ABOUT MADISONíS FEDERALIST PAPERS & FEDERALISM IN IRAN
The protection in Madisonís federalist papers is mainly against monarchy (British Monarchy). This is why it is so specific about nobility and even sees this criteria as the measure to call his respective system a republic. He writes:
"Could any further proof be required of the republican complexion of this system, the most decisive one might be found in its absolute prohibition of titles of nobility, both under the federal and the State governments; and in its express guaranty of the republican form to each of the latter."
There is no attempt here to show legitimacy for a federal system. The Confederacy is the reality, and the attempt is to show that this federalism is not *absolute* and it is a *national* government as well.
Thus the focus of the paper is on how to implement the federal and state governments in a way to ensure the cohesiveness of the national government.
Now in our case for Iran, the legitimacy of a federal system is not a given. In other words, except for Kurdestan, we are not seeing separate states coming forward with their own aspirations for statehood, at least not at this time.
This is why I have tried to legitimize a federal system in my paper below from a theoretical standpoint of historical development of Iran and have also noted the world developments in countries like Yugoslavia where federalism could have saved it from getting torn apart, following its liberation.
Basically from the pre-Islamic shAhanshAhi system which meant Satraps, each ruled by a king, and all kings ruled by king of the kings (shah of the shahs) to the post-Islamic continuation of satraps in a new form, even thru the changes of Moghols era, we see a semi-federal development in Iran.
Here is my full paper and my reasoning for such legitimacy of federalism for our future:
Have I convinced anybody in our political spectrum about this legitimacy. You can do a survey and see how many groups in our political spectrum believe in the legitimacy of a federal system. Unfortunately not that many.
The issue that Madison is dealing with is the *implementation* of federal organs and state organs and showing them *both* as needed, and rebut claims that these are redundant and he tries to show their existence as guarantee against tyranny. For him the issue is implementation and not legitimacy, as federation is how the Union is, when it is formed, a conglomeration of separate states.
Even though, in Iran we never had such acceptance of legitimacy of federalism established, I think a study like Madison's work on *implementation* †issues can still be done about Iran. From the first day of majles-e shorAy-e melli of mashrootia't to our times, the interaction of local and national organs can be reviewed.
Instead of looking at the states, one can review the anjomanhAy-e iiyAlati and velAyati, which were more of a French version of distribution of power in a central state (like the mayor elections in Europe). I think such review can help us to come up with constitutional guidelines for a federalist local and national organs in Iran.
This work of Madison is the real legal work about the structures of checks and balances. We need Iranian lawyers do this kind of work about implementation issues of federalism in Iran. Unfortunately I have not seen any work of this kind in the Iranian political circles. Maybe I am ignorant about it and others may know of such works.
I think mostly, even those who claim that they are OK with federalism, are content with electoral structures of France for Iran, which is a democratic election system in a centralized government, and is *not* a real federal system.
I can say that theoretically two things need to be done with reference to the issue of federalism in Iran:
1. To continue to argue for federalism in the Iranian political circles and groups similar to what I have done in my paper above and add similar studies about various provinces of Iran, and not just provinces like Azerbaijan and Baluchestan, but also specific studies of provinces like KhorAsAn, MAzandarAn, GilAn, KhoozestAn, HormozgAn, and others.
2. To do serious studies of legal codes of Iran's past constitutions, and other civil laws, and implementation details of laws, as relates to the branches of government, and their interaction at local city, provincial, and national levels.
This latter requires people who are versed in Iranian law and civil codes and I hope to see such works.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher
March 4, 2002
P.S. My thanks to HamMihan for posting Madisonís papers on Jebhe BB and for starting this discussion.
* The above article was first published on Jebhe BB on March 4, 2002