Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy said Friday that he is standing up to “bad and unconstitutional laws,” just like civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a news conference near Bunkerville, Nev., Thursday, April 24, 2014 (AP)

Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a news conference near Bunkerville, Nev., Thursday, April 24, 2014 (AP)

“What I am saying is that all we Americans are trading one form of slavery for another,” Bundy told TheBlaze in a statement. “All of us are in some measure slaves of the federal government. The IRS keeps the people of America in fear, and makes us all work about a third or a half of the year before we have earned enough to pay their taxes. This is nothing but slavery from January through May.”

“[T]he government dole which many people in America are on, and have been for much of their lives, is dehumanizing and degrading,” he added. “It takes away incentive to work and self respect.”

Bundy’s statement came in response to the controversy surrounding his recent remarks about “the Negro” and whether they’d be better off “picking cotton” than living on federal subsidies.

The rancher, who has been involved in a decades-long fight with the federal government over his use of public land, said that once a person becomes dependent on the “government dole,” they become a slave to the state, adding that everyone — regardless of race or creed — has had their freedoms eroded by the federal government.

“I am standing up against [the federal government’s] bad and unconstitutional laws, just like Rosa Parks did when she refused to sit in the back of the bus,” he said. “She started a revolution in America, the civil rights movement, which freed the black people from much of the oppression they were suffering.”

He said that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was not simply that Parks could sit at the front of the bus, but that she could sit anywhere on the bus.

“I am doing the same thing Rosa Parks did — I am standing up against bad laws which dehumanize us and destroy our freedom. Just like the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord, we are saying no to an oppressive government which considers us to be slaves rather than free men,” he added.

Bundy’s statement to TheBlaze came just hours after he weathered a number of pointed questions on TV from CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who challenged him to explain his remarks.

“Maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness and maybe I don’t know what I actually said,” Bundy said. “But you know when you talk about prejudice, we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings. We don’t have freedom to say what we want.”

“If I say ‘Negro’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave,’ if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet,” he continued. “I should be able to say those things and they shouldn’t offend anybody. I didn’t mean to offend them.”

Watch the full CNN interview here:

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