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Establishing Autonomous and Accountable State Power

Special Problems in Public Administration


Jess Marie Delos Angeles Acoba

Some political arguments contend that the autonomous power of the state alone

commences effective governance and disposes the role of accountability as a mere

impediment in the exercise of state functions. Autonomy in such context is technically

and practically a bureaucratic mandate of power monopoly and manifests the state as a

class machinery imposing its interest regardless of majority and social resistance.

Despotic exercise of autonomy is blatant in societies where qualitative contradiction

between ruling and ruled classes exists. The state of the ruling class can never impose

political power without force to compel all under it to adhere to state laws. Tyranny or

state abuse of authority is a necessary component of a state devised to protect and

perpetuate class economic and political power.

Accountability on the other hand, along the context of propertied class state, is

deemed unnecessary or deliberately disregarded. In such sense, the state can only be

accountable to the market, economic and political entrenchment of the ruling class but

not to the people. Any necessary struggle for accountability takes the form of dissent and

reaps the consequence of state suppression. Accountability poses a threat to the ruling

class while state autonomy/tyranny serves as the coercive institution of elite dictatorship.

The coexistence of autonomy and accountability is relative to a particular social

setting. It is then a political challenge to establish a society where accountability is a

necessary condition for the existence of autonomy, where the dynamic interaction of both
aspects creates a perspective social identity—a progressive society of the majority of

productive forces.

An autonomous state should be one that undertakes the process of sincere social

investigation and class analysis, relying on scientific study of the needs of the people and

applying socially relevant principles that would foster the holistic development of the

people. The people should be the basis of sovereign political command that asserts

independence or autonomy from external pressures—market intervention, foreign

aggression, bourgeois influence and maneuvering and other acts inimical to the people’s

interest. Hence, it is necessary and only at that social condition necessary, that the state

wields its full authority to exercise political power to coerce factors that may ruin the

people-oriented foundation of the state.

Accountability is an indispensable component of people’s state. Collective

leadership is accountable principally to the people and to the state. In circumstances

where errors may be committed along the course of the implementation of state functions,

the leadership and the immediate body responsible will rectify and receive proper

sanctions equivalent to the gravity of the offense. The state will never be used to tolerate

or absolve mistakes but must at all times be “autonomous” and accountable.

Basing on the stated viewpoints, autonomy in a propertied class state is

tantamount to abuse of authority to coerce public struggle, and social accountability is an

enemy of ruling class’ political and economic power; whereas, a genuine people’s state is

built on the dynamic interaction of people-centered autonomy and accountability. People

will eventually hold political power and build a world where the progress of humanity

dictates the course of time…