The Verso Book of Dissent: From Spartacus to the Shoe-Thrower of Baghdad
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Throughout the ages and across every continent, people have struggled against those in power and raised their voices in protest—rallying others around them and inspiring uprisings in eras yet to come. Their echoes reverberate from Ancient Greece, China and Egypt, via the dissident poets and philosophers of Islam and Judaism, through to the Arab slave revolts and anti-Ottoman rebellions of the Middle Ages. These sources were tapped during the Dutch and English revolutions at the outset of the Modern world, and in turn flowed into the French, Haitian, American, Russian and Chinese revolutions. More recently, resistance to war and economic oppression has flared up on battlefields and in public spaces from Beijing and Baghdad to Caracas and Los Angeles.
This anthology, global in scope, presents voices of dissent from every era of human history: speeches and pamphlets, poems and songs, plays and manifestos. Every age has its iconoclasts, and yet the greatest among them build on the words and actions of their forerunners. The Verso Book of Dissent will become an invaluable resource, reminding today’s citizens that these traditions will never die.
Tradition, New Press, 2003. Anti-Suharto Movement. Quoted in Max Lane, Unfinished Nation: Indonesia Before and After Suharto, Verso, 2008. Apess, William. A Son of the Forest and Other Writings, ed. Barry O’Connell, University of Massachusetts Press, 1997. Arévalo, Juan José. Quoted in Stephen C. Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit, expanded edn, Harvard University Press, 1999. Asturias, Miguel Ángel. Quoted in Dictionary of Literary Biography DLB 329: Nobel Prize Laureates in
thing no armored prow can smash through. A vital idea set ablaze before the world at the right moment can, like the mystic banner of the last judgment, stop a fleet of battleships. Hometowns that are still strangers to one another must hurry to become acquainted, like men who are about to do battle together. Those who shake their fists at each other like jealous brothers quarreling over a piece of land or the owner of a small house who envies the man with a better one must join hands and
rose-colored future … Kartini, a Javanese high aristocrat, became famous when a Dutchman published a selection (albeit bowdlerized) of her letters, all written in Dutch and mostly addressed to her Dutch women friends–although this one is addressed to an Indonesian friend. One of Indonesia’s earliest proponents of women’s rights, Kartini died very young, giving birth to a first child by a husband she had been forced by her parents to marry. 1905 INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD Preamble to the
Chu during China’s Warring States Period, is said to have waded into the Miluo River holding a big rock after hearing that the Chu capital had been captured by the state of Qin. The villagers tried to save him but couldn’t find his body, and the act of racing boats to find his body became the Dragon Boat Festival, which remains a Chinese tradition to this day. “The Lament,” one of his most famous poems, was written in exile, after having rebuked the Chu king for his corruption and complicity with
called Berkeley … They believed that the land was under the care and guardianship of the people who used it and lived on it. Catholic missionaries took the land away from the Indians … They ripped it off in the name of God. The Mexican Government … drew up some papers which said they legally owned it. No Indians signed those papers. The Americans were not fooled by the papers. They had a stronger army than the Mexicans. They beat them in a war and took the land. The American Government sold the