The 70 best phrases of Revolution and social change
Jul 15, 2021
Revolutions are paradigm shifts in which a radical transformation occurs in a cultural sphere or in a society in general. Many times they generate a confrontation because of the contradictions that they overcome, but they also make progress more likely.
In this article you will find a selection of phrases of revolution that put into words the ideas and conception of the world associated with the revolutionary change of different stages of history, by the hand of important historical figures such as John F. Kennedy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lenin, Kemal Ataturk or Karl Marx, among others.
- Related article: "123 wise phrases to reflect on life"
Phrases of Revolution and the struggle for progress
In the collection of phrases about the revolution that you will find in the following lines, a specific order has not been established, obeying a specific criterion. All of them can lead us to reflect on how the social and economic context transforms our way of thinking and vice versa.
1. Better to die fighting for freedom than to be a prisoner every day of your life. (Bob Marley)
One of the most remembered Bob Marley phrases, referring to the necessity of insubordination and non-obedience in cases where there are injustices.
2. The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is rotten. You have to make it fall. (Che Guevara)
Against the deterministic vision of revolutionary change: it will not happen without more unless people actively move to make it happen.
3. A revolution is an idea taken by bayonets. (Napoleon Bonaparte)
Napoleon, against the idealistic idea that radical changes in society come through the simple exchange of ideas.
4. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. (John F. Kennedy)
The more a set of needs is oppressed and the more rights are prevented from being exercised, the more it is easier for clearly violent revolutions to break out.
5. A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between past and future. (Fidel Castro)
Fidel Castro talks about the confrontations inherent in revolutions.
6. When the dictatorship is a fact, the revolution becomes a right. (Victor Hugo)
These radical changes can be understood as a rejection of an entire system that, although it is well established and can be considered “normal”, is unfair and harmful for the majority.
7. You can kill a revolutionary but you can never kill the revolution. (Fred Hampton)
Hampton distinguishes between the individuals and the contexts that drive revolutionary change.
8. It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. (Emiliano Zapata)
A revolutionary phrase that has become a classic.
- You may be interested: "The 50 best phrases of Emiliano Zapata, the mythical Mexican revolutionary"
9. The greatest and most powerful revolutions often begin very quietly, hidden in the shadows. (Richelle Mead)
About the paradoxical nature of radical changes when they are in their initial stage.
10. The first duty of a man is to think for himself. (Jose Marti)
Not depending on the approval of the rest and seeing beyond the limitations of a culture does not have to be a purely individualistic act; It can also end up benefiting everyone.
11. The only way to support a revolution is to make your own. (Abbie Hoffman)
In revolutions, individual wills are also included.
12. You don't change things by fighting the existing reality. You change something by building a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. (Buckminster Fuller)
The simple act of destroying does not have to bring something new.
13. Sometimes you have to pick up a gun to lower a gun. (Malcolm X)
A reflection that characterizes the rejection of unconditional non-violence by this Malcolm X.
14. Poverty is the father of revolution and crime. (Aristotle)
Poverty creates confrontation, according to the Greek philosopher.
- Related article: "The 9 rules of democracy proposed by Aristotle"
15. The sin of silence when they should have protested, makes men cowards. (Abraham Lincoln)
Irresponsibility does not only come through action, it also comes through non-action when what is called upon is to act.
16. Every revolution seems impossible at first and, after its occurrence, it was inevitable. (Bill Ayers)
These changes also affect our historical perspective.
17. Societies in decline are of no use to visionaries. (Anaïs Nin)
An interesting aphorism about progress.
18. The end could justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end. (Leon Trotsky)
If the end does not hold, there is no discussion about the sacrifices required to achieve it.
19. The revolution never goes backwards. (William Henry Steward)
Another interesting aphorism about change.
20. The revolution is not something fixed in an ideology, nor something in a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit. (Abbie Hoffman)
Hoffman sees the revolution as something inherent in the historical development of societies.
21. There is no such thing as a non-violent revolution. (Malcolm X)
Another phrase about the revolution by Malcolm X.
22. The most heroic language in the world is revolution. (Eugene V. Debs)
About the tendency to transform by investing in it great efforts.
23. If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system. That is much more powerful than rebelling from the outside. (Marie Lu)
An opinion regarding the classic inside-outside distinction when talking about systems of human organization.
24. The revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the revolution. (Albert Einstein)
A personal reflection on the part of this great scientist.
25. Every generation needs a new revolution. (Thomas Jefferson)
Each generation brings with it new ways of living and interpreting reality.
26. There is no end; the revolutions are infinite. (Yevgeny Zamyatin)
Another opinion along the lines of those who see the revolutionary as a fact that is part of the essence of history.
27. You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit or it is nowhere. (Ursula K. Le Guin)
About the involvement necessary to promote revolutionary processes.
28. Ever onward to victory. (Ernesto Guevara)
One of the best known revolutionary shouts, although it is based on an error: originally, it said “Hasta la victoria. Always, country or death ”. Fidel Castro read it by changing the punctuation.
29. We have no right to think that freedom can be won without fighting. (Che Guevera)
Ideological errors they can harm people.
30. We have in our power to start the world anew. (Thomas Paine)
About the ultimate goal of the revolutionaries.
31. There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades occur. (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin)
An apparent paradox.
- Related article: "The 24 best famous phrases of Lenin"
32. Every revolution was first a thought in the mind of a man. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
This is an idealistic vision of the revolution.
33. The seed of the revolution is repression. (Woodrow Wilson)
Contrary to what one might expect, oppression breeds disobedience.
34. You can't make a revolution with silk gloves. (Joseph Stalin)
One of Stalin's most remembered phrases.
35. Art is plagiarism or revolution. (Paul Gauguin)
A very radical dichotomy.
36. The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young man always inherits the revolution. (Huey Newton)
A fundamental distinction by age strata, although highly debatable.
37. It is not the insurrection of ignorance that is dangerous, but the revolt of intelligence. (James Russell Lowell)
The intellectual spheres, on occasions, can act as a simple defense of the status quo and what has always been done.
38. Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. (Franz Kafka)
A pessimistic metaphor about revolutions.
39. While fighting separately, they are overcome together. (Tacit)
About the need for collective organization.
40. A revolution is born as a social entity within the oppressive society. (Paulo Freire)
The revolution seen as a gestation process.
41. Ask for work. If they don't give you a job, ask for bread. If they don't give you work or bread, take the bread. (Emma Goldman.)
Goldman questions the idea that present social organization has to be defended simply because it is.
42. Give me time and I'll give you a revolution. (Alexander McQueen)
Another of the aphorisms that assimilate revolutions to the advancement of history.
43. Revolutions begin with the word and end with the sword. (Jean Paul Marat)
A sequential vision of the revolutionary changes.
44. If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution. (Emma Goldman)
A personal reflection that has become a propaganda slogan very common especially in feminist settings.
45. Political power is simply organized power of one class to oppress another. (Karl Marx)
Marx had a conception of social organization as different forms that the class struggle takes.
46. Revolution means democracy in today's world, not the enslavement of peoples to the corrupt and degrading horrors of totalitarianism. (Ronald Reagan)
Reagan tried to portray revolutionary processes outside the United States as processes of social corruption that should be stopped.
47. It is impossible to predict the moment and progress of the revolution. It is ruled by its own mysterious wars. (Vladimir Lenin)
Each revolution is unique.
48. The revolution is a dictatorship of the exploited against the exploiters. (Fidel Castro)
Castro questioned whether all dictatorships were the same.
49. You can imprison a revolutionary, but you cannot imprison the revolution. (Huey Newton)
It is not possible to isolate a political change by isolating people.
50. Revolution is the festival of the oppressed. (Germaine Greer)
A place where those who have been subjugated have a chance to break free.
51. The revolution that takes place in your head, no one will see. (Gil ScottHeron)
If ideas are not expressed, there is no use in rebelling.
52. Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God. (Thomas Jefferson)
A paradox based on religious thought.
53. The worst enemy of the revolution is the bourgeois that many revolutionaries carry inside. (Mao Tse Tung)
Mao talks about the contradictions that live within the revolutionaries.
54. We fight against misery but at the same time we fight against alienation. (Che Guevara)
A double fight.
55. A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; Furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution. (Vladimir Lenin)
Before the revolution, certain situations need to occur.
56. Philosophers have limited themselves to interpreting the world in different ways; it is about transforming it. (Karl Marx)
Philosophy seen as a tool for change.
57. Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement. (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin)
Actions need a consistent way of looking at the problem and proposing other options.
58. You cannot make a revolution to establish democracy. You must have a democracy to have a revolution. (G. K. Chesterton)
According to this point of view, the revolution arises from a democratic process.
59. Revelation can be more dangerous than revolution. (Vladimir Nabokov)
There are changes of conception that precipitate the change in themselves.
60. The French Revolution taught us the rights of man. (Thomas Sankara)
About a qualitative change in history.
61. Revolutions occur in dead ends. (Bertolt Brecht)
When there are no more options left, the system is broken.
62. A reform is a correction of abuses, a revolution is a transfer of power. (Edward G. BulwerLytton)
About the qualitative change that comes with the revolution.
63. The truth is always revolutionary. (Vladimir Lenin)
A much remembered aphorism.
64. Those who are inclined to compromise can never make a revolution. (Kemal Ataturk)
This is one of the phrases about the revolution that talks about blind obedience.
65. Whoever kneels before the fait accompli is incapable of facing the future. (Trotsky)
Trotsky saw conformism with the present reality as a trap that leads us not to see the new arrive.
66. Those who are unable to defend old positions will never be able to conquer the new ones. (Trotsky)
Progress seen as an accumulation of goals.
67. We cannot have a revolution that does not involve and liberate women. (John Lennon)
On the need to cover different sources of inequality.
68. There cannot be a total revolution but a permanent revolution. Like love, it is the fundamental enjoyment of life. (Max Ernst)
Each time new ways will be found to continue progressing.
69. Revolutions are not made by trifles, but they are born by trifles. (Aristotle)
A spark can engender transformation.
70. To impute the revolution to men is to impute the tide to the waves. (Victor Hugo)
This phrase of revolution speaks of this change as something systemic linked not to the individual but to the collectives.