Ochlocracy is a term that defines a certain form of political structure of the state, sympathetic to terror and unmotivated violence. Like many others, this term has come to us since antiquity. The definition of the word was formed by the ancient Greek statesman, military leader and historian (wrote the General History in 40 volumes) Polybius. In his opinion: “… Ochlocracy is a degenerated democracy and the worst of all forms of statehood.” Before him, such thoughts were expressed by Aristotle, who recognized the right to rule only for the monarchy and aristocrats. Aristotle also described democratic institutions in the most negative terms, without making a distinction between democracy and ochlocracy.
In simple words, Ochlocracy (ohlos – crowd, kratia – power, translated from Greek) is the domination of the “mob”, the kingdom of the crowd, in which violence dominates. The main law under ochlocracy is the absence of all kinds of laws, and instead of them, only irrepressible desires of the human masses.
Aristotle, In his work “The State”, trying to be objective, did not use extremely harsh expressions, he described this form of government as: “Ochlocracy is the power of the crowd” or “Ochlocracy is the power of the rabble.” But even a moderate characterization is enough to understand the essence of the phenomenon and the attitude of the philosopher to it:
… the power of the crowd is not capable of managing, making deliberate, balanced, intelligent and rational decisions that take into account the common good. An internecine squabble becomes inevitable, in which the best and educated with ridiculous constancy are removed from power and, as a result, destabilization, and chaos in the state are coming along. And ahead is the tyranny and despotism of the most cynical and dexterous group of demagogues.
Ochlocracy is the domination of the street, the mob, and certain political forces that provoke the mob and at the same time manipulate it. The crowd responds to the cheapest bait and populism. The leaders are guided by the most primitive cries and demands of the uncontrolled crowd.
In difficult times for the state and society, at turning points in history, favorable conditions arise for the power of Okhlos. In this case, two main forms of ochlocracy crystallize:
The proportion of spontaneous actions is relatively small, and if all cases are investigated, it turns out that the directed management of people’s discontent was present everywhere.
Sometimes the protests were organized by the authorities themselves with a multitasking goal:
In most famous protests, everything went exactly according to the script:
Revolutions are made by romantics who are pure in soul, but scoundrels use the results of it.
Ochlocrats are political adventurers who successfully rode the wave of civil anger and successfully rolled where they needed to: to power, wealth and other benefits.
In fact, democracy in Ancient Greece is not the rule of the people. Demos is a people with civil rights, and this is far from all: slaves, the poor, freedmen (former slaves), women and foreigners (those who were born outside of this policy) had no rights. That is, the lower classes, the so-called ohlos, did not have civil rights.
Ochlocracy, which is a “distortion” of democracy, no political system calls itself. Nevertheless … In modern society, there are no more qualifications and restrictions. With universal suffrage, everyone has civil rights. That is, democracies, in its original ancient Greek form, no longer exist! Modern civil societies are mass societies where democracy is very closely intertwined with aspects of ochlocracy.