Utah Phillips

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Bruce "Utah" Phillips (May 15 1935May 23 2008) is a labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller, poet and self-described "Golden Voice of the Great Southwest". He describes the struggles of labor unions and the power of direct action. He often promotes the Industrial Workers of the World in his music, actions, and words.

Unsourced Quotes

  • "The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses."
  • "You've got to own what you do, rather than work and let somebody else make the profit off of it. And you've got to fight in this culture to hang on to your own soul, to hang on to your own creativity. Once I got into this folk music world and understood what I could do and that it belonged to me, I looked back on my years of employment with absolute horror. It was bondage, wage slavery. Sure, if somebody else is making the rules every day, it's a little bit easier, and you can turn your mind off. But none of my parts -- my intellect, my curiosity -- was being served by that experience. When I got out in the world as a free man, I found that all of my parts were being used."
  • "We, the American People, are enormously wealthy. You know that? Who owns all of those trees in the national forests? (This is not a rhetorical question.) We do! Who owns all of that off-shore oil you read about in the newspaper, huh? We do! Who owns all of those minerals under the federal lands? We do! It’s public property, you know. But we elect people to go to Washington—who are those assholes?—what have we gotten ourselves into now?—they go to Washington, they lease off what we own, public property, to private companies to sell us back our own stuff for the sake of a greasy buck. That’s dumb."
  • "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."
  • “But if it’s true that the only true life I had was the life of my brain, what sense does it make to hand that brain to somebody for eight hours a day for their particular use on the presumption that, at the end of the day, they will give it back in an unmutilated condition? Fat chance!”
  • "The state can't give you freedom, and the state can't take it away. Freedom is something you're born with, and then one day someone tries to deny it. The extent to which you resist is the extent to which you are free."
  • "But they lived those extraordinary lives that can never be lived again. And in the living of them, they gave me a history that is more profound, more beautiful, more powerful, more passionate, and ultimately more useful, than the best damn history book I ever read.
  • As I have said so often before, the long memory is the most radical idea in America…."
    • Utah Phillips, on a CD called The Long Memory (1996)

External Links

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