Utah Phillips QuotesBruce Duncan "Utah" Phillips was an American labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller and poet. He described the struggles of labor unions and the power of direct action, self-identifying as an anarchist.
You are about to be told one more time that you are America’s most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources?! Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don’t ever let them call you a valuable natural resource! They’re going to strip mine your soul. They’re going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist, because the profit system follows the path of least resistance and following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked!
When I went to high school – that’s about as far as I got – reading my U.S. history textbook, well, I got the history of the ruling class. I got the history of the generals and the industrialists and the presidents that didn’t get caught. How ’bout you? I got all of the history of the people who owned the wealth of the country, but none of the history of the people that created it.
My pacifism came after I joined the army and was shipped over to Korea. There was a little one-room orphanage there called Song-do. There were 180 babies in there, and they were GI babies. The U.S. government would not acknowledge this, and the Korean government had nothing to do with them. They were living on a 100-pound bag of rice a month. Some of those kids, when they were old enough, would go out and shine shoes. They would show up at the gate of our compound to shine shoes, and you’d swear they were looking for their fathers.
Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through and everything they gave their lives to, and every song they created, and every poem that they laid down flows down to me – and if I take the time to ask, and if I take the time to see, and if I take the time to reach out, I can build that bridge between my world and theirs. I can reach down into that river and take out what I need to get through this world