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What Is The Nature Of Political Participation Under Authoritarian Forms Of State Rule And Are The People Necessarily Oppressed?

3782 words - 15 pages

Forms of government and state rule are usually put into one of two categories. These categories are Democratic governments, seen in established democracies such as the UK, or New Democracies, which are usually countries that have just experienced the fall of an authoritarian regime.
Democracy is considered by many to be the best form of government, as it is seen that the people are supposedly free from the 'ties and binds' of authoritarian control. Whether this is true or not I am going to examine in the following pages.
First of all, the form of government is usually different in Authoritarian regimes (sometimes referred to as Totalitarian). Many nations ruled in this way do not have the same significance given to parties as in Democratic regimes. Indeed, many will get by with no parties at all, especially in the Middle Eastern Pre-party states, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, which are ruled by traditional monarchies which dominate the people and have not yet permitted parties, or in another case none have emerged.#
The three main branches of authoritarian government that have been seen in recent years are religious fundamentalist authoritarianism, Fascism, and Communist government. All branches are authoritarian, as both adhere to the basic definition of authoritarianism; they are 'characterised by, or favouring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom, and favour strong governmental powers.'#
However, the manner in which the authority is exercised is different in both types of state, and each type of state has different degrees of freedom for the people. For each type of authoritarian rule, there is a representative regime. For religious fundamentalism, there is, of course the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, an Islamic fundamentalist regime that was eradicated very recently by an extensive bombing campaign from the USA. For Fascism, the example that immediately springs to mind is Nazi Germany, which began in 1933 with the election of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany. Finally, there are two main Communist regimes that could be mentioned. These are in the former USSR, in which Communism was in place from 1917 to 1991, and which experienced in itself many different degrees of authoritarianism, and Communism in the People's Republic of China, a regime that still exists, albeit in a slightly more watered down version than that which was established by and flourished under Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (aka Mao Zedong). The Chinese and Russian models of Communism differ again, this time from each other.
To be able to agree on whether authoritarian regimes are on the whole oppressive to the people, it is essential to first find the main points of each one and find similarities.
Before we can find any general points on Communism, we must first look at the differences between the two main Communist powers. When the Bolshevik revolution occurred in Russia, it began in the cities and spread to the countryside,...

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