Book Review: The Redress of Law: Globalisation, Constitutionalism and Market Capture

Published date01 June 2024
AuthorIllan rua Wall
Date01 June 2024
Subject MatterBook Reviews
EMILIOS CHRISTODOULIDIS, The Redress of Law: Globalisation, Constitutionalism and Market Capture.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021, pp. 350, ISBN 978-1-10876-532-9, £37 (Paperback).
The Redress of Law is a complex, deeply compelling response to neoliberal legality.
It entails a radical insistence upon political constitutionalism, a thinking of the principle
of solidarity, and a trenchant critical-strategic outlook towards law. In Undoing the
Demos, Wendy Brown worries that neoliberalism is like a termite. It does not confront
legal forms head-on through some spectacular showdown between normative positions.
Instead, en masse its agents inhabit legal forms, burrowing down and gradually hollowing
them out. Rights, constitutions, labour protections, all remain formally present but a
shadow of their former self. Emilios ChristodoulidisThe Redress of Law starts in the
wake of this undoing. It takes aim at the market constitutionalism that has gripped
European constitutional projects, and which came to particular fruition after the 2008
f‌inancial crash. The infamous Laval and Viking decisions and the European Commissions
response to the sovereign debt crisis, loom large. But this is far from being just another
book on law and neoliberalism.
At the core of the book is a reaction to the neoliberal mantra: There is No Alternative!
(TINA!). By now, the affective strategy is well known. In the late 70s and early 80s, neo-
liberalism ruptured the common sense of the social state with the brute force of the
market, the ideology of creative-destruction, the imagination of a sclerotic state versus
the dynamism of private entrepreneurialism, and an iron f‌ist to crush any and all resist-
ance. In the wake of this destruction, TINA! emerged to give the force of necessity to
the ongoing project of marketisation of public goods. Always something of a middle
manager, TINA! did not anchor the big ideological ideas, but mediated them. It operated
to close off alternatives, sealing a political imagination in which contestation could occur,
but only within the neatly def‌ined boundaries of the marketplace of ideas.The Redress
of Law is a virulent assault on the neoliberal necessity that TINA! mediates. But it also
learns carefully from its operation. The book does not simply identify and critique neo-
liberal legality, it also aims to give effective weight to a different constitutional project, to
bring it into being in a way that cannot be ignored.
The term redressis drawn from Seamus Heaneys reading of Simone Weil. Heaney
writes that Weils work is informed by the idea of counterweighting, of balancing out the
forces, of redress tilting the scales of realityplacing a counter-reality on the scales a
reality which may be only imagined but which nevertheless has weight because it is ima-
gined within the gravitational pull of the actual…’. Drawing from this, The Redress of
Law attempts to give the pull of gravity to a countervailing form of legality. To challenge
the over weaning weight of market-constitutionalism, it gives weight to a form of labour-
constitutionalism. The strategy is enthralling not least because it begins, on page one, by
whispering the very secret of its strategy. The act of writing the book seeks to force some-
thing to appear (70).Political constitutionalism has been pushed out by market constitu-
tionalism, and it is not enough to simply call for its return. The book must make it appear
with the force and gravity it needs to be eff‌icacious. There is a tension in this, the book
charts the destruction of political constitutionalism by market constitutionalism, while at
the same time describing its importance, its weight and its gravity. It is destroyed but it
Book Reviews 473

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