An autocrat or autocratic leader or authoritarian is that leader of a human group, nation or community who grants himself the faculties to fully assume the decision-making, ordering and absolute direction of the whole, through a single and unquestionable command, often sustained in the implacable control of the instances of power. In politics, authoritarian leaders are called autocrats or dictators. For instance: Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe.
In this sense, autocracy It will be the model of government that places in the hands of a single individual the set of public powers and all decision-making capacity, even when they go against the interests of the people themselves or obey the whims or personal benefits of the leader. . In general, these types of regimes are established by force.
It may well be considered a model of regime opposed to democratic, in which the majorities elect their representatives to lead the community and there are means to control, supervise or interrupt said power. In an autocracy, power does not allow questioning of the will of the leader.
The absolutist kings, the dictators of any political sign and the tyrannical leaders of some criminal gangs can be good examples of this.
Characteristics of an autocratic leader
Autocrats are generally characterized as follows:
- They are charismatic and stand in power in favor of a supposed collective need.
- They hold all the power of decision and impose it on others by force (legal, military, economic or even physical).
- They do not allow questioning of their authority and promptly sanction all forms of opposition or criticism.
- They exhibit tendencies to paranoia and cling to power through all means.
- They are not given to self-criticism or recognition, but they always think the most suitable or the most convenient to guide others.
- He threatens, punishes and persecutes his subordinates, in order to maintain a specific order.
Autocratic Leadership in the Business World
Often in the corporate world, autocratic models of leadership, which pose the sacrifice of individual freedoms in favor of a more rigorous order or greater effectiveness.
In fact, a distinction is made in business language between the figures of “boss” and “leader” based on their closeness to ordinary personnel, their permeability to new ideas, their horizontal treatment and their ability to inspire instead. to frighten his subordinates.
Examples of autocratic leaders
- Adolfo Hitler. Perhaps the autocratic leader par excellence, he is one of the most sinister characters in the history of humanity, the leader of Nazism and the executor of one of the most destructive and systematically organized racist ideologies around genocide of all time. Hitler’s rule over the then German empire (the self-styled III Reich) was ironclad since his National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) assumed power in 1934 and called it Führer (guide) with plenipotentiary powers to lead the country at will. This led Germany to start World War II, at the end of which Hitler committed suicide.
- Fidel Castro. One of the most popular and contradictory political icons of the Latin American continent, extolled by the revolutionary left as a symbol of the struggle against North American imperialism. Castro led a revolutionary leftist guerrilla against the then Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. This event was known as the Cuban Revolution and brought the Cuban Communist Party to power, under the sole and exclusive mandate of Fidel, from his victory in 1959 to 2011, when he left his brother Raúl in power. During his government, Cuban society was radically transformed and executions, persecutions and forced exiles were committed.
- Marcos Perez Jimenez. A Venezuelan military and dictator, he ruled Venezuela from 1952 to 1958, after a military coup in which he participated assumed the reins of the country, displacing the legitimately elected president, the writer Rómulo Gallegos. His tyrannical government had a modernizing cut and was associated with the waste of the oil bonanza, despite the persecutions, torture and assassinations to which it subjected its political opponents. He was finally deposed amid general protests and a coup that forced him into exile in the Dominican Republic and then in Franco’s Spain.
- Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwean politician and military, head of the government of his country from 1987 to the present. His rise to power after the independence of Zimbabwe, in which he participated as a national hero, inaugurated a government of violent repression against his detractors, of fraudulent management of democracy and the public purse, which plunged the country into a fiscal crisis. He is also accused of being the mastermind of the ethnic massacre that took place between 1980 and 1987, which left 20,000 Ndebele or Matabele citizens murdered.
- Francisco Franco. Military and Spanish dictator, whose coup in 1936 ended the Second Spanish Republic and began the bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), at which end Franco himself would assume the position of “Caudillo de España” until his death. death in 1975. During his tenure he was an absolute and tyrannical Head of Government, responsible for numerous executions, persecutions, concentration camps and alliances with German Nazism and other European fascist regimes.
- Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Nicknamed “El Jefe” or “El Benefactor”, he was a Dominican military man who ruled the island with an iron fist for 31 years, both directly and through puppet presidents. This period in the country’s political history is known as El Trujillato and it is undoubtedly one of the darkest and most sordid dictatorships in Latin America. His government was anti-communist, repressive, with almost non-existent civil liberties and continuous human rights violations, and a marked cult of the leader’s personality.
- Jorge Rafael Videla. Argentine military and dictator, whose rise to power in 1976 was the product of a military coup that overthrew the government of then-president Isabel Martínez de Perón and installed a military junta in power, thus beginning the grim period of the National Reorganization Process, during which thousands of people were disappeared, kidnapped, tortured, murdered and mercilessly persecuted. Videla was president between 1976 and 1981, although the dictatorship would not fall until 1983, after the military and human disaster that was the Malvinas War against Great Britain.
- Anastasio Somoza Debayle. Nicaraguan dictator, military man and businessman born in Nicaragua in 1925 and assassinated in Asunción, Paraguay, in 1980. He presided over his country between 1967 and 1972, and then between 1974 and 1979, maintaining even in the intermediate period the most iron and absolute control of the nation as Director of the National Guard. He was the last of a family caste of autocrats that harshly repressed the Sandinista Revolution. Owner of more than thirty companies inside and outside of Nicaragua, he resigned his position and went into exile, where he was assassinated by a revolutionary commando.
- Mao Tse Tung. Named Mao Zedong, he was the top director of the Chinese Communist Party when it seized power over the entire country in 1949, after winning the Civil War and proclaiming the People’s Republic of China, which he ruled until his death in 1976. His government He was Marxist-Leninist with deep and violent ideological and social reforms that were very controversial in his time, and that built an intense cult around his personality.
- Margaret Thatcher. The so-called “Iron Lady”, given her strict control over the country’s designs, was the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1979, a position she held until 1990. Her conservative and privatizing government was harsh. with his detractors, although within the limits of democracy. During his tenure a radical transformation of England was carried out and Argentina was defeated in the Falklands War.