Dictatorship

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(From L. dictaturam, temporary power of the dictator, named by the Roman Senate). Absolute power; a regime that is the product of armed violence and that practices terror, arbitrariness and direct violence as the principal method of state administration; power based on direct violence, unrestrained by law. This political model, which originated in ancient Greece and Rome, was present in the Middle Ages and again in modern times to the present. The USSR and other states known as socialist officially proclaimed themselves “dictatorships of the proletariat,” but were in practice dictatorial oligarchic regimes under the control of the nomenclatural (leadership) of the Communist Party, which held absolute power. In several countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, military dictatorships seized power, using anti-communism as a pretext for implanting oligarchic regimes, repressing social movement and using terror to destroy democratic organizations. Most of these dictatorships were expunged by the subsequent rise of democracy. N.H. condemns, from ethical, juridical and political points of view, all forms of d. for their assaults on human dignity and security; their violations of human rights; their cult of violence and practice of terror; and for placing group and often corporative interests above the human being.