Citations for struggle and protest

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Piven: Disruption of the status quo in the US by withholding cooperation can wield significant leverage and force new ideas into political discussion and eventually significant legislative concessions. The lack of disruption over years inevitably leads to rollback of previous gains.

Kropotkin: People have natural antiauthoritarian impulses that are trained out of them within an authoritarian society but are always just beneath the surface. Given the change to organize on their own, people will revert to more democratic and anarchic forms of social interaction and demonstrate the superfluousness of the state. There’s no need to wait for revolution to associate in democratic manner and through forms of reciprocal equality.

Chomsky: We have to aim to expand the floor of the cage, meaning to enable a better struggle by demanding and gaining better minimum standards. The state is a friend when it protects the weak from predators and enforces minimum standards of decency; an enemy when it is a constraint on liberty and self-organization and worker-control over production.

Piven: Everything we ever got in the US, from the Bill of Rights to the New Deal to the Civil Rights era was a concession from government to the unruly, disruptive, self-imposing mob. When the disruptions cease and the mob is lulled into ceasing demands or integrating into politics, the rollbacks on recent gains begins.

Luxemburg: The struggle is unpredictable and multifarious; it has many levels and many faces that flow into each other and reinforce each other from different sides and directions in unpredictable ways.

Chomsky: The short-sighted intellectual student movement thinks that we’ll walk in the streets a couple times and then be in the middle of a revolution. But struggles are uneven and hard to predict and are more like a long-distance run than any single sprint, and each one enables the next possibility, and the point is to keep struggling. Also, intellectuals like to see themselves as the ones who know, the ones who understand, the ones who should lead, and of course the ones who should wield power. If they feel any responsibility though, the meaningful thing is to engage in concrete struggle alongside those who are disempowered and victims of the system, to work with them and to learn from them and to help them.

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