An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression; if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining.


Saul Bellow (1915-, American novelist)


You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.


James Baldwin (1924-1987, American author)


All oppression creates a state of war.


Simone De Beauvoir (1908-1986, French novelist, essayist)


Ours is the century of enforced travel of disappearances. The century of people helplessly seeing others, who were close to them, disappear over the horizon.


John Berger (1926-, British actor, critic)


The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.


Steven Biko (1946-1977, South African political activist)


Nature, in darkness, groans and men are bound to sullen contemplation in the night.  Restless, they turn on beds of sorrow; in their inmost brain feeling the crushing wheels, they rise, they write the bitter words of stern philosophy and knead the bread of knowledge with tears and groans.


William Blake (1757-1827, British poet, painter)


Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords. Lords without anger and honor, who dare not carry their swords. They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes; They look at our labor and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Tyranny destroys or strengthens the individual; freedom enervates him, until he becomes no more than a puppet. Man has more chances of saving himself by hell than by paradise.


E. M. Cioran (1911-1995, Rumanian-born French philosopher)


Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.


Frederick Douglass (c.1817-1895, American abolitionist, journalist)


The will to domination is a ravenous beast. There are never enough warm bodies to satiate its monstrous hunger. Once alive, this beast grows and grows, feeding on all the life around it, scouring the earth to find new sources of nourishment. This beast lives in each man who battens on female servitude.


Andrea Dworkin (1946-, American feminist critic)


You may try but you can never imagine what it is to have a man's form of genius in you, and to suffer the slavery of being a girl.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again.


Nathanael Greene


You cannot raise the standard against oppression, or leap into the breach to relieve injustice, and still keep an open mind to every disconcerting fact, or an open ear to the cold voice of doubt.


Learned Hand (1872-1961, American judge)


True enough, the country is calm. Calm as a morgue or a grave, would you not say?


Vaclav Havel (1936-, Czech playwright, president)


First we kill all the subversives; then, their collaborators; later, those who sympathize with them; afterward, those who remain indifferent; and finally, the undecided.


General Iberico Saint Jean


Do not be misled by the fact that you are at liberty and relatively free; that for the moment you are not under lock and key: you have simply been granted a reprieve.


Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932, Polish report and foreign correspondent)


The history of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.


Meridel Le Sueur


Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn't stand on the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika armband -- it creeps up insidiously... step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realizes that it is gone.


Baron Lane


A handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


The web of domination has become the web of Reason itself, and this society is fatally entangled in it.


Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979, German political philosopher)


In Germany they came first for the Communist, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.


Martin Niemoeller


Even today a crude sort of persecution is all that is required to create an honorable name for any sect, no matter how indifferent in itself.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.


George Orwell (1903-1950, British author, "Animal Farm")


Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


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