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Innovators: Social Revolutionaries

  • Nov 7, 2009
These important revolutionary figures helped to change the way we think and perceive the world, and how we engage it during times of conflict and doubt. Some may be considered quite controversial for their ideas or actions, while others may have been forgotten over the years. All of them should be studied for their contributions to our modern perception of ourselves, of science, politics, and interrelations.
Rather than placing them in some rank or preferential order, I've simply alphabetized them by their last names. Also, instead of explaining my reason for their inclusion on this list, I have placed a seminal quote by each of them next to their names.
Now you can rate you favorite revolutionaries in an ExhilaRATE game, which includes most of the people here and a few others as well.
John Adams
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
-John Adams
Ambrose Bierce
"All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher."
-Ambrose Bierce
William Blake
"Men are not admitted into Heaven because they have curbed or governed their passions, but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of Heaven are not negations of passion, but realities of intellect, from which all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory. The fool shall not enter into Heaven let him be ever so holy."
-William Blake
John Brown
"I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood."
-John Brown
Ida Craddock
"I maintain my right to die as I have lived - a free woman, not cowed into silence by any other human being."
-Ida Craddock
Charles Darwin
"Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal."
-Charles Darwin
Bob Dylan
"People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent."
-Bob Dylan
Sigmund Freud
"A civilization which leaves so much of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence."
-Sigmund Freud
Mohandas Gandhi
"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
-Mohandas Gandhi
Marcus Garvey
"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
-Marcus Garvey
"Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms."
-Che Guevara
"Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them."
-Abbie Hoffman
Martin Luther King Jr.
"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alfred Kinsey
"The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform."
-Alfred Kinsey
Jiddu Krishnamurti
"All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man."
-Jiddu Krishnamurti
John Lennon
"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-John Lennon
Nelson Mandela
"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended."
-Nelson Mandela
Bob Marley
"Me, I'm no educated man. If I was educated, I'd be a damn fool."
-Bob Marley
Karl Marx
"As in private life one differentiates between what a man thinks and says of himself and what he really is and does, so in historical struggles one must still more distinguish the language and the imaginary aspirations of parties from their real organism and their real interests, their conception of themselves from their reality."
-Karl Marx
Harvey Milk
"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
-Harvey Milk
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."
-George Orwell
Thomas Paine
"I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy."
-Thomas Paine
Margaret Sanger

"Against the State, against the Church, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of today arises."
-Margaret Sanger

Albert Schweitzer
"A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives."
-Albert Schweitzer
Haile Selassie I
"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."
-Haile Selassie I
Gloria Steinem
"However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group's greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family."
-Gloria Steinem
Malcolm X
"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
-Malcolm X
Emiliano Zapata
"It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees."
-Emiliano Zapata

What did you think of this list?

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March 22, 2010
Interesting list! Guess I'm no revolutionaries (yet!) ;-)
March 22, 2010
Yeah, I know it's kind of different from what's in your community, but I figured a lot of people are inspired by historical figures and that this might provoke some interesting lists and reviews. I have another list that I should have done by the end of the week that you'll like.
March 22, 2010
Oh, don't get me wrong... I'm merely teasing you about it. Different? How so? It's perfect for the community! Anything that encourages others to think for themselves is ideal for this community!!!
March 22, 2010
Well, I meant that the community seems, at least from my observation, to focus more on philosophy and spirituality rather than politics. As for my next list, it will be quite unique. I think you'll like it!
March 22, 2010
Other than Woopak & me, there is really no one actively contributing for now. Hopefully there is more who are willing to do their bits and sharing. ;-) Philosophy & spirituality are only what I know enough to write. If Politics is your forte, by all means share whatever you're interested in. It's all about life!
March 22, 2010
The next list won't really be political. It will actually be more philanthropic than anything else.
March 22, 2010
Just do whatever you deem right & appropriate. Don't set up your own boundaries.
March 22, 2010
Oh, don't worry, I won't. It is important that I branch out though since your community really allows for a diverse and eclectic mix of topics, lists, and reviews. I don't particularly like to repeat myself, especially when it comes to discussing things of a more personal nature, so trying new ways to express myself is a necessity.
March 04, 2010
What, no John Maynard Keynes? LOL

But now the world has gotten very weird and some people want to blame Keynes.

If you give pseudo-intellectuals some new knowledge they will come up with more complicated ways of being STUPID. Buying consumer trash increases the Gross Domestic Product which is a concept that Keynes pioneered. But Keynes was 20 years old when the Wright brothers flew their plane. Henry Ford had not introduced the Model-T. What did Keynes ever say about planned obsolescence?

Our economists rarely talk about NET Domestic Product. They don't subtract the DEPRECIATION of all of that consumer garbage. We went into DEBT for that consumer garbage. Paying interest on depreciation is SO SMART.

November 09, 2009
Thanks for the list! Like a mini history lesson ;)
November 09, 2009
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Are you familiar with any of the people in it? Some of them have been obscured over the years, but all of them have really interesting ideas about human nature and how to improve society. However, as Queenie pointed out below, some of their ideas don't mesh.
November 09, 2009
Of course! I love Thomas Paine, Bob Marley, John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman, William Blake, Bob Dylan...many more from this list. All really interesting to read up on!
November 09, 2009
Are you familiar with either Marcus Garvey or Ida Craddock? Both have unfortunately been somewhat neglected in terms of academic historical studies.
November 09, 2009
I learned a bit about Garvey back in high school but should really read some more about him as I don't think my studies were thorough. Never heard of Ida Craddock...I'm sure my school's curriculum totally overlooked her as well...I have to go to the library! :P
November 09, 2009
She's a pretty fascinating figure. She basically was one of the first people to try and educate young Victorian-minded couples about sex, but she was targeted by Anthony Comstock, the notorious head of Vice control. He had her arrested and took her to court, but she killed herself by inhaling toxic fumes rather than be censored or as she put it "cowed into silence". A fiercely independent woman with a lot of insight into both spirituality and humanity.
November 09, 2009
Nice list, I really enjoyed reading all the quotes.
November 09, 2009
Thanks. Who's the cute little kitty in your picture?
November 09, 2009
nice list. Good one since I learned something here...although I wonder why one of them made this list.
November 09, 2009
Which one?
November 09, 2009
For that reason alone. And he wasn't the first gay candidate, but the first male homosexual elected to major public office. That's a big deal, man. And not only was he an elected official, but an activist through and through who fought for equal rights for all peoples, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or economic status. He literally opened the closet door for public officials... not unlike how Obama has made history as the first black president.
November 09, 2009
Having issues with editing comments...ok, I'll try again. I was a little surprised that Milk was on this list. He was the first openly gay candidate but being a San Fran native, I never thought he did something really significant to change America. I guess maybe I'm not too well informed on his history but it just seems like he just doesn't belong in a list where Gandhi and King are included. I guess the company in the list is just too awe-inspiring and I was never inspired by Milk.
November 09, 2009
That is true, I guess it was never made such a huge impact on me since I never had issues with gays in the first place. I know Milk only from the movie, maybe I should read up on him. I know some San Franciscans wanted to make a "Harvey Milk day" here but for some reason it was denied. I have no idea why...
November 09, 2009
How can you not be inspired by someone who gave up their life so that all people could be considered equal. As far as I'm concerned, that puts him right up there with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and all the others.
November 09, 2009
Well, what I know is from what I heard and what I saw in the movie. He wasn't killed while protesting the goals of equal rights, he was killed by someone who became imbalanced because of the political agendas they both have during the time. They were making deals...vote for my proposal and I'll do the same for yours (again, I am not that educated on him and only have the "Milk" movie as reference) It is your list, but as Karen says contradictory points of view. But now since you made it since their ideas are conjecture then it's all good!
November 09, 2009
Well, yeah, some would say putting Gandhi and Che Guevara on the same list is a travesty too, but each did their part to ignite passions in people that helped to change the world, albeit not always for the better.
November 09, 2009
unfortunately I'm not familiar with Che Guevara so maybe he doesn't fit there too.. But these lists are all about the beholder, and yours have inspired me to wiki those names. I guess for me dying for a cause before it was achieved and that death drove people to continue the fight is awe-inspiring. I agree with your final comment; they all did their part to promote change albeit not necessarily for the better.
November 09, 2009
If you're looking for info on any of these figures here in particular, let me know and I can recommend some good books, documentaries, websites, etc. to get you started.
November 10, 2009
Actually it wasn't Che that I was thinking of when I mentioned opposing points of view, although he certainly qualifies. I was thinking more in terms of John Brown because of the quote you chose for him which is obviously a representative one and one that couldn't be more at odds with Gandhi and MLK. To paraphrase Gandhi since I can't quote the occasion directly at the moment, there were many causes for which he was prepared to die, but there was none for which he would kill.
November 10, 2009
Which is something I agree with strongly. That's one of the reasons that Gandhi is so inspirational. He believed in change and radical change too, but without bloodshed... a bloodless revolution so to speak. As for Che and John Brown, it was more their ideas rather than their actions that I find to be inspiring.
November 08, 2009
A couple of contradictory points of view in there Count, but an interesting list nonetheless.
November 09, 2009
No, not really. I'm not necessarily saying that I agree with all of them or that their ideas are in conjecture with one another. I just put anyone on here who has helped to change the course of history with their radical views. Personally, I've learned a lot about all of them and find that if we adopted certain aspects of each of their philosophies that the world could be much improved.
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