In New York -- whose subway trains in particular have been ''tattooed'' with an energy to put our own rude practitioners to shame -- not an inch of free space is spared except that of advertisements . Even the most chronically dispossessed appear prepared to endorse the legitimacy of the ''haves.
Consider in what way the industrial system developed upon capitalist lines. Why were a few rich men put with such ease into possession of the new methods? Why was it normal and natural in their eyes and in that of contemporary society that those who produced the new wealth with the new machinery should be proletarian and dispossessed?
In our hearts we know that with a different fate, we, too, could be in the ranks of the dispossessed, stripped of our identities and belonging nowhere. The refugee becomes a sinister symbol of what can quickly happen once personhood is denied and people are transformed into disposable units of contemptible impediments to the greed or power-mongering of others.
Ghosts, we hope, may be always with us--that is, never too far out of the reach of fancy. On the whole, it would seem they adapt themselves well, perhaps better than we do, to changing world conditions--they enlarge their domain, shift their hold on our nerves, and, dispossessed of one habitat, set up house in another. The universal battiness of our century looks like providing them with a propitious climate ...
Do we know our poor people? Do we know the poor in our house, in our family? Perhaps they are not hungry for a piece of bread. Perhaps our children, husband, wife, are not hungry, or naked, or dispossessed, but are you sure there is no one there who feels unwanted, deprived of affection?
In a public dialogue with Salman in London he [Edward Said] had once described the Palestinian plight as one where his people, expelled and dispossessed by Jewish victors, were in the unique historical position of being 'the victims of the victims': there was something quasi-Christian, I thought, in the apparent humility of that statement.
Our problem today is not how to expropriate the expropriators but, rather, how to arrange matters so that the masses, dispossessed by industrial society in capitalist and socialist systems, can regain property. For this reason alone, the alternative between capitalism and socialism is false-not only because neither exists anywhere in its pure state anyhow, but because we have here twins, each wearing different hats.
I see what I want of Love... I see horses making the meadow dance, fifty guitars sighing, and a swarm of bees suckling the wild berries, and I close my eyes until I see our shadow behind this dispossessed place... I see what I want of people: their desire to long for anything, their lateness in getting to work and their hurry to return to their folk... and their need to say: Good Morning...
In the height of thy prosperity expect adversity, but fear it not. If it come not, thou art the more sweetly possessed of the happiness thou hast, and the more strongly confirmed. If it come, thou art the more gently dispossessed of the happiness thou hadst, and the more firmly prepared.
Helen's Saigon had always been about selling - chickens, information, or lovely young women, it didn't matter. It had once been called the Pearl of the Orient, but by people who had not been there in a very long time. Saigon had never been Paris, but now it was a garrison town, unlovely, a stinking refugee shantyville filled with the angry, the betrayed, the dispossessed, but she had made it her home, and she couldn't bear that soon she would have to leave.
Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss, and has thereby created a species of poverty and wretchedness that did not exist before.
Power. like the diamond, dazzles the beholder, and also the wearer; it dignifies meanness; it magnifies littleness; to what is contemptible, it gives authority; to what is low, exaltation. To acquire it, appears not more difficult than to be dispossessed of it when acquired, since it enables the holder to shift his own errors on dependents, and to take their merits to himself. But the miracle of losing it vanishes, when we reflect that we are as liable to fall as to rise, by the treachery of others; and that to say "I am" is language that has been appropriated exclusively to God!
Charles Caleb Colton
The welfare state destroys the market mechanisms - lessens free choice and willing exchange. Simultaneously creating unnatural specializations, it must, granted statism's premise, resort to welfarism; that is, it must assume the responsibility for the people's welfare: their employment, their old age, their income, and the like. As this is done, man loses his wholeness; he is dispossessed of responsibility for self, the very essence of his manhood. The more dependent he becomes, the less dependable!
The ghosts of Manhattan are not the spirits of the propertied classes; these are entombed in their names, their works, their constructions. New York's ghosts are the unresting souls of the poor, the marginal, the dispossessed, the depraved, the defective, the recalcitrant. They are the guardian spirits of the urban wilderness in which they lived and died. Unrecognized by the history that is common knowledge, they push invisibly behind it to erect their memorials in the collective unconscious.
The image cannot be dispossessed of a primordial freshness, which idea can never claim. An idea is derivative and tamed. The imageis in the natural or wild state, and it has to be discovered there, not put there, obeying its own law and none of ours. We think we can lay hold of image and take it captive, but the docile captive is not the real image but only the idea, which is the image with its character beaten out of it.
John Crowe Ransom
Let us then repeat and firmly fix this main point: the evil, the root evil, of that to which the term Capitalism has come to be applied, is neither its functioning for profit nor its dependence upon legally protected private property; but the presence of a Proletariat, that is of men possessing political freedom, but dispossessed of economic freedom, and existing in such large numbers in any community as to determine the tone of all that community.
The violence of hierarchy is the violence that the powerful use against the dispossessed to keep them subordinated. As an example, the violence committed for wealth is socially invisible or committed at enough of a distance that its beneficiaries don't have to be aware of it. This type of violence has defined every imperialist war in the history of the US that has been fought to get access to "natural resources" for corporations to turn into the cheap consumer goods that form the basis of the American way of life.
The United States, which has been called the home of the persecuted and the dispossessed, has been since its founding an asylum for emotional orphans. For over three hundred years, refugees from political oppression, religious persecution, famine, poverty, and a rigid class system which limited educational and economic opportunities have been leaving their native villages and cities and coming to the United States in search of freedom and a better life.
Dickens has not seen it all. The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply: life is their only weapon against life, life is all that they have. This is why the dispossessed and starving will never be convinced (though some may be coerced) by the population-control programs of the civilized. I have watched the dispossessed and starving laboring in the fields which others own, with their transistor radios at their ear, all day long: so they learn, for example, along with equally weighty matters, that the pope, one of the heads of the civilized world, forbids to the civilized that abortion which is being, literally, forced on them, the wretched. The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their 'vital interests' are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the 'sanctity' of human life, or the 'conscience' of the civilized world. There is a 'sanctity' involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it. Dreadful indeed it is to see a starving child, but the answer to that is not to prevent the child's arrival but to restructure the world so that the child can live in it: so that the 'vital interest' of the world becomes nothing less than the life of the child. However-I could not have said any of this then, nor is so absurd a notion about to engulf the world now. But we were all starving children, after all, and none of our fathers, even at their most embittered and enraged, had ever suggested that we 'die out.' It was not we who were supposed to die out: this was, of all notions, the most forbidden, and we learned this from the cradle. Every trial, every beating, every drop of blood, every tear, were meant to be used by us for a day that was coming-for a day that was certainly coming, absolutely certainly, certainly coming: not for us, perhaps, but for our children. The children of the despised and rejected are menaced from the moment they stir in the womb, and are therefore sacred in a way that the children of the saved are not. And the children know it, which is how they manage to raise their children, and why they will not be persuaded-by their children's murderers, after all-to cease having children.
Dispossessed peasants slash-and-burn their way into the rain forests of Latin America, hungry nomads turn their herds out into fragile African rangeland, reducing it to desert, and small farmers in India and the Philippines cultivate steep slopes, exposing them to the erosive powers of rain. Perhaps half the world's billion-plus absolute poor are caught in a downward spiral of ecological and economic impoverishment. In desperation, they knowingly abuse the land, salvaging the present by savaging the future.
Alan Thein Durning
We need an enemy to give people hope. Someone said that patriotism is the last refuge of cowards: those without moral principles usually wrap a flag around themselves, and the bastards always talk about the purity of the race. National identity is the last bastion of the dispossessed. But the meaning of identity is now based on hatred, on hatred for those who are not the same. Hatred has to be cultivated as a civic passion. The enemy is the friend of the people. You always want someone to hate in order to feel justified in your own misery. Hatred is the primordial passion. It is love that's abnormal.
Tolkien came to regard the tale of Beren and Tinuviel as 'the first example of the motive (to become dominant in Hobbits) that the great policies of world history, "the wheels of the world", are often turned not by the Lords and Governors, even gods, but by the seemingly unknown and weak'. Such a worldview is inherent in the fairy-tale (and Christian) idea of the happy ending in which the dispossessed are restored to joy; but perhaps Tolkien was also struck by the way it had been borne out in the Great War, when ordinary people stepped out of ordinary lives to carry the fate of nations.
The disobedience if Eve in the Genesis story has been used to justify women's inequality and suffering in many Christian traditions. Thus, what is understood as women's complicity in evil leads much traditional theological reflection on suffering to offer the "consequent admonition to 'grin and bear it' because such is the deserved place of women." Similarly, when Jesus is seen as a divine co-sufferer, the potentially liberating narratives of Jesus as a revolutionary leader who takes the side of the poor and dispossessed can be ignored in favor of religious beliefs more interested in Jesus as a stoic victim. Christ's suffering is inverted and used to justify women's continued suffering in systems of injustice by framing it as redemptive.
Melissa V. Harris-Perry