Specifying the three inclusion principles: A reply to Biale, Ottonelli and Pellegrino

Anno LIII, n. 221, gennaio-aprile 2018

Anno LIII, n. 221, gennaio-aprile 2018
Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


This response to critics further explains and elaborates the scope of three principles of democratic inclusion: the inclusion of affected interests, of all subjected to coercion, and of all those have a stake in being recognized as members of a particular self-governing polity. It also defends the claim that a theory of democratic inclusion requires certain background presuppositions. In response to Gianfranco Pellegrino’s critique I present conceptual, empirical and normative reasons why a theory of democratic self-government presupposes a background of relatively stable territorial borders towards other polities and an internal diversity of interests, identities and ideas about the common good. Enrico Biale’s objections nudge me towards further specifying the ‘all affected interests’ principle by clarifying that its implications vary according to the impact a policy decision has on external interests. I suggest three graded implications: affected interests must be taken into consideration, must have opportunities of contestation, or must be represented when a policy is deliberated and decided. Transborder referendums are an instance of representation of externally affected interests. The ad hoc demos created in such referendums creates an external veto power that need not subvert the integrity of a polity’s self-government. I consider Biale’s conception of a ‘fluid’ demos as grounded in a combination of the ‘all subjected’ and the ‘all citizenship stakeholder’ principles. While this combination works in the specific context of migration between independent states, I have doubts that it can be applied to other problems and types of polities. Valeria Ottonelli proposes a principle of the identity of rulers and ruled that I question with regard to its implications for representative democracy, and for those citizens who are uncapable or unwilling to participate in ruling. I also engage with her version of a ‘proximity principle’, which in my view can justify the requirement to have common democratic institutions but not the boundaries between democratic polities. Finally, I respond to Ottonelli’s challenge that the ‘citizenship stakeholder’ principle misidentifies the wrong of colonialism as denial of self-government and has exclusionary implications for marginalized groups who do not have a stake in the common good. I conclude by suggesting a ‘multilevel polity’ test for democratic inclusion principles that requires that they can specify membership rules not only for independent states but also for territorial polities below and above the state.