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Forum Post: Found this quote from Helen Keller, over 100 years ago

Posted 7 years ago on March 1, 2013, 7:08 p.m. EST by alterorabolish1 (569)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands—the ownership and control of their livelihoods—are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease." —Helen Keller, 1911[20]



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[-] 2 points by ProblemSolver (79) 7 years ago

How can this be ?

"I thought Occupy discovered the world was unfair !"

[-] 1 points by whaddyathink (-89) from Millville, NJ 7 years ago

Found this quote from John Adams, Second President of the United States, over 200 years ago...

"Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other movables. Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free."

[-] 0 points by ProblemSolver (79) 7 years ago

What did John Adams mean by this line -

The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 7 years ago

They would blow their share of money on wine, women, and song, then ask for more once they were broke.

It really shows Adam's contempt for the lower classes. I can remember my Grandfather who was well off telling me an identical scenario when I was a teenager. It's a way for the wealthy to justify their actions. Better to keep them poor so they don't have a chance to blow all of that "good" money. He felt like he was actually doing them a favor.

The problem with that attitude is it guarantees poverty for the majority of the poor who wouldn't squander the money.

[-] 1 points by ProblemSolver (79) 7 years ago

It is quite contemptuous.. and I had thought Adams was one of the good guys .. according to the John Adams movie recently, he had worked hard to encourage the revolution against King G3.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 7 years ago

Of course, what John Adams doesn't address in his scenario is why there are rich and poor in the first place. He also implies that the idle, the vicious, the intemperate, constitute the majority of society thereby placing them in the position to demand a new division. What he doesn't do is ask what would be the consequence of applying the inviolable precepts of “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” to the rich in every society.

[-] 1 points by ProblemSolver (79) 7 years ago

It must have been an interesting time .. giving power to the people ..

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 7 years ago

"Those who contend for a simple democracy, or a pure republic, actuated by the sense of the majority, and operating within narrow limits, assume or suppose a case which is altogether fictitious. They found their reasoning on the idea, that the people composing the Society, enjoy not only an equality of political rights; but that they have all precisely the same interests, and the same feelings in every respect. Were this in reality the case, their reasoning would be conclusive. The interest of the majority would be that of the minority also; the decisions could only turn on mere opinion concerning the good of the whole, of which the major voice would be the safest criterion; and within a small sphere, this voice could be most easily collected, and the public affairs most accurately managed."

"We know however that no Society ever did or can consist of so homogeneous a mass of Citizens. In the savage State indeed, an approach is made towards it; but in that State little or no Government is necessary. In all civilized Societies, distinctions are various and unavoidable. A distinction of property results from that very protection which a free Government gives to unequal faculties of acquiring it. There will be rich and poor; creditors and debtors; a landed interest, a monied interest, a mercantile interest, a manufacturing interest. These classes may again be subdivided according to the different productions of different situations & soils, & according to different branches of commerce, and of manufactures. In addition to these natural distinctions, artificial ones will be founded, on accidental differences in political, religious or other opinions, or an attachment to the persons of leading individuals. However erroneous or ridiculous these grounds of dissention and faction, may appear to the enlightened Statesman, or the benevolent philosopher, the bulk of mankind who are neither Statesmen nor Philosophers, will continue to view them in a different light."

"Divide et impera, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."

A few selected thoughts of James Madison from a letter written to Thomas Jefferson dated October 24, 1787 http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-747341

"Hamilton’s financial system had then past. It had two objects. First as a puzzle, to exclude popular understanding & inquiry. Secondly, as a machine for the corruption of the legislature; for he avowed the opinion that man could be governed by one of two motives only, force or interest: force he observed, in this country, was out of the question; and the interests therefore of the members must be laid hold of, to keep the legislature in unison with the Executive. And with grief and shame it must be acknowledged that his machine was not without effect. That even in this, the birth of our government, some members were found sordid enough to bend their duty to their interests, and to look after personal, rather than public good."

Thomas Jefferson in "Anas" dated February 4, 1818 http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-748866

"If, then, control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of their republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require."

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28, 1816. http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-756688

[-] 1 points by ProblemSolver (79) 7 years ago

During the time of Jefferson, Madison , and Hamilton.. the future was just an 'Experiment" . We have had two hundred years to see how the experiment unfolds . I would say that gives us a new perspective on the experiment from it's onset.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 7 years ago

We even have partial documentation on how it unfolded as it happened.

"From the conclusion of this war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion." -Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia) http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-525979

"In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

Benjamin Franklin in his address to the Constitutional Convention dated September 17, 1787 http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-747908

"This has been the course of England, and her examples have fearful influence on us. In copying her we do not seem to consider that like premises induce like consequences. The bank mania is one of the most threatening of these imitations. It is raising up a moneyed aristocracy in our country which has already set the government at defiance, and although forced at length to yield a little on this first essay of their strength, their principles are unyielded and unyielding. These have taken deep root in the hearts of that class from which our legislators are drawn, and the sop to Cerberus from fable has become history. Their principles lay hold of the good, their pelf of the bad, and thus those whom the Constitution had placed as guards to its portals, are sophisticated or suborned from their duties."

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Josephus B. Stuart dated May 10, 1817 http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-749610

"We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. . . . It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."

Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Col. William F. Elkins dated November 21, 1864 http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-750723

"A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men... We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men."

Woodrow Wilson in 1916 as quoted by former Senator Robert L. Owen (the Father of the Federal Reserve Act) in "National Economy and the Banking System," Senate Documents No. 23, p. 100, 76th Congress, 1st Session, 1939. http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-751508

"In December 1907, 1 entered the United States Senate and served there for 18 years. Within ninety days after I entered the Senate, on the 25th day of February 1908, 1 analyzed completely the Panic of 1907; showed its causes, how it could be cured, and how depressions could be prevented in the future. My text was stability in the value of money."

"I was made Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency of the United States Senate on March 5, 1913, and immediately drafted a Bill called the Federal Reserve Bill. In drafting this Bill I was greatly assisted by the results of four years work done by the National Monetary Commission. That Commission's report consisted of 32 volumes, and an auxiliary library of 2500 volumes. It had been established on my request from the floor of the United States Senate."

"In July 1913, Hon. Carter Glass joined me in presenting to the Senate and to the House the so-called Federal Reserve Bill which had been prepared by me the previous March, but which had been expanded, and contained provisions with which I was not entirely content. My Committee was immediately called together to take testimony on this Senate Bill, and after 3,000 pages of printed testimony had been taken, my colleagues in the Senate authorized me to write another Bill. I thereupon had the Senate strike out the Bill that had been prepared in the House and substitute the Bill which I had originally prepared. The Senate adopted the Bill written by me without a change of word. In the Bill introduced in July, in which the Hon. Carter Glass joined me, I had inserted a provision requiring that the powers of the Reserve System be employed in the service of commerce and to promote a stable price level. The meaning of this, of course, was to establish and maintain the stable value of money under mandate. This mandatory provision was stricken out in the House under the leadership of Hon. Carter Glass. I was unable to keep this mandatory provision in the Bill because of the secret hostilities developed against it, the origin of which at that time I did not fully understand."

"Under the administrations of Wilson, Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, this Act was diverted from its proper purpose on the advice of some who controlled the policies of a number of the largest banks."

"In the campaign of 1920, under the pretext of lowering the cost of living, those in charge of some of the largest banks demanded the contraction of credit and currency. This was done in spite of nine protests I had made on the floor of the Senate between January and June of 1920. Policies pursued by those in charge of the Central Federal Reserve Banks resulted in raising the value of money 80%, from an index of 60 in May 1920 to an index of 107 in June 1921."

"Again, under President Hoover, the contraction of credit took place on such a colossal scale as to force the dollar index (purchasing power) to 166. The consequence was universal bankruptcy, every bank in the United States being forced to suspend operations at the close of Hoover's services."


With two-thirds of everyone's personal income taxes wasted or not collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal debt and by Federal Government contributions to transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from their Government.

Grace Commission Report

January 12, 1984


[-] 1 points by ProblemSolver (79) 7 years ago

It's been a long time coming..

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 7 years ago

The Birth of US "Democracy"

The United States celebrates the founding of the country and the so-called "Founding Fathers" as the birth of democracy, but the real democracy movement occurred before the American Revolution. In fact, it was the founding fathers, a group of propertied elites, slave holders, noted lawyers and wealthy merchants, who created a system designed to prevent a truly democratic state.

In the pre-Revolutionary period, the American democracy movement involved small farmers, laborers, artisans, shopkeepers, seamen, women, African slaves and native Indians who revolted against the grievances of the day. There existed abolitionists who opposed slavery and slaves who rebelled against plantation owners. Disputes over taxes, ordinances, and land titles and of being ruled over by a royal governor, who represented a distant British government or a corporate monopoly like the British East India Company, were sources of democratic revolt.

Colonial governments were structured for the elites and only those with substantial property ownership had any right to participate. Sheldon Wolin, in Democracy Inc. describes the rise of a "fugitive democracy" in this period. There were spontaneous protests, assemblies, petitions, tarring and feathering of government officials, burning effigies of officials, surrounding courthouses and removing government officials from office and storming jails to free their own. Committees of correspondence were formed to coordinate actions with counterparts in other colonies. This democracy movement was born out of necessity, out of the struggle for survival against deep-seated grievances and was improvisational rather than institutionalized.

Ray Raphael in The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord describes colonists in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, filling the courthouse to prevent British judges from entering. And, in Worcester, 4,622 militiamen from 37 surrounding communities lined Main Street as crown-appointed officials walked the gauntlet, reciting their resignations 30 times each, "so all could hear." Raphael reports that these common people were intensely democratic, disavowing all leadership. In fact, "when they elected representatives, they did so on a day-to-day basis."

Wolin writes that in the period from 1760 until the Constitutional Convention, there was intense political interest that formed an "American demos" that "began to establish a foothold and to find institutional expression, if not full realization. State constitutions were amended by provisions that broadened voting rights, abolished property qualifications for office, and in one case, instituted women's suffrage. There were also efforts to ease debtor laws, even to abolish slavery." It was these attacks on property that prompted several "outstanding politicians" (also known as the founding fathers) to "organize a counter-revolution aimed at institutionalizing a counterforce to challenge the prevailing decentralized system of thirteen sovereign states in which some state legislatures were controlled by 'popular' forces."

These outstanding politicians were some of the wealthiest property owners in the United States, slave holders, well-known lawyers and merchants. James Madison, credited as being the "father" of the Constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers #10: "Democracies have ever been . . . incompatible with . . . the rights of property . . . [because it would threaten] the unequal distribution of property." The founders were concerned with "the excess of democracy" as one delegate to the convention said. The new Constitution put property rights ahead of human rights.

The "founders" proposed a new system of national power that discouraged the "American demos," removed people from the councils of government and reduced the power of states. The Constitution favored elite rule and protection of property. It established a republic in which courts protected minority rights and property rights from majority sentiment, and government power was limited.

Only the House of Representatives would be directly elected by the people, at least the limited group of six percent of the white, male property-owning population that was allowed to vote. Wolin writes, "The Constitution of the Founders compressed the political role of citizen into an act of 'choosing' and designed it to minimize the direct expression of a popular will." The president was not directly elected, but rather citizens voted for electors who chose the president in the Electoral College. Senators were selected by state legislators, and judges were appointed by the president. It created a representative, not participatory or direct, democracy. The "right to vote" is not even mentioned in the Constitution.

While people were declared "sovereign," they were, in fact, "precluded from governing." "From the beginning," Cliff Durand writes, the country "was designed to be undemocratic." The role of the people was limited to choosing from among the political elite the representatives who would rule them. This managed democracy or polyarchy is far removed from the people power of real democracy. As Durand writes, "Democracy means people's power, not the legitimizing of elite rule."

Throughout US history there have been democratic moments when the people sought to seize power. These included Jacksonian democrats, abolitionists, suffragettes, populists, progressives, civil rights activists and '60s radicals; and the Occupy movement of today. These political conflicts have "often been described as a war between 'the haves and the have-nots.' "


[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 7 years ago

It's not unlike the current 1%ers fabricating evidence against Saddam/Gaddafi/insert current bogeyman to rouse the rabble to fight for the interests of the 1%.

[-] -1 points by conservatroll (187) 7 years ago

He was doing his best Amazing Karnak imitation....

"what is Occupy Wall st?"

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 7 years ago

"A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men... We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men."

Woodrow Wilson in 1916 as quoted by former Senator Robert L. Owen (the Father of the Federal Reserve Act) in "National Economy and the Banking System," Senate Documents No. 23, p. 100, 76th Congress, 1st Session, 1939.



[-] 0 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 7 years ago

Another Helen Keller quote:

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 7 years ago

“In all revolutions, those who ardently pursue the fight to the death are in the minority and there are usually at least as many who are ardently anti-revolutionary, plus an actual majority that is apathetic and will go where they are led (in either direction), if necessary, but who best prefer to be left alone.”

-Isaac Asimov


[-] -1 points by highlander (-163) 7 years ago

that might be interesting if I cared

[-] 0 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 7 years ago