Quotes about democracy

A collection of quotes on the topic of democracy.

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Vladimir Lenin photo

„In capitalist society, providing it develops under the most favorable conditions, we have a more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slaveowners. Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so crushed by want and poverty that “they cannot be bothered with democracy,” “cannot be bothered with politics”; in the ordinary, peaceful course of events, the majority of the population is debarred from participation in public and political life. The“

—  Vladimir Lenin Russian politician, led the October Revolution 1870 - 1924

Source: The State and Revolution (1917), Ch. 5
Context: Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich – that is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely into the machinery of capitalist democracy, we see everywhere, in the "petty" – supposedly petty – details of the suffrage (residential qualifications, exclusion of women, etc.), in the technique of the representative institutions, in the actual obstacles to the right of assembly (public buildings are not for "paupers"!), in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc., etc., – we see restriction after restriction upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has never known want himself and has never been in close contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine out of 10, if not 99 out of 100, bourgeois publicists and politicians come under this category); but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and squeeze out the poor from politics, from active participation in democracy.

Jennifer Beals photo
Joseph Beuys photo
Andrew Carnegie photo
Giovanni Sartori photo
Alexis De Tocqueville photo

„Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.“

—  Alexis De Tocqueville French political thinker and historian 1805 - 1859

12 September 1848, "Discours prononcé à l'assemblée constituante le 12 Septembre 1848 sur la question du droit au travail", Oeuvres complètes, vol. IX, p. 546 https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Tocqueville_-_%C5%92uvres_compl%C3%A8tes,_%C3%A9dition_1866,_volume_9.djvu/564; Translation (from Hayek, The Road to Serfdom):
Original text:
La démocratie étend la sphère de l'indépendance individuelle, le socialisme la resserre. La démocratie donne toute sa valeur possible à chaque homme, le socialisme fait de chaque homme un agent, un instrument, un chiffre. La démocratie et le socialisme ne se tiennent que par un mot, l'égalité; mais remarquez la différence : la démocratie veut l'égalité dans la liberté, et le socialisme veut l'égalité dans la gêne et dans la servitude.
1840s

Spiro Agnew photo
Ruhollah Khomeini photo

„In the world there is no democracy better than our democracy. Such a thing has never before been seen.“

—  Ruhollah Khomeini Religious leader, politician 1902 - 1989

Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption, London: Quercus Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1905204965, p. 195
Attributed

Abbie Hoffman photo

„Kids must be educated to disrespect authority or else democracy is a farce.“

—  Abbie Hoffman American political and social activist 1936 - 1989

Source: Soon to be a Major Motion Picture (1980), p. 64.
Context: My critique of democracy begins and ends with this point. Kids must be educated to disrespect authority or else democracy is a farce.

Hugo Black photo

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Hans-Hermann Hoppe photo

„Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else.“

—  Hans-Hermann Hoppe Austrian school economist and libertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher 1949

"Reflections on State and War" (2 December 2006) http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe17.html

Joseph Goebbels photo

„The nation and the government in Germany are one thing. The will of the people is the will of the government and vice versa. The modern structure of the German State is a higher form of democracy [ennobled democracy] in which, by virtue of the people’s mandate, the government is exercised authoritatively while there is no possibility for parliamentary interference to obliterate and render ineffective the execution of the nation’s will.“

—  Joseph Goebbels Nazi politician and Propaganda Minister 1897 - 1945

“On National-Socialist Germany And Her Contribution Towards Peace.” Speech to the representatives of the international press at Geneva on September 28. 1933. German League of Nations Union News Service, PRO, FO 371/16728. Included within Völkerbund: Journal for International Politics, Ausgaben 1-103, 1933, p.16
1930s

Chris Hedges photo
Adolf Eichmann photo
Dilma Rousseff photo

„Reality has changed, and we changed with it. However, I never changed sides. I have always been on the side of justice, democracy and social equality.“

—  Dilma Rousseff 36th President of Brazil 1947

Interview http://veja.abril.com.br/240210/candidata-conquista-ninho-p-050.shtml to Veja magazine, February 24.
2010

Dilma Rousseff photo

„Any comparison between the military dictatorship and democracy can only come from those who do not value the Brazilian democracy. (…) I am proud to have lied. Lying under torture is not easy. In the face of torture, a person with dignity lies. Enduring torture is very difficult (…) The pain is unbearable; you can not imagine how. I am proud to have lied, because I saved my comrades from the same torture and from death.“

—  Dilma Rousseff 36th President of Brazil 1947

Responding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tiyezo1fLRs to Senator José Agripino Maia - former member of ARENA, ruling party of the military dictatorship - in a Senate hearing, May 7. He suggested that, for having lied when she was interrogated by the political police, she could also have been lying about the leak of data of Fernando Henrique Cardoso's personal expenditures.
2008

Michael Parenti photo
Michael Parenti photo

„It is not Socialism that subverts democracy, but democracy that subverts capitalism.“

—  Michael Parenti American academic 1933

Source: Democracy for the Few (2010 [1974]), sixth edition, Chapter 17, p. 320

Vladimir Lenin photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“