„The ruling powers tell us poor lower-class folks that we have an obligation, a social responsibility to society, to abide by the law, but they don’t have any social responsibility to us to help us meet our needs. It’s pure bourgeoisie class-based morality, a morality that serves the ruling class, not the masses of the oppressed.“

Kevin Rashid Johnson photo
Kevin Rashid Johnson12
American prisoner and social activist 1971

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„If we would lead outside our borders, if we would help those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind, we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men within our own nations — barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance.“

—  Robert F. Kennedy American politician and brother of John F. Kennedy 1925 - 1968

Day of Affirmation Address (1966)
Contexto: The help and the leadership of South Africa or of the United States cannot be accepted if we, within our own country or in our relationships with others, deny individual integrity, human dignity, and the common humanity of man. If we would lead outside our borders, if we would help those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind, we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men within our own nations — barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance.
Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.

Mahendra Chaudhry photo

„The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, irrespective of status in society or class divisions it is this equal application that is the bulwark of modern democracies.“

—  Mahendra Chaudhry Fijian politician 1942

Reaction to Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's address to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Nadi, 31 August 2005

John Gray photo
Brian Leiter photo
Peter Kropotkin photo
Isaac Asimov photo

„Inertia! Our ruling class knows one law; no change. Despotism! They know one rule; force. Maldistribution! They know one desire; to hold what is theirs.“

—  Isaac Asimov American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, known for his works of science fiction and popular … 1920 - 1992

Fonte: The Foundation series (1951–1993), Foundation and Empire (1952), Chapter 11 “Bride and Groom”; in part II, “The Mule” originally published under the same title in Astounding (November-December 1945)

Washington Gladden photo
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„Man must therefore take responsibility for his servant, the law, and use it to serve the needs of mankind.“

—  Albert Nolan South African priest and activist 1934

Fonte: Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation (1976), p. 72.
Contexto: Jesus wanted to liberate everyone from the law — from all laws. But this could not be achieved by abolishing or changing the law. He had to dethrone the law. He had to ensure that the law be man’s servant and not his master (Mark 2:27-28). Man must therefore take responsibility for his servant, the law, and use it to serve the needs of mankind.

Friedrich Engels photo
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Leszek Kolakowski photo

„Lenin’ s often-quoted speech to the Komsomol Congress on 2 October 1920 deals with ethical questions on similar lines, "We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’ s class struggle. Morality is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite all the working people around the proletariat, which is building up a new, a communist society … To a Communist all morality lies in this united discipline and conscious mass struggle against the exploiters. We do not believe in an eternal morality, and we expose the falseness of all the fables about morality" (Works, vol. 31, pp. 291-4). It would be hard to interpret these words in any other sense than that everything which serves or injures the party’ s aims is morally good or bad respectively, and nothing else is morally good or bad. After the seizure of power, the maintenance and strengthening of Soviet rule becomes the sole criterion of morality as well as of all cultural values. No criteria can avail against any action that may seem conducive to the maintenance of power, and no values can be recognized on any other basis. All cultural questions thus become technical questions and must be judged by the one unvarying standard; the "good of society" becomes completely alienated from the good of its individual members. It is bourgeois sentimentalism, for instance, to condemn aggression and annexation if it can be shown that they help to maintain Soviet power; it is illogical and hypocritical to condemn torture if it serves the ends of the power which, by definition, is devoted to the "liberation of the working masses". Utilitarian morality and utilitarian judgements of social and cultural phenomena transform the original basis of socialism into its opposite. All phenomena that arouse moral indignation if they occur in bourgeois society are turned to gold, as if by a Midas touch, if they serve the interests of the new power: the armed invasion of a foreign state is liberation, aggression is defence, tortures represent the people’ s noble rage against the exploiters. There is absolutely nothing in the worst excesses of the worst years of Stalinism that cannot be justified on Leninist principles, if only it can be shown that Soviet power was increased thereby.“

—  Leszek Kolakowski Philosopher, historian of ideas 1927 - 2009

Fonte: Main Currents Of Marxism (1978), Three Volume edition, Volume II, The Golden Age, pp. 515-6

Edward Carpenter photo

„Law represents from age to age the code of the dominant or ruling class, slowly accumulated, no doubt, and slowly modified, but always added to and always administered by the ruling class. Today the code of the dominant class may perhaps best be denoted by the word Respectability—and if we ask why this code has to a great extent overwhelmed the codes of the other classes and got the law on its side (so far that in the main it characterises those classes who do not conform to it as the criminal classes), the answer can only be: Because it is the code of the classes who are in power. Respectability is the code of those who have the wealth and the command, and as these have also the fluent pens and tongues, it is the standard of modern literature and the press. It is not necessarily a better standard than others, but it is the one that happens to be in the ascendant; it is the code of the classes that chiefly represent modern society; it is the code of the Bourgeoisie. It is different from the Feudal code of the past, of the knightly classes, and of Chivalry; it is different from the Democratic code of the future—of brotherhood and of equality; it is the code of the Commercial age and its distinctive watchword is—property.
The Respectability of today is the respectability of property. There is nothing so respectable as being well-off.“

—  Edward Carpenter British poet and academic 1844 - 1929

Defence of Criminals: A Criticism of Morality (1889)

Barack Obama photo
Barack Obama photo
Martin Luther King, Jr. photo

„One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968

1960s, Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)
Fonte: Letter from the Birmingham Jail
Contexto: One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

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