John Steinbeck on the Occupy movement.

Via Laura Marjorie Miller
on Nov 22, 2011
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Know Yourselves.

We’ve been here before.

“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away.

And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need.

And the little screaming fact that resounds throughout all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on.

… The great owners formed associations for protection and they met to discuss ways to intimidate, to kill, to gas. And always they were in fear of a principal—three hundred thousand—if they ever move under a leader—the end. Three hundred thousand, if they ever know themselves, the land will be theirs, and all the gas, all the rifles in the world won’t stop them.

And the great owners, who had become through the might of their holdings both more and less than men, ran to their destruction, and used every means that in the long run would destroy them. Every little means, every violence, every raid on a Hooverville, every deputy swaggering through a ragged camp just put off the day a little and cemented the inevitability of the day.’

~ John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 19, 1939

To all the men and women who take blows and poison in the face on my behalf, who are standing up for my rights and equality as a citizen, I admire you. And you have already won.

Blessed be, Namaste, and Love,



About Laura Marjorie Miller

Laura Marjorie Miller writes about travel, Yoga, magic, myth, fairy tales, photography, marine conservation, and other soulful subjects. She is a regular columnist at, contributing editor at Be You Media, and a public-affairs writer at UMass Amherst. Her work has appeared at Tripping, GotSaga, Dive News Network, and, in Yankee Magazine, the Boston Globe and Parabola. She is based in Massachusetts, where she lives with a cat named Huck. You can find her on twitter at bluecowboyyoga.


2 Responses to “John Steinbeck on the Occupy movement.”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thanks Laura.
    And isn't that photo chilling?

  2. Laura Miller says:

    The photo will be a forever-icon now. It made me think of the horrible, sauntering deputies in Grapes of Wrath which is why I went into the book, and then I found this passage, which blew me away. We can take hope and heart from the past!