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Quotes of the day: Grace Lee Boggs
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Published Friday, June 26, 2015 @ 9:42 PM EDT
Jun 26 2015

Grace Lee Boggs (b. June 27, 1915) is an American author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. She is known for her years of political collaboration with C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 1950s. She eventually went off in her own political direction in the 1960s with her husband of some forty years, James Boggs, until his death in 1993. By 1998, she had written four books, including an autobiography. In 2011, still active at the age of 95, she wrote a fifth book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, co-written by Scott Kurashige and published by the University of California Press. Her life is the subject of the documentary film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs released in 2013, produced and directed by the American filmmaker Grace Lee. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Activism can be the journey rather than the arrival.

Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual.

Don't get stuck in old ideas. Keep recognizing that reality is changing and that your ideas have to change.

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.

I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge.

Love isn't about what we did yesterday; it's about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after.

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.

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.

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.

Talk and write in a way that encourages the mutual exchange of ideas and acts like a midwife to people birthing their own ideas.

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.

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?

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.

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.

What time is it on the clock of the world?

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.

You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.

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.

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(June 27 is also the birthday of Emma Goldman, H. Ross Perot, and Helen Keller.)


Categories: Grace Lee Boggs, Quotes of the day


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