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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 1.44
"The Great Purge:" Law and State and Class Formation in Post-Cold War Authoritarian Populisms
The great purge"" has been a word that is coined to refer to the 1930s purges that took place across Europe, especially in Stalinist Russia. The 1930s are today also invoked to make sense of the ongoing ""crisis"" liberal-democracy, neoliberal capitalism, and the rise of authoritarian nationalist populisms in the East/South and the North. In conversation with these invocations of the 1930s, my paper explores how the recent/ongoing purges of public workers (academics, judges, civil servants etc) may be seen as part of a continuum of state making and class transformation that has taken place in Europe's periphery. By developing an internationalist and historical materialist understanding of the purges, which are often invoked as state security, popular justice, and/or moral purity and cleansing, my paper aims to highlight the way the shifting blocs of political power, class inequality, and different forms of dispossession and disenfranchisement, largely an effect of uneven international relations, are harnassed and articulated by authoritarian populist groups as a crisis of national sovereignty and reproduction, which would be overcome by the (permanent) purges. Thereby, the purges also raise questions about the role of the law and constitution or de-constitution of solidarity relations, and the mechanisms of enemy-making and conspiratorial thinking that define authoritarian formations.