A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 13, 2010
“Leaders don’t create movements, movements create leaders”

"Leaders don’t create movements, movements create leaders” is a political quotation that doesn’t have an obvious source. “Popular movements create leaders” is cited from 1881; Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919) said “leadership can and must be recreated from the masses.”

Red State blogger “Common Cents” has used “Leaders don’t create movements, movements create leaders” as a tagline since 2008.

Wikiquote: Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg (5 March 1870 or 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Marxist, revolutionary, and martyr.

Sourced
The leadership has failed. Even so, the leadership can and must be recreated from the masses and out of the masses. The masses are the decisive element, they are the rock on which the final victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were on the heights; they have developed this ‘defeat’ into one of the historical defeats which are the pride and strength of international socialism. And that is why the future victory will bloom from this ‘defeat’.

Google Books
December 1881, Appletons’ Journal, pg. 535, col. 2:
“You take,” said Mr. Lovel, “rather a cycnical view of human nature; and you overlook, I think, two important facts. One is the existence, side by side with selfishness, of compassion and of undelfishness; the other is the fact, with regard to the power of individuals, that popular movements create leaders, far more than leaders make popular movements.”

Google Books
Air marshal versus flight lieutenant:
Criticism on Generals in politics by Asghar Khan

By Irfan Saeed
Lahore: Ibn Rushd Naya Swayra Publishers
1984
Pg. 5
Leaders don’t create movements but the movements create leaders.

20 January 1993, Santa Fe (NM) Reporter, “No Saints, Please” by Sam Hitt, pg. 5, col. 3:
Martin Luther King Day is a bittersweet victory for African-Americans. Their leader is now recognized—even in Arizona and New Hampshire—but the powerful and complex movement he led has faded into a sanitized memory. Worst of all, the prevailing myth has been reinforced that leaders create movements when, in fact, movements create leaders.

The Year I Was Born
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The Year I Was Born
(...)
Movements create leaders, rather than leaders create movements.

Peace108
Celebration of Peace
Patricia January 9th, 2008
(...)
Remember: “Leaders don’t start movements, movements create leaders.”

Nothing Rhymes
9.15.2008
HATRED IS PURITY!
(...)
Rosa Luxemberg once said something to the effect the “movements create leaders, leaders don’t create movements,” and she’s totally right.

Red State
abortion has morphed
Common_Cents Tuesday, November 25th at 8:34PM EST (2008—ed.)
(...)
Leaders don’t create movements, movements create leaders.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Tuesday, April 13, 2010 • Permalink