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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 ?
It departs from the idea that the EU s democracy-promotion efforts in Eastern Europe require a better understanding of the foreign policy manoeuvres of post-Soviet authoritarian regimes.
Those who want to create an autocratic regime first argue that a coup was staged against their rule so they can repress this so-called coup (that actually does not exist) to remove all obstacles in creating an authoritarian and autocratic regime.
As Michael Ignatieff wrote in the New York Review of Books recently, the handshake between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping heralded the emergence of an alliance of authoritarian states with a combined population of 1.
The new authoritarian wins the day and bolsters his establishment powers.
After addressing the conditions in the Middle East and North Africa that produced these attempts at revolution, Amin Saikal and Amitav Acharya explore the global impact of the protests, both in terms of their ideological influence on opposition groups and the prospects for democratic transition in a variety of authoritarian and semi-authoritarian governments.
Project Shield aims to defend websites against distributed denial-of-service attacks, which are often launched by hackers in the pay of authoritarian regimes.
The past fifteen years have seen considerable growth in scholarship on politics under authoritarian regimes as political scientists have sought to understand the development of authoritarianism after the "third wave" of democratization.
Vanzara's incriminating letter gave some significant ammunition but the snooping scandal has proved the biggest breakthrough so far, as it raises the spectre of an authoritarian figure coming to power, an idea which runs contrary to the vision of the founding fathers of the Republic.
The government said that the High Commissioner's observation that Sri Lanka 'is showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction' is a political statement on her part.
There is an apparent personal aspect when personal dislike for a specific authoritarian leader prompts the strong need to topple him by any means, while authoritarian leaders who don't arouse personal dislike and who are supporters and allies of our Western partners are not discussed at all," he said.
The confused terrorists then will aim their rifles at the authoritarian regimes which gave them harbor," Jazaeri was quoted as saying by the Iranian Fars news agency, underscoring the steadfastness of the Syrian people and government in the face of the terrorist operations.
Authoritarian rule is on its way to entrench itself in Bulgaria 23 years after the transition to democracy that started Novemer 10, 1989, said PES and Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergey Stanishev.