The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Displaying Results for the Following Subject Categories:

Category:         Social and political
SubCategory:  Social injustice

Follow link under "Source" below for a list of Merton books corresponding to abbreviations.
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DateAuthorTitleSourceQuotation by Merton
1957/12/17Albert EinsteinIdeas and Opinions Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 146 "A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to a frugal life and am often oppressively aware that I am engrossing an undue amount of the labor of my fellow men. I regard class-distinction as unjustified and in the last resort based on forc"¦" Albert Einstein. Beginning my first contacts with this beautiful mind and person who is Einstein. Note in him what was good in Marx, the true social conscience and not what was bad, the neurotic violence.
1958/05/29Hannah ArendtOrigins of Totalitarianism Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 204 The terrible insights of Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism. Wrote notes here under the pine trees in bare feet.
1960/05/13Hannah ArendtOrigins of Totalitarianism Ltrs: HGL p. 395 I have been reading a fabulous book, The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt, the one who wrote such a good one on [The Origins of] Totalitarianism. This is very fine, once one gets into it. And for once someone is saying something really new, though it is also really old. I recommend it.
1962/03/02Charles Wright MillsPower Elite Jnl 4 ('60-'63) p. 206 Reading Wright Mills on the Power Elite. How can we avoid war? The Pentagon is moving the country and forming everybody's mind for war. The picture that has meaning to most people is basically military. He contends, I believe rightly, that since WWII the military have really taken over from the politicians (or taken the politicians over). The country is on a permanent military basis. This I had not realized so clearly, still thinking in terms of 1940 when I entered.
1963/06/11Dorothy DayLoaves and Fishes: The Inspiring Storey of the Catholic Worker Movement Jnl 4 ('60-'63) p. 330 Proofs of Dorothy Day's new book came from Harper (with a request for comment). It looks good.
1964/08/02William StringfellowMy People Is the Enemy: An Autobiographical Polemic Jnl 5 ('63-'65) p. 132 I finished [William] Stringfellow's book on Harlem [My People Is the Enemy: An Autobiographical Polemic, 1964] and will write to Joe Cunneen about it. It is first rate-full especially of important information. How the rent system works, etc. It becomes clearer and clearer that this is an utterly sick system, but anonymous. If there were one sick King he would be deposed and replaced. Here "they" operate and get rich and it is not always clear who "they" are or how they get rich.
1965/09/30Michael HarringtonOther America: Poverty in the United States Jnl 5 ('63-'65) p. 300 The month began in rain and is ending in it-though there were a couple of long dry periods. A fine rainstorm with lots of southeast wind began just as I was finishing my afternoon work (and finishing the selections from this Journal to be used in the book for Doubleday. Took it up to end of 1963). It went on during supper, at which I was reading Harrington's The Other America- the shocking chapter on the aged!
1966/04/22Ned O'GormanProphetic Voices: Ideas and Words of Revolution Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 43 Cannot eat much, do not feel like work (writing). Am delaying work on the bits for Ned O'Gorman's book [Note 5: "Seven Words" published in Prophetic Voices: Ideas and Words of Revolution, edited by Ned O'Gorman (New York: Random House, 1969)]. (plenty of time anyway I found out). Nothing terribly pressing to be done, and I don't yet feel much like typing. But walking around, my neck feels fine (today is exactly 4 weeks since the operation). The left leg is still a bit numb, and the incision still bleeds. Otherwise everything is fine.
1966/12/30Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez (ed.)Letters from Mississippi Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 175 Reading Letters from Mississippi - the SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] book [edited by Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez, 1965] about the 1964 Freedom project. Very good, very moving, it leaves you a little hopeless - sense of a transitional style in the Civil Rights movement - realization that it ccomplished so little - yet was a great thing, especially for the white students and intellectuals who were in it. They profited most (and three were killed, of course).
1967/01/01Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez (ed.)Letters from Mississippi Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 181 While I was eating breakfast, read in Letters from Mississippi how the SNCC volunteers and the Negroes watched on TV the signing of the Civil Rights bill (July 2, 1964), knowing that as far as the South went it meant nothing. A Negro woman declared she was going to the local pool for a swim. Had to be dissuaded - she might have got herself killed. How hard it is fully to realize the utter enormity of the situation. All these people systematically and totally denied the simple needs and desires of the human heart! No question that this country is under judgment, and the moral blindness of the majority - of those in power - the total moral impotence of the system - are sufficient indications. It gets worse all the time and everyone is helpless. The gestures of a few are perhaps consoling, but achieve nothing important. Perhaps a little here and there.
1967/01/04Joseph P. LyfordAirtight Cage Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 182 Finished [Joseph P.] Lyford's book - The Airtight Cage [New York, 1966] - a clear-cut and impassioned report on what happens to people in a slum. In this case the "Area" - South of Columbia in the 80's and 90's on the West Side of NY - which was a somewhat comfy middle-class Jewish"”Irish area when I was in college... He shows the life of utter helplessness, rootlessness, lack of community, lived by people (poor and middle class) who have no recourse, i.e. a system that deplores the slum but needs it as a human refuse dump.