Oct 12, 2021 • 10M

Lesson 3. Beware the one-party state (podcast).

On Tyranny, illustrated for the 2020s

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Timothy Snyder
The words we need for the politics of today.
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“Lesson 3. Beware the one-party state.  The parties that remade states and suppressed rivals were not omnipotent from the start.  They exploited a historic moment to make political life impossible for their opponents.  So support the multiple-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections.  Vote in local and state elections while you can.  Consider running for office.”

This is the third of twenty podcasts, discussing the twenty lessons of On Tyranny. This one, about the one-party state, is at least as timely as it was in 2017, when the book originally appeared. In the text, I discuss the historical examples of one-party states. I then explain the vicious cycle that begins when a party begins to seek power by subverting elections. The less practiced it becomes in using democratic methods to seek power, the more dangerous it becomes in power. In the podcast, I describe how this has played out these last few years, and what I expect by 2025.

PS: In the graphic edition, Nora Krug’s artwork brings out a point that was only implicit in the original book: that the South after 1877 was in effect a one-party state.