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Chapter 6 CPO2002 Lecture

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  • 1. Authoritarianism Chapter Six Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 2. • Is democracy appropriate for all countries? Or is authoritarian rule sometimes necessary? • If so, are some kinds of authoritarian rule more successful than others at improving capabilities? • Premise of this chapter: The persistence of authoritarian regimes in the last half-century makes the study of their nature and resilience worthwhile. Increasingly, authoritarian legitimacy relies on claiming democratic and market system characteristics. Authoritarian systems do not fully build people’s capabilities, however. Authoritarianism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 3. • A type of political system in which a single individual or small elite rules without constitutional checks on their power. • Citizens cannot hold rulers accountable because there are no independent courts of law or effective free and fair elections. • The primary form of government through most of recorded history (e.g.: czars, emperors, kings, sultans) • Early authoritarianism was based on the “divine right of kings” where authority was derived from a hereditary bloodline • Modern authoritarianism increasingly claims to represent the will of the people - a show of democratic principles. Authoritarianism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 4. • Between 1974 and 2000 the number of authoritarian regimes fell dramatically, leading some to suspect that this type of government would eventually die out... This did not happen. • Every Arab country in the Middle East is authoritarian • Many parts of Africa retain authoritarian regimes • China - the world’s most populous country - has an authoritarian government • Many countries which once appeared to be on the way to democracy have slipped back into authoritarianism • Ex: Russia Persistent Authoritarianism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 5. • Regime - “a set of rules and procedures for choosing leaders and policies that exists in a country during a period of time, and the government that embodies these rules, not individual leaders” (Geddes) • We will evaluate the differences between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, before considering the different types of authoritarian regimes in more detail... • We will also consider how each regime type seeks legitimacy - the willingness of citizens to acknowledge that a regime rightfully holds and exercises power Regime Types Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 6. • Totalitarian • Use encompassing ideologies with a radically different vision for a better society • Have a single party usually led by one leader • Seek total control over people’s behavior • State control over all media • Continuous efforts to mobilize mass support for the state through rallies and propaganda • Use terror and violence on a mass scale to intimidate entire categories of people •• Authoritarian Authoritarian •• Use ideologies, but they are not Use ideologies, but they are not fully encompassing fully encompassing •• Sometimes have one-party rule Sometimes have one-party rule •• Do not seek total control over Do not seek total control over people’s behavior people’s behavior •• Sometimes allow limited Sometimes allow limited freedom of the press so long as it freedom of the press so long as it doesn’t criticize the regime doesn’t criticize the regime •• Do not mobilize mass support -Do not mobilize mass support prefer politically apathetic prefer politically apathetic citizens citizens •• Do use terror and violence to Do use terror and violence to intimidate opponents, but not on intimidate opponents, but not on aamassive scale massive scale Authoritarian vs. Totalitarian Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 7. • We examine four types of “pure” authoritarian regimes: • Monarchy • Military • Single-Party • Electoral Authoritarian Types of Authoritarianism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 8. • Political authority is bestowed based on hereditary connection to a royal bloodline - the royal family, not the people, is the ruler • Ex: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, England or Sweden (symbolic) • One of the oldest and longest-serving authoritarian regime types • Seek legitimacy through a number of methods: • based on a long-standing tradition • presenting themselves as effective rulers who promote the well-being of their subjects • fierce repression using large security forces Monarchies Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 9. • Political authority is held by a group of military officers who influence policy by using or threatening to use military force • Ex: 1960s and 1970s saw military regimes in South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Chile, and others • Coup d’etat - the seizure of power through the sudden overthrow of a government by military officers • Can be small and bloodless or large and violent Military Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 10. • Military regimes use a number of strategies for asserting their legitimacy: • Promising a quick return to democratic rule • Holding elections in which the military establishes a political party (given considerable advantages) • Claiming to defend the nation from domestic or foreign threats • ex: during the 1960s and 1970s military regimes in Latin America commonly cited the threat of communist Cuba • Declaring martial law - the authority to set curfews, ban protests, or public assemblies • Crafting policies to benefit particular groups in society • Brazil and Chile’s military regimes enacted policies to benefit big businesses and commercial farming interests Military Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 11. • Political authority is held by one party, which controls access to political office and policy-making • No other parties are allowed to exist, or they are purely symbolic • Often led mass movements and legitimized their rule with ideologies promising a better future for party supporters • Three main types of single-parties: • Communist (ex: China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba) • Fascist (ex: 1930s Germany and Italy - no longer exist) • Nationalist (ex: many post-colonial African countries) Single-Party Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 12. • Hierarchical parties with real power concentrated in a small number of leaders • Leaders are (in theory) elected by lower party members. • Five main features: • Lead workers and peasants in revolution to take power • Party members for an elite group, which provides leadership to these worker/peasant movements • Based on a elaborate ideology of Marxism-Leninism • Ruthlessly eliminate opposition parties and associations • Penetrate deeply in society through factories, schools, and other local organizations Communist Systems Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 13. • Communist parties seek legitimacy by appealing to: • Marxist Ideology • Nationalism • China’s communist party is a source of national pride for transforming China into a major economic and military power • Protection from internal and external threats • the Soviet Union often cited the threat of US missiles • Communist parties also have an “iron fist” • • • • Using massive force against their opponents Maintaining state ownership of the economy State-sponsored organizations for workers, youth, & women Enacting policies to benefit key social groups Legitimizing Communism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 14. • According to Karl Marx, all societies rest on the exploitation of one social class by another • Capitalism exploits the working class, and will be replaced by communism through a revolution of the working class • Communism will create a new order dedicated to key principles • economic equality • the elimination of social classes and eventually the state • “from each according to his ability; to each according to his needs” Marxist Ideology Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 15. • Unlike communist systems, fascist systems do not present a facade of elected leaders responsible to party members instead have unadorned centralization and the command of an individual leader • Ex: Germany under Hitler; Italy under Mussolini • Fascist ideology is rooted in ultranationalism • Focus on the “organic nation” in which clear boundaries identify who is part of the nation and who is not • Ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities are not tolerated • Fascist regimes ended in 1945. No current authoritarian regime is based on fascist principles. Fascist Systems Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 16. • Fascist systems seek legitimacy through: • Ultranationalist Ideology • Facade of democracy • Did not hold elections but still claimed to represent the will of the people • Charismatic leaders • Use of violence and restrictions on civil and political rights • Mussolini said “Everything in the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State.” Legitimizing Fascism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 17. • Hold regularly scheduled elections and allow for multiple parties to compete, but the elections are strongly tilted in favor of the ruling political party • “Institute the principle of popular consent, even as they subvert it in practice.” (Schedler, 388) • Ex: Russia, Malaysia, Egypt • The most common form of modern authoritarian rule • Elections can be meaningful - it is rare, but leaders of these regimes do sometimes lose office as a result Electoral Authoritarian Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 18. • Holding regularly scheduled multiparty elections is the main way electoral regimes seek legitimacy • Other ways: • Raising citizen’s standard of living • Pursuing market-oriented economic reforms • Use coercion to control groups, but less open violence than military and single-party regimes Legitimizing Electoral Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 19. • For leaders of opposition parties • If they choose to participate in a rigged game they risk legitimizing the rules of the game • Repeated losses can demoralize opposition voters • But it is the only institutionalized way to seek change • For ruling elites • Gives up any pretense that the regime embodies a common good, and acknowledges cleavages in society • If the opposition candidate is popular the regime can risk manipulating vote totals, but risks public outrage in response • Ex: 2009 election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Dilemmas of Electoral Regimes Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 20. • Scholars debate whether elections promote democracy in authoritarian regimes or reinforce authoritarianism. Jason Brownlee suggests that there is a third possibility. • Hypothesis: Authoritarian regimes with a ruling political party are likely to face less serious opposition challenges and remain more stable than authoritarian regimes without a ruling party. • Ruling parties provide for durability in two ways: • provide leaders with benefits for staying with the ruling party • provide a forum for working out differences among leaders • Countries without a ruling regime are more likely to experience serious opposition Comparative Political Analysis: Why do some authoritarian regimes survive elections while others do not? Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 21. Monarchy Ruler is someone of royal descent who inherits the position of head of state..... Ex: Saudi Arabia Military Rule by military officers under threat of military force or use of military force..... Ex: Myanmar Single-Party Rule by a single party. The three types of single-parties are communist, fascist, and nationalist..... No modern examples. Electoral Authoritarian Hold regular elections and allow for multiple parties but the elections are biased toward the ruling regime.... Ex: Egypt and Russia Comparing Authoritarian Systems Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 22. • When rulers accumulate so much power that they use the political organization to achieve their own preferences instead of acting on its behalf it results in personal rule • Instead of rulers being subordinate to the organization, the organization becomes subordinate to them • Personal rulers tend to stay in power for life • Usually emerges from power struggles after a party or military regime has assumed power • Ex: Stalin in the Soviet Union or Mao Zedong in China • Often occurs in poor countries with weak political and economic institutions Personal Rule Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 23. • Personal rulers seek loyalty through patronage - filling key military, police, or bureaucratic positions with family or tribal/religious/ethnic group members • Have strong despotic power but weak infrastructural power • Despotic Power - power over individuals and social groups • Infrastructural Power - ability to work within societal groups to achieve desired ends rather than controlling them Personal Rule Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 24. • In 1980 Zimbabwe won its independence following civil war and was considered to be an economically promising country in Sub-Saharan Africa • Under British rule white farmers controlled 70% of arable land - the issue of how to correct this imbalance in independent Zimbabwe has led to economic disaster and falling capabilities • Gradual reforms predicated on the willingness of whites to sell farm land to blacks failed • Proposed changes to allow the government to seize white farmers’ land failed • In response President Mugabe encouraged landless blacks to attack and occupy white farmers’ land, closed newspapers, arrested leaders, and had demonstrators beaten • As a result, agricultural production plummeted and led to severe inflation • Citizen capabilities have also declined • Ex: Life expectancy was 61 in 1990 and in 2005 had dropped to 41.5 years In Depth: Zimbabwe - How to Wreck an Economy and Lower Capabilities Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 25. • Between 1974 and 1995 the number of democracies rose from 40 to 117, sweeping away authoritarian regimes in Latin America, Africa, and Asia • The Middle East remained a solid rock of authoritarian resistance • Israel remains the only liberal democracy in the region • What best explains this persistence of authoritarianism in the Middle East? Explaining Authoritarian Persistence in the Middle East Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 26. • The Middle East is a geographical concept referring to the countries located between Turkey and India, and those on the Arabian Peninsula • The term “Arab” is a linguistic and cultural concept referring to people who speak Arabic and practice Arab customs • Not all Middle Eastern countries are Arab • Israel (composed of Jews who speak Hebrew) • Iran (composed of Persians who speak Farsi) In Brief: Distinguishing Between Middle Eastern and Arab Countries Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 27. • Samuel Huntington argues that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with democracy because its laws reject the acceptance of pluralism, competition of ideas, and equality of rights • Other scholars strongly reject this claim, pointing out that there is no single interpretation of Islam in the Muslim world • They emphasize further that citizens in Muslim countries display a wide range of attitudes on these issues Explaining Authoritarian Persistence in the Middle East Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 28. Do Muslim The evidence is inconclusive: populations • According to the World Values support Survey, a higher percentage of respondents in Arab countries democracy? expressed agreement with democracy than many European countries. • A better predictor, however, of whether a country becomes democratic is its population’s support for self-expression values, not democracy broadly specified. • Surveys find lower levels of enthusiasm for self-expression values in Muslim countries than Europe Explaining Authoritarian Persistence in the Middle East Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 29. • Low levels of economic and social development do not explain authoritarianism in the Middle East - many Arab countries have high GDP per capita. • Many Arab states are rentier states and able to provide public services without taxation, in essence buying citizens’ support of the authoritarian regime. • Rentier States - derive the bulk of revenue (rents) from oil production, eliminating high taxes • This does not explain all countries, however (e.g.: Jordan is a non-rentier authoritarian state). • Many argue that the region’s leaders have “upgraded authoritarianism by adopting looser political controls, controlled elections, and selective repression. Explaining Authoritarian Persistence in the Middle East Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 30. • How well have the different types of authoritarian regimes promoted their citizens capabilities? • Consider indicators such as infant mortality, literacy rates, crime rates, and democracy levels Evaluating Authoritarianism Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 31. • There is a mixed record of success with authoritarian states and low infant mortality rates. • All the authoritarian regime types (monarchy, military, single-party, and elected authoritarian) have examples of high infant mortality and low infant mortality • The same general patterns can be observed with regard to adult literacy. Evaluating Authoritarianism: Infant Mortality & Literacy Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 32. • Monarchies generally have very low homicide rates. • Bhutan’s rate of 4.3 per 100,000 is lower than the US (5.9). • Military regimes have both high and low homicide rates. • Communist single-party regimes have generally low homicide rates. • Like military regimes, electoral authoritarian regimes have both high and low homicide rates. Evaluating Authoritarianism: Crime Rates Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 33. • Remember that Polity IV ranks democracy on a -10 (authoritarian) to +10 (democratic) scale. • Monarchies have the lowest democracy ratings overall (10). • Most military regimes are less authoritarian than monarchies, with a few outliers (on average they score -4). • Ex: Myanmar has a very low democracy score at -8. • Communist single-party regimes all receive a -7. • Electoral authoritarian regimes are the most democratic, ranging from -3 to +5. Evaluating Authoritarianism: Democracy Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 34. • The types of feasible authoritarian regimes have been narrowed • Fascism no longer exists and Communism has decreased • Leaders increasingly rely on market-based systems • Democracy is the only widely accepted way of gaining political legitimacy, even in authoritarian regimes • There are no ideologies comparable to Marxism which appeal to large numbers of people across the world • While electoral authoritarianism is the most prevalent type, it is not a fix-all solution • Elections like the 2009 Iranian election can be very destabilizing • Rentier states must continue to rely on resource availability Key Conclusions Pearson Publishing 2011
  • 35. • Why are rulers of authoritarian regimes more hopeful about their prospects today than they were in the 1990s? • Is authoritarian rule justified if a leader can achieve improvements in citizens’ capabilities, as President Paul Kagame has done in Rwanda? • How do communist and fascist regimes differ, and why have communist regimes been more enduring? • Why do electoral authoritarian regimes present dilemmas for both rulers and opposition? • Is one form of authoritarianism better than another? Critical Thinking Questions Pearson Publishing 2011

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