What living in a dictatorship feels like, and why it may be too late by the time you notice it

Yeaaaah, no. Not actually.

Remember to keep asking Tony Benn’s five questions.

“What power have you got?”

“Where did you get it from?”

“In whose interests do you use it?”

“To whom are you accountable?”

"How do we get rid of you?”

The answers you get will tell you if you are on the road to dictatorship.


No dictator would ever answer all of those questions truthfully though.



Which is why you don’t ask them directly, but get the answers from their actions. For example, The MP for North East Hampshire in the UK may claim you can get rid of him by voting, but since he got over 50% of people eligible to vote in the 2017 election, it is unlikely to succeed.

Note: I am not accusing Ranil Jayawardena of acting in an anti-democratic way, just using his seat as an example of how elections can be fixed without denying people suffrage. There are Labour safe seats in the same situation in Liverpool.

I know that the US has a big problem with gerrymandering, but I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head because I am not familiar enough with those districts.


“Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system,” Benn explained.


Putin is the modern master of this kind of soft and gradual autocracy in that he’s trained much of the citizenry to voluntarily debase what remains of their own impulses toward liberal democracy.


It may be time to start thinking about how we can effectively push back against authoritarianism

the conundrum being that any organizing along these lines will constitute the ‘legitimate threat’ used to justify the suspension of democracy.


Stop Corruption?

Maybe this is a way to curb the worst of our slide into totalitarianism?

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We call it…


In Japan:
The majority of politicians inherit their seats from their fathers.
Recently the government does not bother to debate laws in the diet, the cabinet passes them claiming that as they have a majority, it is the same thing.
The government ignores the constitution.
But the vast majority of the people still believe it is a democratic country

No, that time was quite a while ago. You need to push back before the last restraints fail.

If you ever wondered what you would do if the government began rounding up thousands of people into work camps etc, just look around yourself. Whatever you’re doing now, that’s it.


Any organizing along these lines will constitute be construed as the ‘legitimate threat’ used to justify the suspension of democracy.

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