Between Exception and Normality: Schmittian Dictatorship and the Soviet Legal Order
49 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020
Date Written: April 18, 2020
This paper addresses Carl Schmitt’s concept of sovereign dictatorship, a departure from the normal legal order aiming to bring about a new mode of legality, as applied to the Marxist, and then Soviet, ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Unlike Schmitt, Marx and Engels, as well as Soviet legal theorists, saw the space for law even while aiming to dispense with the legal form on the road to communism. That trend reached its peak during the era of Stalinist legal reforms, when the supposedly transitional socialist arrangements finally ‘crystallized’ into a new legal order. This is best explained by Schmitt’s failure to recognize the importance of legal systems not only for controlling social conflict, but also for coordination, the need for which does not disappear in extraordinary circumstances.
Keywords: Schmitt, dictatorship, Soviet law, Marxism
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