02 April 2014
Authoritarian regimes hold power without accountability to the people they rule and lose power when they lose their legitimacy. The Apartheid government was able to remain in power for 50 years because it ensured that strong opposition was unable to grow against it and had the means to suppress it by force when necessary.
When a society feels that its demands are being met, and that state action during crises is in its interest, it will feel authoritarian regime to abide to Locke’s social contract (Spragens, 1997: 34 ) and thus have the right to rule, even without democracy (Levi, 1988; McGuire & Olson, 1996 as cited in Ghandi & Przeworski, 2007: 1281). An authoritarian regime requires a overwhelming monopoly of force( Ghandi & Przeworski, 2007).. It is however when states fail to economically grow or resolve crises, that authoritarian regime does collapse. Once the regime can no longer provide for society, citizens lose obligation to follow its rule and the regime can face overthrow. This is also true if it lacks military capabilities to protect society and thus ensure stability( Ghandi & Przeworski, 2007).
Authoritarian regime is furthermore at risk of collapse when relative deprivation occurs in society (Breslin, Hague & Harrop, 1992). Board opposition coalescence combines efforts aimed at a superior regime alternative. It delegitimises standing authoritarian regimes as does international dimension factors, seeing as when one’s surrounding nations democratise, one’s own society will wish to democratise too.
The apartheid government’s authoritarian rule survived for 50 year because of the initial lack of afore mentioned challenges. Before the country was excluded from the international community, the apartheid regime had command over the economy and satisfied the demands of white citizens, thus securing their legitimacy. Its initial financial support from abroad and surrounding nations’ late
Bibliography: Bill, JA. Hardgrave, RL. 1981. Comparative Politics: The Quest for Theory, Lanham, MD: University Press of America Ghandi, J. Przeworski, A. 2007. Comparative Political Studies:Authoritarian Institutions and the Survival of Autocrat, vol 40, no 11, Pg 1209- 130, http://cps.sagepub.com/content/40/11/1279, 1 April 2014 Spragen, TA. 1997. Understanding Political Theory, New York: St. Martin’s Press