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The first and continuing argument for the curtailment of working hours and the raising of the minimum age was that education was necessary in a democracy and working children could not attend school.
-- Grace Abbott

* We have learned to say that the good must be extended to all of society before it can be held secure by any one person or any one class. But we have not yet learned to add to that statement, that unless all [people] and all classes contribute to a good, we cannot even be sure that it is worth having.
-- Jane Addams

"Democracy" is one of the most important principles for a better world. In its truest sense, a democracy is a community in which all members have an equal say in the running of that community. Unfortunately in reality, democratic societies have fallen short of this ideal. Nevertheless, because of its very nature, once a democracy is established, its citizens can work together to make their society more and more democratic, if they choose to do so.
-- Robert Alan Silverstein

The USA was founded in the name of democracy, equality and individual freedom, but is failing to deliver the fundamental promise of protecting rights for all.
-- Amnesty International


* "No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline."
-- Kofi Annan

"Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development."
~ Kofi Annan

* “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.”
-- Aristotle
...democracy cannot survive overpopulation...
-- Isaac Asimov

* So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy.
-- Roger Nash Baldwin

* Now the first step has to be taken, the step towards democracy. This step is full of risks, and requires trust on all sides. We don't know where it will lead. But if we just stand still, we will have no chance of escaping the violence.
-- Daniel Barenboim

At the heart of the WTO is an assault on everything left standing in the commons, in the public realm. Everything is now for sale. Even those areas of life that we once considered sacred like health and education, food and water and air and seeds and genes and a heritage. It is all now for sale. Economic freedom -- not democracy, and not ecological stewardship -- is the defining metaphor of the WTO and its central goal is humanity's mastery of the natural world through its total commodification.
-- Maude Barlow

* " a virus that exists, and pro-democracy is the antibody to that virus, and I think we have to become vigilant, and we have to stay on top of the issues of democracy and freedom."
-- Harry Belafonte

The primal principle of democracy
is the worth and dignity of the individual.
-- Edward Bellamy

* Changing the structure and rules of the global economy will require a mass movement based on messages of compassion, justice, and equality, as well as collaborative and democratic processes ... If we stay positive, inclusive, and democratic, we have a truly historic opportunity to build a global movement for social justice.
-- Medea Benjamin

* Democracy is necessary to peace and to undermining the forces of terrorism.
-- Benazir Bhutto

Democracy needs support and the best support for democracy comes from other democracies. Democratic nations should come together in an association designed to help each other and promote what is a universal value -- democracy.
-- Benazir Bhutto

Democracy is the ultimate, positive revolution because it gives each and every individual the power to control their lives. And we can work together to create a just, sustainable world.
-- Bill Blackman

* Democracy is an objective. Democratization is a process. Democratization serves the cause of peace because it offers the possibility of justice and of progressive change without force.
-- Boutros Boutros-Ghali
* To win the cause we all believe in, the spread of true democracy all over the world, we need to win by example, not just with speeches but by example; not just with military might but by gaining the respect of the world.
-- Barbara Boxer

"We can have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both."
-- Justice Louis D. Brandeis

"The only title in our democracy superior to that of President is the title of citizen."
Justice Louis D. Brandeis


There can be no real growth without healthy populations. No sustainable development without tackling disease and malnutrition. No international security without assisting crisis-ridden countries. And no hope for the spread of freedom, democracy and human dignity unless we treat health as a basic human right.
-- Gro Brundtland

Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority.
-- Albert Camus


* Democracy is not just a question of having a vote. It consists of strengthening each citizen’s possibility and capacity to participate in the deliberations involved in life in society.
-- Fernando Cardoso

It is impossible to build enduring institutions without solid values. For us, the fundamental value is that associated with democracy.
-- Fernando Cardoso

Let us continue to strive together for a more inclusive, democratic, and peaceful future for us all.
-- Fernando Cardoso

... the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.
-- Alex Carey, Australian social scientist


There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.
~ Andrew Carnegie

* Everybody counts in applying democracy. And there will never be a true democracy until every responsible and law-abiding adult in it, without regard to race, sex, color or creed has his or her own inalienable and unpurchasable voice in government.
-- Carrie Chapman Catt

"When people in a democracy are not educated in the art of living --- to strengthen their conscience, compassion, and ability to question and think critically --- they can be easily manipulated by fear and propaganda. A democracy is only as wise as its citizens, and a democracy of ignorant citizens can be as dangerous as a dictatorship."
-- Paul K. Chappell

* The road to democracy may be winding and is like a river taking many curves, but eventually the river will reach the ocean.
-- Chen Shui-bian

* The real world of American society is one which it is very misleading to call simply a democracy. Of course, it is in a sense a democracy, but it is one in which there are enormous inequities in the distribution of power and force. For example, the entire commercial and industrial system is in principle excluded from the democratic process, including everything that goes on within it -- Noam Chomsky

* under capitalism, we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. -- Noam Chomsky

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued - they may be essential to survival. -- Noam Chomsky

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
-- Noam Chomsky

Representative democracy, as in, say, the United States or Great Britain, would be criticized by an anarchist of this school on two grounds. First of all because there is a monopoly of power centralized in the State, and secondly -and critically - because representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere. Anarchists of this tradition have always held that democratic control of one's productive life is at the core of any serious human liberation, or, for that matter, of any significant democratic practice. That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.
-- Noam Chomsky

* "Democracy is just a word. You have to give it meaning. The US is not a democracy. Most Americans do not vote. We haven't had a real choice for a long, long time now. Wealth rules. Corporations rule. The US is a plutocracy -- government by wealthy people. Certain people control multinational corporations. You couldn't get elected in the US without lots of money."
-- Ramsey Clark


"If our modern world should be able to recapture this power, the earth's natural resources and web of life would not be irrevocably wasted within the Twentieth century…..True democracy founded in neighborhoods and reaching over the world become the realized heaven on earth. And living peace, not just an interlude between wars, would be born and would last through the ages."
-- John Collier

* “In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power but carries the ultimate responsibility.”
-- Norman Cousins

* I think it is absolutely essential in a democracy to have competition in the media, a lot of competition, and we seem to be moving away from that.
-- Walter Cronkite

It seems to rise again when the crisis times come, and this is a time of most severe crisis, as we all know, not just for the history of the United States and the survival indeed of our democracy, but for the future peace of the world. And never before probably has the need for interfaith commitment been nearly as great as it is at this very moment.
-- Walter Cronkite

* We have a global economy that is not structured around democratizing and including people in the decision-making. It's operated in secret.
-- Kevin Danaher

it is necessary to stay on the march, to be on the journey, to work for peace wherever we are at all times, because the liberty we cherish, which we would share with the world, demands eternal vigilance. And democracy is no easy path, but those of us who believe in it must be prepared to sacrifice in its cause more willingly than those who are prepared to die in the wars of aggression. We, too, must be dedicated to the cause of freedom.
-- Ossie Davis
When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right.
-- Eugene V. Debs

The aim of education is to enable individuals to continue their education ... (and) the object and reward of learning is continued capacity for growth. Now this idea cannot be applied to all the members of a society except where intercourse of man with man is mutual, and except where there is adequate provision for the reconstruction of social habits and institutions by means of wide stimulation arising from equitably distributed interests. And this means a democratic society.
-- John Dewey


Democracy Quotes

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Democracy Day - October 18



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