Quotations

Michael Manley’s Words (quotations from his books and speeches)

In her presentation of the third annual Michael Manley Lecture, on December 10, 2004, Michael Manley’s daughter Rachel Manley, speaking on “The Quest for a Caribbean Voice”, said of her father: “He spoke for the workers of Jamaica. He spoke for the poor and disfranchised of our island and our region and beyond. He spoke for the unwed mothers, for the illegitimate, for the uneducated… Voice is the means by which he articulated our needs and wants and demands and challenges. It was the confidence he gave to that voice as an internationalist that made our tiny nation speak to the world, and made the world listen.”

Below are fourteen quotations selected from statements by Mr Manley:

“Human rights do not begin with the right to dissent in safety. The process may end there, but it begins in the stomach of man.”

Address at International Conference in support of the peoples of Zimbabwe and Namibia, in Maputo, Mozambique, May 17, 1977

“Self-reliance refers to our capacity to accept responsibility for our own development within the social grouping; while social responsibility implies our awareness that our development must take place in the context of a general respect for the interests of others in the group. So too, with nations.”

‘The Politics of Change’, Mr Manley’s first book, published 1974

“Government today must not only reflect the politics which have been described as the art of the possible. It must reflect also the pursuit of the ‘impossible’, so that our own capacity may be confirmed to ourselves and self-doubt banished.”

‘The Politics of Change’, Mr Manley’s first book, published 1974

“We believe that the idea of equality is the only enduring principle by which mankind may be guided in the conduct of national and international affairs.”

Address to the United Nations General Assembly, October 2, 1972

“Democracy should be as much a system of participation as a method of representation.”

Address at United Nations conference on Non-Governmental Organisations, August 25, 1980

“Where political sovereignty has been conceded but economic power remains untouched, equality remains a myth, social justice proves unattainable and even freedom becomes an ambiguous phenomenon.”

Address at International Conference in support of the peoples of Zimbabwe and Namibia, in Maputo, Mozambique, May 17, 1977

“Just as surely history is the product of those forces which seek to dominate in the name of glory or profit, equally is history the product of the forces of those who rebel.”

Address at special plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly on ‘International Anti-Apartheid Year’, October 11, 1978

“In a plural world, it is the right to self-determination, and not its outcome, which is the inalienable right of every man. And it is wherever the absolute right to self-determination is denied that peace is most at risk.”

Address at special plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly on ‘International Anti-Apartheid Year’, October 11, 1978

“Democracy means far more than the right to vote every five years. It means the right to participate in every aspect of national and community life. The people must believe that they can take part.”

Broadcast statement to Jamaican population on retirement from office, March 15, 1992

“The enslavement of the body which endured till 1838 was nothing to the enslavement of the mind which persisted since.”

Address at graduation ceremony at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, December 14, 1974

“Any advantage enjoyed by one person over another should never exist in spite of or at the expense of the worth and rights of another, but should only reflect legitimate differences in talent and application as they emerge in a context of equal opportunity.”

‘A Voice at the Workplace’, Mr Manley’s second book, published 1975

“To understand today’s politics one must always begin with yesterday’s economics.”

‘Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery’, Mr Manley’s fourth book, published 1982

“Any realistic vision of change must be based on the notion of empowerment of people.”

‘The Poverty of Nations’, Mr Manley’s seventh book, published 1991

“The globalisation of the world economy has not led to a more equitable distribution of wealth but is facilitating its further concentration.”

‘The Poverty of Nations’, Mr Manley’s seventh book, published 1991

Michael Manley Library

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