Leopoldo A. Moscoso
Citizens, Aliens And Suspects In The Age Of Thewar On Terror:The Question Of Emergency Powers Inwestern Post-Democracies
If the nexus between post 09/11 counterterrorism
and the encroach - ment of citizens’ civil rights and individual and collective
liberties seems to be already well established in the professional literature,
there are other aspects of world politics in the age of the war on
terror which deserve to be investigated.
The connection between the 2001 turning point and the current international, economic crisis is of course one of them. Yet, the most interesting aspect might be the way in which the international, financial turmoil has been used for private interests around the world to advance their own agenda of privatization, deregulation, fiscal discipline and balanced government budgets. While the advancement of this agenda has often been wrapped in a type of rhetoric which time and again refers to the imperatives of governance in exceptional, hard times, this paper explores the possible implications of the war on terror tactics on the quality and sustainability of our democracies. By focusing on the notions of emergency powers and on the old, twentieth century controversy on the state of exception, this paper points to the difficulties inherent to violence control, to the emergence of private governments, and to the nation-state’s loss of centrality in both domestic and international politics as the three main avenues through which the state of exception might become – as Walter Benjamin foreshadowed – a permanent trait of our systems, and our current crisis of governance might be recycled into something like the government of the crisis.