Chelmsford TUC

Politics

Quotations for Socialists

We hope that you find these quotations and related links of interest and that they inspire you to read more about their lives, work or the subject.

A. J. Cook 1885-1931

Not a penny of the pay, second on the day. (Speech just before the 1926 General Strike). -

Anne Frank 1929-1945

Why can’t people live with each other in peace? Why must everything be destroyed? Why must people go hungry while surplus food elsewhere in the world rots away? Oh why must people be so crazy?

Albert Einstein 1879-1955

Nothing I can say or do can change the structure of the Universe. But maybe, by raising my voice, I can help the greatest of all causes; goodwill among men and peace on earth.

Alexander Dubcek 1921-1992

"In the service of the people we followed such a policy that socialism would not lose its human face. (Rudé Pravo 1968).

Anatole France 1844-1924

They, the poor, have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. (Le Lys rouge 1894).

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Aneurin Bevan

Aneurin Bevan 1897-1960

Discontent arises from a knowledge of the possible, as contrasted with the actual. (In Place of Fear 1952).

Antonio Gramsci 1891-1937

From the moment when a subordinate class becomes really independent and dominant, calling into being a new type of State, the need arises concretely, of building a new intellectual and moral order, i.e. a new type of society, and hence the need to elaborate the most universal concepts, the most refined and decisive ideological weapons. (Prison Notebooks 1926-1937).

Aristotle 384-322 BC

Therefore, the good of man must be the objective of the science of politics. (Nichomachean Ethics).

Arthur Scargill 1938-

Parliament itself would not exist in its present form had people not defied the law. (2 April 1980).

Charles Dickens 1812-1870

My faith in the people governing is, on the whole, infinitesimal; my faith in the people governed is, on the whole, illimitable. (Speech 1869).

Charles Fourier 1772-1837

The extension of women’s rights is the basic principle of social progress. (Théorie des Quatre Mouvements 1808).

Clement Atlee 1883-1964

Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking. (Speech 1957).

Christabel Pankhurst 1880-1958

Never lose your temper with the press or the public is a major rule of political life. (Votes for Women 31 March 1911).

David Hume 1711-1776

Every court of criminal justice must have the power of correcting the greatest and dangerous of all abuses of the forms of law - that of the protracted imprisonment of the accused, untried, perhaps not intended ever to be tried, it may be, not informed of the nature of the charge against him, or the name of the accuser.

Dolores Ibarruri 1895-1989

It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees! (Speech 1936).

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1890-1969

I think that people want speech so much that one of these days Governments had better get out of the way and let them have it. (Speech 1959)

Emanuel Shinwell 1884-1986

We know that the organised workers of the country are our friends. As for the rest, they don’t matter a tinker’s cuss. (Speech 1947).

Emma Goldman 1869-1940

Anarchism, then, really, stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraints of government. (Anarchism and Other Essays 1910).

Émile Zola 1840-1902

I am little concerned with beauty or perfection. I don’t care for the great centuries. All I care about is life, struggle, intensity. I am at ease in my generation.(My Hates 1866).

Ernest Bevin 1881-1951

There never has been a war yet which, if the facts had been put calmly before the ordinary folk, could not have been prevented. The common man I think, is the great protection against war. (Speech 1945).

Eugene V. Debs 1955-1926

While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a sole in prison, I am not free. (Speech at his trial 14 September 1918).

Friedrich Engels 1820-1895

Naturally, the workers are perfectly free; the manufacturer does not force them to take his materials and his cards, but he says to them...If you don’t like to be frizzled in my frying pan, you can take a walk into the fire.

George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950

You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race. (O’ Flaherty VC 1919).

Habeas Corpus Act 1679

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions or outlawed or exiled or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

Harold Wilson 1916-1995

A week is a long time in politics. (1964).

James Baldwin 1867-1987

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be. (Nobody Knows My Name 1961).

James Connolly 1868-1916

The worker is the slave of capitalist society, the female worker is the slave of that slave. (The reconquest of Ireland 1915)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778

Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains. (The Social Contract 1762).

Jean Paul Sartre 1905-1980

When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. (Le Diable et le bon Dieu 1951).

Joe Hill 1879-1915

I will die like a true-blue rebel. Don’t waste any time in mourning - organize. (Telegram 1915).

John Ruskin 1819-1900

Government and co-operation are in all things the laws of life; anarchy and competition the laws of death. (Unto this Last 1862).

Karl Marx 1818-1883

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it. (Theses on Feuerbach 1845).

Keir Hardie 1856-1915

Women, even more than the working class, is the great unknown quantity of the race. (Speech 11 April 1914).

Leon Trotsky 1879-1940

In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat. (Attributed).

Lord Byron 1788-1824

For what were all these country patriots born? To hunt, and vote, and raise the price of corn? (The Age of Bronze 1823).

Lord Denning 1899-1999

We shouldn’t have all these campaigns to get the Birmingham Six released if they’d been hanged. They’d have been forgotten and the whole community would be satisfied. (Spectator 18 August 1990).

Lucretia Mott 1793-1880

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source. (Speech 1848).

Mahatma Ghandi 1869-1948

The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fell. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states. (Non violence in peace and war 1949).

Malcolm X 1925-1965

We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for human rights. (Speech 1964).

Mao Zedong 1893-1976

The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system; this is an objective law independent of man’s will. However much the reactionaries try to hold back the wheel of history, sooner or later revolution will take place and will enevitably triumph. (Speech 1957).

Mordechai Vanunu

A free man can survive, a free spirit can exist. There is no human being that can destroy the freedom of speech, the will of freedom, the man who wants to be free. Am I a hero? I think all those who are standing behind me and supporting me, all those who continue to be my friends for 18 years, all are heroes. Speech by Mordechai Vanunu on leaving prison. 21 April 2004.

Martin Luther King 1929-1968

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. (Speech 1963).

Mary Wollstoncraft 1759-1797

It is justice not charity that is wanting in the world. (Vindication of the Rights of Women 1796).

Mikhail S. Gorbachev 1931-

The guilt of Stalin and his immediate entourage before the Party and the people for the mass repressions and lawlessness they committed is enormous and unforgivable. (Speech 1987).

Montesquieu 1689-1755

Political liberty in a citizen is that tranquillity of spirit which comes from the opinion each one has of his security, and in order for him to have this liberty the government must be such that one citizen cannot fear another citizen. (The Spirit of the Laws 1748).

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Through its imperialist system Britain brought about untold suffering of millions of people. And this is an historical fact. To be able to admit this would increase the respect, you know, which we have for British institutions. (Guardian 2 April 1990).

Nikita Khrushchev 1894-1971

We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all. (Speech 1956).

Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador 1917-1980

Peace is not the product of fear Peace is not the silence of cemeteries Peace is not the result of violent oppression Peace is not the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all Peace is dynamic Peace is generosity It is right and it is duty In it each one feels at home.

Ramsay MacDonald 1866-1937

Wars are popular. Contractors make profits; the aristocracy glean honour. (Labour Leader 11 March 1915).

Robert Owen 1771-1858

All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer. (Attributed 1828).

Susan Brownmiller 1935-

Women as a class have never subjugated another group; we have never marched off to wars of conquest in the name of the fatherland. We have never been involved in a decision to annex the territory of a neighbouring country, or to fight for foreign markets on distant shores. These are the games men play, not us. We want to be neither oppressors nor oppressed. The women’s revolution is the final revolution of them all (New York Times 15 March 1970).

Thomas Paine 1737-1809

One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an ass for a lion. (Common Sense 1776).

Society in almost every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. (Common Sense 1776).

Tony Benn 1925-2014

The crisis that we inherit when we come to power will be the occasion for fundamental change and not the excuse for postponing it. (Speech 1973).

U. Thant 1909-1974

The single most important impediment to global institutions is the concept of "my country, right or wrong".

United Nations

Women constitute half the world’s population, perform nearly two-thirds of its work hours, receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth of the world’s property. (UN Report 1960).

Victor Hugo 1802-1885

A stand can be made against invasion by an army; no stand can be made against an invasion by an idea. (Histoire d’un Crime 1851)

V.I. Lenin 1870-1924

The whole struggle of our Party (and of the working class movement in Europe generally) must be directed against opportunism. The latter is not a current of opinion, not a tendency; it (opportunism) has now become the organised tool of the bourgeoisie within the working class movement. (Letter to David Wijnkoop)

Voltaire 1694-1778

The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other. (Dictionnaire philosophique 1764).

W.E.B. Du Bois 1868-1963

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line - the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. (The Souls of Black Folk 1905).

William Morris 1834-1896

Forsooth, brothers, fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell: fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death. (Dream of John Ball 1888).

If you have enjoyed this page you might like to have a look at further quotations in our Time for Peace page.


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