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2. Structures and political institutions
The State and the different political regimes
The modern idea of the state was developed in Europe at the end of medieval Europe (1500). In the Middle Ages,
European governance had been dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and feudal lords. The process was difficult:
“The war made the state, and the state made war” (Tillly). Between 1500 and 1800, the number of independent
political units in Europe fell from 500 to just 25.
With the Reformation and the confrontation of religions, Europe experienced a long war known as “The Thirty years’ war”. The war ended with “The peace of Westphalia” (1648). It was the victory of reformation against those who believed in a catholic State. They created a secular State and the concept of Nation-State was created, the huge empire was teared apart. The central idea was sovereignty, a new understanding: • Jean Bodin: The State is the way to have sovereignty and the way to have a centralized ideology.
• Hobbes: the contract between rational individuals seeking protection. The State must recognize the war between individuals and protect them. The theory of the dictatorship. The State will guarantee the rights and freedom.
• Locke: citizens possess natural rights to life, freedom, property, and these rights must be protected by rules governed by though law. The State is the addition to these individuals and it has to be an agreement between each other, a contract to ensure their rights. He is the father of liberalism.
A. American Revolution: not only the victory of the people who were living in the colonies but also the fact that the Constitution of Philadelphia was created. It was revolutionary.
B. French Revolution: rupture between the “old times” and “new times”, it is the start point of the modern state.
Basic ideas after the American and French Revolution: • Contract: the agreement between people to establish their own governments. The agreement is the approval in a democratic way to have a Constitution. The power of a nation is in the hands of the people.
• Sovereignty: A state was sovereign if they were “free” in relation to other states.
• Consent: If there is not an agreement there isn’t a consent. The people must try to establish a social consent in order to have rules, law, to develop.
• The rule of law: law is first. If the people approve a Constitution, when the Constitution changes people must vote for that 1 THE WESTERN STATE: EXPANSION AND RESTRUCTING ASPECT EXPANSION (1789 - 1974) RESTRUCTURING (1975 - 2000) Centralization: The penetration of central power over a specific territory Emergence of national police forces.
Introduction of border controls.
Migrants and asylum-seekers loosen border controls. Agreed elimination of border controls within some EU states.
Standardization: Greater uniformity within society.
Common language. Standard weights and measures. Consistent timem zones.
Strengthening of regional autonomy and identities. Increased support for a multicultural society.
Force: strengthened monopoly of legitimate force.
Emergence of national police forces, backed by the military.
- Mobilization: increased capacity to extract resources from society.
Military conscription. Introduction of income tax.
Increased public spending.
Differentiation: state institutions and employees become increasingly distinct from society.
The idea of public service as the even-handed application of rules.
The idea of governance as collaboration between state and society. Public employees encouraged to mimic private sector styles.
Functions: growth in the state’s task and its intervention in society.
War-making. Welfare provision.
Privatization reduces stat’s direct economic role. Welfare provision reduced modestly; some public tasks contracted out.
Size: expansion of the state’s budget and personnel.
Growth of public sector.
Public sector stabilizes. Fiscal deficits increase. Military spending falls.
Reduced rates of income tax. Taxpayers revolts in a few countries.
Democracy The word itself comes from the Greek demokratia, meaning rule (kratos) by the people (demos). The model of democracy is a form of self-government in which all citizens (adult) participate in collective decisions in an environment of equality and open deliberation. In some way, in a direct democracy, the state and society become one. Between 461 322 BECAUSE, Athens was the leading polis (city-community) in ancient Greece. There were three branches: • Assembly: was build by the citizens.
• Council (executive branch): was elected by the lottery in groups of 10 in order to take care of different things.
• The courts: they were elected by lottery as well but they needed to have some experience and knowledge.
To be a full citizen in Athens with the capacity to vote you have to be from Athens, a man…. There were some limitations: 1. Most adults, including woman, slaves and foreign residents were excluded.
2. The practice was not as extensive as the Athenians liked to claim.
3. Lack of permanent bureaucracy became a problem.
For much of its history, democracy has been regarded in a negative light. The Greek philosophers —Plato, Aristotle, for instance, were against it. It was synonymous of perfected form o government.
The American and French revolutions proclaimed democracy as one of their goals and both were influenced by the writings of JJ Ruousseau, T. Pain and the enlightenment.
2 There are two kinds of democracy: 1. REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: citizens elect the parliament and, sometimes, the Chief Executive. (The Republic).
2. LIBERAL DEMOCRACY: A representative democracy with the limitation of the Constitution 3. DIRECT DEMOCRACY: citizens themselves in the Assembly reach all type of decisions.
BASIC PRINCIPLES: • Popular accountability of Government: leaders are accountable to citizens. Voting is the way people evaluate the action of the government.
• Political Competition: voters must have a choice, either of candidates or parties.
• Alternation in power: the reins of power must occasionally change hands. A system in which the ruling party stays in power many decades cannot really be democratic.
• Uncertain Electoral outcomes: Elections must have an element of uncertainty, fluidity and individual vote switching.
• Popular representation: in representative democracies, the voters elect representatives to act as legislators and, as such, to voice and protect their general interest.
• Majority decision with respect in the majority view: The majority should decide but with respect for minority rights.
Try to avoid “the tyranny of majority”.
• Political equality: In democracy, all adults are equally able to participate in politics: “one person, one vote”.
• Popular consultation: the government must know what the people want and must be responsive to their needs and demands.
• Free press and freedom of expression: A dictatorship cannot tolerate free and critical mass media and press. The Fourth power.
• Checks and balances: DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE: ELITISM, PLURALISM, POLYARCHY, CONSOCIATIONAL 3 • ELTIE MODLE: The Elite controls the citizens, the people end up electing always the same elite.
• PLURALIST MODEL: the parties are representing different interests and different groups. However, they always forget the public interest, the parties must always remember that they have to work for the interest of the public, even if they don’t support their party.
• POLYARCHY MODEL: Robert Dhal defined “polyarchy” when the rule of the leaders of several groups who have reached stable understanding with each other. Arend Liphart called this “consociational democracy”. The elites of each important group strike a bargain to play by the rules of a constitutional game and to restrain their followers from violence.
• EX: in Bosnia, the only way to establish a government is to have an agreement with all kinds of different governments. It has to be a consociational democracy. Plurality is really important.
Authoritarian and Totalitarian Regimes TOTALITARIAN REGIMES Totalitarism is different from past autocracies: they could not closely control their subjects. In contrast, totalitarian states attempted to remold and transform every aspect of human life.
Totalitarism began with Lenin’s 1917 seizure of power in Russia, Mussolini in 1922, Hitler in 1933. One party holds total power and attempts to restructure society in accordance with party values or vision. Freedom disappears. Te totalitarian state insists on mass enthusiasm and mobilization.
Ex: North Korea, Spain between 1945-1960.
There are 6 main criteria to see if a regime is totalitarian or not: 1. An All-Encompassing Ideology: totalitarians push an official theory of history.
2. A single party: only one party exists, led by one man who establishes a cult of personality.
3. Organized terror: Gestapo, The Soviet NKVD, Soviet Union, Communist China, 35 million, Nazy Germany.
4. Monopoly of Communications: the mass media totalitarian state sells the official ideology. (Regime used as propaganda.
5. Monopoly of weapons: governments of totalitarian nations have a complete monopoly on weapons.
6. Controlled economy: they control the economy it makes the state powerful and there isn't a private economy.
4 AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES Authoritarian regimes are varied in the political characteristics they display. (Qatar, Egypt, and maybe Venezuela) The common thread among all regimes are: • The denial of political freedoms to citizens.
• The political participation of competing groups is not permitted.
Definiton Examples Despots A single individual, owing allegiance to no institution, rules though fear and rewards, relying on a personal security force to mantain power.
Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Haiti (François Duvalier).
Monarchs A ruling king emerges from the royal family, with other family members in key political and military posts.
The Gulf States: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE.
Political parties Rule by single party, often combined with a strong president.
Communist states. Many African states in the post-independence era.
Pre-invasions Iraq under the Ba’ath Party.
Presidents A president dominates politics (and the media), keeping oppoinents off-guard and the opposition marginalized.
Power may rest with the particular leader but is still exercised through the presidency.
Aramed forces Governed by the military, often ruling through a junta comprising the leader of each branch of the forces.
Burna Religious leaders A rare form of rule in which religious leaders rule directly.
Iran Comparing strong, weak and failed States Not all states are equally in their capacity to penetrate, regulate, and coordinate society. Strong states are those that have: • Popular legitimacy, administrative efficiency and effectiveness.
• The capacity to mobilize and extract resources (such as taxes) from the population.
• The ability to establish and preserve law and order.
• Good educational system for everybody.
The World Bank’s study of governance indicators: • Voice and accountability: the citizens are able to participate, they are represented and they have a voice.
• Political stability and absence of violence.
• Government effectiveness: the capacity of the government to apply a policy with a good support of the people.
• Rule of law.
• The control of corruption, because it is one of the dangers of democracy.
Some reasons why democracy fails: Poverty, major inequality, no middle class (it means the wealthiness is distributed), low education levels, oil, tribalism, little civil society, no earlier democratic experience, no democratic countries nearby.
5 Constitutions and law Constitutionalism is when the power of government is limited. Magna Carta was the limitation of the limitation of absolute power of the King of England (he was forced to sing in 1215). It was a way to express a democratic regime for the population, the end of authoritarian regimes. Constitutions have 3 main functions: 1. “The fundamental principles” of a country.
2. The provision of a frame of government.
3. To define the relationship between the state and the citizens.
Constitutionalism can mean two things: 1. A normative outlook on the political values embodied in a particular country’s constitution.
2. Constitutions are the most fundamental principle of political life.
For the Austrian philosopher Friedrich Hayek (1899-92), a constitution was “nothing but a device for limiting the power of governments, whether unelected or elected”. Carl Friedrich (1901-84) defined constitution as “a system of effective, regularized restraints upon government action”.
LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RULES OF LAW • The law must be accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable.
• the laws should apply equally to all.
• Public officials should exercise their functions fairly, not unreasonably, and for the purpose originally intended.
• The law must adequately protect fundamental human rights.
• Means must be provided the settle ciil disputes without prohibited cost or inordinate delay.
• Trial procedures should be fair.
• States must comply with international legal obligations.
THE ELEMENTS OF CONSTITUTIONS: 1. Preamble: Seeks popular support for the document with a stirring declaration of principles and, sometimes, a definition of the state’s purposes.
2. Organizational section: sets our the powers and structure of government institutions.
3. Bill of rights: covers individual and, often, group rights, including access to legal redress.
4. Procedures for amendment: outlines the procedure for revising the constitution.
These elements are usually present in most kinds of constitutions. However, not all of them are the same.
COMPARING SUPREME COURTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS: Supreme Court Constitutional Court Form of review Primarily concrete Primarily abstract Relationship to other courts Highest court of appeal A separate body dealing with constitutional issues only Recruitment Legal expertise plus political approval Political criteria is more important Normal tenure Unitl retirement Typically one non-renewable term (6-9 years) Examples Australia, Canada, US Austria, Germany, Russia 6 A limit of concrete constituton: the judicial reviwe and the constitutional courts. The function of the judicial review can be in two ways: 1. The first and more traditional method is for the highest or supreme court in the ordinary judicial system to take on the task of constitutional protection. Main role is appellate.
2. The second is to create a special constitutional court, standing apart from the ordinary judicial system.