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I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work. Or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickle’s-worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do. And there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe. And our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller. And all we say is, Please, at least leave us alone in our living-rooms. Let me have my toaster, and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone. Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don’t want you to protest. I won’t want you to ride. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, I’m a human being. Goddamit. My life has value! Network 1976 starring Faye Dunaway & Peter Finch & William Holden & Robert Duvall & Wesley Addy & Ned Beatty & Beatrice Straight & Jordan Charney & William Prince & Lane Smit & Marlene Warfield & Conchata Ferrell & Carolyn Krigbaum et al, director Sidney Lumet
We’re not going to take this any more. We’re as mad as Hell. Rab C Nesbitt: Racket, BBC 1996
But sometimes in a protest it’s important to do things that make absolutely no fucking sense and alienate everyone. Cunk & Other Humans on 2019 I: Our Planet Matters, BBC 2019
Events moved so quickly that few predicted the outcome. It began with the protests of the Puritans – extreme Protestants who set themselves against the luxury of the court. David Dimbleby, Seven Ages of Britain, Age of Revolution, BBC 2010
[The first principle of British democracy is] our prime duty to each other and to what our conscience tells us to be right. If this leads individuals into conflict with the law, those individuals must be ready to take the consequences non-violently. In our democracy no man should tell another man to break the law, nor should any man break the law to by-pass Parliament. But a person who is punished for breaking an unjust law may if he is sincere and his cause wins public sympathy, create a public demand to have that unjust law changed through Parliament. This is the first and most fundamental principle of British democracy. It has a deep moral significance. Our religious and political liberties rest upon it. Tony Benn, speech Bristol, cited The Times 5 August 1972
I wish to protest most strongly about everything. Henry Root, The Henry Root Letters introduction
I protest! I am not a merry man! Star Trek: The Next Generation s4e20: Qpid, Worf
Then she lay down in the street
Right before the horse’s feet
Expecting with a patient eye
Murder Fraud and Anarchy ...
Tis to work and have such pay
As just keeps life from day to day ...
From the workhouse and the prison
Where pale as corpses newly risen
Women, children, young and old
Groan for pain and weep for cold ...
And that slaughter to the nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
A volcano heard afar.
And these words shall then become
Like oppression’s thundered doom,
Ringing through each heart and brain
Heard again, again, again –
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you.
Ye are many. They are few. Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Voltaire
Thousands in a tightly packed column marched through the streets in the centre of Amsterdam while the Germans circled round them in tanks. Of course the demonstrators weren’t armed, yet they found a weapon in marching and singing. So they marched along the Rosenbach singing The Internationale. Gerben Wagenar
They stalked through a crowd of peaceful protesters along the parade route beating and pepper-spraying people. You can see the man in the red jacket shaking a can of pepper spray in his hand which is government-issued pepper spray. You can see him use the pepper spray – spraying it in close range in people’s faces and eyes. You can also see him spraying it in wide berths. And this is into a crowd of peaceful protesters. People standing along the parade route. People engaged in a classic first-amendment-protected activity. And being attacked by the police department. Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties, 2004
In 2003 Tony Blair and George Bush started to spread this freedom to Iraq. Three coaches of day-trippers set off for the US military base at Fairford, Gloucester, to protest against the war. On the way there [they] were pulled over for a routine traffic stop by over a hundred police in riot gear. The officers held them for two hours and searched every nook and cranny. Taking Liberties, 2007
Mia and Milan held a memorial service outside Downing Street. They were reading out the names of Iraqi civilians and British soldiers who had died since the invasion of Iraq. Luckily, fourteen policemen were on hand. ibid.
August 2005: The Serious Organised Crime & Police Act banned protest outside Parliament without permission. ibid.
In June 2001 Brian Haw started his peaceful protest against sanctions placed on Iraq. Over the next four years the government repeatedly arrested Brian and took him to court. But Brian won every time. So the Home Secretary David Blunkett changed the law ... 78 police paid Brian a visit. ibid.
It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights. Tariq Ali, ‘The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad’
Great disparities of wealth in society, however, restrict freedoms every bit as much as restrictions on voting. Everyone is ‘free’ to send their children to private school, to have tea at the The Ritz, to gamble on the stock exchange. These ‘freedoms’ are defended far more vigorously than the freedom to vote, yet they are in fact restrictions on freedom. For every one person who can have tea at The Ritz, there are a hundred who cannot do so because they have not got the money. If 10 per cent can send their children to private school and secure for them a straight route back into the privileged class from which they came, 90 per cent cannot do so – are banned from doing so – because they cannot afford it.