Quotes / The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified

"It is difficult to find a reputable American historian who will acknowledge the crude fact that a Franklin Roosevelt, say, wanted to be President merely to wield power, to be famed and to be feared. To learn this simple fact one must wade through a sea of evasions: history as sociology, leaders as teachers, bland benevolence as a motive force, when, finally, power is an end to itself, and the instinctive urge to prevail the most important single human trait, the necessary force without which no city was built, no city destroyed."

"Admittedly, besides its moral failure, communism failed in its crusade to convert the whole world...But communism's impact was and still is enormous. In addition to provoking significant changes in capitalist economies, such as vastly increased military spending and the growth of a military-industrial complex, the USSR's existence changed Western social development in fundamental ways.
Labor reform in the West in the past century came about under the threat of a radicalized international labor movement protected and supported by the USSR. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal was in part meant to steal the thunder of radicals who looked to Moscow and therefore could not be ignored. Social goals that are commonplace today, including women's rights and racial integration, were planks of the Communist Party platform long before mainstream American parties took them seriously. It was Communists who first went to the American South and began organizing African-Americans and poor whites around issues of social justice. The more politically acceptable young people who followed them in The '60s are heroes today. On the international scene the Soviet Union provided support for Nelson Mandela and other reformers. Communism made life difficult for Western establishments, and it is doubtful that reforms would have come when they did if the USSR had not existed. Communists always rejected reform in favor of revolution. Ironically, however, the existence of the Soviet Union helped the capitalist West reform itself and avoid the bloody revolutions of the East. Twentieth-century communism was no passing illusion; its legacies are everywhere."
J. Arch Getty

"Though I abhor the sanguinary ferocity of the late Jacobins in France, yet their principles... are the most consonant with my ideas of reason, and the nature of man, of any that I have met with."
John Thelwall

"In overthrowing me you have cut down in Saint Domingue only the trunk of the tree of liberty; it will spring up again from the roots, for they are numerous and they are deep."
Toussaint L'Ouverture

As for Blossius of Cumae, when he was brought before the consuls and was questioned about his part in the events, he replied that he had done nothing except on Tiberius [Gracchus]'s orders. Then Nasica asked him what he would have done if Tiberius had ordered him to set fire to the Capitol. Blossius' first response was to insist that Tiberius would never have given an such orders, but once the same question had been put to him over and over again by various people, he said, "Yes, if he had told me to do it, it would have been right for me to obey, because Tiberius would never have ordered anything which wasn't in the best interests of the Roman people."
Plutarch, Life of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, translated by Rex Warner.

"After all, the French Revolution was the biggest event in the world since Christianity...We owe many things to the French Revolution, if only that it gave Jewish people names, for examples. That's already a contribution, because before, Jews were named, for example, Abraham, son of Jacob, but they had no family names and weren't listed with the registry office. The Revolution actually forced them to take one. The victorious revolutionary and Napoleonic armies did the same thing in the conquered countries. That's why so many Jews in Germany have the same name. They went to the town hall to get one, but they were taken by surprise. The clerk asked them, "So, what name do you want? — Well...I don't know. — OK, then, across from us is a mountain, the rose mountain. You'll be Rosenberg..." And there you have it. That gave a social existence to many people who didn't have one."