Source:The New Democrat
“Would I Be a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist”
From Scott Bradley
“Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.
Federalism differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level. It represents the central form in the pathway of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state.
Leading examples of the federation or federal state include India, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Argentina, and Australia. Some also today characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states.”
Federalism, is a big part of my own personal politics and how I describe myself politically. I just go with Liberal or a Liberal Democrat as someone who believes in liberal democracy, ( not the Democratic Party, necessarily ) but someone who believes in individual rights, limited government, separation of powers, decentralization of authority, equal rights and justice: the values that comes from a liberal democracy. I like the term Liberal-Federalist as someone who believes in liberal democracy, as well as the three levels of government: Federal, state and local, but who also believes in liberal democracy and again the individual and equal rights that comes from a liberal democratic federal republic.
“A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative divisions (sub-national units). Such units exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Although political power may be delegated through devolution to local governments by statute, the central government may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail (or expand) their powers. A large majority of the world’s states (165 of the 193 UN member states) have a unitary system of government.
Unitary states stand in contrast with federations, also known as federal states. In federations, the sub-national governments share powers with the central government as equal actors through a written constitution, to which the consent of both is required to make amendments. This means that the sub-national units have a right of existence and powers that cannot be unilaterally changed by the central government.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an example of a unitary state. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a degree of autonomous devolved power, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution (England does not have any devolved power). Many unitary states have no areas possessing a degree of autonomy. In such countries, sub-national regions cannot decide their own laws. Examples are Romania, the Republic of Ireland and the Kingdom of Norway.”
A Unitarian state or Unitarianism ( not the religion, but governmental philosophy ) is the opposite of the federal republic. In a Unitarian government governmental power and in some cases like in a Communist state or Theocratic state, most power governmental and otherwise is centralized with the national government. And in some cases you might have a Unitarian state where you have state or provincial government’s, as well as local government’s, but where the head of state appoints the people to run the state and local government’s.
The Russian Federation today which under their own Constitution is supposed to be a federal republic, but under the Putin Administration they now operate as a Unitarian authoritarian state where President Vladimir Putin is responsible for appointing the governor’s of their republics, ( what Russia calls states ) instead of allowing the people in those republics to elect their own leaders. And every Communist state that you will be set up where the national government has most of the power and appoints the people to run the state and local government’s, The People’s Republic of China, is a perfect example of that.
But a Unitarian state isn’t necessarily an authoritarian government. There are social democratic, as well as authoritarian Unitarian states around the world. The United Kingdom, which is one of the great democracies, as well as social democracies in the world is a Unitarian state. In recent years they’ve delegated more authority to their what we would call state government’s. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Kingdom of Sweden, which is also a great social democracy is a Unitarian state. The same thing with the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Ireland, and I could go on. See, like with Federalists and federalism where you don’t have to be a Liberal or Conservative to believe in it, you don’t have to be an authoritarian or democrat to believe in Unitarianism. You don’t have to be Left or right either. It’s just about what type of government you believe in and what’s the role of the national government in your country that you want for it.