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SAR V Quotes

Quotes from our reading since the last print issue.

Published onJul 22, 2021
SAR V Quotes

Organized police forces are relatively recent inventions, developing especially in the nineteenth century. They emerged as (and remain) a means of imposing social order. Their precise nature differs in important ways across national contexts and forms of government, depending on which populations were perceived to be threats to social order. For example, British police were formed to quell Irish nationalism and Chartist demonstrations in the interests of wealthy Victorians, fearful that London was growing rapidly in size and impoverishment. The London Metropolitan Police was modeled both on the Bow Street Runners, originators of the concept of regular uniformed police patrols, and on the London Marine Police Force, initially funded by the West India Merchants and the West Indian Planters Committee for the purposes of securing cargo from the colonies. Techniques of policing were also derived from colonial governance. Through the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, British police forces increasingly took on the role of ensuring public order against the threat of rioting. In nineteenth-century Canada and Australia, national “mounted” police forces were established to control Indigenous populations, serving as security forces for settler colonialism.

These histories are important for understanding not only the criminalization of Indigeneity, and the continued regularity of the murder of Indigenous people in police custody, but also the ways that war and police have been inextricably entwined for centuries.

— A. Howell, International Feminist Journal of Politics, page 123

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Mexico’s power elite in the last three decades is overwhelmingly the product of elite mentors. Only one out of seven of our power elites had no known elite mentor. Furthermore, most of the mentors were either members of their same small power elite circle or members of elite circles prior to 1970.

These figures are extraordinary for two reasons. First, the fact that nearly half of Mexico’s most influential figures were disciples of their own peers during a thirty-year period suggests the rapidity of elite dynamics on one hand and the ability of a narrow group of leaders to choose their replacements on the other. Second, although having an elite rather than an “oridinary” mentor is not a requirement for achieving super elite status, in more than eight out of ten cases it is in the norm. Thus, those talented individuals in Mexican society with leadership ambitions are not likely to achieve membership in Mexico’s power elite withoutthe assistance of an elite mentor. Having such a mentor does not guarantee achieving elite status, but rather it is a typical characteristic among those Mexicans who achieve such influence.

Camp, Roderic A., and Camp, Roderic A. Mexico's Mandarins: Crafting a Power Elite for the Twenty-first Century. United Kingdom, University of California Press, 2002.

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Those who rule in this country now . . . want to hide the truth from black people . . . and they would like to hide it from the world; and not, alas, because they are ashamed of it but because they have no intention of changing it. They cannot afford to change it. They would not know how to go about changing it, even if their imaginations were capable of encompassing the concept of black freedom.

— Nabile Fares, as qtd. in Paris and the Marginalized Author: Treachery, Alienation, Queerness, and Exile. United States, Lexington Books, 2018.

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First of all I am, not through my own choice, in the Western world, and also in a world which in a certain way is not yet born, created, or else it’s so ancient that it exists only in the passions and underground memory of certain folks. I’m in mid-voyage. It’s not all in escape. I see something, and I have confidence in this something that we are: human beings.

— James Baldwin to Nabile Fares, as qtd. in Paris and the Marginalized Author: Treachery, Alienation, Queerness, and Exile. United States, Lexington Books, 2018.

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Baldwin’s sentence, despite my little enthusiasm for determents, I hunted for in my boxes until nightfall. In fact, it was a question of returning to Baldwin’s thoughts through Albert Memmi, in [his] introduction to The Fire Next Time. I wanted this sentence. I wanted to read it again because it is a phrase that is a part of impossible discourses, discourses that are only very rarely heard, discourses that will never be understood. It belongs to these sentences that are written to be lost, and which, because of their loss, continue to remain, as if, despite the events which overtake them and will overtake it (this little sentence, Baldwin-Memmi), they stand before you . . . like the Sphinx before Oedipus, words of an enigma that no one, neither violence, nor tearing apart can resolve.

— Brandy Fax in Un passenger de l’Occident

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I don’t believe Hayek has any genuine faith in or affection for political democracy. I don’t think that he would put nearly as much punch into a campaign against business monopoly as he would against a trade union monopoly.

— Economist Jacob Viner, as qtd. in The SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism, pg. 108

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“Create beauty from all that pain. You have talent and legacy. This is a privilege that life has given to you. How many times have I wanted to sing to life, to the struggle, to the pain, to those who are no longer here? And when I opened my mouth, all that came out was a moan.”

— Haydee Santamaria as qtd. in Margaret Randall’s Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression. Duke University Press, 2015.

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After the May 21 cease-fire, Gazans began visiting relatives and friends who survived the [Israeli] onslaught in an atmosphere that is both sorrowful and triumphant. Families are reuniting after splitting up their children among friends and relatives, so that, should their own home be hit by a missile, at least one of their children — and their lineage — would live on.

— Isra Namey and Taylor Luck, “Gaza’s painful reckoning with war’s physical toll,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2021, page 10.

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If [people] get involved in one form of politics, it often spills over anbd they will be engaged in other forms of political activity. This is not the first time we have seen issues around public schools be flashpoints. You can think of school board politics as the gateway drug to greater involvement across the board.

Because school board elections are low-profile races with low turnout, and the number of voters compared to a congressional district is small, it means a small group of dedicated activists can make a big difference — and that’s part of the appeal. It’s not uncommon for people running for Congress to describe how they first got involved in school board politics.

— David Campbell, University of Notre Dame, qtd. in “Why are parents so mad in one of America’s best school districts?” by Story Hinckley, The Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2021, page 8

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This exploitative imagery is dressed up with numbers that attempt to portray the state of women in the country and austerity in a bad light. They are the same myopic and dubious figures as always. They state, for example, that 46.2 percent of the population is below the poverty line, that 58 percent of those same poor households have a single mother at the head of the family, and that 70 percent of them are unemployed.36 Other common figures include the number of women who receive public assistance to obtain food for their households, and those who receive child support. Some days, when the newspapers disseminate statistics about abused women, women killed by their partners, or those who have gone missing, I can’t understand if they are raising awareness or propagating victimization.

In spite of so many facts and figures, there are some that never, or only very rarely, get mentioned. Like, for example, that a box of eighteen tampons costs, on average, $7.00 before tax, while the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour before subtracting taxes. They also fail to point out that under PROMESA the minimum wage can be lowered to $4.25 an hour, before taxes, for women twenty-five years old or younger, at the governor’s discretion.37 Or that the average menstrual cycle lasts five days; and in order to avoid infections or life-threatening complications, a woman should change her tampon every six to eight hours at most; and that the flow of blood obligates us to change them much more frequently. Or that eight tampons may be needed every day, and that two boxes are needed every month, twelve months of the year, which adds up to about $168 annually, or twenty-four hours of a woman’s work time. Or that thanks to the federal government’s budget cuts, which eliminate the cash a family with public assistance benefits can withdraw—which was $60 a year ago—today, they can only withdraw $36. Or that from that sum, an impoverished woman is responsible for paying for sanitary pads, tampons, cleaning products, deodorant, toilet paper, adult diapers, children’s school materials—because if it wasn’t for the teacher there wouldn’t even be chalk—but also gas, water, and electricity, because if you don’t pay they’ll take the roof from over your head. And with that, they’ll snatch away our children, our peace and dignity, our bodies, our stink, and all the fucking rest of it. This is what the statistics don’t show. This is the truth that fleshes out the beautiful facts and clean numbers of poverty. But it’s never spoken about because it isn’t proper, because it stinks.

— Godreau-Aubert, Ariadna Michelle, and Tara Philips. “We Women Who Don’t Owe Anyone.” Critical Times, vol. 4, no. 1, Apr. 2021, pp. 130–47. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1215/26410478-8855283. Accessed 20 June 2021.

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Logistics is power. Block everything.

Chilean mining protestors, as quoted in Arboleda, Martin. Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction Under Late Capitalism. United Kingdom, Verso Books, 2020.

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“True injustice is always to be found at the precise point where you put yourself in the right and other people in the wrong.”

— Adorno

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Any one of those is a possible narrative, but of no single use can I say with certainty that it alone is true.

— Butler, Judith on Nietzschean genealogy in Giving an Account of Oneself. United States, Fordham University Press, 2009.

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“influx of the refuse and criminal hordes of foreign countries”

— U.S. Sen. Heflin of Alabama, May 2, 1921, as quoted in Gandal, Keith. The Gun and the Pen: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and the Fiction of Mobilization. United States, Oxford University Press, 2010.

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About three-quarters of Texans working for companies with fewer than 100 employees do not have access to a pension or retirement savings plan. In all, nearly 60 percent of the state’s private-sector workers—5.4 million people—have no savings plan through their employers, the analysis found. 

— Thomas Korosec. “Pushing to Help Texas Workers Save for Retirement.” Texas AARP, AARP, 1 July 2021, https://states.aarp.org/texas/pushing-to-help-texas-workers-save-for-retirement.

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68% of the private sector workforce has no long-term disability insurance.

48% of the workforce in private industry has no private pension coverage.

— Factsheet: Social Security. Factsheet, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/basicfact-alt.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2021.

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Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $36.64 per hour worked. Wages and salaries averaged $25.80 per hour worked and accounted for 70.4 percent of employer costs. Benefit costs averaged $10.83 per hour worked and accounted for the remaining 29.6 percent. Median (50th wage percentile) employer costs per employee hour worked were $26.88 for total compensation, $18.91 for wages and salaries, and $7.97 for benefits.

— “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - March 2021.” Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - March 2021, U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 June 2021, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf.

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When building a decolonizing machine out of colonizing scraps, we ought to ask, what are the types of organizational structures to get it done? What organizational structures do we think we are supposed to have? Why do we think that way?

—  la paperson (K. Wayne Yang). A Third University Is Possible. United States, University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

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I can lose my hands, and still live. I can lose my legs and still live. I can lose my eyes and still live. I can lose my hair, eyebrows, nose, arms, and many other things and still live. But if I lose the air I die. If I lose the sun I die. If I lose the earth I die. If I lose the water I die. If I lose the plants and animals I die. All of these things are more a part of me, more essential to my every breath, than is my so-called body. What is my real body?

We are not autonomous, self-sufficient beings as European mythology teaches. . . . We are rooted just like the trees. But our roots come out of our nose and mouth, like an umbilical cord, forever connected to the rest of the world. . . . Nothing that we do, do we do by ourselves. We do not see by ourselves. We do not hear by ourselves. . . . That which the tree exhales, I inhale. That which I exhale, the trees inhale. Together we form a circle.

— Jack Forbes. “Where Do Our Bodies End?” Windspeaker Publication/Ammsa.com, Aboriginal Multi-Media Society, 2002, https://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/where-do-our-bodies-end.

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It is easy to blur the truth with a simple linguistic trick: start your story from “Secondly.” Yes, that is what Rabin did. He simply neglected to speak of what happened first. Start your story from “Secondly,” and the world will turn upside-down. Start your story with “Secondly,” and the arrows of the Red Indian are the original criminals and the guns of the white men are entirely the victim. It is enough to start with “Secondly” for the anger of the black man against the white to be barbarous. Start with “Secondly,” and Gandhi becomes responsible for the tragedies of the British . . . It is enough to start with “Secondly,” for my grandmother, Umm ’Ata, to become the criminal and Ariel Sharon her victim.

— Barghouti, Mourid. I Saw Ramallah. Egypt, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008, as quoted in Majumdar, Nivedita. The World in a Grain of Sand: Postcolonial Literature and Radical Universalism. United Kingdom, Verso Books, 2021.

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Can the defeated be let off politics? . . . How can our Arab francophone and anglophone critics believe this? . . . Politics is the family at breakfast. Who is there and who is absent and why . . . Where is your illusion laid bare by the newspaper lying on the cane chair at your side? . . . Who ruins your sweet inconsequential things with the awe of his authority and his driver and his servants and his happy bodyguards? . . . Politics is the number of coffee cups on the table, it is the sudden presence of what you have forgotten, the memories of what you are afraid to look at too closely, though you look anyway. Staying away from politics is also politics. Politics is nothing and it is everything.

— Barghouti, Mourid. I Saw Ramallah. Egypt, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008, as quoted in Majumdar, Nivedita. The World in a Grain of Sand: Postcolonial Literature and Radical Universalism. United Kingdom, Verso Books, 2021.

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Now, the inclusion of indigenous knowledges by the emissaries of global capitalism is certainly an instrumentalist move, and to the extent that it furthers their fundamental economic agenda, it is part of a general strategy to mobilize all available intellectual and material resources. Put differently, outfits like the World Bank will adopt any knowledge system, scientific or otherwise, as long as it advances the goal of capitalist development. Because indigenous systems of knowledge in certain instances offer a valuable repository of information that can be channeled for what’s called sustainability (of capitalism), they have embraced its utilitarian value. Contra culturalist claims, however, this adoption shows that the motivating factor in dominant development models is not a hostility toward indigenous cultures, but global capitalist growth. However, it is also the case that, institutional promotion of indigenous knowledges by institutions like the World Bank notwithstanding, such an inclusive approach toward traditional knowledges is not the norm. In fact, more often than not, indigenous populations have little to offer to the trajectory of capitalist development, or constitute a hindrance in its path; therefore, such populations are typically marginalized. But, note that the driving factor in the treatment of indigenous populations—inclusion or exclusion—is not cultural. Rather, it is the logic of capitalist growth.

—Majumdar, Nivedita. The World in a Grain of Sand: Postcolonial Literature and Radical Universalism. United Kingdom, Verso Books, 2021.

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In the middle of the gentle Indian night, an intruder burst through the bamboo door of the simple adobe hut. He was a government vaccinator, under orders to break resistance against smallpox vaccination. Lakshmi Singh awoke screaming and scrambled to hide herself. Her husband leaped out of bed, grabbed an ax, and chased the intruder into the courtyard.

Outside, a squad of doctors and policemen quickly overpowered Mohan Singh. The instant he was pinned to the ground, a second vaccinator jabbed smallpox vaccine into his arm.

Mohan Singh, a wiry 40-year-old leader of the Ho tribe, squirmed away from the needle, causing the vaccination site to bleed. The, government team held him until they had injected enough vaccine; then they seized his wife. Pausing only to suck out some vaccine, Mohan Singh pulled a bamboo pole from the roof and attacked the strangers holding his wife.

While two policemen rebuffed him, the rest of the team overpowered the entire family and vaccinated each in turn. Lakshmi Singh bit deep into one doctor's hand, but to no avail.

—Brilliant, Lawrence B, and Girija Brilliant, “Death for a Killer Disease.” Quest May/June 1978.

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