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  • Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers.

  • ... my rebelliousness went so deep that, faced with a can of asparagus that instructed me to open at this end, I always, stubbornly, opened it at the other.

  • Rebels and non-conformists are often the pioneers and designers of change.

  • I have a job to do while I am on this planet in this incarnation: To attempt to break every social norm, turn it back on itself and see that it is laughed at.

  • They try to kill, or silence everyone who says they know how to save the world. You might be one who does know, but you're not really in any danger, unless you tell them that you know. That's how they figure that you're nuts, you tell them that you know how to save the world. Then they'll get you, unless you're particularly clever about it, and say that you're a poet, songwriter, writer, comedian, storyteller, artist, or whatever. Then they will tolerate you, because they'll just think you're controllable, because you obviously still care about money. And when you still care about money, you're part of the world. You don't really want to save it — you're OK.

  • If you stand up to the human race you lose something called their 'goodwill'; if you kowtow to them you gain ... their permission to continue kowtowing.

  • I hold it blasphemy to say that a man ought not to fight against authority: there is no great religion and no great freedom that has not done it, in the beginning.

  • In the rotation of crops there was a recognized season for wild oats; but they were not to be sown more than once.

  • I believe in a lively disrespect for most forms of authority.

  • If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That's the beginning of social protest.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • in Claudia Tate, ed., Black Women Writers at Work ()
  • My linguistic protest / has no power. / The enemy is illiterate.

  • Cultures of resistance are not simply adaptive mechanisms; they embody important alternative ways of organizing production and reproduction and value systems critical of those of the oppressor.

    • Mina Davis Caulfield,
    • "Imperialism, the Family, and Cultures of Resistance," in Socialist Revolution ()
  • The human race / Has climbed on protest.

  • Rebels seldom make good revolutionaries, because organized action, even union with other people, is not possible for them.

  • I definitely reserve the right to conspire, any time any where, for/against any one, or thing, or government, etc. It may be against the laws of man, but it is in accord with the laws of nature.

  • A popular disturbance never remains long in the full control of those who start it.

  • Rebels and dissidents challenge the complacent belief in a just world, and, as the theory would predict, they are usually denigrated for their efforts. While they are alive, they may be called 'cantankerous,' 'crazy,' 'hysterical,' 'uppity,' or 'duped.' Dead, some of them become saints and heroes, the sterling characters of history. It's a matter of proportion. One angry rebel is crazy, three is a conspiracy, 50 is a movement.

  • In order to create an alternative an oppressed group must at once shatter the self-reflecting world which encircles it and, at the same time, project its own image onto history.

  • When you've written to your president, to your congressman, to your senator and nothing, nothing has come of it, you take to the streets.

  • Rebellion is necessary for the development of character.

  • [When forbidden to sing 'She sits among the cabbages and peas':] She sits among the cabbages and leaks.

  • Rebels are the people who refuse the seen for the unseen.