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- The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
- Hannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic (1969), "Civil Disobedience"
- Social protest and even civil disobedience serve the law's need for growth. Ideally, reform would come according to reason and justice without self-help and disturbing, almost violent, forms of protest. … Still, candor compels one here again to acknowledge the gap between the ideal and the reality. Short of the millennium, sharp changes in the law depend partly upon the stimulus of protest.
- Archibald Cox, Civil Rights, the Constitution, and the Courts (1967: Harvard University Press), pp. 22–23 (40 N.Y. State B.J. 161, 169 (1968).)
- Civil Disobedience is civil breach of unmoral statutory enactments. The expression was, so far as I am aware, coined by Thoreau to signify his own resistance to the laws of a slave state. . . . But Thoreau was not perhaps an out and out champion of non-violence. Probably, also, Thoreau limited his breach of statutory laws to the revenue law, i.e. payment of taxes. Whereas the term Civil Disobedience as practised in 1919 covered a breach of any statutory and unmoral law. It signified the resister's outlawry in a civil, i.e., non-violent manner . . . Until I read that essay I never found a suitable English translation for my Indian word, Satyagraha.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Young India (23 March 1931)
- Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action (1999) by Mary King, p. 231
- There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.
- That which is not just, is not Law; and that which is not Law, ought not to be obeyed.