Quotes about revolutions

“Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.”
― Bob Marley

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.”
― Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
(1962)”
― John F. Kennedy

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.
- John Dickinson, The Liberty Song.

A great revolution is never the fault of the people, but of the government.
- Goethe, Conversations with Goethe, 1824.

    A non-violent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships, ending in a peaceful transfer of power.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War, 1948.
The history of all hitherto existing society  is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master  and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
- Communist Manifesto, Engels and Marx

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

Working Men of All Countries, Unite!
- Communist Manifesto


“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
― Patrick Henry

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
― Thomas Paine

“But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is... to tell the truth.”
― Howard Zinn, Marx in Soho: A Play on History

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.
- Che Guevar

“Little by little, the old world crumbled, and not once did the king imagine that some of the pieces might fall on him.”
― Jennifer Donnelly, On French Revolution

O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolutions of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea!
    William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II (c. 1597-99)

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Explorers from the golden ages of exploration

The USS Vincennes, one of the ships of the Ex. Ex., visiting Antarctica in 1840. (credit: US Navy)

The Elizabethan age of exploration - 15th, 16th Century

This period from the 15th to 17th Century was perhaps the most important era of exploration. It laid the seeds of globalisation as Europe discovered the Americas, the Indian continent and made the first circumnavigation of the world. This age of discovery came about for a few reasons
  • The fall of Constantinople made trade with Asia across land very difficult. There was an incentive for Europeans to find direct sea routes to the India continent. This was first achieved by the Portuguese Vasco de Gama in 1498, when he arrived in Calicut, India.
  • Wealth of Europe. European countries, like Spain, Portugal, Holland and England became increasingly wealthy and good afford to fund exploration. In addition, these explorations became quite profitable due to trade and / or plundering of raw materials. The Spanish monarchy funded Christopher Colombus in 1492 to travel to America.
  • Christian missionary movement. Part of the motive for exploration was to share the principles of Christianity and convert 'heathen pagans'
  • Empire rivalry. One of the biggest motivations was to extend the political, military and political power of the European nations by claiming parts of the 'new world.' For example, one of England's most famous explorers Sir Walter Raleigh, was executed after fighting the Spanish.
  • Improvements in technology which enabled longer sea journeys.

The dark side of the age of exploration.

The age of exploration could also be called the age of exploitation. European voyages paved the way for the conquest of American countries. The age of exploration was also tied up with the growth in the slave trade. Notable explorers like Sir Francis Drake were closely tied up with the slave trade. (Drake was also considered a pirate by the Spanish). Many native inhabitants suffered from the coming of Europeans, due to the transfer of infectious diseases, slavery or loss of freedom.

On the positive side, the age of exploration helped widen horizons (proving the world wasn't flat) and beginning the evolutionary movement towards a global world.

The Heroic age of exploration - Polar regions

In the late Nineteenth Century / early Twentieth Century there was the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. Many voyages were undertaken with only limited equipment, but this enabled a great improvement in knowledge about the Antarctic continent. The most famous explorations of this period were led by
  • Ernest Shackleton.British Antarctic Expedition 1907 (Nimrod Expedition)
  • Roald Amundsen reaching the south Pole in 1911.
  • Robert F Scott's - Antarctic expedition of 1910-11 - which led to death of all five members, close to the South Pole
  • Ernest Shackleton - Endurance 1914-17 - First transcontinental crossing attempt

Other great periods of exploration

  • Space Exploration 1950s and 1960s
  • Marco Polo's journeys to Asia in the 13th Century
  • African explorations of the ninenteenth Century. Led by David Livingstone's attempt to find the source of the Nile, the late Nineteenth Century saw a 'dash for Africa'
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Is professional cycling clean or is doping still prevalent?

After the Festina scandal of 1998, the scope of drug taking within the sport of procycling was exposed. But, the opportunity to clean up the sport was not taken. The next year 1999, Festina rider Richard Virenque (who had finally admitted to taking a cocktail of drugs) was still able to make the startline. There was no lengthy ban. The incentive to cheat was still there. Like many other drug cheats he was welcomed back by supporters and riders alike

In 1999, the one rider who everybody admitted was clean in the Festina team was talented Christopher Bassons. However, when Bassons publically stated doping was still a problem in the sport. He got bullied by race leader Lance Armstrong - live during a stage. A tearful Basson was ignored by the peleton for breaking the Omerta. He later quit the Tour de France and retired.

In that Tour, Lance Armstrong failed a dope test for Cortiscoids. But, producing a back dated prescription (contrary to the rules) he was  allowed to win and claim victory. Despite a year after the Festina scandal no-one wanted to hear about drug stories. The Lance recovery from cancer to win the Tour was seen as a miraculously good sports story. Armstrong went onto win seven consecutive tour de France wuns. Despite growing evidence if doping, Armstrong was the boss and he was able to avoid any scrutiny as journalists needed access to the man who sold more papers than any doping story.

Fast forward to 2012, and the USADA report into Lance Armstrong produced 100+ pages detailing the extent and depth of doping within the US postal team. Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles and there was widespread anger about the extent and nature of cheating within the sport.
It wasn't just Lance Armstrong who was doping, numerous other winners and riders were implicated - either failing dope tests or admitting to having doped in their career.

In 2010, Team Sky was set up hoping to win the Tour de France with a clean rider.

In 2011, Bradley Wiggins won after dominating in the two time trials. In 2012, Chris Froome won the Tour de France. His dominating performances in the mountains were subject to intense scrutiny. With the press repeatedly questionning the validity of his performances.

In response Froome calmly replied he was clean. Team Sky also offered to offer their power data to WADA - the world's anti doping agency.

David Walsh, the journalist who sought to expose Lance Armstrong's doping was allowed to follow Team Sky around for 2013. Despite being initially sceptical and criticial of Team Sky's decision to hire former Rabobank doctor (Gert Leinders), Walsh came to the conclusion that Froome's performances were credible and that there were big differences between Team Sky and US Postal

  • Test for EPO which has caught riders
  • Biological passport which looks for evidence of blood manipulation
  • Changed atmosphere in the peleton. The days of bullying riders who speak against doping is hard to imagine. Riders, such as Kittel, have been increasingly vocal in their opposition to doping.
  • No evidence from former employees of Team Sky (unlike US postal where there was a steady drop of former mechanics, riders coming out to say doping was endemic in the team)
  • Greater transparency in allowing access to team and data.
  • Froome was tested 19 times during the tour.
  • According to Ross Tucker of the sports science institute at the University of Cape Town,  the power-to-weight ratio of today's top riders is lower than in the EPO era.
    "In the late 1990s and early 2000s if you were going to be competitive and win the Tour de France you would have to be able to cycle between 6.4 and 6.7 watts per kilogram at the end of a day's stage.
    "What we are seeing now, in the last three or four years, is that the speed of the front of the peloton [of] men like Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, is about 10% down compared to that generation and now the power output at the front is about 6W/kg." (Are drug free cyclists slower?)
Some remain sceptical, frequently over the years and there has been good reason to be sceptical after a series of cyclists have later proved to have doped. However, there is good reason to feel the sport is cleaner than before.

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Funny quotes on democracy

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

— Winston Churchill

"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."

- Oscar Wilde


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"

— B.Franklin

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

― H.L. Mencken

"Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear."

— Alan Coren

"Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president."

— J. Carson

"Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time."

— E.B. White

"Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."

— H.L. Mencken


“You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena.”

— Jon Stewart

"Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three."

— E. M. Forster, "What I Believe", 1938

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

— George Bernard Shaw


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