The formation of modern state has led to two contradicting phenomenon: the struggle for rights, and the pursuit for power. While it is fundamental to recognize the relation between rights and power as interdependent, it is also a reality that a State dichotomizes rights and power into two different perceptual categories. As a result the elements of right and power are perceived as inconsistent and contradicting in the realm of state power.
The cleavage emerging out of this contradiction reveals a deeper understanding of ‘political violence’ and the nature of structural violence. The ongoing analysis leads to a realization of how wars made states and how states made war. It is therefore not surprising that a State ensures that it maintains an iron grip on the link between dialogue and political order. To loose that grip is to loose its coercive powers.
Taiaiake reminds that “the mythology of the state is hegemonic, and the struggle for justice would be better served by undermining the myth of state power.” In its pursuit of power, a state destroys the political community so that through division it cements its legitimacy. By doing so, the powers that be can pursue their hegemonic interest without much opposition. Ironically, this practice indicates that domination is an integral function of a state; even when there are constitutionally protected and guaranteed rights defined by the socio-political contract. One reason why the state is able to maintain its power and anti-historical view, Taiaiake says is because, the state still negotiates from a position of strength based on its false claim to morality, justice and authority.
In a time when state mortality is being questioned, there is an acute need for strong leadership that can persuade individuals, communities and nations to exercise their self-power in the interest of humanity and the collective good. Failure to provide alternative discourses and paradigm of human association and political relation would not only mean the continuation of redundant state system that thrives on force but would also mean the continued dichotomy of rights and power; which in essence causes struggling people to remain as objects of history.
The dichotomy of power and rights has adversely effected and split people’s movement and created myths around the concept of state sovereignty. Rediscovering the relationship between power and right as complementary and interdependent elements would redefine sovereignty as when the people are sovereign. Consequently, a people can exercise their collective will and self-power in concrete and relevant ways; making them self-determining.
Hence, the underlying struggle is to reunite rights and power as complementary and interdependent elements by making them live in a real manner in the everyday lives of ordinary men and women. It essentially implies that a right should be power and power needs to be right.