From Academic Kids
A police state is a state in which the government maintains strict control over the population, particularly through suspension of civil rights, usually by means of a force of secret police. Given that its objective is often to repress internal opposition among its citizens, "police state" is often considered another name for dictatorship.
The best-known literary treatment of a police state is George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which describes a totalitarian régime that uses the excuse of constant war to permit police and security cameras to keep constant watch on the entire population.
As a definition of a police state depends often on what one perceives to be or not a crime the police should intervene against, examples of police states are inherently biased.
- Most people will agree that Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy were police states.
- Warsaw pact countries, as Romania, East Germany, the Soviet Union are considered in the West as typical examples of police states. It should be remembered that they were not necessarily similar, nor was the pressure on the population equal through the years (compare Josif Stalin's rule to Mikhail Gorbachev's).
- After the enactment of laws as the USA PATRIOT Act, some have raised concerns that the United States of America has been acquiring traits typical of a police state.
- Western countries have also had times when public law enforcement was considere oppressive. For example, university students in Italy during the '60s and '70s feared more the police than any criminal.
Victims of police states
Some victims of repression are better known than others; examples include:
- Dario Fo's wife, Franca Rame, was raped on March 9, 1973 by a neo-fascist gang on orders from the Italian carabinieri. The facts were proved only after 25 years, when the statutory terms were expired, and no one could be indicted.
- A. E. van Vogt
- George Orwell
- Homeland Security Act
- John Poindexter
- Martial law
- Mass surveillance
- Military rule
- Information Awareness Office