The People’s Republic: Constitutional basis

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

At any rate, in order to ensure peace, stability, and permanent integration among its units, an underdeveloped country must declare, in its constitution, economic and social objectives which are bold, inspiring, and variegated, and which are telescoped into a shorter period of time than any developed country will care to attempt.

All that we have said, thus far, with regard to objectives would appear to savour too much of real-politik. We are certainly not forgetful of the teaching that ‘man does not live by bread alone’, which is the same as saying that the non-material aspect of the aims and objects of a State is equally important.

If we may repeat the analogy which we have made before in another form, we will assert that no partnership, or human association of any kind whatsoever, will last for long if the officers in charge are in the habit of invading and trampling on the rights of other members and subjecting them to indignity or inhuman treatment.

Every member of any human association has rights intangible though they are, which are sacred and inalienable, and which must be protected against any invasion, at all costs. In a State, .such rights are more carefully and elaborately spelt out, and are teimed FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS. These rights are also regarded as INALIENABLE because they are inherent in, NOT acquired by, man. Only acquired rights are alienable. In order, therefore, to discharge one of its primary functions of maintaining internal order and security, and to ensure its own solidarity and survival, every State must recognize, and guarantee to all its citizens, the fundamental rights of man. The only restraint which is permissible is that which is required for the purpose of ensuring due respect for the rights and freedoms of others, and such as is necessitated by war, emergency, epidemic, or the execution of a judicial decision.

In some developed countries, these rights are recognized as a result of immemorial customs, and the Courts scrupulously enforce them as such.

Experience, however, has shown that in underdeveloped countries, these rights must be fully set out and entrenched in a written constitution, if they are to have any chance at all of due recognition and enforcement. But experience has also shown that where, in any country whether developed or underdeveloped, these rights have not been duly recognized, protected, and enforced, people have resorted to self-redress, leading to large-scale violence, bloodshed, and killing.

It is, therefore, of exceeding importance that in every written constitution, fundamental human rights should be entrenched, and provisions for their inviolable protection and impartial enforcement should also be clearly set out and entrenched.

Since Plato, political philosophers have asked the famous and perennial question: What is the State and why do men obey it? Three different answers have been proffered under the three well-known theories of State: the Organic Theory, the Mechanistic The, rv. and the Class Theory.

Political philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hegel, and Green belong to the Organic School. They hold the view that the State is an organism like a man’s body and that every citizen is like each member of the body. The Government as the State is to all the citizens what the head is to all the organs of the body. Hobbes and Locke are the great exponents of the Mechanistic School. They believe that the State is a Machine constructed by man to enable him to enjoy on earth those benefits which Nature does not provide, and which can be provided only under the State. Hence Hobbes’ Leviathan, and Locke’s Social Contract. The Class Theory of State was first propounded by Marx, later followed by Lenin and others. The exponents of this theory regard the State as the outcome of a class war. The proletariat, after a long and bitter war with the bourgeoisie, overthrew the latter, and established a classless society

in which the State, which was formerly an instrument of capitalist oppression and exploitation, is now the means by which the ~roletariat or the working-class cater for themselves, on the p, .nciple of: ‘From each according to his ability and to each according to his need’.

The protagonists of these three Schools declare that men obey the State for the reasons already stated: that is, respectively, because every citizen is a member of the organic body politic, of which the State is the head; because every citizen is a party to the Social Contract entered into either by all the people with one another, or between the people on the one hand and the Leviathan on the other; and because all the proletarians belong to the same class of non-exploiters.

Anyone who has had the patience and the indulgence of reading this chapter thus far will see that we do not at all belong to the first and the third of the three schools mentioned above, that we completely reject leviathanism, and that our adherence to the concept of the Social contract is only to the extent that we have sufficiently and clearly demonstrated in this chapter. None the less, there are a few comments which we would like to make on these theories of State.

The class theory implies that people obey the State partly because they are in power and in control of the state executive, and partly because they are coerced into doing so. The class in power – whether bourgeois or proletarian – obeys the State by reason of its common interests, so that those interests may remain protected against the oppressed class.

In our view, this explanation is untenable even on its own grounds. If, as the Marxists hold, ‘all history has been a history of class struggles’, then it follows that the class which, for the time being, is being exploited, dominated, and oppressed will only temporarily suppress its disobedience and defiance of the State under the control of the exploiting, dominating, and oppressing class, but wilI never truly obey it. As the struggle progresses, a time comes when the oppressed class become strong enough to exhibit their disobedience openly, and overthrow the oppressing class. Even when the dictatorship of the proletariat, which the Marxists envisage, has been established, and the State is used as an instrument for the coercion and oppression of the bourgeoisie, it stands to reason that the latter will stilI, in their heart of hearts, not obey the State, however ostensibly they may appear to do so.

CONTINUES NEXT WEEK

 

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