Quotes about democracy

A collection of quotes on the topic of democracy.

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Vladimir Lenin photo
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.

Allen Ginsberg photo
Sukavich Rangsitpol photo
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

Marcus Garvey photo

„When the war started in Abyssinia all Negro nationalists looked with hope to Haile Selassie. They spoke for him, they prayed for him, they sung for him, they did everything to hold up his hands, as Aaron did for Moses; but whilst the Negro peoples of the world were praying for the success of Abyssinia this little Emperor was undermining the fabric of his own kingdom by playing the fool with white men, having them advising him[, ] having them telling him what to do, how to surrender, how to call off the successful thrusts of his [Race] against the Italian invaders. Yes, they were telling him how to prepare his flight, and like an imbecilic child he followed every advice and then ultimately ran away from his country to England, leaving his people to be massacred by the Italians, and leaving the serious white world to laugh at every Negro and repeat the charge and snare - "he is incompetent," "we told you so." Indeed Haile Selassie has proved the incompetence of the Negro for political authority, but thank God there are Negroes who realise that Haile Selassie did not represent the truest qualities of the Negro race. How could he, when he wanted to play white? How could he, when he surrounded himself with white influence? How could he, when in a modern world, and in a progressive civilization, he preferred a slave State of black men than a free democratic country where the black citizens could rise to the same opportunities as white citizens in their democracies?“

—  Marcus Garvey Jamaica-born British political activist, Pan-Africanist, orator, and entrepreneur 1887 - 1940

The Failure of Haile Selassie as Emperor in The Blackman, April, 1937.

Jacque Fresco photo

„You can play a role in the shaping of tomorrow’s world by asking yourself questions like, “What kind of world do I want to live in?” and “What does democracy mean to me?”“

—  Jacque Fresco American futurist and self-described social engineer 1916 - 2017

There are many other options of organization for the future than those typically discussed today... In order to accomplish this task one must be free of bias and nationalism, and reflect those qualities in the design of policies. How would you approach that? This is a difficult project requiring input from many disciplines.
Source: Designing the Future (2007), p. 6-7

Jacque Fresco 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

Michael Parenti photo

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Frank Gehry photo
H.L. Mencken photo
Aga Khan IV photo
Mobutu Sésé Seko photo

„Democracy is not for Africa. There was only one African chief and here in Zaire we must make unity.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko President of Zaïre 1930 - 1997

George B. N. Ayittey, Africa Betrayed, p. 65

Timothy McVeigh photo
Andrew Carnegie photo

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