Posted on December 29, 2014 by Yoram Gat
Tomas Mancebo highlighted the proposals for using sortition that were part of the constitutional process at Podemos – a party which emerged this year as a highly popular alternative to the established parties in Spain.
Adam Cronkright wrote about his work with Democracy In Practice in Bolivia applying sortition to student governments.
Together with Tomas, I find the fact that sortition was relatively prominently proposed and discussed (although ultimately rejected) as part of the power structure within Podemos as the most significant sortition-related event of 2014.
Other 2014 sortition-related events of significance were:
- Russell Brand’s anti-electoral message, although originally announced in 2013, continued to resonate and generate largely outraged responses throughout 2014.
- The idea of sortition continued to be actively discussed in French. A new French movie – J’ai pas voté – featured a string of critics of electoralism and sortition advocates. Etienne Chouard and David Van Reybrouck joined forces in April for a conference called “The Tired Democracy”.
- While Chouard’s more militant message seems to be limited to French media, Van Reybrouck’s softer message made it through the language barrier and was featured on the BBC.
- An empirical study by Gilens and Page indicating that median (as measure by income) public opinion has very little effect on policy in the U.S. got significant media attention. Another study, by Norton and Kiatpongsan, showing that there is little association between people’s expectations (and perceptions) about inequality and reality was widely discussed as well.
- Ever eager to find ways to legitimize itself, established power made exploratory maneuvers to exploit the idea of sortition.
Happy new year and best wishes to all!
Filed under: Academia, Elections, Opinion polling, Press, Sortition | 14 Comments »
Posted on December 28, 2014 by Yoram Gat
Some highlights from another online discussion of sortition:
Sortition or selection by lot was used in ancient Greece and is currently used to form juries. My question is whether this should be extended to choose our local councillors and state politicians.
Absolutely! The best possible government is one that has to live with its own decisions, rather than handing decisions down for others to carry out, pay for and suffer the consequences, while the rules themselves are exempt. If all citizens may, at any time, be called upon to administer the state, it becomes a duty of all citizens, rather than the privilege of a few.
Filed under: Sortition | 40 Comments »
Posted on December 26, 2014 by A.R.Teleb
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent remarks on the Senate floor have been viewed half a million times. She decries the coziness of the big banks with government and names names, coming close to Russell Brand and unknowingly making a case for the use of lot.
The questions these sort of sharp, honest protests raise are the following. Must someone as sophisticated as Sen. Warren draw the connection between contributor-driven electioneering and corruption or could one simply attribute it to the acts of an unscrupulous few who break the rules? When does a critic of a system ceased to simply criticize the system’s non-conformity to its own ideals and begin to question the system itself?
Filed under: Applications, Elections, History, Press | Tagged: Elizabeth Warren, Russell Brand, Senate | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 24, 2014 by davidschecter
Does anyone here know of a list of sortition proposals in Spanish?
¿Sabe alguien donde podría encontrar una lista de propuestas sobre el sorteo en español?
Filed under: Sortition | 6 Comments »
Posted on December 22, 2014 by davidschecter
Earlier this year I began a discussion thread about what changes to the executive branch would complement an allotted legislature, since the sortition literature I know of seems to say so little about the executive branch. At the time, Terry Bouricius and I were working on a paper on that subject for an online publication called the Systems Thinking World Journal. The paper was recently published, and is available online at this address – http://stwj.systemswiki.org/?p=1717.
Here is the part of the paper that summarizes the proposal (note: we are assuming that the legislative branch is organized according to Terry’s “multibody sortition” design).
Chief Executive, Department Heads, and Hiring Panels
The Chief Executive. The President, Prime Minister, Governor, Mayor, etc. — would have substantially less power than she or he usually does today. The Chief Executive of a jurisdiction would be primarily an administrator and a policy advisor, not a policy maker – similar to the role of City Manager or City Administrator, used in many U.S. municipalities. The legislative branch would make most policy decisions. The primary tasks of the Chief Executive, and executive branch department heads, would be to manage implementation of policies, to advise about policies from the perspective of implementation, and to propose policy options at the request of the legislative branch. In actual practice the distinction between policy and administration would often be “fuzzy” and contested, but the decisions would be made based on the principle of separating policy from administration.
The Chief Executive would have no power to veto legislation, or to enact “quasi-legislation” (as Presidents do in the U.S. through executive orders, for example). In the same way, department heads could not make policy by unilaterally writing regulations – the legislative branch would be the final decision-maker, unless this power was expressly delegated for a specific purpose and for a defined period, and allowed by the Rules Council. However, the Chief Executive and department heads would play important roles in advising the legislative branch about legislation, and in making proposals for legislation or regulations at the request of the legislative branch.
While Chief Executives and department heads could be removed from office at any time (as described below), there would be no need for term limits. Good executives might serve for decades.
Filed under: Press, Proposals, Sortition | 52 Comments »
Posted on December 21, 2014 by A.R.Teleb
In a Huffington Post article a few days ago, Martin Wilding introduced the public to the idea of allotted panels and assemblies in a scheme somewhat similar to that of Terry Bouricius. He addressed the typical objections to sortition and urged people to organize local meetups to discuss the idea.
Wilding calls for local Community Assemblies consisting of deliberative Forums and voting Plebiscaries, a judicial Advocacy, and a Citizen’s Advice Bureau–mostly selected by lot I believe.
What if you could vote to exchange your right to vote for an equal opportunity to participate directly in government? How about if that meant an end to the political parties of which the data suggests you’re unlikely to be a member and the career politicians in whom opinion polls suggest you have no trust?
The status quo is not sacrosanct. The rules by which we are governed are not set in stone. If you feel your representatives don’t, in fact, represent you, you have the means to change the system that keeps them in business.
Or you could just carry on voting for the least unappealing option and hope that somehow things will change of their own accord.
There were a few comments on the comment thread of the article. I haven’t seen if there have been any responses elsewhere online. This could be a good place to discuss the scheme suggested and the article’s reception.
Filed under: Action, Initiatives, Sortition | Tagged: UK, Wilding | 4 Comments »