Grace Lee Boggs Famous Quotes & Sayings

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76 Grace Lee Boggs Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Our challenge, as we enter the new millennium, is to deepen the commonalities and the Our challenge, as we enter the new millennium, is to deepen the commonalities and the bonds between these tens of millions, while at the same time continuing to address the issues within our local communities by two-sided struggles that not only say "No" to the existing power structure but also empower our constituencies to embrace the power within each of us to crease the world anew.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The only way to survive is by taking care of one another. The only way to survive is by taking care of one another.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: My sense, although I don't remember discussing it with anyone, was that with the fall My sense, although I don't remember discussing it with anyone, was that with the fall of France to the Nazis in June 1940, European civilization had collapsed. I also recalled that although both George Herbert Mead and John Dewey had been born in New England, they developed their distinctively American philosophy of pragmatism in Chicago. So thinking of my own New England roots, I decided to go to Chicago, which, seen through Carl Sandburg's eyes, was the opposite of European decadence: Hog Butcher for the World, Tool maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler, Stormy, husky, brawling. City of the Big Shoulders.7
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The most radical thing I ever did was to stay put. The most radical thing I ever did was to stay put.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Through this tradition of face-to-face oral communication, now in danger of disappearing, black folks maintained Through this tradition of face-to-face oral communication, now in danger of disappearing, black folks maintained the conviction of their own worth and saved their own souls by refusing to fall victim to fear or the hatred of their oppressors, which they recognized would have been more destructive to themselves than to their enemies. As the poet Lucille Clifton put it, "Ultimately if you fill yourself with venom you will be poisoned."3 There were incidents of individual violence, usually crimes of passion committed by someone under the influence of alcohol and over a man or a woman. But despite the unimaginable cruelty that they suffered, blacks kept their sense of humor and created the art form of the blues as a way to work through and transcend the harshness of their lives. Living under the American equivalent of Nazism, they developed an oasis of civility in the spiritual desert of "me-firstism" that characterized the rest of the country.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think that deep in our hearts we know that our comforts, our conveniences are I think that deep in our hearts we know that our comforts, our conveniences are at the expense of other people.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized because they cannot imagine an alternative. We need a vision that recognizes that we are at one of the great turning points in human history when the survival of our planet and the restoration of our humanity require a great sea change in our ecological, economic, political, and spiritual values.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I was working with C. L. R. James; I believed in Marxist ideas about the I was working with C. L. R. James; I believed in Marxist ideas about the labor and movement and the workers being the secret to the future. And I learned differently just by being in Detroit and being married to Jimmy Boggs.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think our concept of revolution, in terms of getting the power to do things, I think our concept of revolution, in terms of getting the power to do things, is too focused on the state. We have a scenario of revolution that first, you know, comes from 1917, that first you take the state power, and then you change things. And we don't realize it's collapsed.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We need to do what I call visionary organizing. Recognize that in every crisis, people We need to do what I call visionary organizing. Recognize that in every crisis, people do not respond like a school of fish. Some people become immobilized. Some people become very angry, some commit suicide, and other people begin to find solutions. And visionary organizers look at those people, recognize them and encourage them, and they become leaders of the future.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Some people are afraid of gentrification, but what I see is young people want to Some people are afraid of gentrification, but what I see is young people want to live in a different world. And they see possibilities here. They see that rents are relatively cheap compared to places like New York and California.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Well, I would say that we've got to redefine democracy, that we have been stuck Well, I would say that we've got to redefine democracy, that we have been stuck in concepts of representative democracy, that we believe that it's getting other people to do things for us that we progress.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I warn you, I'm a terrible housekeeper. I warn you, I'm a terrible housekeeper.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Over the past seventy years the various identity struggles have to some degree remediated the Over the past seventy years the various identity struggles have to some degree remediated the great wrongs that have been done to workers, people of color, Indigenous Peoples, women, gays and lesbians, and the disabled, while helping to humanize our society overall. But they have also had a shadow side in the sense that they have encouraged us to think of ourselves more as determined than as self-determining, more as victims of 'isms' (racism, sexism, capitalism, ableism) than as human beings who have the power of choice. For our own survival we must assume individual and collective responsibility for creating a new nation - one that is loved rather than feared and one that does not have to bribe and bully other nations to win support.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: At the core of the problem is an obsolete factory model of schooling that sorts, At the core of the problem is an obsolete factory model of schooling that sorts, tracks, tests, and rejects or certifies working-class children as if they were products on an assembly line. The purpose of education, I said, cannot be only to increase the earning power of the individual or to supply workers for the ever-changing slots of the corporate machine. Children need to be given a sense of the 'unique capacity of human beings to shape and create reality in accordance with conscious purposes and plans.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Still, it becomes clearer every day that organizing or joining massive protests and demanding new Still, it becomes clearer every day that organizing or joining massive protests and demanding new policies fail to sufficiently address the crisis we face. They may demonstrate that we are on the right side politically, but they are not transformative enough. They do not change the cultural images or the symbols that play such a pivotal role in molding us into who we are.
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Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Actually, if you go back to what Marx said in The Communist Manifesto over a Actually, if you go back to what Marx said in The Communist Manifesto over a hundred years ago, when in talking about the constant revolutions in technology, he ended that paragraph by saying, "All that is sacred is profaned, all that is solid melts into air, and men and women are forced to face with sober senses our conditions of life and our relations with our kind." We're at that sort of turning point in human history.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: How are we going to make our livings in a society becoming increasingly jobless because How are we going to make our livings in a society becoming increasingly jobless because of hi-tech and outsourcing? Where will we get the imagination to recognize that for most of human history the concept of Jobs didn't even exist? Work, as distinguished from Labor, was done to produce needed goods and services, develop skills and artistry, and nurture cooperation.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The nation-state became powerful in the wake of the French Revolution, whereas the nation-state has The nation-state became powerful in the wake of the French Revolution, whereas the nation-state has become powerless in light of globalization.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think at the time, my radicalization was not through growing up Chinese, but through I think at the time, my radicalization was not through growing up Chinese, but through the role that the black people were playing at the beginning of World War II, when they had started the "Double V for Victory" movement - for democracy at home as well as abroad.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Love isn't about what we did yesterday; it's about what we do today and tomorrow Love isn't about what we did yesterday; it's about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: In the 1950s I rarely went to a community meeting without Jimmy and would usually In the 1950s I rarely went to a community meeting without Jimmy and would usually just listen or ask questions. Now, having worked in the city and socialized with Jimmy's friends and Correspondence readers for years, I felt I had something to contribute. I was beginning to feel comfortable with the we pronoun, so comfortable that in FBI records of that period I am described as Afro-Chinese.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: You don't choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want You don't choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want to be. And you do choose how you think.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: It's really important that we get rid of the idea that protest will create change. It's really important that we get rid of the idea that protest will create change. We don't realize that that kind of organizing worked only when the government was very strong, when the West ruled the world, relatively speaking.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: As I witness and participate in our visionary efforts to revitalize Detroit and contrast them As I witness and participate in our visionary efforts to revitalize Detroit and contrast them with the multibillion dollars' worth of megaprojects advanced by politicians and developed that involve casinos, giant stadiums, gentrification, and the Super Bowl, I am saddened by their shortsightedness. At the same time I rejoice in the energy being unleashed in the community by our human-scale programs that involve bringing the country back into the city and removing the walls between schools and communities, between generations, and between ethnic groups. And I am confident just as in the early twentieth century people came from around the world to marvel at the mass production lines pioneered by Henry Ford, in the twenty-first century they will be coming to marvel at the thriving neighborhoods that are the fruit of our visionary programs.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The struggle we're dealing with these days, which, I think, is part of what the The struggle we're dealing with these days, which, I think, is part of what the 60s represented, is how do we define our humanity?
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Really, people are not a school of fish. Finding the leaders of the future is Really, people are not a school of fish. Finding the leaders of the future is a question of recognizing those people who give leadership in a crisis.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The natural tendency of children is to solve problems, but we try to indoctrinate them The natural tendency of children is to solve problems, but we try to indoctrinate them with facts, which they are supposed to feed back, and then we fail them. And that's child abuse. And you should never raise children that way. You should cultivate and encourage their natural tendencies to create solutions to the problems around them.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: When you think of power, you think the state has power. When you look at When you think of power, you think the state has power. When you look at it in terms of revolution, in terms of the state, you think of it in terms of Russia, the Soviet Union, and how those who struggled for power actually became victims of the state, prisoners of the state, and how that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We have to think of revolution much more in terms of transitions from one epoch to another. Talk about Paleolithic and Neolithic.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think people look at revolution too much in terms of power. I think revolution I think people look at revolution too much in terms of power. I think revolution has to be seen more anthropologically, in terms of transitions from one mode of life to another. We have to see today in light of the transition, say, from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and from agriculture to industry, and from industry to post-industry. We're in an epoch transition.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The image of blacks usually is one of people who are suffering from hunger, unemployment, The image of blacks usually is one of people who are suffering from hunger, unemployment, and poverty. The idea of them as agents and activists - as starting revolutions - does not exist in most people's minds. And I think it's very, very important that folks understand how much this country was founded on the enslavement of blacks, and how the resistance of blacks to that enslavement has been the spark plug for so many important developments.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We have this exploding prison population. We have the equivalent of martial law on a We have this exploding prison population. We have the equivalent of martial law on a day-to-day, 24/7-hour basis in our cities, because we have not heard the cry for help by young people in 1967.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I am often asked what keeps me going after all these years. I think it I am often asked what keeps me going after all these years. I think it is the realization that there is no final struggle. Whether you win or lose, each struggle brings forth new contradictions, new and more challenging questions. As Alice Walker put it in one of my favorite poems: I must love the questions themselves as Rilke said like locked rooms full of treasures to which my blind and groping key does not yet fit.1
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: This capitalist society has not lasted forever; it's only a few hundred years old. This capitalist society has not lasted forever; it's only a few hundred years old.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: With the end of empire, we are coming to an end of the epoch of With the end of empire, we are coming to an end of the epoch of rights. We have entered the epoch of responsibilities, which requires new, more socially-minded human beings and new, more participatory and place-based concepts of citizenship and democracy.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I don't know what the next American revolution is going to be like, but we I don't know what the next American revolution is going to be like, but we might be able to imagine it if your imagination were rich enough.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We're in a very, very profound crisis. It's so obvious that no one in the We're in a very, very profound crisis. It's so obvious that no one in the power structure, either the corporate power structure or the political power structure, knows what to do or is willing to do what's necessary in relationship both to global war and global warming. It's so obvious that conditions are getting worse for the great majority of Americans. It's so obvious also that we face a very serious danger from people who feel, see themselves only as victims. And we have to somehow, in a very loving way, help the American people to recover the best that is in our traditions.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The main reason why Western civilization lacks Spirituality, or an awareness of our interconnectedness with The main reason why Western civilization lacks Spirituality, or an awareness of our interconnectedness with one another and the universe, according to Gandhi, is that it has given priority to economic and technological development over human and community development.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I first understood the changes that were necessary in this world, because the waiters in I first understood the changes that were necessary in this world, because the waiters in the restaurant, when I cried, used to say, "Leave her on the hillside to die. She's only a girl baby." I think they said it somewhat as a joke, maybe not, but it made me understand that being born female in this world was very different from being born male.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think that rebellions arise out of anger, and they're very short-lived. I think that rebellions arise out of anger, and they're very short-lived.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: When I came to Detroit, if you threw a stone up in the air and When I came to Detroit, if you threw a stone up in the air and it came down, it would hit an autoworker because the Chrysler Jefferson plant where my husband worked was very close also to where we lived.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: It takes time for change to take place. But then when huge changes are taking It takes time for change to take place. But then when huge changes are taking place, they are extraordinary. And it requires a kind of philosophical thinking, thinking in terms of epochs.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Every crisis, actual or impending, needs to be viewed as an opportunity to bring about Every crisis, actual or impending, needs to be viewed as an opportunity to bring about profound changes in our society. Going beyond protest organizing, visionary organizing begins by creating images and stories of the future that help us imagine and create alternatives to the existing system.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of devastation is one of the great historical contributions of humankind.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I have learned to savor every minute of time with my four year old daughter I have learned to savor every minute of time with my four year old daughter not only because I know how quickly children grow up but also because I have no idea what state the world will be in when she is my age.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think people are really looking for some way whereby we can grow our souls I think people are really looking for some way whereby we can grow our souls rather than our economy. I think that at some level, people recognize that growing our economy is destroying us. It's destroying us as human beings, it's destroying our planet. I think there's a great human desire for solutions, for profound solutions - and that nothing simple will do it. It really requires some very great searching of our souls.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think we have to rethink the concept of "leader." 'Cause "leader" implies "follower." And, I think we have to rethink the concept of "leader." 'Cause "leader" implies "follower." And, so many- not so many, but I think we need to appropriate, embrace the idea that we are the leaders we've been looking for.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Talk and write in a way that encourages the mutual exchange of ideas and acts Talk and write in a way that encourages the mutual exchange of ideas and acts like a midwife to people birthing their own ideas.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: activism can be the journey rather than the arrival; activism can be the journey rather than the arrival;
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We urgently need a paradigm shift in our concept of the purposes and practices of We urgently need a paradigm shift in our concept of the purposes and practices of education. We need to leave behind the concept of education as a passport to more money and higher status in the future and replace it with a concept of education as an ongoing process that enlists the tremendous energies and creativity of schoolchildren in rebuilding and respiriting our communities and our cities now, in the present.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Don't get stuck in old ideas. Keep recognizing that reality is changing and that your Don't get stuck in old ideas. Keep recognizing that reality is changing and that your ideas have to change.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: How do we redefine education so that 30-50 percent of inner-city children do not drop How do we redefine education so that 30-50 percent of inner-city children do not drop out of school, thus ensuring that millions will end up in prison?
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: What time is it on the clock of the world? What time is it on the clock of the world?
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think Detroit is already providing a model for change in the world. I think I think Detroit is already providing a model for change in the world. I think that Detroit - I mean, people come from all over the world come to see what we're doing. People are looking for a new way of living.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Being a victim of oppression in the United States is not enough to make you Being a victim of oppression in the United States is not enough to make you revolutionary, just as dropping out of your mother's womb is not enough to make you human. People who are full of hate and anger against their oppressors or who only see Us versus Them can make a rebellion but not a revolution. The oppressed internalize the values of the oppressor. Therefore, any group that achieves power, no matter how oppressed, is not going to act differently from their oppressors as long as they have not confronted the values that they have internalized and consciously adopted different values.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual. Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Rebellions tend to be negative, to denounce and expose the enemy without providing a positive Rebellions tend to be negative, to denounce and expose the enemy without providing a positive vision of a new future ... A revolution is not just for the purpose of correcting past injustices, a revolution involves a projection of man/woman into the future ... It begins with projecting the notion of a more human human being, i.e. a human being who is more advanced in the specific qualities which only human beings have - creativity, consciousness and self-consciousness, a sense of political and social responsibility.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other. We urgently need to bring the neighbor back into our hoods, not only in our inner cities but also in our suburbs, our gated communities, on Main Street and Wall Street, and on Ivy League campuses.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We need to undergo a very radical revolution in values. And we need to think We need to undergo a very radical revolution in values. And we need to think about what it's like to have become so materialistic that we think having a good job, and consuming like crazy to compensate for the dehumanization of the job, is living like a human being.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: When I was growing up, Asians were so few and far between as to be When I was growing up, Asians were so few and far between as to be almost invisible. And so the idea of an Asian American movement or an Asian American thrust in this country was unthinkable.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think that's a very important part of what we need in this country, is I think that's a very important part of what we need in this country, is that sense that we have lived through so many stages and that we are entering into a new stage where we could create something completely different.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: People in Detroit aren't just urban gardening. They're starting a new mode of education. They're People in Detroit aren't just urban gardening. They're starting a new mode of education. They're trying to give children the education to be "solutionaries" rather than people who are going to get jobs in the system. And that is a huge change, a cultural revolution.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: When you read Marx (or Jesus) this way, you come to see that real wealth When you read Marx (or Jesus) this way, you come to see that real wealth is not material wealth and real poverty is not just the lack of food, shelter, and clothing. Real poverty is the belief that the purpose of life is acquiring wealth and owning things. Real wealth is not the possession of property but the recognition that our deepest need, as human beings, is to keep developing our natural and acquired powers to relate to other human beings.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We're at a great transition point in terms of population, demographics, and what it means We're at a great transition point in terms of population, demographics, and what it means to be a human being.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Jimmy Boggs was born in a little town called Marion Junction, Alabama, where there were Jimmy Boggs was born in a little town called Marion Junction, Alabama, where there were as many pigs, or more pigs, than even the people. But you know what? People in the South had an understanding that you could make a way out of no way, and that's how they survived.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it's never a question of 'critical mass.' It's always about critical connections.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: The physical threat posed by climate change represents a crisis that is not only material The physical threat posed by climate change represents a crisis that is not only material but also profoundly spiritual at its core because it challenges us to think seriously about the future of the human race and what it means to be a human being.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I had no idea what I was gonna do after I got my degree in I had no idea what I was gonna do after I got my degree in philosophy in 1940. But what I did know was at that time, if you were a Chinese-American, even department stores wouldn't hire you. They'd come right out and say, 'We don't hire Orientals.'
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: I think we're not looking sufficiently at what is happening at the grassroots in the I think we're not looking sufficiently at what is happening at the grassroots in the country. We have not emphasized sufficiently the cultural revolution that we have to make among ourselves in order to force the government to do differently. Things do not start with governments.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: History is not the past. It is the stories we tell about the past. How History is not the past. It is the stories we tell about the past. How we tell these stories - triumphantly or self-critically, metaphysically or dialectally - has a lot to do with whether we cut short or advance our evolution as human beings.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: A rebellion is something that is developing as an explosion coming out of the righteous A rebellion is something that is developing as an explosion coming out of the righteous grievances of a community of people.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: Nonviolence is based on recognizing that all of us are human beings. And at a Nonviolence is based on recognizing that all of us are human beings. And at a certain point we begin to learn that you don't gather very much by making enemies out of people and not recognizing their humanity. Nonviolence is essentially based on recognizing the humanity in every one one of us.
Grace Lee Boggs Sayings: To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/ spiritual leap and become more 'human' human beings. In order to change/ transform the world, they must change/ transform themselves.