The Guardian

Authoritarianism is making a comeback. Here's the time-tested way to defeat it | Maria J Stephan and Timothy Snyder

Tyrants’ tactics require the consent of large numbers of people. The first lesson, then, is not to obey in advance
‘The question of ‘what can I do’ has answers, supported by scholarship and experience.’ Photograph: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

After the spread of democracy at the end of the 20th century, authoritarianism is now rolling back democracy around the globe. In the US, supporters of democracy disarmed themselves by imagining an “end of history” in which nothing but their own ideas were possible. Authoritarians, meanwhile, keep practicing their old tactics and devising new ones. 

It is time for those who support democracy to remember what activists from around the world have paid a price to learn: how to win. 

Modern authoritarians rely on repression, intimidation, corruption and co-optation to consolidate their power. The dictator’s handbook mastered by Orban in Hungary, Erdogan in Turkey, Maduro in Venezuela, Zuma in South Africa, Duterte in the Philippines and Trump here

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