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a concept that characterizes a system of exercising power in a state. The term has two fundamental meanings: (1) the essence of state power, which ensures the political power of the economically dominant class, (2) the method of exercising power (dictatorial regime, dictatorial methods, and so forth).

Both meanings of the term “dictatorship” are closely interrelated. The dictatorship of a single class (the first meaning of the term) is necessary for every class society (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 33, p. 35) and cannot be linked to any one form of state. In both monarchies and republics the dictatorship of one class is the essence of the organization of power. In other words, political dominance relies on the force of the class that occupies the key economic positions in a society, and the expression of the will of the economically dominant class through a monarch, parliament, president, or govenment depends on specific historical conditions. Regarding bourgeois society Lenin wrote: “Bourgeois states are most varied in form, but their essence is the same: all these states, whatever their forms, in the final analysis are inevitably the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie” (ibid.). (See also and STATE.)

Under a dictatorial regime (the second meaning of “dictatorship”), power is concentrated in the hands of a dictator or several persons, and violence and terror are in the foreground of politics. In such cases a dictatorship is characterized by unlimited, uncontrolled dictatorial power, attacks on the democratic rights and liberties proclaimed in the constitution, and limitations on the rights of representative bodies. The regime relies directly on force. As a rule, major social groups (classes; estates) act as the bearers of the dictatorship. However, outwardly the dictatorship is embodied in one person or in a group of persons (the dictatorships of military leaders and triumvirs in ancient Rome, absolute monarchies, present-day authoritarian regimes, and juntas). Historically, the establishment of dictatorial regimes has usually been connected with periods of sharp intensification of the class struggle (for example, the rise of Franco’s dictatorship in Spain and the fascist dictatorship in Nazi Germany).

As a means of exercising power dictatorship is alternative to a democratic regime. In arguing against the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the reformist and revisionist ideologists of the bourgeoisie have distorted the scientific meaning of the concept of dictatorship. Striving to play down the class nature of the present-day bourgeois state, which is a dictatorship of the monopolistic bourgeoisie, they apply the term “dictatorship” only to regimes of personal power; that is, they ignore the meaning of dictatorship as the organization of state power.


References in periodicals archive ?
Following the labour conferences of March 1919, the debate concerning the dictatorship of the proletariat focused almost entirely on its implementation by Lenin and the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union.
How is it that Fischer, who took on the pacifists in his Green Party with the declaration "No more Auschwitz," never seemed to conjure up a true picture of Iraq's dictatorship, with its genocidal Anfal campaigns against the Kurds in the 1980S and its colossal massacres of Shiites after the 1991 Gulf War?
Also the fall of communist dictatorship arose from within by the desire of the people.
Many among the dispirited German public, weary of war and terror and desperate for stability, ratified the Nazi dictatorship, and its attendant police state, on the assumption that its fearful powers would never be directed against them personally.
In short, benevolent dictatorships are not benevolent at all.
For Moghaddam, in dictatorships, there is no independent legislature or judiciary, and applicable laws turn a blind eye to society's demands, but focus instead on responding to the unfettered demands of a dictator or a dominant faction.
The discovery of human remains in an Asuncion, Paraguay, police barracks that served as a detention center during the dictatorship of Gen.
These types of dictatorships usually only end with force or the threat of force.
Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorship in Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 1997), concentrated on only one country.
ideological frame-work for creating military dictatorships throughout South America.
After a love affair in the desert, the Hartleys embarked on a life together in Arabia and Africa--staking out ranches in the bush or on the Swahili-speaking coast, subject to the vagaries of Third World dictatorships and the physical dangers of their environment.
One is an Iraq dove who wants a stable, multipolar balance of power, even if that means dictatorships sometimes prevail.