Archived entries for constituent power

Two revolutions

There were, we may oversimplify, two revolutions in mid-seventeenth century England. The one which succeeded established the sacred rights of property (abolition of feudal tenures, no arbitrary taxation), gave political power to the propertied (sovereignty of Parliament and common law, abolition of prerogative courts), and removed all impediments to the triumph of the ideology of the men of property – the protestant ethic. There was, however, another revolution which never happened, though from time to time it threatened. This might have established communal property, a far wider democracy in political and legal institutions, might have disestablished the state church and rejected the Protestant ethic.

Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down:
Radical Ideas in the English Revolution, Penguin; New Ed edition, 1991, via English Revolution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Antonio Gramsci – The Modern Prince: Brief Notes on Machiavelli’s Politics

The basic thing about The Prince is that it is not a systematic treatment, but a “live” work, in which political ideology and political science are fused in the dramatic form of a “myth”. Before Machiavelli, political science had taken the form either of the Utopia or of the scholarly treatise. Machiavelli, combining the two, gave imaginative and artistic form to his conception by embodying the doctrinal, rational element in the person of a condottiere, who represents plastically and “anthropomorphically” the symbol of the “collective will”. In order to represent the process whereby a given collective will, directed towards a given political objective, is formed, Machiavelli did not have recourse to long-winded arguments, or pedantic classifications of principles and criteria for a method of action. Instead he represented this process in terms of the qualities, characteristics, duties and requirements of a concrete individual. Such a procedure stimulates the artistic imagination of those who have to be convinced, and gives political passions a more concrete form.



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