The Corinthians' Democracy (Portuguese: Democracia Corinthiana) was an ideological movement and an innovative way to manage a club, recognized in Brazil as one of the most important actions in the struggle against dictatorship and the only movement of this nature installed on a football club known to this day. At the time, it was also a challenge to the military government. It was an idealistic but effective political cell which fought against the authoritarian way the club's management controlled its players, a microcosm of the way the country was governed by the military.
Led by the cultured midfield maestro Sócrates and by full back Wladimir, and with the consent of club president Waldemar Pires, the squad players took control over the management of the team Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. Sócrates, together with teammate Wladimir, organised the players to discuss and then vote with a simple show of hands on all matters which affected them, from simple things like what time they would eat lunch to challenging the dreaded concentração, a common practice in Brazil where players are practically locked up in a hotel for one or two days before a game. One of the most notable decisions they made was, in 1982, having "Vote on 15th" printed on the back of their shirts to motivate fans to vote in the first Brazilian multiparty election since the 1964 military coup.
Despite the importance that the movement had within intellectual groups, Corinthians, in these years, won only two Campeonatos Paulistas: 1982 and 1983. In 1984, Sócrates revived a contact offer from Fiorentina. However, he only would play in Italy if Congress rejected the Constitutional Amendment introduced by Dante de Oliveira, which would restore direct elections for President of Brazil. As it did not pass, despite his desires, the most important leader of Democracy left Corinthians. Its motto was: "Ganhar ou perder, mas sempre com democracia" ("Win or lose, but always with democracy").
The movement had the backing of artists and intellectuals, such as senior media creative Washington Olivetto, who coined the term Democracia Corintiana. Eventually, the government reacted, as Brigadier Jerônimo Bastos, head of the CBD, warned the club for interfering in political affairs.
- Sócrates - midfielder and anti-dictatorship resister | libcom.org
- BORBA, Marco Aurélio (November 5, 1982) "O Timão cheio de bossas". Revista Placar. pp. 50-53
- Sócrates (April 27, 1984) "O Dia do Fico do rei corintiano". Revista Placar. pp.37-40
- Socrates and the Corinthians' Democracy. Al Jazeera English, broadcast May/June 2013 as parts of the series Football Rebels (video, English, 25 min.)