Take responsibility

Radicals don’t take responsibility for this society because it is a capitalist society, an enemy society. They never learn what it is to practice politics and be responsible, even for their own neighbourhoods. So the way they behave in neighbourhoods is scandalous. They don’t realize how this really estranges them from people in the community…. [My husband] Jimmy would go out every morning and clean the corner. He would pick up all the litter on the corner. When the gutters backed up because of heavy rain, he would be the first one out there to clean the gutters. He felt that he was a citizen of his block, of his city, of his country. And I had never thought that way because radicals don’t think that way. We’re outsiders. We cherish our “outsiderness.” I’ve come to believe that you cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it. I didn’t know that until I met Jimmy.

Grace Lee Boggs
“Revolution as the New Beginning” in Upping the Anti (Number One)


In memory of Grace Lee Boggs—author, activist, philosopher, and feminist—who died in Detroit on Monday at age 100.