Updated date:

Famous Revolutionary Quotations

The author is a QUB Pol Sci Honours graduate and has written extensively on imperialism, national liberation struggles and class issues.


Collated throughout this article are some of the author's favourite revolutionary quotes. The revolutionary quotes are very roughly sorted into sections. There are some of the best-known quotes from European Revolutionaries such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Connolly. Elsewhere there are quotes from Irish Republican Revolutionaries, beginning with Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet, to more contemporary revolutionaries, such as Bobby Sands, Bernadette Devlin and Seamus Costello. Lastly, there are quotes from Revolutionaries of the Americas, who include the universally famous Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, IWW Union organizer Joe Hill, Malcolm X, Huey P Newton and Sub-Commandante Marcos of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional,EZLN. Hopefully, the collation of these revolutionary quotes in a single article will be of use to someone, I certainly enjoyed collating them. My personal favourite quote can also be found inscribed on the tomb of Karl Marx from his Thesis on Feuerbach in Highgate Cemetery, London which I have had the pleasure of visiting. The quote declares:

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it!"


Irish Republican Revolutionary Quotations

Irish Republican Revolutionary Quotes

“Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community - the men of no property.” (Theobald Wolfe Tone)

"To break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils and to assert the independence of my country- these were my objectives. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter - these were my means" (Theobald Wolfe Tone)

"Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dares not vindicate them, let no prejudice or ignorance asperse them... When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written" (Robert Emmet)

“The principle I state and mean to stand on is this, that the ownership of Ireland, moral and material, up to the sun and down to the centre is vested in the people of Ireland.” (James Fintan Lawlor)

“Educate, that you might be free. We are most anxious to get the quiet, strong-minded people who are scattered throughout the country to see the force of this great truth.” (Thomas Davis)

"They have done their worst, and continued to deny me even the privileges accorded to the common herd . . . but I am sustained by the consciousness of my imputed 'crime' being an honourable one!" (Michael Davitt, Dartmoor prison, 1867)

“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs ” (James Connolly)

"If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of
our prisons or graves we will still evoke a
spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps,
raise a force that will destroy you! We
defy you! Do your worst" (James Connolly)

"Whoop it up for liberty!............ After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn’t that worth fighting for?" (James Connolly)

"We believe in constitutional action in normal times; we believe in revolutionary action in exceptional times" (James Connolly,1915)

“There are in every generation those who shrink from the ultimate sacrifice, but there are in every generation those who make it with joy and laughter and these are the salt of the generations" (Patrick H Pearse)

"From death springs life and from the graves of great patriots springs a great nation” (Patrick H Pearse)

“Ireland unfree shall never be at peace” (Patrick H Pearse)

"The ending of partition was inevitable because Ireland was one nation by history and tradition, by facts of race, geography, and economy " (Seamus Costello)

"we must make no secret of the fact that we are a revolutionary party, prepared to give leadership on the streets as well as in the elected chambers & that we are out for a revolutionary state" (Seamus Costello)

“It did not seem to me that prejudice, poverty, discrimination, repression and racism were confined to the North of Ireland. I could see them everywhere I spoke and still cannot comprehend the mentality that argues that I should have pretended not to see them because it wasn’t my business” (Bernadette Devlin-Mcaliskey)

"Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their
own particular part to play. No part is too great
or too small, no one is too old or too young to do
something" (Bobby Sands)

“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn't want to be broken" (Bobby Sands)

Our revenge will be the laughter of our children” (Bobby Sands)

"Let the Fight go on" (Patsy O'Hara - INLA Hunger Striker)

"we must be vigilant that we dont sink into the morass of sectarianism, mixing, pettiness etc. We must not get involved in unprincipled slagging matches etc or into positions that are sectarian, anti-revolutionary, morally damaging that give succour to the enemy & that confuse & divide the working class " (Thomas 'Ta' Power - INLA Guerilla)

"Are we amateurs and not professionals? We know the lessons of history, we know the mistakes and we either act accordingly or collapse. Salvation lies in clarity and the courage to implement change" (Thomas 'Ta' Power - INLA Guerilla)


Revolutionary Quotations from the Americas

"Don't mourn, Organise" (Joe Hill - IWW Union Organiser, USA)

"We have no right to believe that freedom can be won without struggle" (Che Guevera)

"I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting" (Che Guevara)

"The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall" (Che Guevara)

"I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man" (Che Guevara)

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything" (Malcolm X)

"Capitalism is a stupid system, a backward system" (Stokely Carmichael)

"I also know that while I am black I am a human being, and therefore I have the right to go into any public place. White people didn't know that.Every time I tried to go into a place they stopped me" (Stokely Carmichael)

"I knew that I could vote and that that wasn't a privilege; it was my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived" (Stokely Carmichael)

"I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for black people" (Stokely Carmichael)

"Any unarmed people are slaves or are subject to slavery at any given moment" (Huey Newton)

"Black Power is giving power to people who have not had the power to determine their destiny" (Huey Newton)

"I do not expect the white media to create positive black male images" (Huey Newton)

"I expected to die. At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness" (Huey Newton)

"I have the people behind me and the people are my strength" (Huey Newton)

"I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people" (Huey Newton)

“What we're going to do is shake this country up from below, pick it up and turn it on its head” (Sub-Comandante Marcos - Zapatista organizer)

“We learned a long time ago that we should never subject ourselves to the schedules of the powerful. We had to follow our own calendar and impose it on those above” (Sub-Comandante Marcos - Zapatista organizer)

“Surely the agents of the government, businessmen and political parties have sent to inform you what happens here. After hearing us and hearing you, they will write in their report a false alarm. There's nothing to be worried about. The suspects are crazy and they haven't noticed each other. End of the report” (Sub-Comandante Marcos - Zapatista organizer)

“What follows is not a new political party on the left, but a huge front made up of political and social organizations” (Sub-Comandante Marcos - Zapatista organizer)

“We have to make sure of our place in society as indigenous Indians that we have won. In Mexico, there are movements, there are revolutions and change, but for the indigenous nothing changes” (Sub-Comadante Marcos - Zapatista organizer)

“The movement is growing, more people are coming in, we are getting to know people that we did not know before” (Sub-Comadante Marcos - Zapatista organizer)


Quotes From Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" (Karl Marx)

"Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution" (Karl Marx)

"Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite" (Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels)

"Political economy regards the proletarian like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle" (Karl Marx)

"The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property" (Karl Marx)

"In a higher phase of communist society... only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banners: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (Karl Marx)

"An Ounce of action is worth a ton of theory" (Friedrich Engels)


Quotes From Russian Communist Revolutionaries

"Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Bah, tombstones are only good for pigeons to sit on" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Any cook should be able to run the country" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Capitalists are no more capable of self-sacrifice than a man is capable of lifting himself up by his own bootstraps" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Crime is a product of social excess" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Democracy is indispensable to socialism" (Vladimir Lenin)

"Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle. The modern industrial proletariat does not belong to the category of such classes" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Every cook has to learn how to govern the state" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Fascism is capitalism in decay" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism, we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"If Socialism can only be realized when the intellectual development of all the people permits it, then we shall not see Socialism for at least five hundred years" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed" (Vladimir I Lenin)

"No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses"
(Vladimir I Lenin)

"One man with a gun can control 100 without one" (Vladimir I Lenin)

Communist Pride Song

Che Guevara on Cuba Flag 5'x3'

Related Articles