The following quotations are from:
James and Grace Lee Boggs, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century
“Everybody can see what is happening. Most people only complain and blame it all on someone else. But, more and more, some people are beginning to realize that the road we are traveling can lead only to more isolation from each other, more antagonisms and conflicts, and more alienation from the rest of the world, and are wondering how we can find a new road for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.” 258
“As we have pointed out, bourgeois thought is concerned with what benefits the few or a particular interest group rather than what would benefit the overall society. Socialist thought, on the other hand, is concerned with what will advance the whole society.” 259
“If… the Third World countries do not succeed in completely liberating themselves before the victory of the U.S. revolution, then when the American people make the new American revolution, we will have to destroy every vestige of U.S. domination over the rest of the world before we can regain our own humanity and rejoin the rest of the world in the struggle to advance humankind.
The United States is the citadel of world capitalism, and everybody living in the United States, regardless of ethnic origin, must begin by facing this reality. A revolution in the United States is to take the American people on a new road, in a new direction, to a new and more human form of political, economic, and social relations, among ourselves and with the rest of the world.
When most Americans think about a revolution, all they can think of is a coup d’état, i.e., the overthrow of the government by a lightning blow. If you say you are a revolutionist, they ask if you are for overthrowing the government or the system. The only justification for a revolution is the fact that social, political, and economic contradictions have accumulated to the point that the existing government and the existing institutions obviously cannot resolve them. Therefore it is not so much that the revolution overthrows the government and the system as that the government and the system, by their failure and their misdeeds, drive the people to rescind their mandate to rule. They have lost their legitimacy, their right to continue, because what they do creates more problems and contradictions than solutions.
A revolutionist does not hate the country in which the illegitimate and oppressive system and government continues to rule. Far less does the revolutionist hate the people of the country. On the contrary, a revolutionist loves the country and the people, but hates what some people are doing to the country and to the people. Someone who hates the country and the people becomes a renegade, and runs away. Therefore the important question is not ‘Is the revolutionist for overthrowing the government?’ Rather it is ‘Do you believe the present government and the existing institutions of this country serve the need of the people to continue advancing their humanity?’
U.S. capitalism today is a cancerous growth on the people of the world. Now the American people need to find another way of life, a superior system which will enable human beings to control technology rather than be controlled by technology. The uses we have made of technology under capitalism have led us to lose our concept of what it is to be human. We have used it to destroy people in other countries, to defile our relations with one another, and to cripple the development of our human capacities.
We, the people of the United States, can only regain our humanity by recognizing how decade after decade we have increasingly separated ethics from politics.” 260-261
“We have come to the point in history where humanitarian liberalism, which was a great advance in the nineteenth century, has become destructive of human beings. To be liberal means that you are ready to be understanding, sympathetic, and helpful to those who are oppressed, instead of recognizing that what you are doing is encouraging the oppressed to see themselves as victims and to become dependent upon your understanding, sympathy and help. Liberalism is the opiate of the people.” 263
“In this country everybody, regardless of race, class, or sex, benefits to some degree from the exploitation of the people of other nations.” 263
“The United States could not have become the citadel of world capitalism if the great majority of the American people had not acquiesced. That is why we have to distinguish the revolutionary potential of the masses and of mass community organizations from the ‘we’ of the revolutionary organization who accept the responsibility for breaking through the illusions by which every American lives and behind which every American hides. As the cadres develop themselves, they go inwards, not upwards, interpenetrating with the masses in their organizations, developing the Fronts within which the masses can learn through practice the purpose, the methods, and the processes of political struggle.
The development of the internal programs necessary to develop the cadres and the external programs necessary to develop the masses can only be undertaken by people who have abandoned the illusion that oppressed masses can develop into self-reliant, self-determining, socially conscious individuals just by spontaneous rebellion.
Only after the organization has made substantial progress in bringing the masses to confront their own contradictions can the steps be taken to confront the external enemy, i.e., those who insist on choosing the reactionary past, in a power struggle. But before we reach this stage, the cadres and a significant section of the masses must have abandoned their concept of themselves as victims and acquired confidence in their own capacity to govern. They must have come to the realization that there is no utopia, no final solution, no Promised Land, and that humankind will always be engaged in struggle, because struggle is in fact the highest expression of human creativity. They must have reached the conclusion that the only belief worth struggling for is the belief, not in gods or messiahs, but in humankind, because human beings have only themselves to rely on in their unending struggle to become more profoundly human.” 266