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antidemocratic system of political rule characteristic of the most reactionary political systems of capitalist states, such as the fascist regimes in Germany, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere.

Authoritarianism is a totalitarian form of government or political regime under which procedures of democratic decision-making are either absent altogether or else are fictitious, existing merely for show. The power is not constituted or controlled by the people, who have no guarantees in the face of an absolute, uncontrolled authoritarian regime. Real power is concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite, which is selected by special procedures. Authoritarianism is characterized by excessive centralization, the monopolization of power by an elite who are organized in a strict hierarchy, outright reliance on the military-punitive apparatus, and the extensive use of terrorist reprisals against the opposition. Supreme power in an authoritarian state is usually concentrated in the hands of a so-called leader (Führer, duce, caudillo, etc.).

Characteristics of authoritarian ideology are demagoguery, the use of racial, nationalistic, religious, and other myths, and appeal to the indisputable authority of the so-called leader. The authoritarian regime constantly cultivates fanaticism and encourages fear among the masses.

The general crisis of capitalism is characterized by the curtailment of bourgeois democracy and the tendency toward autocratic and fascist methods of government. Despite the military collapse of Fascism in World War II (1939–45), authoritarian tendencies continue to exist. This is evidenced, in particular, by military-police coups in a number of countries, neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism, the striving of financial oligarchies to establish regimes of personal power, the tendency toward the use of emergency laws, and the prohibition in a number of countries of communist and workers’ parties and other progressive democratic organizations.


References in periodicals archive ?
Extraction and registration are perhaps the two most interdependent practices through which state infrastructural power enhances authoritarian regime durability.
Transitions to democracy only rarely imply the complete defeat of elites that have previously constituted the backbone of authoritarian regimes.
The book explains the distributional function of elections in authoritarian regime in Egypt that goes beyond the conventional wisdom of elections being only a means of legitimacy.
Even the Internet, which everyone believes to be an instrument of democracy, can be used to stabilize an authoritarian regime.
Using evidence from postwar dictatorships, this study demonstrates that parties and legislatures also enhance the ability of authoritarian regimes to withstand leadership transitions.
Mexico was ruled by an authoritarian regime through a dominant party based on corporatist structure even while its constitution limited the president to one six years term.
Not only did Chile have to reinvent itself politically in 1988 in order to create stability for the future, but also at the same time faced the obstacle of having to deal with the violations of human rights and civil liberties committed under General Pinochet's authoritarian regime.
While this study covers nearly a century of Brazil's most transformative political experiences (including the Paraguayan War, the end of slavery, the replacement of its monarchy with a republican government, and the emergence of an authoritarian regime that would bring Brazil to fight in the Second World War alongside the Allies), Beattie's principal concern is with the changing social roles played by the Brazilian army.
If the claim that their undemocratic intent is true, this might provide a basis for opposing democratization on the part of those who prefer the present authoritarian regime to an authoritarian regime led by the Muslim Brothers.
President Ben Ali is more flexible than most other leaders in the Arab World in delegating power, though he has an authoritarian regime.
In an excellent study of the latter, Robert Davis exposes the firm limits workers (and their elite patrons) placed on the ability of a highly authoritarian regime to police the workplace, and to enforce minimum standards of discipline on the workforce.