Studia Politica, vol. VII, no. 2, 2007
Romanian Political Parties: What They Are and What They Do?
At the very moment of the fall of Romanian communism, pluripartism was viewed as an irrefutable sign of democracy. However, political pluralism was not a value to be simply inserted in a sphere of political representations forged during communism, nor parties political objects to be easily conceived and build in a political life deserted by the Communist Party. The article explores and synthesizes the ways those two fundamental references of a democracy – i.e. political pluralism and political parties – were conceptualized by the Romanian postcommunist politicians: what is a political party? what parties are supposed to do in the emerging political regime and what kind of societal pluralism are they supposed to mirror? Those are questions whose answers and the way they were answered lies in the heart of Romanian democratization and regime building in the 1990 and 2000.
Since 1989 some Eastern European countries have chosen to forgive and forget while others have opted to punish and prosecute the perpetrators of communist-era human rights abuses. Hungary is the only country that took the middle road, effecting limited transitional justice in the key areas of lustration, public access to secret political police archives, and court prosecution of former communist leaders and secret spies. As this article contends, the country was bound to resist efforts at radical de-communization due to its mild communist regime, its negotiated transition, and conciliatory, if unstable, post-communist politics. The article presents the organization and evolution of the Hungarian secret state security structures, the key transitional justice legislation, the political bargaining that shaped lustration and file access, and the way public scandals and uncontrolled release of sensitive information have rocked the Hungarian political life.
During the Second World War, between 270 000 and 320 000 Jews, 12 500 Roma and Sinti, and thousands of Ukrainian and Russian civilians died at the hands of the Romanian authorities. The huge number of victims is the direct result of an intentional, state sponsored and state organized policy of ethnic-cleansing implemented from 1940 up to 1944 by an authoritarian regime with certain fascist features. The present study attempts to indicate that politics of salvation and ethnic-cleansing, which played a central role in Antonescu’s regime, represents the legacy of Romanian fascism and, consequently, to indicate that the Romanians were not puppets and/or ”Hitler’s willing executioners”. Though Romanian fierce anti-Semitic and unpleasantly xenophobic hyper-nationalism will be briefly discussed, my main focus will be on Anger as a key motivation in the politics of the revolutionary Iron Guard and the frustrated and unrestrained dictatorship of Ion Antonescu that turned to the armed forces, police, and the gendarmerie as professional practitioners of violence, as to enforce his ideal vision of the nation and society and implement his Politics of Salvation. Accordingly, I will point out that ethnic-cleansing was triggered not only by xenophobia but also by the determination and possibility of the Romanian military government to vent with the advent of war against USSR of ”righteous anger” on the weak, thus adding the ”cleansing of the ground” to the magnitude of an (uncertain) victory against the external enemy.
The objective of this essay is to critically analyze the modern developments of Palestinian nationalism. The essay is divided into three parts. The first part analyzes the concept of nationalism and its implications for Palestinian nationalism looking into the theoretical approaches when analyzing nationalism and their relevance when analyzing Palestinian nationalism. The second part searches for the reasons of the emergence of Palestinian nationalism in the Occupied Territories and in the countries that host large numbers of Palestinian refugees. The third part looks into the relationship between Palestinian nationalism and Islam. Furthermore, the third part analyses the relationship between land, nationalism and Islam and examines the rise of Hamas and its role in the development of Palestinian nationalism. This essay concludes that secular Palestinian nationalism was just a stage in the development of Palestinian national identity and it can not succeed in the contemporary political situation of the region. The political circumstances transformed the Palestinian nationalism into a Palestinian Islamic nationalism in order to fight for the independence of Palestine.
Developing the Citizen. Romanian View of a European Ideal
The first decades of the Romanian 19th century are characterized by the struggle of some significant classes of the society that keep on trying to affirm and impose their own conception of an European ideal, that should be modern and progressive, in opposition with the barbarian and despotic ottoman orientalism. The essential purpose of this approach is with no doubt a political one. But the temptation of a political revival passes through the necessity of a new social construction of which the main promoter is a new social subject, a citizen-subject, educated in the spirit of the European values of the time. Thus the education, the instruction and the school itself become the most important vectors of this renewal. The interest shown to these fields already has some very good previous antecedents. Since the middle 18th century in accordance with the Enlightenment European ideas, the Phanariots princes had been willing to exploit the political virtues of the public education of which levels fit closely to those of the social hierarchy. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Enlightened Europe become the tacit or explicit model of all those tempted by the renewal of the ancient structure. The social and political restructurings that were taken into account did not suffer any major changes but the reorganization of consciences. In the Principalities, the basis of the entire elementary public education was represented explicitly by the Christian morality. The homeland, as a motherland, substitutes the family in order to develop young people education, so that its uniformity could ensure the public harmony and happiness. The security of the government is based on raising citizens up and their enlightenment. This ideological option can also be found at the level of public education administrative rules and programs for which notions opposite either to Orthodox belief or political authority were prohibited to be taught. The fundament of every public institution is the moral doctrine of which purpose is to give birth to pious Christian, faithful citizens who are useful to their homeland. In the middle of 19th century, Man had to have had a special and useful role in the society and that was a general rule and idea. So the education must fit to social needs and thus it must be differentiate accordingly to the social roles that are ideally assumed by each individual. Together with both some certain influences which don’t reveal their sources and some clear theoretical references to the general European pattern, there was a practical constant concern of assuming it. In the first decades of the 19th century, the first public scholarship beneficiaries were sent to foreign schools (in Italy and then in France). These scholarships were granted on one condition: beneficiaries had to return to their country and make a teaching career so that they could do that in accordance with the occidental European pattern in order to make a connection between the Romanian system and the foreign one. In the middle of the same century, local authorities within the Principalities were thinking to send as scholarship beneficiaries the most gifted orphans raised on State expenses. The dream of a European model goes beyond the administrative field and spreads over through private individuals. At the end of the century, Ion Ionescu de la Brad founded an agricultural school for orphans inspired by similar models seen in France and Switzerland. Those schools were factually claimed by the new scientific and positivist philanthropy which had a lot of supporters in Romanian culture especially among doctors (hygienist movement).
Elections and Voters in the 19th and 20th Century. A Genealogy of the Electoral Study in Romania
The paper analyses the main contributions to the development of the electoral study in Romania between the 19th and 20th century. It should be underlined from the very beginning that the interest in the study of the electoral system evolved with the democratic vote. Furthermore, the consolidation of the democratic representative system in the interwar period coincided with the publishing of the first researches in the social-electoral field. After 1937, the electoral system and the political regime suffered numberless modifications, culminating in the instauration of the totalitarian regime. The same period marked an involution phase for the study of social and political phenomena. In the context of elections without options and of formal vote, the electoral sociology has been deprived of its main subject matter. As a consequence, all writings having elections as main topic lost their scientific integrity and took the form of homage to the electoral socialist system. This genealogy of the electoral study in Romania pinpoints on the one hand the level of electoral know-how and analysis and on the other hand the characteristics of electors and elections between 1831-1989.
The Connections between the Romanian National Council of Women and the International Council of Women 1921-1971
The present article focuses on the connections between the National Council of Women (NCW) and the International Council of Women (ICW) during half a century. The research was made in the Centre of Archives for the History of Women from Brussels and brings to life the official correspondence between the Romanian feminists and the personalities of ICW and other documents preserved in these Archives. This study stresses the importance of Romanian feminism on international level, presents the contributions of Romanian feminists to the activities of the ICW before and during the World War Two and analyzes the essays of Romanian feminists to reconnect the National Council to the International organization during the communism.
The main purpose of this paper is to critically assess some problems affecting the structure of a number of arguments advocating what has been named as identity politics or the politics of difference, and especially those formulated by Iris Marion Young. While such accounts have claimed recognition of different identities as ground for demanding a fundamental reform of the current perceived dominant liberal framework, they have yet to solve a number of issues that pertain to the structure itself of these arguments. Despite some valid criticisms related to the way in which identity indeed plays a crucial role in the contemporary power and legitimacy contexts, these accounts, through their normative discourse of culture and difference, seem to reinforce the very reasons they have identified for those problems. Furthermore, by focusing on culture and group identity as their primary concern, instead of on individuals, such accounts have replaced the modern subjects of political justification without clearly assuming or justifying this move. The politics of difference also needs to offer a better explanation of how the underlying common framework for pluralism can be preserved. Finally, such accounts are invoking the concept of ”culture”: notoriously indeterminate, it undermines their efforts to offer formal criteria of what cultures are, what membership consists in, and which legal rights should correspond to different contexts.
The present paper tries to capture the ideas surrounding the problem of personal identity in some of the works of Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. The basic assumption of this paper is the fact that Taylor attempts to solve three major modern identity crises: the first one is originated in the reductive image, projected by scientifical discourse, of human being as a ”disengaged self” detached from its body, culture and language; the second crisis is related mostly to a nihilistic rejection of the cultural background in the name of a creative, self-referential individual; finally, the third one has its source in the refusal of the individuals to involve themselves in public space as a symptom of the growing alienation of the modern identity. Taylor offers instead, as an attempt to fight these crises, a philosophical anthropology and also an ambitious historical project of bringing to light those ideals that made modern identity. Finally, we try to show that Taylor’s formula of the self, despite its hierarchical dimension based on the need for strong values, resembles more with a rhythm that seems flexible enough to combine hierarchy with the pressure of modern changing and fragmentation.
Pierre Manent and the Tradition of European Political Thinking about Religion and Politics
Pierre Manent is viewed as a French thinker that develops in modern times the liberal tradition of political thinking. One of the most important issues of Manent’s thinking that was not enough underlined it is the relationship between religion and politics and how this evolved from the beginning of Christianity until the main consequences of modernity. Manent view on religion and politics is the core of this paper analysis. The main contributions of Manent, such as Naissances de la politique moderne. Machiavel, Hobbes, Rousseau (1977), Histoire intellectuelle du libéralisme (1987) La cité de l’homme (1994), Cours familier de philosophie politique (2001), La raison des nations. Réflections sur la démocratie en Europe (2006) are analyzed from this perspective. Our conclusion is that in the way Manent deals with the relationship between politics and religion there are some constants that may be found in all his work. These are: the relationship between the Church and the different forms of political organization in Europe (Civitas, Imperium, monarchy); the fact that Christianity is one of the few current relevant concepts for political, due to the failure of totalitarian ideologies; the idea that secularization in Europe is not irreversible; we live in ”an age of separations”, and Church-State is one of these separations; we witness the religion transformation process and the État laïque cannot survive to État-nation; the role of Islam in modern societies and his perpetual finding of a political form; the relationship between Judaism, state and nation; the issue of the Christian identity of Europe.
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