fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time
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Revolution (from Late Latin revolutio which means "a turn around") is a significant change that usually occurs in a relatively short period of time.
- The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
- Hannah Arendt The New Yorker (12 September 1970)
- Revolutionaries do not make revolutions! The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.
- Hannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt (1989) Thoughts on Politics and Revolution: A Commentary
- Revolutions hew the past to pieces and cast it into a cauldron, but what has emerged is the old Aeson with a new visage.
- Sri Aurobindo, Thoughts and Aphorisms, Karma (1913)
- Whatever plans we may make, we shall find quite useless when the time for action comes. Revolutions are always full of surprises, and whoever thinks he can play chess with a revolution will soon find how terrible is the grasp of God and how insignificant the human reason before the whirlwind of His breath. That man only is likely to dominate the chances of a Revolution, who makes no plans but preserves his heart pure for the will of God to declare itself. The great rule of life is to have no schemes but one unalterable purpose. If the will is fixed on the purpose it sets itself to accomplish, then circumstances will suggest the right course; but the schemer finds himself always tripped up by the unexpected.
- Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). 
- Revolution requires extensive and widespread destruction, a fecund and renovating destruction, since in this way and only this way are new worlds born
- Mikhail Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy (1873)
- The peoples' revolution ... will arrange its revolutionary organisation from the bottom up and from the periphery to the centre, in keeping with the principle of liberty.
- Mikhail Bakunin, Program and Object of the Secret Revolutionary Organisation of the International Brotherhood (1868)
- It is time to apply to the mystique of revolution the same critical intelligence that has been applied to the mystique of war.
- Giovanni Baldelli, Social Anarchism (1971)
- Everything is being televised so you won't be able to tell where the Revolution is. "Who's revolting? Well, I don't know, what's on the other channel?"
- Maria Bamford, Nerdist podcast, episode #25, July 5, 2012.
- Morally, it is wrong to suppose the source of evil is outside oneself, that one is a vessel of holiness running over with virtue. Such a disposition is the best soil for a hateful and cruel fanaticism. It is as wrong to impute every wickedness to Jews, Freemansons, "intellectuals," as it is to blame all crimes on the bourgeoisie, the nobility, and the powers that were. No; the root of evil is in me as well, and I must take my share of the responsibility and the blame. That was true before the revolution and it is true still.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, The End of Our Time (1919), p. 128
- I realized that the only purpose to revolution is to be able to love who you want, how you want, when you want and where you want.
- Dan Bern, "True Revolutionaries", Smartie Mine (1999)
- REVOLUTION, n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment. Specifically, in American history, the substitution of the rule of an Administration for that of a Ministry, whereby the welfare and happiness of the people were out advanced a full half-inch. Revolutions are usually accompanied by a considerable effusion of blood, but are accounted worth it -- this appraisement being made by beneficiaries whose blood had not the mischance to be shed. The French revolution is of incalculable value to the Socialist of to-day; when he pulls the string actuating its bones its gestures are inexpressibly terrifying to gory tyrants suspected of fomenting law and order.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- We are all concerned with the revolutionary problem of how and what to produce, but nobody points out that producing is a revolutionary problem. If production is at the root of capitalist exploitation, to change the mode of production would merely change the mode of exploitation.
- Alfredo M. Bonanno, Armed Joy (1977)
- By abolishing the ethic of production you enter revolutionary reality directly.
- Alfredo M. Bonanno, Armed Joy (1977)
- A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
- Napoleon Bonaparte. Journal of International Affairs, By Columbia University. School of International Affairs, 1976, pg 94
- Long overdue is a revolution—a revolution against bosses who control your food, your allowance, and your nightmares. It would be so easy to step into one of those executive conference rooms—at the end of the long hallway where the corner office overlooks the Verrazano Bridge—and gun down the corporate board of directors—just shoot them in the head—it would be a crime for humanity and a cry for justice.
- Giannina Braschi. "United States of Banana" (2011). p. 21
- We cannot wait for the world to turn, for times to change that we might change with them, for the revolution to come and carry us around in its new course. We ourselves are the future. We are the revolution.
- Beatrice Bruteau quoted by Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy, Chapter 1 (1980)
- A time will come when the people will understand their power and the pigs' machinery will be unable to accommodate their demands. That is when the people, black people and poor white people and oppressed people all over America will rise up like mighty tide and clean this beachfront of capitalism and racism, and make the revolution.
- Elaine Brown, A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story (1992)
- Hardly anyone expected the American uprising (revolution) to succeed. Thousands of colonists emigrated to Canada or hid in the woods, certain that the king's armies would tear the colonial regiments to shreds. Nor did a majority of the people support the struggle for independence, even in theory. Historians estimate that one-third favored independence, one-third favored retaining British ties, and one-third were indifferent.
- James MacGregor Burns quoted by Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy, Chapter 5 (1980)
- The first duty of society is to give each of its members the possibility of fulfilling his destiny. When it becomes incapable of performing this duty it must be transformed.
- Alexis Carrel, Reflections on Life
- Revolution: Political movement which gets many people´s hopes up, let´s even more people down, makes almost everybody uncomfortable, and a few, extraordinarily rich. It is widely held in high regard.
- Adolfo Bioy Casares, Descanso de caminantes (2001)
- A revolution is not a trail of roses.… A revolution is a fight to the death between the future and the past.
- The death of a fighter is not a reason to mourn, if we believe, as we have always believed, as our people have believed and as revolutionaries of every era have believed, that no true man, no true revolutionary dies in vain.
- There are seasons, in human affairs, of inward and outward revolution, when new depths seem to be broken up in the soul, when new wants are unfolded in multitudes, and a new and undefined good is thirsted for. There are periods when...to dare, is the highest wisdom.
- William Ellery Channing, The Union (1829)
- An oppressed people are authorized, whenever they can, to rise and break their fetters.
- Henry Clay, Speech on the Emancipation of South America, House of Representatives (24 March 1818); The Life and Speeches of the Hon. Henry Clay, vol. I (1857), ed. Daniel Mallory
- There are very powerful forces in the world who see things in different ways. It always has been like that and that habit of seeing things in a particular way has become institutionalized and the habit, the conditioning is so strong, the glamour goes so deep, that humanity as a whole... is going to take a long time and with much heart searching to find a consensus. So you should not look for dramatic changes in the immediate future. The changes will take place bit by bit with the minimum of upset, the minimum destruction or conflict in the societies of the world, so that it is acceptable. Whatever is acceptable will be implemented. What is not acceptable... will be held over until it is acceptable and it will only be acceptable when trust is created. That trust will be created by the economic change, the number one change, the answer to all our problems really, the starting part of the answer to all our problems is in the change in the economic redistribution of the world's resources, which... the masters written over and over again is the key to all further changes because it creates trust and when you create trust, all things become possible. Then you get changes in the political field, changes in the political field make changes in the economic field easier and these make easier changes in the purely practical field of looking after the planet.
- Benjamin Creme speaking about Unity, (2001)
- Broadly speaking, the governments today are organisations of elderly men who know no other way to work and govern than the ways of their youth, the ways of the past. They have little sense of why their methods no longer work. They know nothing of the new energies and impulses which flood the world today, and are baffled and betrayed by their inability to control events... To a large extent, today, the People’s Voice is the voice of the young. Governments, and the media under their control, largely ignore or vilify the voices and aspirations of the young; yet it is the young who have the answers, who understand that humanity is One, who call for fairness, for justice and sharing, and an end to war. The voice of such young people can never be silenced, and will not for long be ignored. The Voice of the People, young and old, will drown the whimpers of the men of money and lead humanity to the New Dawn. So will it be.
- Benjamin Creme, Youth at the Helm, Share International Magazine, (April 2012)
- A new day is being born. It is as though one page is turning on the horizon to the next one.… The only way forward is to bring on a Revolution of Compassion which will breathe new life into democracy by extending solidarity.... Place compassion at the heart of social life… The future of the world does not depend exclusively on politicians, the executive officers of huge corporations or the United Nations [but on] all those who recognize themselves as being part of ‘we’, the world’s seven billion people.
When society as a whole is imbued with a positive vision of humanity you will see contemporary power struggles transformed into a caring economy based on mutual trust and common interests. An ethics of consideration, based on the universal values of benevolence, tolerance, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, non-violence will replace the current ethics of fault finding and prohibition.
- The Dalai Lama and Sofia Stril-Rever in A Call for Revolution: An appeal to the young people of the world (2018) (excerpt)Share International Magazine, (September 2018)
- Revolution is a city flower; it does not flourish in the country.
- Robertson Davies, Murther and Walking Spirits (1991), part II, section 19
- The call to defund the police is, I think, an abolitionist demand, but it reflects only one aspect of the process represented by the demand. Defunding the police is not simply about withdrawing funding for law enforcement and doing nothing else. And it appears as if this is the rather superficial understanding that has caused Biden to move in the direction he’s moving in.
It’s about shifting public funds to new services and new institutions — mental health counselors, who can respond to people who are in crisis without arms. It’s about shifting funding to education, to housing, to recreation. All of these things help to create security and safety. It’s about learning that safety, safeguarded by violence, is not really safety
And I would say that abolition is not primarily a negative strategy. It’s not primarily about dismantling, getting rid of, but it’s about reenvisioning. It’s about building anew... And one sees in these abolitionist demands that are emerging the pivotal influence of feminist theories and practices... Abolition is really about rethinking the kind of future we want, the social future, the economic future, the political future. It’s about revolution, I would argue.
- The reason i am a communist is because I believe in a total revolution which is going to overthrow the capitalist control of the economy, which will seize the wealth from all of the giant corporations that exploit and control the lives of all working people.
- Angela Y. Davis, from an interview.
- When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence; without realizing that the real content of any kind of revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and the goals that you're striving for - not in the way that you reach them. On the other hand, because of the way this society is organized; because of the violence that exists on the surface everywhere - you'd have to expect that there are going to be such explosions. You have to expect things like that as reactions.
- Leftists really fear the bloody violence of revolution, and hence they focus on displacing anger into safer procedural, consumerist, and aesthetic channels. As Peter Hallward emphasizes, the legacy of anti-Jacobinism is a preference for the condemnation of some kinds of violence but not others: leftists join democrats, liberals, and conservatives in denouncing the revolutionary Terror while they virtually ignore the "far more bloody repression of the 1871 Commune." Even those who see themselves as part of some open and varied constellation of the Left condemn the violence of the people against those who would oppress them. State violence and the force of counterrevolution is taken for granted, assumed, cloaked in a prior legitimacy or presumed to be justified in the interest of order.
- Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon (2012), pp. 58-59
- The most heroic word in all languages is REVOLUTION.
- This means we must subject the machine—technology—to control and cease despoiling the earth and filling people with goodies merely to make money. The search of the young today is more specific than the ancient search for the Holy Grail. The search of the youth today is for ways and means to make the machine—and the vast bureaucracy of the corporation state and of government that runs that machine—the servant of man.
That is the revolution that is coming.
That revolution—now that the people hold the residual powers of government—need not be a repetition of 1776. It could be a revolution in the nature of an explosive political regeneration. It depends on how wise the Establishment is. If, with its stockpile of arms, it resolves to suppress the dissenters, America will face, I fear, an awful ordeal.
- William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion (1970), p. 96–97
- We must realize that today's Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.
- William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion (1970), p. 95
- The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionaries are philosophers and saints.
- Will Durant, The Lessons of History (1968), p. 72 (co-authored with Ariel Durant)
- The two great conceptual revolutions of twentieth-century science, the overturning of classical physics by Werner Heisenberg and the overturning of the foundations of mathematics by Kurt Gödel, occurred within six years of each other within the narrow boundaries of German-speaking Europe. ...A study of the historical background of German intellectual life in the 1920s reveals strong links between them. Physicists and mathematicians were exposed simultaneously to external influences that pushed them along parallel paths. ...Two people who came early and strongly under the influence of Spengler's philosophy were the mathematician Hermann Weyl and the physicist Erwin Schrödinger. ...Weyle and Schrödinger agreed with Spengler that the coming revolution would sweep away the principle of physical causality. The erstwhile revolutionaries David Hilbert and Albert Einstein found themselves in the unaccustomed role of defenders of the status quo, Hilbert defending the primacy of formal logic in the foundations of mathematics, Einstein defending the primacy of causality in physics. In the short run, Hilbert and Einstein were defeated and the Spenglerian ideology of revolution triumphed, both in physics and in mathematics. Heisenberg discovered the true limits of causality in atomic processes, and Gödel discovered the limits of formal deduction and proof in mathematics. And, as often happens in the history of intellectual revolutions, the achievement of revolutionary goals destroyed the revolutionary ideology that gave them birth. The visions of Spengler, having served their purpose, rapidly became irrelevant.
- Freeman Dyson, The Scientist As Rebel (2006)
- Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind; and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series, 1841
- Every change in the social order, every revolution in property relations, is the necessary consequence of the creation of new forces of production which no longer fit into the old property relations.
- The colonized subject thus discovers that his life, his breathing and his heartbeats are the same as the colonist's. He discovers that the skin of a colonist is not worth more than the "native's." In other words, his world receives a fundamental jolt. The colonized's revolutionary new assurance stems from this. If, in fact, my life is worth as much as the colonist's, his look can no longer strike fear into me or nail me to the spot and his voice can no longer petrify me. I am no longer uneasy in his presence. In reality, to hell with him. Not only does his presence no longer bother me, but I am already preparing to waylay him in such a way that soon he will have no other solution but to flee.
- Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (1963), p. 10'
- The crises of our time, it becomes increasingly clear, are the necessary impetus for the revolution now under way. And once we understand nature's transformative powers, we see that it is our powerful ally, not a force to be feared or subdued. Our pathology is our opportunity.
A leaderless but powerful network is working to bring about radical change in the United States. Its members have broken with certain key elements of Western thought, and they may even have broken continuity with history. This network is the Aquarian Conspiracy. It is a conspiracy without a political doctrine. Without a manifesto. With conspirators who seek power only to disperse it, and whose strategies are pragmatic, even scientific, but whose perspective sounds so mystical that they hesitate to discuss it. Activists asking different kinds of questions, challenging the establishment from within. Broader than reform, deeper than revolution, this benign conspiracy for a new human agenda has triggered the most rapid cultural realignment in history.
- The revolution was in the minds of the people. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. Long before the first shot is fired, the revolution begins. Long after truce is declared, it continues to overturn lives...
Although it is rarely noted in histories of the American Revolution, many of the arch-Revolutionaries came from a tradition of mystical fraternity. Except for such traces as the symbols on the reverse side of the Great Seal and the dollar bill, little evidence remains of this esoteric influence (Rosicrucian, Masonic, and Hermetic). That sense of fraternity and spiritual chisement played an important role in the intensity of the Revolutionaries and their commitment to the realization of a democracy...
A New Order of the Ages Begins, says the reverse side of the Great Seal, and the Revolutionaries meant it. The American experiment was consciously conceived as a momentous step in the evolution of the species. The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind, Thomas Paine said in his inflammatory pamphlet Common Sense (1776).
- Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy, Chapter 5, The American Matrix for Transformation (1980)
- Jean-François Revel ...described the United States as the most eligible prototype nation for world revolution. Real revolutionary activity, he noted, consists of transforming reality, that is, in making reality conform more closely to one's ideal. When we speak of "revolution" we must necessarily speak of something that cannot be conceived or understood within the context of old ideas. The stuff of revolution, and its first success, must be the ability to innovate. In that sense, there is more revolutionary spirit in the United States today, even on the Right, than elsewhere on the Left.
The relative freedom in the United States would make it possible for such a revolution to occur bloodlessly, Revel said. If that happened, and if one political civilization were exchanged for another, as seemed to be happening, the impact might be felt worldwide by osmosis. This radical transformation would need the simultaneous occurrence of smaller revolutions—in politics, society, international and interracial relations, cultural values, and technology and science.
- Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy, Chapter 5 (1980)
- The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.
- Erich Fromm Escape from Freedom, 1941
- A non-violent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships, ending in a peaceful transfer of power.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War, 1948
- [W]hat is happening is what left-wing revolutions do tend to produce, whether they’re talking about the Russian Revolution or the French Revolution, and that is students – the next generation of revolutionaries – become not only more radical than their radical professors, but they turn on them so the revolution tends to consume its own. So now people who think of themselves of impeccably left-wing will say something that offends some group of radicalized students – perhaps students that they themselves helped to radicalize – and suddenly they are the ones under fire for not conforming sufficiently to the contemporary orthodoxy.
- Robert P. George, interview with Bill Kristol (April 2016), transcript
- Rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak, arid desert.
- Kahlil Gibran, The Vision
- A great revolution is never the fault of the people, but of the government.
- Goethe, Conversations with Goethe, 1824
- No real social change has ever come about without a revolution. People are either not familiar with their history, or they have not yet learned that revolution is but thought carried into action.
- Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays, Anarchism: What It Really Stands For, 1910, Mother Earth Publishing
- The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it drop.
- Che Guevara. "Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon", by Trisha Ziff, Abrams Image, 2006, p. 69
- In a revolution, one triumphs or dies (if it is a true revolution).
- Che Guevara, letter to Fidel Castro, 1965
- At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice.
The leaders of the revolution have children just beginning to talk, who are not learning to call their fathers by name; wives, from whom they have to be separated as part of the general sacrifice of their lives to bring the revolution to its fulfilment; the circle of their friends is limited strictly to the number of fellow revolutionists. There is no life outside of the revolution.
In these circumstances one must have a great deal of humanity and a strong sense of justice and truth in order not to fall into extreme dogmatism and cold scholasticism, into isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
- Excerpts from the two paragraphs above have sometimes been quoted in abbreviated form: At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality... We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
- Variant translation: One must have a large dose of humanity, a large dose of a sense of justice and truth in order to avoid dogmatic extremes, cold scholasticism, or an isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity is transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
- Che Guevara, Man and Socialism in Cuba (1965), A letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha a radical weekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay; published as "From Algiers, for Marcha : The Cuban Revolution Today" (12 March 1965); also published in Verde Olivo, the magazine of the Cuban armed forces "Socialism and Man in Cuba" - Variant translation by Margarita Zimmermann
- We have to acknowledge that the empire is tottering towards its collapse... What empires traditionally do at the end is they engage in what historians call "micro-militarism".... At the end stage, the elites need the tools that the empire perfected on people of color abroad... the drones and militarized police and heavy weapons such as armored personnel carriers being used.... against the country's own citizens.
- As Aristotle said, once you have oligarchic rule, there are only two choices. It is revolution or tyranny, and that's it. I'm not naive enough to tell you the revolution is going to win, but I'm going to tell you that if it doesn't win then there will be a very ugly corporate tyranny in the United States.
- State authority can never be an end in itself; for, if that were so, any kind of tyranny would be inviolable and sacred. If a government uses the instruments of power in its hands for the purpose of leading a people to ruin, then rebellion is not only the right but also the duty of every individual citizen.
- Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory.
- Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
- When hopes and dreams are loose in the street, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed.
- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, 1951
- We used to think that revolutions are the cause of change. Actually it is the other way around: change prepares the ground for revolution.
- Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time, 1967
- The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it. The second duty is to eat breakfast. I ain't going.
- Abbie Hoffman, spoken to police immediately prior to his 1968 arrest in Chicago; quoted in Marty Jezer's biography of him, "Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel"
- The notion of capturing positions of power, whether it be governmental power or more dispersed positions of power in society, misses the point that the aim of the revolution is to dissolve relations of power, to create a society based on the mutual recognition of people's dignity. What has failed is the notion that revolution means capturing power in order to abolish power. What is now on the agenda is the much more demanding notion of a direct attack on power relations. The only way in which revolution can now be imagined is not as the conquest of power but as the dissolution of power.
- John Holloway, Change the World Without Taking Power (2002)
- The wind of revolutions is not tractable.
- Would you realize what Revolution is, call it Progress; and would you realize what Progress is, call it Tomorrow.
- Victor Hugo in Les Misérables, Vol. II : Cosette, Book I : Waterloo, Chapter XVII : Is Waterloo to be considered Good?
- One should never put on one's best trousers to go out to battle for freedom and truth.
- History does not relate any true revolution which came from power. All began with education and meant in essence a moral summons.
- Alija Izetbegović, The Islamic Declaration (1970), p. 53.
- Revolutionary change means the seizure of all that is held by the 1 percent, and the transference of these holdings into the hands of the remaining 99 percent. If the 1 percent are simply replaced by another 1 percent, revolutionary change has not taken place.
- George L. Jackson, Blood in My Eye (1971), p. 9
- The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith (13 November 1787), quoted in Padover's Jefferson On Democracy
- If this avenue [of democratic political revolution] be shut to the call of sufferance, it will make itself heard through that of force, and we shall go on, as other nations are doing, in the endless circle of oppression, rebellion, reformation.
- Thomas Jefferson, quoted in The American Revolution of 1800: How Thomas Jefferson Rescued Democracy from Tyranny and Faction—And What This Means Today by Dan Sisson and Thom Hartmann (2014), p. 215
- For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
- Proti proudu nemožná plavati.
- It is impossible to swim against the current.
- Alois Jirásek, Filozofská historie, ch. XI.
- It is impossible to swim against the current.
- Perhaps a revolution can overthrow autocratic despotism and profiteering or power-grabbing oppression, but it can never truly reform a manner of thinking; instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones they replace, will serve as a leash for the great unthinking mass.
- Immanuel Kant, What Is Enlightenment
- The warrior generations to which the remilitarisations gave birth in Algeria, China, Vietnam, and what was once Yugoslavia, are growing old today. The revolutions for which they and millions of unwilling participants paid such a terrible price in blood and anguish have withered at the roots. South Vietnam, the prize of Ho Chi Minh’s long war, has refused to abandon its capitalist habits. The Chinese greybeards of the Long March have preserved the authority of the party only by conceding economic freedoms wholly at variance with Marxist doctrine. In Algeria a sprawling population looks for a solution to economic hardship either in Islamic fundamentalism or in emigration to the richer world on the other side of the Mediterranean. The peoples of former Yugoslavia whom Tito sought to unite by bloodying their lands in a common struggle against the Axis now bloody their hands against each other in a struggle reminiscent of nothing so much as the ‘territorial displacement’ anthropologists identify as the underlying logic of much ‘primitive’ warfare in tribal society. In the borderlands of the dissolved Soviet Union, from which the revolutionaries took their inspiration, a similar pattern discloses itself, as newly independent ‘minorities’ use their freedom from Russian control to revive ancient tribal hatreds and to re-fight wars, sometimes within rather than between tribes, which to outsiders appears to have no political point whatsoever.
- John Keegan, A History of Warfare (1994) pp. 54-55
- The great revolution in the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free.
- John F. Kennedy: "Message to Chairman Khrushchev Concerning the Meaning of Events in Cuba," April 18, 1961. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project
- Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- John F. Kennedy, Address on the first Anniversary of the Alliance for Progress (March 13, 1962); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, p. 223
- A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.
- John F. Kennedy, Civil Rights Address (June 11, 1963)
- A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.
- Robert Kennedy, Speech in the United States Senate (9 May 1966)
- You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit or it is nowhere.
- Ce n'est pas une révolte, c'est une révolution.
- It is not a revolt, it is a revolution.
- François Alexandre Frédéric to Louis XVI (July 14, 1789). Found in Carlyle's French Revolution, Part I, Book V, Chapter VII
- Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.
- Abraham Lincoln, Speech in the United States House of Representatives (January 12, 1848)
- This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
- Abraham Lincoln, in his First Inaugural Address (4 March 1861)
- Men do not lead the revolution; it is the Revolution that uses men.
- Joseph de Maistre, Considerations on France (1796), Ch. 1
- Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.
- Mao Zedong, as quoted in "Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon" (2006) by Trisha Ziff, p. 66
- Revolutions are usually a matter of people picking up the power of a state in disintegration, a government that has lost the will to enforce its laws.
- Brian Reynolds Myers, interview with Joshua Stanton (August 2017), One Free Korea
- The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man. Unless he understands this, he does not grasp the essential meaning of his life.
- Huey Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (1973)
- I have no doubt that the revolution will triumph. The people of the world will prevail, seize power, seize the means of production, wipe out racism, capitalism.
- Huey Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (1973), p. 4
- True love is radical because it requires us to see ourselves in all people. Otherwise, it isn’t love. Love is revolutionary because it has us treat ALL people as we would ourselves - not because we are charitable, but because we are one. That is love’s radical conclusion.
- The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.
- George Orwell, in a letter to Malcolm Muggeridge (4 December 1948), published in Malcolm Muggeridge : A Life (1980) by Ian Hunter
- Most anarchists believe the coming change can only come through a revolution, because the possessing class will not allow a peaceful change to take place; still we are willing to work for peace at any price, except at the price of liberty.
- Lucy Parsons, in The Principles of Anarchism
- Everywhere revolutions are painful yet fruitful gestations of a people: they shed blood but create light, they eliminate men but elaborate ideas.
- Manuel Gonzalez Prada, Horas de lucha (1908)
- Even more problematic is the insistence logically stemming from the presumption of social corruption that all individual problems, no matter how rare, must be solved by cultural restructuring, no matter how radical. Our society faces the increasing call to deconstruct its stabilizing traditions to include smaller and smaller numbers of people who do not or will not fit into the categories upon which even our perceptions are based. This is not a good thing. Each person’s private trouble cannot be solved by a social revolution, because revolutions are destabilizing and dangerous. We have learned to live together and organize our complex societies slowly and incrementally, over vast stretches of time, and we do not understand with sufficient exactitude why what we are doing works. Thus, altering our ways of social being carelessly in the name of some ideological shibboleth (diversity springs to mind) is likely to produce far more trouble than good, given the suffering that even small revolutions generally produce.
- Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)
- Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
- George Orwell, in 1984
- There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence. It is now spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws, institutions and social structure are changing in consequence. It promises a higher reason, a more human community, and a new and liberated individual. Its ultimate creation will be a new and enduring wholeness and beauty — a renewed relationship of man to himself, to other men, to society, to nature, and to the land.
This is the revolution of the new generation.
- Charles A. Reich, in The Greening of America (1970), Chapter I : The Coming American Revolution, p. 4
- A revolution is sometimes necessary, but if revolutions become habitual the country in which they take place is going down-hill.
- Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses, (1910)
- Peoples once accustomed to masters are not in a condition to do without them. If they attempt to shake off the yoke they still more estrange themselves from freedom, as by mistaking for it an unbridled license to which it is diametrically opposed, they nearly always manage, by their revolutions, to hand themselves over to seducers, who only make their chains heavier than before.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
- Today, when the country is stifling in the clutches of economic disruption and war, and the vultures of counter-revolution are plotting its doom, the revolution must find the strength and the means to save it from crumbling and disintegrating.
- Joseph Stalin, We Demand (1917)
- The Revolution will not be televised. The Revolution will be no rerun, brothers. The Revolution — will be live.
- O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolutions of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea!
- William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II (c. 1597-99), Act III, scene 1, line 45
- A Call for Revolution was written by Sofia Stril-Rever from conversations with the Dalai Lama in July 2017...The book followed Stril-Rever’s presentation of the Dalai Lama’s message to the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris in 2015, on the need to take “universal responsibility for the earth’s ecosystem”, and subsequent seminars she organized with French lawyers on tackling climate change... The main themes of the book are the call to the young to act for change; the urgent imperative for humanity to accept responsibility for the ecosystem; and the Dalai Lama’s persistent “yearning” for world peace. He mentions his influences: neuroscience as an adjunct to his Buddhism, the French Revolution, and the European Union as a model for growing world unity. Above all, the sense of the oneness of all life underpins everything the Dalai Lama writes.
- Share International Magazine, review of A Call for Revolution: An appeal to the young people of the world, (September 2018)
- We never talked about men or clothes or inconsequential things we got together. It was always Marx, Lenin and revolution - real girls' talk.
- Nina Simone, as quoted in Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers' Band and How Black, Rickey Vincent, ISBN ISBN 9781613744956
- Many of the world's troubles are not due just to Russia or communism. They would be with us in any event because we live in an era of revolution—the revolution of rising expectations. In Asia, the masses now count for something. Tomorrow, they will count for more. And, for better or for worse, the future belongs to those who understand the hopes and fears of masses in ferment. The new nations want independence, including the inalienable able right to make their own mistakes. The people want respect — and something to eat every day. And they want something better for their children.
- Adlai Stevenson, in the concluding article in a series about his five-month trip around the world, in The Papers of Adlai E. Stevenson (1974), vol. 5, p. 411; first published in Look (22 September 1953), p. 46
- Seditiosissimus quisque ignavus.
- The most seditious is the most cowardly.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), IV. 34
- One of the many politico-theological abuses of biblical statements is the understanding of Paul’s words [Romans 13:1-7] as justifying the anti-revolutionary bias of some churches, particularly the Lutheran. But neither these words nor any other New Testament statement deals with the methods of gaining political power. In Romans, Paul is addressing eschatological enthusiasts, not a revolutionary political movement.
- Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Volume 3 (1963), p. 389
- I am here to demand my rights and to hurl thunderbolts at the men who would dare to cross the threshold of my manhood.
- Henry McNeal Turner, "I Claim the Right of a Man" (1868)
- Anytime you find somebody today who's afraid of the word 'revolution,' get him on out of your way. He's living in the wrong era. ... He hasn't awakened yet.
- Malcolm X, in By Any Means Necessary, p. 21
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 672-73.
- Revolutions are not about trifles, but spring from trifles.
- Aristotle, Politics, Book VII, Chapter IV
- A reform is a correction of abuses; a revolution is a transfer of power.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton, speech in the House of Commons, on the Reform Bill (1866)
- Voulez-vous donc qu'on vous fasse des révolutions à l'eau-rose?
- Do you think then that revolutions are made with rose water?
- Nicolas Chamfort, to Jean-François Marmontel, who regretted the excesses of the French Revolution.
- Je suis le signet qui marque la page où la révolution s'est arrêtée; mais quand je serai mort, elle tournera le feuillet et reprendra sa marche.
- I am the signet which marks the page where the revolution has been stopped; but when I die it will turn the page and resume its course.
- Napoleon I, to Count Molé
- Revolutions are not made; they come. A revolution is as natural a growth as an oak. It comes out of the past. Its foundations are laid far back.
- Wendell Phillips, speech on public opinion (28 January 1852)
- Revolutions never go backward.
- Wendell Phillips, speech on progress (17 February 1861)
- I know and all the world knows, that revolutions never go backwards.
- William H. Seward, speech on the "Irrepressible Conflict" (October 1858)
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