Centralized State Discourse and Authoritarian Socialism

This paper will focus on constitutional thought in the authoritarian socialist tradition. Socialist thought draws on what I call “centralized state constitutionalism”, which views a centralized state as being a key mechanism for overcoming the problems of a weak state. First, a centralized state allows strategic leadership to mobilize efficiently to counter external and internal threats and solve social problems. Second, it allows top-down coordination and education of the population (parental/perfectionist). This normative understanding of the state remains resilient in socialist Asia and post-Soviet Eurasia. It also is arguably influential in more recent versions of populism.

Statutory anti-constitutionalism. Delimiting the concept.

The paper aims at demonstrating that unconstitutional results, marking an illiberal transformation may be achieved by means of a series of statutory amendments outside the constitutional amendment procedure, when the guardian of the constitution is deactivated. In other words, the evasion of the constitution becomes a means of illiberal change of the legal system. This process is referred to as “statutory anti-constitutionalism.” The paper delimits this concept from others which have been developed as part of democratic backsliding debate. The paper offers a detailed analysis of the legal methods which are used to evade the constitution. These include excessive use of transitional and intertemporal provisions in the statutes, shortening vacatio legis, shortening of constitutionally-determined terms of public institutions and creation of “mirror competences” or “mirror bodies” via statute in order to circumvent the activity of the constitutional bodies.

Fundamental Duties and Constitutional pedagogy in contemporary India

This paper will explore the relationship between transformative concepts of authoritarian socialism and populism in the Indian context. It will explore this by looking to two concepts: fundamental duties and constitutional pedagogy. These two concepts will better help understand the roots of populism in contemporary India.

Pretending to Reform in the EU: The Shadow of Socialism Haunts Bulgaria's Constitution”.

This paper will describe how Bulgaria has carried out pseudo reforms – either cosmetic reforms or reforms – which aim at maintaining/enhancing the status quo. Furthermore, because of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, which turned out to be an exercise in flattery and complicity with the regime, a lot of these pseudo reforms have been sanctioned by the European Commission as progress. At the same time, however, key threats to the rule of law, which have been present since the socialist period, have remained unnoticed by Brussels, as visible from opinions by the Venice Commission and case law against Bulgaria by the ECtHR.

EU Economic Law and the Return of the State in Hungary

This paper will consider the return of the state in Hungarian economic law. It will then consider how this has caused a clash with the the EU. It will then go on to consider whether and, to what extent, the return of the state draws on similar justifications as those found in authoritarian socialism.