Quotes: The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

    open/close all folders 

    Comic books 

There's one hole in every revolution, large or small Ö people. No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It's people that kill every revolution.
Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan

Idealists and reformers all become executioners in their turn. The road to utopia ends with the steps of the scaffold, the endless moment of the guillotine.
Grant Morrison, The Invisibles Vol. 1: Say You Want a Revolution

    Film — Live action 

The appalling thing about fascism is that you've got to use fascist methods to get rid of it. We've all got a bit of it in us, and it doesn't take a lot to bring it to the surface.
Doctor Fletcher, It Happened Here

It's easy to know what you are against, but quite another to know what you are for.
—Damien O'Donovan, The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Martin Luther: You think this is my work?! This is never my work!
Spalatin in Mob: No...it's the people's work!
Martin: The people's work?
Mob: (falls silent)


We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. 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.
O'Brien, 1984

    Live-action TV 

Which "side" are we on? We're on the side of the demons, Chief. We're evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go.
Colonel Saul Tigh of the New Caprican Resistance, Battlestar Galactica.

Blake: I meant what I said on Goth, Avon. We are not going to use Star One to rule the federation. We are going to destroy it.
Avon: I never doubted that. I never doubted your fanaticism. As far as I am concerned, you can destroy whatever you like. You can stir up a thousand revolutions. You can wade in blood up to your armpits. Oh, and you can lead the rabble to victory, whatever that might mean. Just so long as there is an end to it.


You picked a fight
I pick dynamite
—"I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good", Steve Taylor

I raise my flag and dye my clothes
It's a revolution, I suppose
We're painted red to fit right in
Imagine Dragons, Radioactive

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know, we all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction,
Don't you know that you can count me out
—"Revolution", John Lennon

You talk of overthrowing power with violence as your tool
You speak of liberation and when the people rule
Well ain't it people rule right now, what difference would there be?
Just another set of bigots with their rifle-sights on me
—"Bloody Revolutions", Crass.

    Stand-up comedy 

Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?

    Video Games 

You see, The Founders ain't nothing but weeds: Cut'em down, they'll just grow back. If you wanna get rid of the weed, you got to pull it up from the root.
Daisy Fitzroy, Bioshock Infinite

Wynne: Fighting for what you believe is commendable, but the ends do not always justify the means.
Blood Mage: You donít really believe that, do you, Wynne? Change rarely comes peacefully. Andraste waged war on the Imperium; she didnít write them a strongly worded letter. She reshaped civilization, freed the slaves, and gave us the Chantry. But people died for it.

    Western Animation 

In war, ideals can be corrupted.
Optimus Prime, Transformers Prime

    Web Original 

Usually, what happens is that, in the case of the Russian Civil War and the Cuban Revolution, the reactionary faction in power is brutal and uses atrocious methods to eliminate the rebel threat like torture. The rebels are then forced to become just as bad if they want to secure victory. Violence breeds violence.

According to official North Korean mythology, Kim Il Sung, the 'Great Leader,' is immortal, arose from the grave to be with us forever, and lives in the hearts of every Korean, who all bubble over with intense love and adoration toward Him, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. According to everyone else, he was a failed guerrilla leader who spent much of WWII unsuccessfully attempting to free Korea from the iron fist of the Japanese so it could be seized by the iron fist of Kim Il Sung instead.

    Real life 

The passions of a revolution are apt to hurry even good men into excesses.

The Frenchman came to remove our fetters. But he took our boots instead.
—Polish peasants in the path of Napoleon Bonaparte, from 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow by Adam Zamoyski.

To destroy that enemy, by some means or other, the force opposed to it should be made to bear some analogy and resemblance to the force and spirit which that system exerts.
Edmund Burke on the Jacobins

The vessel of Revolution can arrive at port only on a sea reddened by torrents of blood.
Louis Antoine de Saint-Just

If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.
Mikhail Bakunin

A few years from now, I told him, perhaps others would be killing each other for anti-nationalist ideals. Then they would laugh at our own killings just as we had laughed at the Byzantines. These others would indulge in mutual slaughter with the same enthusiasm, though their ideals were new. Warfare under the entirely fresh banners would be just as disgraceful as always. They might even rip each others' guts out then with religious zeal, claiming that they were 'fighting to end all fighting.' But they took would be followed by still others who would laugh at them with the same gusto.
Stratis Myrivilis, Life in the Tomb

The future fascists will call themselves anti-fascists.

Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior 'righteous indignation' ó this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.

I do say that I am in favor of the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty. I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, you know, the ability to pay back anything over $100 million [sic] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million. And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should, y'know, go to the reeducation camps and if that doesnít help, then being beheaded.

They don't read the "Fortune 500" and put together an analysis of what's really going on in the world, all they've had rammed to their heads is, "The Federal Government's your enemy."
Noam Chomsky on the militia movement

The New Left not only have no blueprint, they donít want a blueprint. Letís just see what happens, they say. Well, I can tell them what will happen: first anarchy, then dictatorship. They are rich in Tom Paines, but they have no Thomas Jefferson.
Gore Vidal, Playboy 1969