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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - Democracy and Authoritarianism

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Political Science
Joseph Roman

Feb. 4, 2014 Democracy and Authoritarianism • How state power is limited • Variants of authoritarianism and democracy • Problems of democratization • Waves of democracy • Prospects for democracy Why Limit State Power? • Origins of the state demonstrate that it has control over the application of violence • The impact of the state on society • Identifying the type of state helps for the purposes of comparison Perspectives on States and Societies 1. State supremacy – states are the providers of law and order 2. State dependency – states are dependent on society 3. Interdependency – dynamic perspective; states are deeply involved with society 4. Separation and autonomy – state and society are independent from each other; distinct logic and interests What isAuthoritarianism? • Modern form of authoritarianism can be traced to Napoleon’s 1799 military coup which was then legitimized bt a plebiscite • 1945-1989 was the high watermark for authoritarianism due to the spread of communism and support for repressive anti-communist regimes • Rules maintain their power and privilege • Mass participation is limited • Deal need to be struck with key constituencies • Physical repression cannot sweep away an authoritarian state’s society • Power can be limited or absolute Authoritarian Organizations 1. Military dictatorships • Usually lasts for years rather than decades • Has difficulties holding onto power • Power usually handed over to civilians • Open military rule vs. disguised military rule 2. One-party rule • Long-lasting • Attains power through a revolution or by misappropriating power after a democratic election • All other parties are (a) banned or (b) prevented from running in an election through legal means • Aleader may become an absolutist dictator by using the part as an instrument of personal rule LegitimizingAuthoritarian Rule (justifications) • Ideology • Modernization drives • Clientelism Types ofAuthoritarian Rule Totalitarianism • Everything is subservient to the state • Ideologically driven • Personality-driven • Usually bound up with fascism Authoritarianism • Limited political pluralism • Absence of an elaborate ideology • Lack of extensive or intensive political mobilization • Limited leadership • Policymaking is technocratic Communism • Left-wing variant of authoritarianism • Existed from 1917-1991 • Rule justified through Marxism-Leninism • Took hold in countries without any democratic traditions • Collapsed due to (1) vague laws and constitutions, (2) poor economic performance, and (3) no circulation of elites Fascism • Right wing variant of authoritarianism • Existed in Italy (1925), Germany (1933), and Francoist Spain (1939) • State is the highest order of life • Anti-intellectualism and violence • Charismatic leader • The basis for fascism varied • Total mobilization of society through state organizations, e.g. Hitler, Youth and Mussolini’s Blackshirts • Fascism disappeared as a result of theAllied victory during World War II The Instability of Authoritarianism and Why They Fall 1. Vagueness of constitutions and laws take away from an authoritarian state’s legitimacy 2. Poor economic performance 3. Circulation of elites occurs through death or a leader’s decision to step down 4. Pressure from other countries • Authoritarian regimes fall for idiosyncratic reasons Important Events for Liberal Democracy • American Revolution of 1776 established the first government which protected people’s rights • French Revolution of 1789 established the rights of man, basic freedoms, and the modern notion of citizenship • Revolutions of 1848 were liberal in character as the rising middle classes demanded political rights in the Italian states, France, and the German states. Elements of Liberal Democracy: Rights • Rights are the state’s key interest • Freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, etc. • Citizens should be politically engaged without fearing reprisals • Rights change how states conceptualize populations • Passive objects of ruling to active citizens with rights and responsibilities Elements of Liberal Democracy: Selecting Representatives th • Originated in 10 century Western Europe • Democracies can only function when their citizens give consent • Citizens actively participate through elections • States may have power and resources at their disposal, but they must acquiesce to citizen demands • The act of choosing representatives is a check on state power • Yet, states need to act effectively • Protection of political minorities • Institutionalized uncer
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