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Quotes / The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

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    Comic Books 
Tetu: It is not fear of my death that brings us together, Ezekiel Stane. It is fear of losing. Fear of tyranny extending itself, unchallenged, even one more day.
Stane: Have you ever actually seen someone drawn and quartered? (Pauses) Okay, here's the thing, you say you want a revolution, but are you ready for the future, friend? Let me tell you what is coming. Panic in the streets. Fire in the sky. Casualties. Agony.
Black Panther, The "A Nation Under Our Feet" Arc

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

There's one hole in every revolution, large or small … 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

    Film — Live Action 
"You know what it is to say to a whole country: 'Let me make everything that's wrong, right for you. Let me carry you all on my shoulders'? Eventually you begin to resent the weight."

"You know, where I'm from... when black folks started revolutions, they never had the firepower... or the resources to fight their oppressors. Where was Wakanda? Hmm? Yeah, all that ends today. We got spies embedded in every nation on Earth. Already in place. I know how colonizers think. So we're gonna use their own strategy against 'em. We're gonna send vibranium weapons out to our War Dogs. They'll arm oppressed people all over the world... so they can finally rise up and kill those in power. And their children. And anyone else who takes their side. It's time they know the truth about us!"
Killmonger, Black Panther (2018)

"Now, this bomb is armed! This bomb is mobile! And the identity of the triggerman is a mystery. For one of you holds the detonator! And we came here not as conquerors, but as liberators to return control of this city to the people. And at the first sign of interference from the outside world, or for those people attempting to flee, this anonymous Gothamite - this unsung hero - will trigger the bomb. For now, martial law is in effect. Return to your homes, hold your families close, and wait. Tomorrow you claim what is rightfully yours!"

John H. Mallory: Well, your country's also Huerta, the governor, the landlords... Günther Ruiz and his locusts... this little revolution we're having here.
Juan Miranda: [alert] A revolution? "Little revolution"? Please, don't try to tell me about revolution! I know all about the revolutions and how they start! The people that read the books, they go to the people that don't read the books, and say "Ho-ho! The time has come to have a change, eh?"
John H. Mallory: Shhhh...
Juan Miranda: [mimicking John] Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, SHIT, SHUSH! I know what I am talking about when I am talking about revolutions! The people who read the books go to the people who can't read the books, the poor people, and say, "We have to have a change." So, the poor people make the change, ah? And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? THEY ARE DEAD! That's your revolution! Sh... so, please... don't tell me about revolutions. And what happens afterwards? The same fucking thing starts all over again!

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

Martin Luther: You think this is my work?! This is never my work!
Spalatin in Mob:'s the people's work!
Martin: The people's work?
Mob: (falls silent)

"You want perfection, or nothing. The revolution was never perfect. We fight because we believe, we leave because we are disillusioned, we return because we are lost, we die because we are committed."
Captain Jesus Raza, The Professionals

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

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.

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.

You lacked the vision that would have shown you that God did not create men equals. Well, you are in case to-night to judge which of us was right, which wrong. You see what is happening here in Paris. You see the foul spectre of Anarchy stalking through a land fallen into confusion. Probably you have enough imagination to conceive something of what must follow. And do you deceive yourself that out of this filth and ruin there will rise up an ideal form of society?
Scaramouche, set at the time of The French Revolution

    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?

    Tabletop Games 
Patricia soon realized that the inner light which once inspired the peasants had ignited into a raging fire of frenzy. Her followers no longer drew inspiration from her. The only example she set was revenge, and only bullies responded favorably.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Children of the Inquisition

Most folk suppress their rebellious urges, or channel them through fashion or song. A few, however, lash out. Churches burn. Lords are slain. Altars are desecrated and holy rites are turned upside-down to mock their sanctity. Of all the souls on the Path of Screams, the most vigorous ones turn to the Darkness because the light seems so totally corrupt. When order serves no purpose other than the fatting of the rich, they say, then order should be overturned.

    Video Games 
Miranda: Baraki, you, did you help with the terrorist attack on Takeshita Street?
Naitou: Revolutions are built on sacrifice.
Miranda: I can't believe you; you're trying to justify murder!
Naitou: I don't mean to justify it, only to say that we are one step closer to achieving our beliefs.
Miranda: Beliefs? You think murder will get you your beliefs?

In a revolution, blood must be spilled.
The Old King, Armored Core: For Answer

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 don’t really believe that, do you, Wynne? Change rarely comes peacefully. Andraste waged war on the Imperium; she didn’t write them a strongly worded letter. She reshaped civilization, freed the slaves, and gave us the Chantry. But people died for it.

Crush the old order and create a new society!

— Every other Rebel Soldier, Star Wars: Battlefront II

For thousands of Megacycles, the High Council and the so-called Elites of Cybertron repressed freedom to such an extent that it seemed the entirety of Cybertronian society was crushing down on the backs of the individual. In response to such a circumstance, Revolution is not only inevitable; it is beautiful.

The Settlement Defense Front built an army and broke away from the Earth with blood and violence. They aren't revolutionaries. They want absolute power. They raid colonies, take resources, and control territories by force. They use their fleet to block us from raw materials we need to survive. Their mission is to erase everything Earth born. Today, the SDF is a war machine, ruled by its military. If a leader united that force... They would mobilize, and try to take our homeland.

    Web Animation 
I am the path to reclamation
This world will have no peace till our dream's realized
No mercy, no compassion, our fate's justified
Time to turn the table on who's tyrannized!

    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.
Rational Wiki

Our own age can fairly be called a post-revolutionary one. In 1989, the former dissidents who took power in Central and Eastern Europe mostly refused to call themselves “revolutionaries.” Writing in a French newspaper that year, the bicentennial of the French Revolution, the Polish Solidarity leader Jacek Kuron explained soberly that revolutions were not things to be celebrated, because they shed too much blood. Germans deliberately called the collapse of East Germany “die Wende”—“the change”—not “the revolution.” As human rights have assumed a greater importance than ever before in international politics, with violations reported instantaneously, world-wide, world opinion has become far less tolerant than it once was of revolutionary excesses.

    Western Animation 
But in war, ideals can be corrupted, and it was thus that Megatron lost his way.
Optimus Prime, Transformers: Prime

So we made it to the plane
And escaped the Cromanian leader
All the women are now in charge
But they're not great either
They murdered all the men
We think they overdid it
But after all they went through
I guess we kinda get it
Close Enough, "Men Rock"

    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 Napoléon 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

We shall distinguish in Robespierre two men, apostle of liberty, and Robespierre the most infamous of tyrants.
Gracchus Babeuf

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

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.
Mao Zedong, Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan

Marx and Lenin have taught us that anything is ethical, so long as it is in the interest of the proletarian class and its world revolution.
Nicolae Ceaușescu

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' — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.
Aldous Huxley

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 doesn’t 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 don’t want a blueprint. Let’s 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

You cannot make a revolution in white gloves.
Vladimir Lenin

My understanding of the Middle East leads me to conclude that the west should not be too happy. It will bring enormous problems to American interest. It is called "Arab Spring" for now, and I guess it will soon turn to be the winter for the Middle East.
Zhang Weiwei, predicting in 2011 that overthrowing the dictatorships in The Arab Spring would give way to even more authoritarian and extremist regimes.