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Protest QUOTES

(Click on * for 8.5 X 11 PDF to print) does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds... - Samuel Adams There is all the difference in the world between the criminal's avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedience's taking the law into his own hands in open defiance. This distinction between an open violation of the law, performed in public, and a clandestine one is so glaringly obvious that it can be neglected only by prejudice or ill will.
-- Hannah Arendt


* That's all nonviolence is - organized love.
-- Joan Baez

I would say that I'm a nonviolent soldier. In place of weapons of violence, you have to use your mind, your heart, your sense of humor, every faculty available to you...because no one has the right to take the life of another human being.
-- Joan Baez


* The world censures those who take up arms to defend their causes and calls on them to use nonviolent means in voicing their grievances. But when a people chooses the nonviolent path, it is all too often the case that hardly anyone pays attention. It is tragic that people have to suffer and die and the television cameras have to deliver the pictures to people's homes every day before the world at large admits there is a problem.
-- Bishop Carlos Belo


We spoke out, committed civil disobedience, and went to jail because the peace hangs senselessly and precariously upon weapons costing billions to build and billions to improve — weapons which become more useless as we add to their destructive force. With this money we could have fed the world's people. Half the children on earth go to bed hungry — millions more have retarding and stunting protein deficiencies. Instead of building the peace by attacking injustices like starvation, disease, illiteracy, political and economic servitude, we spend a trillion dollars on war since 1946, until hatred and conflict have become the international preoccupation."
-- Daniel Berrigan


* If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves. We should, therefore, protest openly everything ... that smacks of discrimination or slander.
-- Mary McLeod Bethune


I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge. I think that the calamity, the quagmire of the Iraq war, the outsourcing of jobs, the drop-out of young people from the education system, the monstrous growth of the prison-industrial complex, the planetary emergency, which we are engulfed at the present moment, is demanding that instead of just complaining about these things, instead of just protesting about these things, we begin to look for, and hope for, another way of living. And I think that-- that's where the movement-- I-- I see a movement beginning to emerge, 'cause I see hope beginning to trump despair.
-- Grace Lee Boggs


* The strength of the movement is still something that you will never see on camera, because it doesn't happen at the big protests. But the strength of this movement is rooted in the strength of its components and of the campaigns of its components. So there are farm movements around the world; there are environmental movements around the world; labor movements around the world involved in daily struggles around living wages, around protecting the rights of farmers to their seeds, and so on. Those struggles continue on a daily basis; they have not gone away.
-- John Cavanagh


"The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating."
-- Cesar Chavez


"Resistance is feasible even for those who are not heroes by nature, and it is an obligation, I believe, for those who fear the consequences and detest the reality of the attempt to impose American hegemony.
-- Noam Chomsky

while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
-- Eugene V. Debs


* “I am an American. I love my country and have great hopes for it. It is for this reason that I speak candidly and sometimes critically about it. I have benefited greatly from the freedom that exists in my country and for this I am eternally grateful.”
-- Johnny Depp


Thus if the First Amendment means anything in this field, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community. In other words, literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor. -- William O. Douglas
-- Justice William O. Douglas


Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
-- Albert Einstein

Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I was at a meeting two years ago in Beijing, and I passed a bunch of women who were marching in a protest. Their signs were probably saying something I wouldn't have agreed with at all. But I was so glad to see women marching. And it's happening all over the world.
-- Betty Friedan


" It should be remarked that, as the principle of liberty is better understood, and more nobly interpreted, a broader protest is made in behalf of women. As men become aware that few have had a fair chance, they are inclined to say that no women have had a fair chance.
-- Margaret Fuller


Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses, to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they would but know the soul within.”
-- Mohandas K. 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.”
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Non-cooperation is a measure of discipline and sacrifice, and it demands respect for the opposite views.
~ Mohandas Gandhi

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”
-- William Lloyd Garrison

Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.
-- Vaclav Havel

* Today women in many countries are taking part in various types of movements of protest, some of which are serious struggles for economic and social emancipation .
-- Kumari Jayawardena


"I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr

We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive
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

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
-- Abraham Lincoln

King consciously steered away from legal claims and instead relied on civil disobedience.
Constance Baker Motley (First Black Woman in the U.S. to become a Federal Judge)

* We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular.
-- Edward R. Murrow


I believe that Gandhi was correct. Non-violent civil disobedience is the only way to bring about change that allows people to enjoy the change and not get killed in the process.
-- Edward James Olmos, actor


We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers.
--Emmeline Pankhurst

* The labor movement means just this: It is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth.
-- Wendell Phillips

Organize, and stand together. Claim something together, and at once; let the nation hear a united demand from the laboring voice, and then, when you have got that, go on after another; but get something.
-- Wendell Phillips


We must develop huge demonstrations, because the world is used to big dramatic affairs. They think in terms of hundreds of thousands and millions and billions... Billions of dollars are appropriated at the twinkling of an eye. Nothing little counts.
-- A. Philip Randolph


Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down.
-- Oscar Romero

When we allow one group of people to look down upon another, then we may for a short time bring hardship on some particular group of people, but the real hardship and the real wrong is done to democracy and to our nation as a whole. We are then breeding people who cannot live under a democratic form of government but must be controlled by force. We have but to look out into the world to see how easy it is to become stultified, to accept without protest wrongs done to others, and to shift the burden of decision and responsibility for any action onto some vague thing called a government or some individual called a leader.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt


“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

“When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” -- Bayard Rustin Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism, are all too frequently those who . . . ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism—the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought.
-- Margaret Chase Smith

I honestly do not know if civil disobedience has any effect on the government. I can promise you it has a great effect on the person who chooses to do it. Martin Sheen The burning of rebellious thoughts in the little breast, of internal hatred and opposition, could not long go on without slight whiffs of external smoke, such as mark the course of subterranean fire.
-- Harriet Beecher Stowe

The developed world has a vast, under-utilized asset that is not being leveraged to its best advantage: idealistic people who want to make the world a better place. For most of a century, idealistic people have been encouraged to use anger, protest, lobbying, and legal action in order to make the world a better place. While most certainly some of these behaviors and activities were necessary, we have reached the point at which the social benefit of such behaviors is decreasing. We have reached the point at which creation, rather than attack, ought to be the first obligation of reformers. The social entrepreneurship movement is the first tip of this iceberg. We want to create a world in which all idealists realize that the creation of new enterprises is the most powerful way to make positive change in the world. If all the energy that is currently invested in zero-sum political conflict was gradually transferred to the committed creation of sustainable enterprises, the cumulative impact on behalf of the good would be extraordinary.
-- Michael Strong

"Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of his own family and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of his family. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of his community and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of his community. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of the entire world."
-- Talmud

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
-- Henry David Thoreau

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.
-- Henry David Thoreau

It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders.
-- 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


"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
--Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.
-- Mark Twain


When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders.
~Veterans Fast for Life

Resistance is the secret of joy!
~Alice Walker


* A downtrodden class... will never be able to make an effective protest until it achieves solidarity.
-- H.G. Wells


* There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
-- Elie Wiesel


Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the Field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere -- so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive -- that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.
-- Woodrow Wilson

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

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