Thursday 23 June 2022

The Transatlantic Network of Authoritarian Populism (Aalborg University, The internationalization of populism seminar, 23-24 June, 2022)

I participated at The internationalization of populism. Populism beyond the nation state? seminar at Aalborg University, Denmark 23-24 June, 2022 organized by Óscar García Agustín and his Colleagues. My lecture is about a sub-topic of my posd-doc research on The State of Emergency in the Era of Global Ecological and Pandemic Crisis and it deals with internationalization of authoritarian populism. Its title is: The Transatlantic Network of Authoritarian Populism: The Rise of the Executive from Hungary to the USA.

A remarkable phenomenon is unfolding regarding the international networking of authoritarian populism: the Hungarian Orbán regime has for a long time been looking to the radicalising American right as a reference point, which after Trump's fall is also trying to build a strong international network for authoritarian right-wing tendencies. At the heart of these transatlantic ideological networks is the idea of the rise of the executive. There is an emergence of executive power in the era of exceptional government which means on the one hand that the executive power is extremely strengthened, on the other hand the theory of separation of powers has totally been redesigned and this has a huge impact on the landscape of democracy. In this paper the theoretical bases of Unitary Executive Theory (UET) and the Authoritarian Populism (AP) are investigated. It is proposed here that main common foundation of UET and AP is Carl Schmitt and his theory on the political sovereignty and the state of exception. Given these, UET and AP has been investigated here in the framework of presidentialization in the time of permanent state of exception. I am trying to critically investigate the rise of the executive branch in the West is held in the framework of democracy and in the East this phenomenon is blamed as a new rise of totalitarianism. I will point out that expansion of executive power is an inevitable danger, because the representative and parliamentary democracy has become empty by that the executive leaders pretend as the main political representative of their political communities. Upon the case of COVID-19 crisis the dangers caused by the uncontrolled executive power are even more present. It has been investigated here how the authoritarian populist Orbán regime relied on the state of exception declared during the pandemic. Moreover, I am arguing here that the common form of UET and AP regimes is constitutional dictatorship which is about to reformulate and acquire political sovereignty.