The New Authoritarianism: From Decaying Democracies to Technocratic Dictatorships and Beyond

By James Petras. Axis of Logic. Nov 28, 2011

Editor’s Note: This is Petras’ grey matter and quill at their best. Nearly every day someone says something like this to me, “What a crazy world we live in.” Well yes, insanity rules at the top, with fear, chaos and a sense of impotence trickling down fracture any order that could form a threat against the oligarchy. Petras’ treatise puts it all into an understandable perspective with refreshing insight into the enemy’s mind and plans for the rest of us. With that knowledge comes power. If I may borrow from E.F. Shumacher’s famous book, this essay could be titled, a “Guide for the Perplexed.”

– Les Blough, Editor


We live in a time of dynamic, regressive, regime changes. A period in which major political transformations and the dramatic roll back of a half century of socio-economic legislation are accelerated by a prolonged and deepening economic crises and a world-wide financier led offensive. This essay explores major ongoing regime changes that have a profound impact on governance, the class structures, economic institutions, political freedom and national sovereignty. We delineate a two-stage process of political regression. The first stage involves the transition from a decaying democracy to an oligarchical democracy; the second stage currently unfolding in Europe involves the transition from oligarchical democracy to colonial-technocratic dictatorship. We will identify the specific features of each regime focusing on the specific conditions and socio-economic forces behind each “transition”. We will proceed to clarify the key concepts, their operative meaning: specifically the nature and dynamics of “decaying democracies” (DD), oligarchical democracies (OD) and “colonial technocratic dictatorship” (CTD).

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