What is the Nature of Political Participation Under Authoritarian Forms of State Rule and Are the People Necessarily Oppressed?

Essay by KrupskayaUniversity, Bachelor'sB, June 2003

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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...