“1841, June 20: The Texas-Santa Fe Expedition leaves Austin for Santa Fe. Historians argue over whether it was a trading force or an armed invasion. Anyway, General Hugh McLeod commanded 300 Texans. Three Texas commissioners tagged along to carry out the political aims of the invading/trading caravan. However, the expedition lost its way and was starving near modern-day Tucumcari, New Mexico, when it surrendered in October to a much smaller Mexican force. A death march then started toward El Paso, Chihuahua. Texans who died along the road had their ears cut off and strung on a piece of rawhide as proof that none had escaped.” – Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

“A modern literary intellectual lives and writes in constant dread—not, indeed, of public opinion in the wider sense, but of public opinion within his own group. As a rule, luckily, there is more than one group, but also at any given moment there is a dominant orthodoxy, to offend against which needs a thick skin and sometimes means cutting one’s income in half for years on end.” – George Orwell, “Writers and Leviathan”

“Much of what goes by the name of pleasure is simply an effort to destroy consciousness. If one started by asking, what is man? what are his needs? how can he best express himself? one would discover that merely having the power to avoid work and live one’s life from birth to death in electric light and to the tune of tinned music is not a reason for doing so. Man needs warmth, society, leisure, comfort and security: he also needs solitude, creative work and the sense of wonder. If he recognised this he could use the products of science and industrialism eclectically, applying always the same test: does this make me more human or less human? He would then learn that the highest happiness does not lie in relaxing, resting, playing poker, drinking and making love simultaneously. And the instinctive horror which all sensitive people feel at the progressive mechanisation of life would be seen not to be a mere sentimental archaism, but to be fully justified. For man only stays human by preserving large patches of simplicity in his life, while the tendency of many modern inventions—in particular the film, the radio and the aeroplane—is to weaken his consciousness, dull his curiosity, and, in general, drive him nearer to the animals.” – George Orwell, “Pleasure Spots”

“The great age of democracy and of national self-determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. After the invention of the flintlock, and before the invention of the percussion cap, the musket was a fairly efficient weapon, and at the same time so simple that it could be produced almost anywhere. Its combination of qualities made possible the success of the American and French revolutions, and made a popular insurrection a more serious business than it could be in our own day. After the musket came the breech-loading rifle. This was a comparatively complex thing, but it could still be produced in scores of countries, and it was cheap, easily smuggled and economical of ammunition. Even the most backward nation could always get hold of rifles from one source or another, so that Boers, Bulgars, Abyssinians, Moroccans—even Tibetans—could put up a fight for their independence, sometimes with success. But thereafter every development in military technique has favoured the State as against the individual, and the industrialised country as against the backward one. There are fewer and fewer foci of power.” – George Orwell, “You and the Atomic Bomb”

“All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy. They have internationalist aims, and at the same time they struggle to keep up a standard of life with which those aims are incompatible.” – George Orwell, “Rudyard Kipling”

“In the long run—it is important to remember that it is only in the long run—the working class remains the most reliable enemy of Fascism, simply because the working-class stands to gain most by a decent reconstruction of society. Unlike other classes or categories, it can’t be permanently bribed. To say this is not to idealize the working class.” – George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War”

“The Philosophers’ scorn of wealth was but their secret ambition to exalt their merit above fortune by deriding those blessings which Fate denied them. It was a ruse to shield them from the sordidness of poverty, and a subterfuge to attain that distinction which they could not achieve by wealth.” – François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims (trans. John Heard)

“Lord knows what he does that I don’t know and Im to be slooching around down in the kitchen to get his lordship his breakfast while hes rolled up like a mummy will I indeed did you ever see me running id just like to see myself at it show them attention and they treat you like dirt I don’t care what anybody says itd be much better for the world to be governed by the women in it you wouldnt see women going and killing one another and slaughtering when do you ever see women rolling around drunk like they do or gambling every penny they have and losing it on horses yes because a woman whatever she does she knows where to stop sure they wouldnt be in the world at all only for us they don’t know what it is to be a woman and a mother how could they where would they all of them be if they hadnt had a mother to look after them” – James Joyce, Ulysses

“Swans on the river, moving with calm dignity, pretending they are doing something else, while all the time, like the noisy, desperately fluttering seagulls, they too search for food. They eat discreetly with beaks below water, so as not to be seen in the undignified act of feeding, which humans parade in public places without feeling any shame.” – Nanos Valaoritis, “Problems of an Empire”

“This is old London. . . . This district is a unique hub, where major affairs are conducted and astronomical bills of sale for London’s wealthiest merchants are signed. Every single one of its buildings is a frenzy of action and work. No one steps in except to work and to earn, and no tongue wags except for profit and utility. No sun rises, and no lamp is lit except in pursuit of a living. Hearts are moved only to earn and to acquire. So you see each and every person with their eyes and mouths gaping, wide open, to devour the world and everything in it.” – Ahmad Faris Shidyaq, “Where Every Mouth Is Open to Eat the World” (trans. Rana Issa and Suneela Mubati)

“My only answer to anger is to work. Work it out, not for an on-the-mat yoga solution that professes we can heal from the curse of having so much money, entitlement, privilege—this is bullshit. Practice giving it away, heal yourself that way, be lightening the load you carry. Too much money creates all kinds of shit. Yoga-birds, Jesus.” – Jimmy Santiago Baca (interviewed by Alan C. Fox in Rattle 62) (emphasis in original)

“Day by day we destroy that we may live, since in this world none save the strongest can endure. Those who are weak must perish; the earth is to the strong, and the fruits thereof. For every tree that grows a score shall wither, that the strong one may take their share. We run to place and power over the dead bodies of those who fail and fall; aye, we win the food we eat from out of the mouths of starving babes. It is the scheme of things.” – H. Rider Haggard, She

“The political, ethical, social, philosophical problem of our days is not to try to liberate the individual from the state, and from the state’s institutions, but to liberate us both from the state and from the type of individualization which is linked to the state. We have to promote new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries.” – Michel Foucault, “The Subject and Power”

“Although almost all of the intellectuals in France have felt, since the revolution, that society is in a major crisis which puts it in peril, there is presumably a consensus among administrators, expressed in their memos to each other, that things are basically in hand and that the general welfare and productivity of the population is constantly improving. It should be obvious that, even if there were a general consensus as to the state of the society, this would only prove that an orthodoxy had taken hold, not that the sense of things had assumed the status of objective truth.” – Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

“The advance of bio-power is contemporary with the appearance and proliferation of the very categories of anomalies—the delinquent, the pervert, and so on—that technologies of power and knowledge were supposedly designed to eliminate. The spread of normalization operates through the creation of abnormalities which it then must treat and reform. By identifying the anomalies scientifically, the technologies of bio-power are in a perfect position to supervise and administer them. This effectively transforms into a technical problem—and thence into a field foe expanding power—what might otherwise be construed as a failure of the whole system of operation. Political technologies advance by taking what is essentially a political problem, removing it from the realm of political discourse, and recasting it in the neutral language of science. Once this is accomplished the problems have become technical ones for specialists to debate. In fact, the language of reform is, from the outset, an essential component of these political technologies. Bio-power spread under the banner of making people healthy and protecting them. When there was resistance, or failure to achieve its stated aims, this was construed as further proof of the need to reinforce and extend the power of the experts. A technical matrix was established. By definition, there ought to be a way of solving any technical problem. Once this matrix was established, the spread of bio-power was assured, for there was nothing else to appeal to; any other standards could be shown to be abnormal or to present merely technical problems. We are promised normalization and happiness through science and law. When they fail, this only justifies the need for more of the same. Once the hold of bio-power is secure, what we get is not a true conflict of interpretations about the ultimate worth or meaning of efficiency, productivity, or normalization, but rather what might be called a conflict of implementations. The problem bio-power has succeeded in establishing is how to make the welfare institutions work; it does not ask, What do they mean?” – Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

“In disciplinary technology, the internal organization of space depends on the principle of elementary partitioning into regular units. This space is based on a principle of presences and absences. In such a simple coding, each slot in the grid is assigned a value. These slots facilitate the application of discipline to the body. . . . Individuals are placed, transformed, and observed with an impressive economy of means. For the most efficient and productive operation, it is necessary to define beforehand the nature of the elements to be used; to find individuals who fit the definition proposed; to place them in the ordered space; to parallel the distribution of functions in the structure of space in which they will operate. Consequently, all of space within a confined area must be ordered; there should be no waste, no gaps, no free margins; nothing should escape.” – Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

“We have lost the symbolic value of the family meal; our festal days no longer remind us of human continuity or a vie antérieure common to all, but are monstrously corrupted and humiliated by a consumer society. The institutions we have devised to make daily life more harmonious continue to impose themselves as obstacles between feeling and value. We live with objects so secularised that we can only suppose behind them a void, an absence. The first result is that increasingly meaning becomes not a natural aura surrounding objects, events, and relationships but the work of will, spasmodic and synthetic. Meaning is invented, instigated, and produced by an imagination determined upon that labour.” – Denis Donoghue, The Sovereign Ghost

“It is at the moment when agrarian capitalism begins to establish itself that the means of stabilizing it in written balance accounts appears and it is also at the moment when social hierarchization is affirmed that writing constructs its first genealogists. . . . The appearance of writing is not fortuitous; after millennia of maturation in the systems of mythographic representation the linear notation of thought emerges at the same time as metal and slavery.” – André Leroi-Gourhan, La geste et la parole (quoted by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak))

“Societies have assumed their final form: no longer is anything changed except by arms and cash. And since there is nothing to say to people besides give money, it is said with placards on street corners or by soldiers in their homes.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile (quoted by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak)) (emphasis in original)

“Writing may not have sufficed to consolidate human knowledge, but it may well have been indispensable to the consolidation of dominions. To bring the matter nearer to our own time: the European-wide movement towards compulsory education in the nineteenth century went hand in hand with the extension of military service and with proletarization. The struggle against illiteracy is thus indistinguishable from the increased powers exerted over the individual citizen by the central authority. For it is only when everyone can read that Authority can decree that ‘ignorance of law is no defence.’ “ – Claude Lévi-Strauss (quoted by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak))

“A distinction can always be made between weapons and tools on the basis of their usage (destroying people or producing goods). But although this extrinsic distinction explains certain secondary adaptations of a technical object, it does not preclude a general convertibility between the two groups, to the extent that it seems very difficult to propose an intrinsic difference between weapons and tools. . . . And yet we have the feeling that there are many internal differences, even if they are not intrinsic, in other words, logical or conceptual, and even if they remain approximate. At first approximation, weapons have a privileged relation with projection. Anything that throws or is thrown is fundamentally a weapon, and propulsion is its essential moment.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Brian Massumi)