Socialist leader Eugene Debs. On eminent figures who claim to have risen from the ranks: "I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise, it will be with the ranks."
For a comprehensive, rewarding companion piece to Robert Shetterly's CD article on Van Jones, check out Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell the Truth," his book
of 50-plus portraits and brief biographies of progressive luminaries.
They include, besides Jones, well-known figures like Rosa Parks, Ralph
Ellison, Rachel Carson, Daniel Ellsberg, Howard Zinn and James Baldwin
and many lesser-known activists, suffragists, pacifists and writers.
All told, they make the heart glad. Shetterly on that community of
"The courage of these
individuals needs to remain a part of a great tradition, a united
effort in respect for the truth. These people form the well from which we must draw our future."