much a communitarian militia, social welfare organization, grassroots political mobilization tool, dispute resolution and mediation mechanism, and local informal justice enforcement system as it is an extortion racket or a transnational drug trafficking organization. Drug trafficking doesn’t define what an organization like Coke’s group is; it’s just one of the things the group does.
David Kilcullen (Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla)