No, this is not about renewing my all-too-brief acquaintance with Philadelphia at the occasion of some event at the university in the mid-2000s. Of course, I could not fail to visit Independence Hall, the site commemorating the famous Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution at what then was the Pennsylvania State House, now a museum managed by the U.S. National Park Service. It is the Declaration of Independence issued in Philadelphia that I revisit.
I had become aware of the American Revolution in general at the age of ten when reading a book targeted at youthful readers like myself. It was set at around the time of the Boston Tea Party and recounted the adventures of an apprentice to a silver smith by the name of Johnny. After an accident at work, he could no longer pursue his trade, making himself useful instead as a messenger boy working for various conspirators against the English oppressor. It was a good way of raising my interest, conveying the message also that the American Revolution was one of decent burgers – local artisans and merchants – against their distant colonial masters. Having made some decisive contribution conveying messages between the conspirators, a local doctor promised to operate Johnny to enable him to continue becoming an accomplished silver smith.
The Tea Party was one thing, the Philadelphia Convention declaring independence considered to be one the milestones towards the development of democracy was quite another. However, in ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ (Faludi 2021) just out I argue that presently the freedom and welfare of the people require, rather than the formation on interdependent states, forms of democracy fit for an inter-dependent world.
In this I have been fortified by reading the Declaration of Independence itself where it says that, if a form of government becomes problematic, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. It is this right that I want to trigger, criticising the prevailing territorialism treating states as the privileged units of analysis and action, in so doing negating interdependence between them. In so doing, I refer in that paper to other authors who, each in their own way argue the same: Piattoni and Schönlau (2005) seeing more sense than is commonly the case in the advisory role to the Committee of Regions as complexifying EU decision-making in a way that matches interdependence between states and regions; Blatter (2019) proposing Associative Parliaments for dealing with matters common the two or more states; and Eichenberger and Frey (1999) separating decision-making on territorial and functional matters, with concrete suggestions also for EU governance (which could come in good stead now that EU enlargement seems to grind to a halt).
What I did not say in the paper is that all this would be grist to my mill, bringing EU governance closer to the ‘neo-medievalism’ which I advocate in ‘The Poverty of Territorialism’ (Faludi 2018).
Blatter, J. (2019). Kick-off contribution. Let me vote in your country, and I let you vote in mine. A proposal for transnational democracy. In J. Blatter & R. Bauböck (Eds.), (2019) EUI working paper RSCAS 2019/25, Florence: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, 1-6.
Faludi, A. (2018) The Poverty of Territorialism, Edgar Elgar, Cheltenham.
Faludi, A. (2021) Declaration of Interdependence (Debates and Reflections) Planning Theory & Practice, Published online 08 Oct, https://doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2021.1981661.
Frey, B. S., & Eichenberger, R. (1999). The New Democratic Federalism for Europe: Functional, Overlapping and Competing Jurisdictions. Edgar Elgar, Cheltenham.
Piattoni, S., & Schönlau, J. (2015). ’Towards a multilevel European democracy’, in: Shaping EU Policy From Below: EU Democracy and the Committee of the Regions, Edgar Elgar, Cheltenham, 7-31.