[T]he point of attack in the political struggle lies, not in the legislative bodies, but in the people. Political rights do not originate in parliaments, they are, rather, forced upon parliaments from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security.
Just as the employers always try to nullify every concession they had made to labour as soon as opportunity offered, as soon as any signs of weakness were observable in the workers' organizations, so governments also are always inclined to restrict or to abrogate completely rights and freedoms that have been achieved if they imagine that the people will put up no resistance. Even in those countries where such things as freedom of the press, right of assembly, right of combination, and the like, have long existed governments are constantly trying to restrict those rights or to reinterpret them by judicial hair-splitting.
Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution. One compels respect from others when he knows how to defend his dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life, it has always been the same in political life as well.
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