"Many of “Western Civilization’s” alleged achievements—for instance, the conquest of political liberties—were not handed down to us, as if through a legal transaction, by qualified representatives of the “Western Spirit.” Far from it, most of “the West’s” celebrated gains, particularly at the level of political rights, were worked and fought for by many who were not considered “Westerners.” Indeed, many of our political rights were wrenched into existence against the resistance of the most typical “Westerners.” The “Western Civilization” “legacy” metaphor also hides the role European and non-European workers (both were considered outside the pale of “civilization”) have played in building the wealth and culture of Europe and America. Typically, credit for technological development is laid at the doorstep of Greek Rationalism or is presented as the logical unfolding of a Promethean inner “Western” predisposition; rarely is it asked “Who built the factories?”"
"In continent after continent the humble figure of the old woman bent from carrying a burden of sticks that she has gathered from the woodlands has been the quintessential figure of an epoch in reproduction. Her protection is one of the oldest injunctions of written human history from the Mosaic codes onward (‘When you reap the harvest in your field and forget a swathe, do not go back to pick it up; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow,’ Deuteronomy 24:19). Wherever the subject is studied, a direct relationship is found between women and the commons. The feminization of poverty in our own day has become widespread precisely as the world’s commons have been enclosed."
"Johnson documents early stirrings of U.S. imperialism. The take among many leftists is that capitalism by its very nature entails recurring crises in accumulation. They assume too that for solutions capitalists look to overseas extension of their operations, even to war making. Thus slave owner longings for exploitative possibilities in the Caribbean and in Central America fueled military adventurism."