I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born. I have always looked on the silence of those who do not react or who indeed applaud as the real death of a woman or a man.
I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
My address is like my shoes: it travels with me. I abide where there is a fight against wrong.
At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening . . . a young boy took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. . . . I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful idea, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy.
When three generations are present in a family, one of them is bound to be revolutionary.
Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.
People never move towards revolution; they are pushed towards it by intolerable injustices in the economic and social order under which they live.
We did not wait to be invited to participate. We did not wait to be given power, knowing that marginalized communities rarely are given such power. We took it.
Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
The oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. . . . The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.
It is wrong to suppose the source of evil is outside oneself, that one is a vessel of holiness running over with virtue. . . . 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.
Oppression involves a failure of the imagination: the failure to imagine the full humanity of other human beings.
All bona fide revolutions are of necessity revolutions of the spirit.
The main necessity on both sides of a revolution is kindness, which makes possible the most surprising things. To treat one’s neighbor as oneself is the fundamental maxim for revolution.
When I see changed men, I shall look for a changed world.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.