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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 ?
The current AKP government certainly borrows a lot from Kemalism, not only in its authoritarianism but also its imposed uniculturalism that denies identity rights to ethnic and religious minorities.
Russian's Vladimir Putin is another avatar of modern authoritarianism.
By pairing capitalism with authoritarianism, China and Russia have ended up with imperfect versions of both--property owners don't feel secure and the regimes have lost some of their dominance.
The 2011-2012 Electoral Cycle"; "The Past and Future of Russian Authoritarianism.
Military intervention in politics and the roles of parties and legislatures in authoritarian regimes, in particular, lie in a well-trodden line of existing scholarship, and while Svolik's findings shed new light on these topics, they do not point out previously overlooked or under-examined aspects of authoritarianism with potentially wide-ranging implications.
He argued that the time of financial crisis and inequality looming big among EU member states is a prime time for the rearing of authoritarianism in countries which are worse off.
It is at the heart of what Arab women were able to accomplish towards their emancipation and their role in society, but still within the confines of authoritarianism in the region.
Chapter 2, "The Normalization of Authoritarianism," examines the emergence of the state and civil society under colonial rule, post-independence nation-state building, and the project for national modernization.
The fact that authoritarianism still exists in its many forms serves as evidence to the complexity of the connections between the Internet and the rest of foreign policymaking.
From one perspective, exemplified in field-defining recent work on "competitive authoritarianism," we see stability whenever a regime survives a monumental challenge.
Data from the 2004 American National Election Study (ANES), using random samples of adult Americans, confirm the pattern apparent in past research, albeit with less-than-ideal indicators of authoritarianism.
Japanese hotels remain bastions of authoritarianism.