Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Howard Zinn Remembering Dave Dellinger

From DemocracyNow: Thursday, May 27th, 2004 Revolutionary Non-Violence: Remembering Dave Dellinger, 1915-2004
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HOWARD ZINN (part of 34 minute program): Well, it's very sad, of course, to hear about Dave Dellinger, but you know, he inspired us all. I met him first in Hiroshima in 1966, and that was typical of him, flying halfway around the world to be part of an international gathering to remember the dropping of the bomb. I mean, all of his life he really struggled against war. It was interesting, I was in World War II, I was a bombardier in World War II, I wasn't thinking about pacifism or war. You know, I was imbued like everybody else with the idea of a good war. Dave Dellinger saw beyond that. He saw farther than that. He was a conscientious objector in World War II. Not that he didn't understand the dangers of fascism, but he thought it was necessary to uphold the ideal of non-violent resistance to fascism, to war. You know, of course, I was on the platforms with Dave many times during the Vietnam War. He briefed me and Dan Berrigan before we went to protest in Hanoi in 1968. I went to testify for him and the others in the Chicago conspiracy trial. He was an absolute rock of integrity, and all through his life he never made any money. He was always struggling. He never held any post. He was not like some of us, professors in universities and getting salaries. He never drew that. He just always lived at the edge of poverty. He was always -- even after he was supposedly retired, I remember I thought he was retired and living in Vermont and went to Columbus, Ohio, and there he was on Columbus Day engaged in a fast at the foot of the statue of Columbus protesting on behalf of indigenous people against the idea that conquest, which Columbus represented, was a good thing. You know, Dave,among his other books wrote a book called "More Power than We Know." I thought that was important because he was always conscious of the fact that the people, if they organize, if they persist, have more power than we know. It always looks like an impossible battle against the establishment with all their weapons and all their money. But [Dave] understood and history bears him out. That when enough people get together or organize and take risks and do the things that Dave did all of his life, they can overcome the most powerful military machine on earth.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


These quotes quotations are from the David (Dave) Dellinger Must-read essay "Declaration of War," 1945, from his Sacred, MUST READ book - "Revolutionary Nonviolence."

"The atom bombs were exploded on congested cities filled with civilians. There was not even the slightest military justification because the military outcome of the war had been decided months earlier. The only reason that the fighting was still going on was the refusal of American authorities to discontinue a war which postponed the inevitable economic collapse at home, and was profitable to their pocketbooks, their military and political prestige, their race hatred, and their desires for imperialist expansion."

"The "way of life" that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and is reported to have roasted alive up to a million people in Tokyo in a single night) is international, and dominates every nation of the world. But we live in the United States, so our struggle is here. With this "way of life" ("death" would be more appropriate) there can be no truce nor quarter. The prejudices of patriotism, the pressures of our friends, and the fear of unpopularity, imprisonment, or death should not hold us back any longer. It must be total war against the infamous economic, political, and social system which is dominant in this country. The American system has been destroying human life in peace and in war, at home and abroad, for decades. Now it has produced the crowning infamy of atom bombing. Beside these brutal facts the tidbits of token democracy mean nothing. Henceforth no decent citizen owes one scrap of allegiance (if he ever did) to American law, American custom, or American institutions."

"There is a tendency to think that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an excess that can be attributed to a few militants and politicians at the top. That is the easy way out. It enables us to express our horror at the more obvious atrocities of our civilization while remaining "respectable" supporters of the institutions which make them inevitable. But obliteration bombing by blockbusters, incendiaries, and atom bombs was a logical part of the brutal warfare that had been carried on for nearly four years with the patriotic support of American political, religious, scientific, business, and labor institutions. The sudden murder of 300,000 Japanese is consistent with the ethics of a society which is bringing up millions of its own children in city slums."

"The evil of our civilization cannot be combated by campaigns which oppose militarism and conscription but leave the American economic and social system in tact."

"The fight against military conscription cannot be separated from the fight against the economic conscription involved in private ownership of the country's factories, railroads, and natural resources."

"The fight against the swift destruction of human life which takes place in modern warfare cannot be separated from the fight against the slow debilitation of the human personality which takes place in the families of the rich, the unemployed, and the poor."

"The enemy is every institution which denies full social and economic equality to anyone."

"The enemy is personal indifference to the consequences of acts performed by the institutions of which we are a part."

"There is no solution short of all-out war. But there must be one major difference between our war and the war that has just ended. The war against the Axis was fought as a military campaign against people, with all the destructive fury, violent hatred, regimentation, and dishonest of military warfare. The combatants were conscripts rather than free men. Every day that the war went on they were compelled to act in contradiction to the ideals which motivated many of them. Therefore "victory was predestined to be a hollow farce, putting a partial end to killing that never should have begun, but entrenching white imperialism as the tyrant of the Pacific, and contributing unemployment, slums, and class hatred to the United States. The American people won half the world and lost their souls."

"The war for total brotherhood must be a nonviolent war carried on by methods worthy of the ideals we seek to serve. The acts we perform must be the responsible acts of free men, not the irresponsible acts of conscripts under orders. We must fight against institutions but not against people."

"There must be strikes, sabotage, and seizure of public property now being held by private owners. There must be civil disobedience of laws which are contrary to human welfare. But there must also be an uncompromising practice of treating everyone, including the worst of our opponents, with all the respect and decency that he merits as a fellow human being. We must respect the owners, policemen, conservatives and strike-breakers for what they are - potentially decent people who have been conditioned by a sick society into playing anti-social roles, the basic inhumanity of which they do not understand."

"This is a diseased world in which it is impossible for anyone to be fully human. One way or another, everyone who lives in the modern world is sick or maladjusted. Slick businessmen and bosses, parasitical coupon clippers, socially blind lawyers, scientists, and clergymen are as much victims of "a world they never made" as are the rough and irresponsible elements of America's great slums."

"The only way we can begin to break the vicious circle of blindness, hatred, and inequality is to combine an uncompromising war upon evil institutions with an unending kindness and love of every individual-including the individuals who defend existing institutions."

"This is total war. But it is a war in which our allegiance transcends nationalities and classes. Every act we perform today must reflect the kind of human relationships we are fighting to establish tomorrow."

Monday, February 19, 2007

About this Dave Dellinger Quotes/Quotations site

THIS SITE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. Check back regularly for more David Dellinger Quotes and Quotations. This is a site dedicated to getting Dave (David) Dellinger's words, quotes, quotations on the Internet. David Dellinger may be the single most useful theorist and practitioner of nonviolent, direct action and civil disobedience throughout history.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Revolutionary Nonviolence (RN)." Quotes from Intro

Revolutionary Nonviolence (1971), by Dave (David) Dellinger may be the single greatest work regarding the practical theory of anti-violence/nonviolence/civil disobedience/direct action/waging love.... It was recommended to me by the heroic Kathy Kelly. This book should be read, and read, and read... These are just some highlights:

"This is... a country characterized by humanitarian rhetoric and, at the same time, actual disregard for the dignity of millions of persons who fall into negative categories - blacks, criminals, Communists, welfare recipients, young people, etc. In such a context there is a danger that social protest may function not as a revolutionizing force but as a soporific. Mass marches and reform candidates become opiates of people whose consciences have been disturbed by intrusions of reality. The existence of moderate (ineffective) dissent encourages the illusion that the country's goals are proper and its "shortcomings" are being taken care of within a context of political freedom. What other country in the world would allow a half million people to register their dissent in the nation's capital in the midst of and enervating war? But then, what kind of country is it in which the government can cushion and absorb widespread public protest without altering its policies of death and domination?"

"[I]n the normal course of events, the country will elect more and more black mayors and fund more and more black capitalists while continuing to deny the masses of people, black and white, the joys and dignity of political and economic equality."

"For Americans of goodwill who are not themselves prime victims of the current society, the temptation is to think in terms of restoring or bringing up to date the "normal" functioning of a basically humane and democratic system; they rarely trace the connections between the immediate abuse under attack and the fundamental assumptions and institutions of the society. Some abuses are thought to be carry-overs from the past, such as poverty and the oppression of black people - which is characteristically called the black problem, though it is clearly a problem created by white people an perpetuated by institutions that white people have established. Other problems, like the war in Vietnam, are thought to result from the mistakes or bad politics of individual office-holders, who can be persuaded to respond to reason or, if they do not, can be defeated in the next election. In the days since the United States dropped its atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and launched the Cold War, we have exchanged Truman and Acheson for Eisenhower and Dulled; Eisenhower and Dulles for Kennedy, Johnson, Rostow, and Rusk; Johnson, Rostow, McNamara, and Rusk for Nixon, Agnew, Laird, and Mitchell. Just a rundown of the names is reminder that changes in management have produced no fundamental changes in policy."

"The truth is, as Randolph Bourne wrote early in World War I, that "war is the health of the state." And three quarters of a century earlier, Pierre Joseph Proudhon enunciated the maxim that "property is theft." The failure of most Americans to believe and connect these two truths, [U.S. elite's addiction to war profits, and "property is theft"] and to become revolutionaries rather than reformers, helps explain not only America's repeated participation in imperialist wars, but also the continued existence of poverty and injustice in the richest, most technologically advanced country in the world... The health of the state conflicts with the health of the citizenry, and the prerogatives of property prevent the fulfillment of the people."

"America was promises," says an early poem by Archibald MacLeish. And large numbers of Americans have believed the promises, a fact which has encouraged domestic liberalism and stalled completion of the unfinished American Revolution. We have a genuine history of liberal reforms and elementary civil liberties. But neither the liberalism nor the civil liberties have extended far beyond the educated, white middle and upper classes."

"The Declaration of Independence, the first of the great promises, proclaimed that all men are created equal, but it was an in-group document which was aimed at the overseas rivals and exploiters of the early colonists. [The Declaration of Independence] did not apply to the people whom the colonists themselves wanted to exploit and control - the lower-class whites, the blacks, and the "under-developed" Indians, whose country our forefathers seized for the pursuit of their own happiness."

"If the tyranny of the opposing side and the loftiness of one's own announced goals were sufficient to justify a war, World War I would indeed be one of America's "good" wars. But shortly after the successful prosecution of the holy war [WWI] to end all war and to make the world safe for democracy, Woodrow Wilson, who had articulated much of the idealism, cried out in disillusionment: "Is there any man, woman, or child in this country who does not know - let me repeat, is there any child who does not know that this was an industrial and commercial war?"

"Having beaten back the challenge of their industrial and commercial rivals, the Allies showed little interest in freedom or justice or democracy for the German people, who were, after all, the first victims of the Kaiser and of the German landowners and industrialists."

"I... know of decent Germans who reluctantly supported Hitler. Their rationalization was: "We don't like some of his methods, but there is no one else strong enough to break the Anglo-American stranglehold."

"Perhaps the early Americans believed that "all men (except blacks and Indians) are created equal," but if so they were determined that they should not remain equal. The same year that the colonists produced the Declaration of Independence, the mother country produced Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations," the theoretical and moral justification for capitalism. Smith, a conventionally religious man, argued that if every man pursued his own selfish economic interest, the invisible hand of God would see to it that the result would be prosperous and just society... Capitalism exalts not equality, liberty and fraternal solidarity; but private ownership of the natural resources and accumulated productive capital, usury (all interest and other payments on capital are usury, as the Jewish prophets and early Christians well knew), and private profit from the labor of others. [Embracing emerging capitalism] was the Achilles' heel of the great American experiment. [Capitalism] sanctioned selfishness, excused vast inequalities in wealth and power, and denied the legitimacy of economic equality even as a goal."

"Without economic democracy, political democracy didn't amount to much. In the first place, capitalism removes one of the most important areas of a person's life from even the pretense of democratic decision making: the factory or other enterprise where he works."

"The sacrifices of thousands of heroes and martyrs finally established the legitimacy of labor unions, thus giving some workers some bargaining power over their wages and conditions of work, but to this day the unions do not claim the necessary right of the workers to own and manage the enterprises democratically."

"In a money economy, inequalities in wealth automatically create an unequal political competition between rich and poor, much as an inequality in weapons would rule out the possibility of a fair duel."

"In theory, a poor man has an equal chance in political decision-making in this country. In fact, the poor man's legal right to finance an effective campaign, address the public on television, or organize a lobby is of the same general utility as his legal right to buy a yacht, gain control of GM, or own a newspaper."

"When effectively disenfranchised people try to redress the balance by taking to the streets of progressing from electoral politics to active resistance, the government has property laws, trespass laws, permit regulations, anti riot laws, police and national guard procedures to curb them."

"All of America's foreign wars were fought in the name of political democracy but increased the wealth and power of these whose business were exempt from democracy and subject only to the most minor and indirect controls."

"In WWII the country's youth were conscripted on the theory that the preservation of civilization was at stake. Those who refused to offer up their lives to the military were put in jail, [or shot]... But... industry would not offer its cooperation unless guaranteed substantial profits. So industry was not conscripted... The appalling principle should have been clear. In time of war, as in time of peace, this is a society in which profits and property are more sacred than human life itself."

"This is a society in which profits and property are more sacred than human life itself."

"The United States was not interested in the dignity or economic well-being of black people or of any of the residents of America's slums. "

"Given the conflict of interest between the requirements of corporate capitalism and human need, [the United States] was interested only in pushing through enough reform to pacify the poor and to turn them into profit-yielding consumers, producers, and tenants for the power elite."

"The United States had always had two sides to its foreign policy: the promise and the reality. The fact that many Americans believed in the promises and laid down their lives or otherwise labored heroically to make them come true did not mean that thy were ever the dominant reality."

"I am convinced that capitalism is already a disaster [for this country] - not only for the blacks, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the foreign victims, but for the so-called privileged classes as well."

"Those who supposedly benefit from capitalism [the so-called privileged classes] sell their birthright of love, self-respect, and human solidarity for a mess of plastic pottage."

"Those of us who oppose the violence of the status quo and reject the violence of armed revolt and class hatred bear a heavy responsibility to struggle existentially to provide nonviolent alternatives."

"Histories are written by intellectuals, who generally give undue credit to other intellectuals for making history. History is made by people who commit themselves, their lives, and their energies to the struggle."

"The best history is made by people who struggle against war, oppression, and hypocrisy and who struggle to incorporate into their own lives and organizations the values that led them to oppose these evils in the first place."

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Oh my, I've received the gift of reading some of the great books, some of the great authors of the world: Jesus, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Alfred Adler, Dr. King, Zinn, Barbara Demming, David Dellinger, Teresa of Calcutta, Pitirim Sorokin, Saul Alinsky, Ashley Montegue, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Abraham Maslow.... The words I've quoted recently from David Dellinger strike me as the words that could save the world:

"Very few people chose war. They chose selfishness and the result was war. Each of us, individually and nationally, must choose: total love or total war. "

Yes, absolutely these words stand on their own. They are a miracle of Truth, of insight, a Revelation.

But these words explode in my mind, and I hope that maybe they will explode in your mind. These words of Dellinger explode into the entire thing, they explode into a statement of the entire problem!

Every EVIL STEMS FROM some form of SELFISHNESS. Here are some examples; they are arbitrary; YOU CAN THINK OF BETTER ONES:

Very few people chose global warming. They chose capitalism and the result was....

Very few people chose 18,000 kids starving PER DAY. They chose Starbucks and the result was ....

Very few people chose divorce. They chose alcohol and the result was ....

Very few people chose Darfur Genocide. They chose a safe neighborhood and comfortable house for THEIR "family" and the result was ....

Very few people chose U.S. child health being ranked 19th among the richest nations. They chose "health" clubs and games and the result was ....

Very few people chose 80% of the world in abject poverty. They chose "normal" life style and the result was....

Very few people chose 650,000 murdered in Iraq. They chose "Christian" hypocrisy and the result was ....

Very few people chose 3-6 million slaughtered in Congo. They chose high tech electronics, the Internet and video games and the result was ....

Very few people chose...

Very few people chose...

Very few people chose...

Very few people chose...

Dellinger also told us the only solution: "Each of us, individually and nationally, must choose: total love or ... "

Dorothy Day told us, "The only solution is love."

Jesus told us, "Love as I have loved... Do unto others ALL that you would have them do unto you."

Dr. King told us, "We [will] be extremists for love or extremists for hate."

"The Golden Rule is to steadfastly refuse to have what millions cannot have," Gandhi.

Ignoring these words is murder.