κλήρωση

κλήρωση, Greek for “lottery” or “drawing of lots” (as Google Translate tells me), is a Greek website advocating sortition.

The site presents sortition as follows (Google Translate, with some of my own touch-ups):

The Lottery

We know that you are tired of political parties and politicians. You do not want to see them, let alone hear them: tell you what you want to hear in order to gain power, and then pursue government policies other than those that were voted for.

You wonder what is the reason to vote…

The lottery is a way to finally achieve a truly representative democracy. To solve a problem that is not only Greek, but global. Greece can be talked about everywhere, not a corrupt country, but as a country of innovation, leadership and democracy. An example to follow.

Just do not expect saviors. Just believe in yourself.

Sortition is aimed at regeneration of the democratic political system based on the belief that only democracy can lead to improving the lives, dignity and ολβιότητας[?] of the Greeks. The basic principle of the movement coincides with one of the basic principles of democracy as implemented by Solon, Cleisthenes, Pericles and was described by Thucydides and Aristotle.

The Republic is achieved not solely through elections, but especially through sortition.

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Opportunity for easy online activism

David Grant wrote to draw attention to an online proposition and voting exercise at Slate magazine. Readers are asked to propose pieces of reform for the U.S. constitution and to vote for their favorite proposals.

David wrote a proposal titled “Use sortition, not elections, for a Citizen House“.

Browsing around at random, I found a similar proposal: “Select our representatives by lottery“.

Voting for those proposals is an easy way to highlight the idea of sortition. Registration to the site (free and easy) is needed in order to vote. You can vote more than one proposal.

Ordinary citizens? Are you crazy?

Harvard Magazine has an article about Lawrence Lessig’s reform proposals. Lessig has been promoting his proposal for “democracy vouchers”, but it turns out that he has another proposal to make – a Constitutional Convention selected by sortition:

[Lessig] writes: “I recognize that of all the insanity strewn throughout this book, this will strike readers as the most extreme. Ordinary citizens? Are you crazy? Proposing amendments to our Constitution? When two-thirds of Americans can’t even identify what the Bill of Rights is?”

Are Sortitionists sincere?

Do sortitionists really believe their own rhetoric? A Citizen’s Jury will be called using the method of random selection. They then proceed to chew over the issue at hand, and normally decide by voting!

What’s the matter with these guys? Surely the matter should be resolved, either by Unanimity, or failing that by a lottery, weighted by the votes of the CJ?

I was inspired to pose this question after reading a piece about the rise of Majority Voting which is mostly about French and Catholic Church experiences.

The Anglo-juridical Jury (12 citizens drawn at random) used to require unanimity, and still needs 10/12 to convict. Who so?

Iñaki Berazaluce: Por qué es mejor elegir a los diputados al azar

Pluchino et al. are invoked by Iñaki Berazaluce:

350 diputados y 208 senadores, elegidos por sufragio universal cada cuatro años para votar como un solo hombre los designios de sus respectivos partidos. ¿Es esta democracia la mejor posible?, ¿es la única posible? Unos científicos italianos han demostrado que el sistema sería más eficiente si un determinado número de legisladores (no todos, de momento) fueran escogidos al azar entre todos los ciudadanos en lugar de ser elegidos en las urnas.

This article generated some lively discussion on Menéame (noted by Tomaso Mancebo).

Sintomer: Tirage au sort et démocratie délibérative

An article by Yves Sintomer discusses, among other things, reasons for the avoidance of sortition by 18th century revolutionaries. English translation by John Zvesper.

Bernard Manin first raised the question of why with modern revolutions sortition disappeared from the political scene. His answer was based on two observations: first, the founding fathers of modern republics wanted elective aristocracies, and for this reason they rejected random selection, which Plato and Aristotle had connected with democracy. Second, the theory of consent, deeply rooted in theories of natural law, was so widespread that it seemed difficult to legitimize any political authority that was not formally approved by the citizenry.

Both of these arguments are important, but they do not explain everything. […]

The unavailability of the statistical concept of the representative sample (even though probability calculus was already well developed by the time of the American and French Revolutions) is the key to understanding why political sortition seemed useless in modern democracies, whose size – as almost no political writer in this period failed to point out – made it impossible to have self government similar to that of the ancient democracies. In this conceptual world, drawing lots meant arbitrarily giving power to someone. Lacking the idea of the representative sample, the proponents of descriptive representation were forced to choose other tools to advance their ideals.

Collective Identity and Voice at the Australian Citizens’ Parliament

This article in the Journal of Public Deliberation will be of interest:

“Collective Identity and Voice at the Australian Citizens’ Parliament” by Andrea Felicetti, John Gastil, Janette Hartz-Karp, and Lyn Carson (2012)

“Whereas Fischer and others have emphasized the need for a plurality of publics in deliberation, this essay turns back to consider when and how the collective identity presumed in early deliberative theory might manifest itself.”

The Australian Citizens’ Parliament was a deliberative assembly in 2009 involving 150 randomly-selected citizens.

KEYWORDS: deliberative democracy, deliberation, identity, voice, individualism, Australian Citizens’ Parliament, Indigenous, ACP, collective, alienation, participation, Australia

The article can be read without charge.