Authoritarian regimes tend to place severe limits on their citizens’ enjoyment of constitutional freedoms. In today’s article, we will be trying to explore some of the reasons as to why the authoritarian regimes do so. We will be going further, to highlight some of the specific freedoms that the authoritarian regimes place limits on. And finally, we will be trying to answer the question on what the citizens in such regimes can do, to get out of the predicament they find themselves in.
Why authoritarian regimes place limits on enjoyment of constitutional freedoms
Authoritarian regimes place limits on enjoyment of constitutional freedoms because they (the authoritarian regimes) tend to suffer from insecurities. Authoritarian regimes often lack popular mandates to rule. They therefore lack legitimacy. They are, as such, aware that if they allow people to fully enjoy the various constitutional freedoms (Including the freedom of speech and the freedom to protest) the people are likely to rise up against them. The people are likely to question their legitimacy. And the people are likely to make their hold on power untenable. So they opt to place limits on the enjoyment of the freedoms, to avoid such eventualities.
Specific freedoms whose enjoyment is constrained by authoritarian regimes
The constitutional freedoms that are likely to threaten the authoritarian regimes’ hold on power are the ones that tend to be most severely curtailed. Here, we are looking at things like the freedom of speech, the freedom of choose leaders, the freedom to associate and so on. But some regimes go as far as placing limits even on economic freedoms. The goal there is to ensure that the people are impoverished, and are therefore unable to question anything. That is why you shouldn’t take the job you do, however modest, for granted. Like if, for instance, you hold a job at a company like, say, PepsiCo – meaning that you are able to access your work-related resources at the PepsiCo HR site (www.mypepsico.com). In that case, every time that you are able to visit the My pepsico view login page, and access your paystubs, you need to grateful. There are other nations where the governments deliberately limit the citizens’ access to even such modest opportunities. To such regimes, their hold on to power is more important than their citizens’ welfare. Some actually go as far as putting in place measures to control their citizens’ movements!
How the citizens in authoritarian regimes can improve their lot
The only way that citizens in authoritarian regimes can improve their lots is through the use of cell structures. So the idea is for them to use the cell structures to covertly organize themselves politically (given the fact that open political mobilization is usually restricted, in these authoritarian regimes). They then can opt for mass action or civil disobedience campaigns. Or alternatively, they can opt for open uprisings – although the latter tend to be too costly in terms of loss of human life and property. Peaceful civil disobedience campaigns — akin to what we saw in the Arab spring — tend to work better, when it comes to getting rid of authoritarian regimes.