An inspirational quotation

Short quotations are more about words than thoughts. Interesting, complex, nuanced thoughts cannot be expressed in a few words and rarely a single sentence. As the propagandists and dystopians (Huxley, Orwell) of the 1930s and 1940s knew so well, political slogans and soundbites are earworms which aim to prevent critique and debate.

Which is a roundabout way of explaining why my current favourite inspirational quotation is so long.

"To me, what is so radical and genuinely enjoyable about organising is the process of breaking down these emotional connections to the employer, to the job, and redirecting this affection, this loyalty, to the people around you. This is the process of making solidarity, and solidarity exists when you identify yourself more with who you love and your bonds together than with your place in an institutional hierarchy. This identity built within community and solidarity can displace the identity built by job ladders and performance reviews. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a reflexive practice that requires breaking down your sense of self and its dependence on your standing within these institutions and working to redefine yourself in relation to each other and the bonds of friendship and love that connect you as humans to your colleagues. I think this process needs to start with recognising that these are jobs. If they pay you, they ultimately get to tell you what to do, however many layers of obfuscation that power relationship may be shrouded in. No one actually forgets who pays them, ever. And getting a prize in your job—whether it’s an NSF grant, or a promotion, or tenure—doesn’t mean you’re a better person. It means you’re pleasing those with power over you. Putting it this way cuts at the knees of getting A [grade]s for a living."

Meredith Whittaker

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