Federations, Councils, and the Origins of Totalitarianism

  • Shmuel Lederman


Arendt’s support for a council democracy emerged out of a deep concern about the dangers of a return to the political structures of pre-WWII Europe. The collapse of these structures and the rise of totalitarian movements were not accidental, in Arendt’s view, but rather an expression of their inherent failures. These failures convinced Arendt that the centralized nation-state had to be transformed into federalized political structures between and within states. The conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine further demonstrated to Arendt the necessity of new political structures to make possible common existence between different national groups, and consequently the urgent need to imagine, and lay the theoretical foundations for a new form of democratic government.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shmuel Lederman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and EducationThe University of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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