What is Authoritarianism and Why Does it Matter?

Resources Sep 28, 2020


📖 The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. ⁠- Oxford Dictionary⁠

📖 A form of government with strong central power and limited political freedoms. - Professor Furio Cerutti⁠

📖 A strong central government that allows people a limited degree of political freedom. However, the political process, as well as all individual freedom, is controlled by the government without any constitutional accountability. -Thought Co.⁠

Characteristics of Authoritarianism

❗️Limited political diversity.⁠
❗️Support by the public is often gained by lies, fear and a promise of economic prosperity.⁠
❗️Suppression of anti-regime/government activities and minimal engaging of public in political decisions.⁠
❗️Vaguely defined political power that can quickly change over time.⁠
❗️Electoral manipulation, including fraud, interference, and control of the media.⁠
❗️Violence, especially against political opposition. ⁠
❗️Manipulation of information as a form of control. ⁠

Authoritarianism and Climate Change

Authoritarianism⁠ is responsible for the collapse of the small number of measures that were implemented to help handle the crisis.⁠

🌍 Brazil and deforestation of the Amazon.⁠
🌍 USA and the repeal of regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.⁠
🌍 Growing relationship between ultraconservative leaders and denial of climate change.⁠⁠

Authoritarianism and Social Justice

There is a pattern of growing inequality under right wing authoritarian rule. The more right leaning and less democratic, the inequality in society.

❓ Do you see any of of these characteristics in your current government?⁠


  • Conceptualizing Politics: An Introduction to Political Philosophy - Furio Cerutti
  • Democracy, authoritarianism and the climate emergency - Open Democracy
  • Inequality under Authoritarian Rule - Terence K. Teo
  • Modernism and Totalitarianism: Rethinking the Intellectual Sources of Nazism and Stalinism, 1945 to the Present - Richard Shorten
  • Open Education Sociology Dictionary
  • Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism, and Fascism - Robert Longley


Activist and organizer with Greenpeace Vancouver. Writes about climate and social justice, feminism, greenwashing, and fossil fuel fuckery.

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