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Quotes About Civil Disobedience

Quotes tagged as "civil-disobedience" (showing 1-30 of 37)
Martin Luther King Jr.
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Howard Zinn
“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
Howard Zinn

Aristotle
“It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.”
Aristotle, Selected Writings From The Nicomachean Ethics And Politics

Martin Luther King Jr.
“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Arundhati Roy
“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire

Henry David Thoreau
“If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

Henry David Thoreau
“I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”
Henry David Thoreau

Martin Luther King Jr.
“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”
Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mahatma Gandhi
“An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.”
Mahatma Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War 1942-49

Tarrin P. Lupo
“When EVIL men make bad laws, righteous men disobey them."
Pastor Butch Paugh”
Tarrin P. Lupo

Howard Zinn
“Civil disobedience, as I put it to the audience, was not the problem, despite the warnings of some that it threatened social stability, that it led to anarchy. The greatest danger, I argued, was civil obedience, the submission of individual conscience to governmental authority. Such obedience led to the horrors we saw in totalitarian states, and in liberal states it led to the public's acceptance of war whenever the so-called democratic government decided on it...

In such a world, the rule of law maintains things as they are. Therefore, to begin the process of change, to stop a war, to establish justice, it may be necessary to break the law, to commit acts of civil disobedience, as Southern black did, as antiwar protesters did.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Michel Templet
“If you're not going to use your free speech to criticize your own government, then what the hell is the point of having it?”
Michel Templet

Mahatma Gandhi
“An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Harriet Beecher Stowe
“But now what? Why, now comes my master, takes me right away from my work, and my friends, and all I like, and grinds me down into the very dirt! And why? Because, he says, I forgot who I was; he says, to teach me that I am only a nigger! After all, and last of all, he comes between me and my wife, and says I shall give her up, and live with another woman. And all this your laws give him power to do, in spite of God or man. Mr. Wilson, look at it! There isn't one of all these things, that have broken the hearts of my mother and my sister, and my wife and myself, but your laws allow, and give every man power to do, in Kentucky, and none can say to him nay! Do you call these the laws of my country? Sir, I haven't any country, anymore than I have any father. But I'm going to have one. I don't want anything of your country, except to be let alone,--to go peaceably out of it; and when I get to Canada, where the laws will own me and protect me, that shall be my country, and its laws I will obey. But if any man tries to stop me, let him take care, for I am desperate. I'll fight for my liberty to the last breath I breathe. You say your fathers did it; if it was right for them, it is right for me!”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin

Chris Hedges
“if we don’t rebel, if we’re not physically in an active rebellion, then it’s spiritual death.”
Chris Hedges

Howard Zinn
“If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one's country, one's fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.”
Howard Zinn, The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy

Martin Luther King Jr.
“One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

Mehmet Murat ildan
“A dog can bite you but you must not bite the dog! Your every movement in life must be peaceful; otherwise you lose your ethical superiority! Nonviolent civil disobedience is a genius; no power can beat it; use it when necessary!”
Mehmet Murat ildan

Douglas Coop
“New concepts should be introduced by the power of imagery.”
Douglas Coop

George F. Kennan
“If you accept a democratic system, this means that you are prepared to put up with those of its workings, legislative or administrative, with which you do not agree as well as with those that meet with your concurrence. This willingness to accept, in principle, the workings of a system based on the will of the majority, even when you yourself are in the minority, is simply the essence of democracy. Without it there could be no system of representative self-government at all. When you attempt to alter the workings of the system by means of violence or civil disobedience, this, it seems to me, can have only one of two implications; either you do not believe in democracy at all and consider that society ought to be governed by enlightened minorities such as the one to which you, of course, belong; or you consider that the present system is so imperfect that it is not truly representative, that it no longer serves adequately as a vehicle for the will of the majority, and that this leaves to the unsatisfied no adequate means of self-expression other than the primitive one of calling attention to themselves and their emotions by mass demonstrations and mass defiance of established authority.”
George F. Kennan

David T. Dellinger
“There is a heady sense of manhood that comes from advancing from apathy to commitment, from timidity to courage, from passivity to aggressiveness. There is an intoxication that comes from standing up to the police at last.”
David T. Dellinger, From Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter

Henry David Thoreau
“Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, Solitude & Life Without Principle

Plutarch
“[Theseus] soon found himself involved in factions and troubles; those who long had hated him had now added to their hatred contempt; and the minds of the people were so generally corrupted, that, instead of obeying commands with silence, they expected to be flattered into their duty.”
Plutarch, Plutarch's Lives, Volume 1

“Another site of Leftist struggle [other than Detroit] that has parallels to New Orleans: Palestine. From the central role of displacement to the ways in which culture and community serve as tools of resistance, there are illuminating comparisons to be made between these two otherwise very different places.

In the New Orleans Black community, death is commemorated as a public ritual (it's often an occasion for a street party), and the deceased are often also memorialized on t-shirts featuring their photos embellished with designs that celebrate their lives. Worn by most of the deceased's friends and family, these t-shirts remind me of the martyr posters in Palestine, which also feature a photo and design to memorialize the person who has passed on. In Palestine, the poster's subjects are anyone who has been killed by the occupation, whether a sick child who died at a checkpoint or an armed fighter killed in combat. In New Orleans, anyone with family and friends can be memorialized on a t-shift. But a sad truth of life in poor communities is that too many of those celebrate on t-shirts lost their lives to violence. For both New Orleans and Palestine, outsiders often think that people have become so accustomed to death by violence that it has become trivialized by t-shirts and posters.

While it's true that these traditions wouldn't manifest in these particular ways if either population had more opportunities for long lives and death from natural causes, it's also far from trivial to find ways to celebrate a life. Outsiders tend to demonize those killed--especially the young men--in both cultures as thugs, killers, or terrorists whose lives shouldn't be memorialized in this way, or at all. But the people carrying on these traditions emphasize that every person is a son or daughter of someone, and every death should be mourned, every life celebrated.”
Jordan Flaherty, Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six

“But we need to search for and find, what we need to own and perfect into a magnificent, shining thing, is a new kind of politics. Not the politics of governments, but the politics of resistance. The politics of opposition. The politics of forcing accountability. The politics of slowing things down. In the present circumstances, I'd say the only thing worth globalizing is dissent.”
Megan McKenna, The New Stations of the Cross: The Way of the Cross According to Scripture

Henry David Thoreau
“Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free-trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufacturers and agriculture.

Nuestros legisladores no han aprendido todavía el valor comparativo del libre cambio y la libertad, la unión y la rectitud hacia la nación. No tienen genio ni talento para hacerse preguntas humildes sobre impuestos y finanzas, comercio, manufactura y agricultura.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau
“Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in this country? Hardly one.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings

Mehmet Murat ildan
“Un perro puede morderte, ¡pero tú no debes morder al perro! Todos y cada uno de tus movimientos deben ser pacíficos; de otro modo pierdes tu superioridad ética. La DESOBEDIENCIA CIVIL NO VIOLENTA es genial; NO HAY PODER QUE LA PUEDA VENCER: ÚSALA CUANDO SEA NECESARIO.”
Mehmet Murat ildan

Allan Dare Pearce
“It made me realize that I want to do things, not talk about things, but actually do things down south or organizing insurrection.”
Allan Dare Pearce, Paris in April

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