Worrying About the Rise of Authoritarianism Around the World

One of the things that I have been most worried about is the rise of authoritarian leaders and governments around the world. I’ve been reading about authoritarian leaders in Turkey, Syria, Poland, and especially the Philippines. As a Filipino American cartoonist, I have been increasingly horrified with Duterte’s extrajudicial killings, his attacks on journalists and on dissenting views, his attempts to weaken the checks and balances to his power. And yet his popularity right now is in the high 70s.

In these past couple of months, I’ve been reading a lot of books and articles about the history of authoritarianism. What are the conditions that can make people turn to authoritarianism? What are ways in which we can resist? One of the things that I’ve read is that nonviolent strategies tend to work better than violent strategies. Nonviolent strategies involve more people, especially the middle class, who tend to shirk away from violent strategies.

In many countries, the initial opposition to authoritarian governments tend to be leftists, journalists, the Church, students, intellectuals and artists, and human rights activists. This early opposition at first seems small, but eventually the authoritarian government’s repressive measures begins negatively affecting more and more of the populace. An opposition movement only become effective once the middle class participates in opposing an authoritarian regime.

There are left wing as well as right wing authoritarian governments. Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, Ortega. Today, the problems that we face are mostly with right wing nationalist authoritarianism. The rise of the Alt Right and white nationalism in the U.S. is especially troubling to me.

In the Philippines, Duterte is taking advantage of very legitimate fears of crime and a drug problem to scapegoat the poor and to attack leftists, journalists, the Church, students, intellectuals and artists, and human rights activists. Duterte is attacking these groups that would historically make up the opposition to authoritarian regimes so that they will not coalesce and make up a larger opposition movement.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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