Latin Fascist Elites: The Mussolini, Franco, and Salazar Regimes

Latin Fascist Elites: The Mussolini, Franco, and Salazar Regimes

Latin Fascist Elites: The Mussolini, Franco, and Salazar Regimes

Latin Fascist Elites: The Mussolini, Franco, and Salazar Regimes

Synopsis

Many dictatorships are short-lived, but a few manage to stay in power for decades. Lewis takes three Latin fascist tyrants--Mussolini, Franco, and Salazar--and shows how they perpetuated their rule through the careful recruitment and circulation of top-echelon subordinates to carry out their orders.

Excerpt

Dictatorships are harder than democracies to study because their internal politics are deliberately hidden from the public view. There is no free press, no electoral competition, no real campaigning that raises issues, nor any open lobbying. Legislatures do not debate or investigate, and courts simply conform to regime guidelines. Still, decisionmaking goes on in dictatorships, as it does in democracies, and regardless of how powerful dictators are the complexities of modern society and government make it impossible for them to rule alone. They may dominate their respective systems, but some of their authority must be delegated, which means that a governing elite stratum is formed just below them. By studying that elite stratum and seeing what kinds of people are co-opted into it, we may get some insight into how a given dictatorship works.

For example, do dictatorships have frequent turnovers in their elites? Or, once having consolidated their hold on the society, do they stagnate with respect to elite recruitment? Since they are not subject to regular, periodic challenges at the polls as democracies are, it might be expected that dictatorships would be rigid and unchanging. Nevertheless, authoritarian regimes in the modern world must, like democracies, respond to political and social pressures that differ from one period to another. How can a dictator meet such challenges while simultaneously retaining a firm control over those just below him? If he changes the personnel in his elite stratum, can any definite trends be discerned? Are different types of people brought in at different

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