Modern constitutionalism and municipal power: conceptual fundamentals and factors of development

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Abstract work

Modern constitutionalism and municipal power: conceptual fundamentals and factors of development

Constitutionalism as political and legal theory and practice of development of the constitutional democratic state and civil society relates to the fundamental values of the world culture which have been developed by mankind during its development. Theoretical sources of modern constitutionalism are incorporated in judicial, legal, philosophical, historical, futurological views of thinkers of the past. In the course of development they are enriched, filled with new contents, and permanently developing they reflect realities of modern history.

In modern history constitutionalism is a set of principles, the order of activity and mechanisms which are traditionally used for the purpose of restriction of the state power. The limits of restriction by the Constitution of the state power and guarantee of the constitutional rights and freedoms depend, appreciably, on our belief in the mechanism of the constitutional regulation and on the active actions of the organs of the government and local self-management on realization of its positions. The fact is that, the belief that the constitutional norms, principles and values are capable to restrict legally the state power and level its independent realization which is embodied in the corresponding scientific theory and corresponding political and legal practice, can be named the doctrine of constitutionalism [1].

In wide understanding this phenomenon covers the theory of the constitution, history and practice of the constitutional development of this or that country, a number of countries, the world community as a whole. In narrow understanding constitutionalism is the system of ideas and knowledge of fundamental values of democracy: their system, forms of expression, methods and the degree of realization, a set of logical representations about such state system and society which meet the conventional beginnings of democratic development, thus «the legal aspect of characteristics of constitutionalism is connected with legal stipulation of its fundamental ideas in the constitution» [2]. That is, constitutionalism is the system of representations about civilized democratic, political legal value of the state organized society.

The precondition of classical constitutionalism are the constitutional ideas. There exist a lot of such ideas, therefore we shall designate the most important. First, constitutionalism exists only there, where the main thing is not the text of the Constitution (filled with democratic institutes), and in deep respect of connection of the state and society with law. Second, constitutionalism is to be penetrated in public consciousness and life of people as the idea of high authority of the human person, respect to dignity. Third, constitutionalism means conscious and real direct participation of people in realization of the functions of the power, not only presence of the certain state organs (parliament, president, government), but the democratic order of their formation, general subordination to the interests of people on behalf of these organs. Fourth, constitutionalism is the presence of mechanisms of protection of rights and freedoms of the citizens, activity of the organs of government and local self-management, formation and participation of public associations in public affairs. Fifth, constitutionalism is the public consciousness based on conscious conviction in necessity and benefit of institutes of power and laws which make them, opportunity of achievement of social justice and protection of the proved interests with the help of actions of the power based exclusively on the norms of the law [3].

We think, that theory and practice of local self-management at the greatest degree accumulates of the above mentioned values of constitutionalism. At the same time local self-management, representing itself as an independent kind of public political power, is one of the most effective detonators of formation of classical constitutionalism in the democratic state.

It is necessary to specify, that the question on the character of the power are carried out within the framework of local self-management is one of the most debatable in a modern constitutionally legal science. It is possible to name a number of definitions and positions, whose authors bring to focus at different aspects of the phenomenon of local self-management, emphasize different foreshortenings and displays of the given publicly political phenomenon, noting its role and value in the processes of formation of modern constitutionalism, civil society and lawful state.

However, the only thing in which the researchers show solidarity is that optimally the phenomenon of local self-management can be realized if to consider it through the prism of mutual relations with the state and the government. The fact is that the question on the relation of territorial collectives (communities, local communities) to the state and forms of their interaction was static zed with the advent of the early states. The mutual relation of local self-management with the state, formation of civilized forms of their interaction, optimum maintenance during realization of the government and local self-management of rights of a person and a citizen, is the indicator of constitutionality of this or that state, and, hence, the major source of formation of constitutionalism.

It’s well-known, that self-management in this or that form has always accompanied existence and functioning of the human civilization. The primitive community is the vivid example of self-management at the beginning of the human history. These processes have found their confirmation and development in ideology and political practice of the periods of slave-owning (cities — policies), feudalism (free cities which lived by the Magdeburg law), bourgeois statehood (city and rural self-management, regional autonomy), developing not only as imperious establishment, but as professional associations (craft shops, merchant guilds, unions), university self-management (student's brotherhoods, faculties «free arts «, «rural nations»), within the framework of church (religious, monastic, parish brotherhoods) and have played the main role in formation of the principle of orienteer — the principle of local self-management, which has incorporated connection of multi level interests (the central and local), account of versatile interests of individuals (territorial collective) and their relationship with the interests of the whole state [4].

With the advent of the state the role of territorial collectives in the social system has constantly varied. If till the moment of advent of the state all the functions of ability of activity of a society were provided with the internal opportunities of territorial collectives, with its formation of functions of local communities (or their part) were taken (sometimes violently seized) by the state. Thus, the territorial collective, being a part of the society as the social system and barrier of its interests, at interaction with the state partly represents these interests, that is the interests of the society as a whole.

The major content of historical process of development of local self-management has become the search of stable equilibrium between the territorial collective and the state. According to historical experience the majority of the states possess the steady tendency to restriction of independence of territorial collectives, reducing the interest to common actions from accomplishment of the territory. In fact, it means, that the local community ceases to be the capable organism as loses the most important attribute — presence of the interest in decision of the questions of own life-support. Finally, territorial collectives turn to communities with amorphous political, social — psychological, territorial, economic borders (in fact — In part of the population of the country) who have no own (realized) collective interests on maintenance of ability to live, and thereof — lose any motivation for interaction and cooperation in this occasion with other subjects, including the state.

Isolation of the population from participation in management of the state and public affairs was brightly shown with putsch in the USSR in 1990. The people did not stand on protection of the Soviet representative system. It is known, that the form of realization of the power can exist for a long time only under the condition that the people recognize it and protect it. The people are capable to protect the power which belongs to the people. The Soviet political system has played the significant role in alienation of people from any power. For 70 years of its existence the population have accustomed to obey, but not to solve affairs. It has led to formation of the steady syndrome of consumer behaviour, indifference and passivity which are brightly shown in modern conditions. Besides loss of social connections and traditional values, disorientation of the population in constantly changeable world on the background of antagonism of different forces on the political arena, significant decrease in the standard of living of the population could not but affect the activity of the population in the deciding of local questions and their participation in political processes [5].

It is necessary to note, that paternalist care of the state in relation to the population of each settlement during the Soviet power has not at all generated at sensation of the protest against domination of the state, but vice visa. The people have got used that all the questions of their social and financial non support can be the responsibility of the state. Thus, the problematical character of development of local self-management is in creation of barriers to it on the part of the state organs, but not in recognition of this idea by the population. It is the main point of increase from which the healthy branch of local self-management can develop; and to this aspect should be directed the efforts of the legislator [6].

Historical experience evidently shows, that the development at which the state consistently limits independence of local communities, by all means shall come to social disaster, sometimes even to revolution, and to change of the political system. And the more rigid is the mode, the more freedoms (the citizens and local communities) receive or aspire to receive as a result of this revolution. The initial reason of it is absence in the necessary volume of civil freedoms and special powers at territorial collectives creates preconditions for origin and development of the state crisis with probable change of the political system. That is, on the one hand, the state policy in the sphere of local self-management and the character of models of its interaction with the state represents constant change of relative freedom and restrictions, and, on the other hand — local self-management acts as the indispensable condition of the steady development of the democratic state and constitutionalism. The determining factor which resulted modern statehood in Ukraine, as well as in the majority of the postsocialist countries to the deep crisis, it is necessary to recognize ignoring of the civil freedoms, local-territorial interests and absence during the long period of time of the institute of local self-management on its territory. Therefore the all-round recognition by the state of the interests of local communities, their harmonization with the state interests, development of the institute of local self-management should become the priority goal of the state.

It is necessary to note, that such harmonization of interests is found not only in conditions of positive realization of the municipal power, but also in extraordinary conditions of its realization. We believe that in case of neglect of one of the elements which comprise the system of interests of the municipal power and in the set depict the principle of orient, the system of local self-management, the municipal power, has negative administrative impulses both inside and — as loss of interests, motivations of structural units which make territorial and other generality, and neutralization of their interest in organization of their own ability to live and its intermediate and final results, and on the part of the central power — the public government — as the threat of direct intervention of the state in the activity of local self-management at destabilization of local situation.

The above-mentioned testifies the great value of local self-management, municipal power in sociological aspect. It is necessary to take into account, that the sphere of the municipal power is formed, acts and is distributed on «the lower stages» of the society where their functions a concrete person, micro- and mezokollectives of people (labour collective of the enterprise, establishment, organization; local associations of individuals formed on different purposes; subjects of interpersonal dialogue; and the territorial collective, local community) — the people of the certain territory incorporated by the uniform interests of collective character.

For this purpose the municipal power has system properties: it is formed by the territorial collective out of its members; depicts, produces, and protects interests, rights and freedoms of the members of territorial collective and competent powers of the organs formed by it; it possesses structural properties, that is functions from outside as the system of organs of local self-management and organizational — legal forms of activity of the territorial collective; as a result of its functioning the local sphere of social management is formed which coincides with the territorial borders within which the framework of local community [7] acts.

All the above-mentioned convincingly confirms, that existence of local self-management, its evolution are integrally connected with the problems of the power, the major qualifying characteristics of which is that, first, such power, undoubtedly, is the public power, second, it differs from the public government as the important democratic properties, third, it is the municipal power. Hence, local self-management is an independent system of organization of activity of the local population on the corresponding territory which represents the set of different organs and institutes. This set functions as the uniform complete mechanism, which central, leading part is the local community. It is the form of organization of the public power independent from the state which provides decision of local questions by the local population directly or through the organs and officials of local self-management.

We give reasons for it grounding on the fact that in the democratic state people realise the power directly and through the organs of the government and institutions of local management. It gives the ground to make the following conclusions: organs of local self management are not included into the uniform state mechanism; the state organs and organs of local self management are equal under the law and equally are representatives of people in borders of the powers given to it. Taking it into account, it is possible to assert: rights and freedoms of a person, and their guarantees determine the contents and orientation of activity of organs of local self management as the activity of the state.

It is possible to note, that local self-management as autonomy of small territorial units within the framework of common for the whole state organized society of laws, does mean freedom on behalf of the state, but freedom inside it. Besides it means, that local self-management as one of the fundamentals of the constitutional system has the source of its existence, and it is not state but constitutional will of the people, and represents itself as the fundamental constitutional principle which establishes, recognizes and guarantees administrative independence of local communities, and creates conditions for law creative, lawful and law realising activity directed on its realization.

As the specific form of the public power local self-management is characterized, first, by presence of the special subject — local community — the territorial generality consisting of physical persons — the people who permanently live, work on the territory of village, settlement or city, directly or through the municipal structures and decide local questions, have common municipal property, own on the given territory real estate, pay municipal taxes and are connected by the territorial — personal communications of the system character.

Second, local self-management takes the special place in the political system of the society (in the mechanism of management by the society and the state), which testifies to the fact that the country besides the interests of a person and the state admits and guarantees local (municipal) interests which are connected with the decision of questions of direct maintenance of ability to life of the population. Thus, the municipal interests are not considered by the state as subordinates, and as equal in rights.

Third, local self-management has a number of features concerning volume, range and legal nature of objects of the influence, which significant part is not characteristic for other lawful relations. Such objects are the public power; rights, freedoms and duties of a person and a citizen; local questions; functions (directions and kinds of activity) subjects of local self-management; objects of the municipal property; local budgets, incomes of local budgets, local taxes and tax collections, local loans, etc. But the major objects of local activity of territorial collectives are local questions, that is the questions which follow from collective interests of local population — members of corresponding territorial collective related by the Constitution, laws and charter of local community to the subjects of local self-management, and other questions which are not the competence of the organs of government. The legal essence of local self-management is shown and realized in activity concerning establishment, change and termination of legal relations between the subjects of the system of local self-management, that is at interaction of the subjects of local self-management for realization of their functions and powers on decision of local questions. In interaction of the subjects of local self-management during the decision of local questions is shown and realized the essence, integral, determining, immanent properties of the municipal power.

That is the real physical condition of self-preservation and self-development of the municipal power is performance of that function for the sake of which the system of local self-management is created — the decision of local questions. Thus, the basic object of the municipal power as the system is the decision of questions which are of interest for the population — members of territorial collective, which acts as the subsystem — system in the macrosystem (local community — local self-management — municipal power — public power) [8].

Proceeding from the specified subject — objective characteristics, the municipal power represents completely not state (in narrow sense of this word), but the public phenomenon which is produced by the social society though in the state organized society local self-management is twisted into political, administrative, socio and economic relations and processes taking place in the state. According to its essential attributes — genetic, substantial, dynamic the municipal power qualitatively differs from the government.

Most boldly the phenomenology of interrelations between the municipal and state power is illustrated with the mechanism of realization of rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen. It is proved, what exactly maintenance of realization of constitutional rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen shows evidently n activity of political system of its subjects. Due to this system in the society rights and freedoms should turn from opportunities to validity. In fact recognition of human rights by the government is not the abstract fact, not the speculative statement, and the official action which finds its confirmation in the political system of the state, its legal policy, public statements of officials for adherence of corresponding ideology. In the legal, democratic, social and ekohumanistic state human rights, on the one hand, form the independent direction of a national policy, and on the other hand penetrate the purpose, value and the principle all other kinds of the state policy — economic, welfare, military, international, etc. [9].

It is necessary to take into account, that at the level of local self-management, in the borders of local community, the prevailing part of rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen find its realization. The civilized role of rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen is shown first of all in ordering of political, economic, social and other public relations, maintenance of autonomy and personal freedom of a person and his associations — territorial collectives. The requirement for the conventional order and validity is natural for any society and for the locally organized society which is the local community. Law and human rights establish certain norms of behaviour of people and they should not be violated not to generate conflicts and infringe rights and freedoms of other members of a society. Therefore human rights express the general scale and equal measure of freedom and responsibility.

Human rights as a phenomenon of world culture reflect human life in the special qualitative condition connected with the confirmation in public consciousness and practice of idea of personal freedom. Thus, a person in the political system feels freely only in the mechanism of municipal power. Local self-management stipulates political, economic, spiritual and moral values and social achievements of the mankind in any sphere of political system and social development.

In conclusion we shall specify, that reality, capacity, system character of municipal power, its interrelations with the government and other institutes of political system of a society objectively depends on factors and conditions of development of this kind of the public power. Local self-management does not arise at once as the system, but at first as certain preconditions, objective factors which are formed under favorable conditions. Historical development of municipal power is the longtime process consisting of the set of historical stages which replace each other. Chronological limits of these stages appreciably have conditional character. Meanwhile the criteria of their allocation are sharp turning-points in development of statehood and institutes of the public power caused by set of nation-wide and regional, internal and external, political, economic, social, cultural, ecological and other tendencies and processes which determine the opportunity of occurrence, recognition and development of the local self-management. Depth, scope and frequency of transformations in local self-management are in general synchronous to the processes of rises and crises of statehood, changes in the system of the public power and social and economic sphere of the country, taking into account, that the local community, — the local part of the society, — in this or that degree reflects the common public laws.

Rises and crises of constitutionalism and statehood in each separate state correlate with the processes of transformation of the nature of local self-management, development of the corresponding theories, modifying mutual relations of municipal power with other subjects and institutes of the political organization of the society. Research of such rises and crises allows to realize the reasons of transformation of these mutual relations, to understand causes and effects of various political legal relation of the state-organized society to the local self-management and municipal power.

The dialectics of the Ukrainian variant of local self-management testifies to the fact, that occurrence of institutes of municipal democracy and self-management as indispensable attributes of the constitutional statehood and the civil society, gradual formation of the city law, and preservation of the long time direct democracy and self-management substantially determined occurrence of statehood in the Ukrainian districts and formation of the original model of domestic constitutionalism and municipal power. At the same time, detonating occurrence of statehood, local self-management has always been of competitive, sometimes oppositional or even protective character relating to the state structures. In conditions of political reaction and the state crisis for example in Russian empire in the period Peter’s the Great reforms, experience of the Soviet Russia, local self-management as independent of the state institute, has always been violently transformed to a version of the government.

Historical experience objectively testifies to the fact, that development of a society to formation of municipal power is a long and complex, and, at least, bilateral process. On this way it meets resistance of bureaucrat mechanism of the government, passivity or inexperience of wide layers of the population, practical mistakes realized during formation and functioning of self-administrative structures which undermines appeal and persuasiveness of the process. The civil society should supervise and regulate closely the way to the municipal power, using the initiative of places and the legal law, interaction of science and practice, tradition and innovation.

constitutionalism municipal authority

The literature

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