A Greek proposal for ‘a parliament of the citizens’

Marta Soler writes about demonstrations in Greece:

Today (Sunday, the twelfth day of the demonstrations) there is to be a huge demonstation in Syntagma; perhaps a million people are expected. There are calls out for simultaneous demonstrations in European capitals, in Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Berlin… But the Greek one will be the biggest. A friend – a teacher – and his wife plan specially to come from Argos (and there will be a large presence from outside Athens). The sentiment for change – and against the European Union/government – is fierce, increasing in waves.

There is no obvious leadership for this revolution. The teacher along with other intellectuals, lawyers and some former government officials is proposing a constitutional change, a fourth body, a parliament of the citizens, to meet yearly (selected by lot, so as to be not under the influence of the parties). This is an old institution, described initially by Aristotle (in the Constitution of Athens). In it, the parliamentary leader would have to explain how his policies are consistent with the promises of his campaign and benefit the people, achieve a common good. If the government has become too corrupt (as is now particularly the case), the leader and other officials can be subjected to a censure, required not to seek an additional term, and even brought to trial. My guess from listening to the discussion in Syntagma is that this would be a popular suggestion.

2 Responses

  1. Another of those only-partial applications of real democracy will end up in the same trashcans of history as have all the others. If democracy is right for the US House of “Representatives,” say, then why is plutocracy instead of democracy right for the Senate too? And why should democracy not also prevail for the Executive and Judicial Branches too? Shouldn’t the President, Vice-President, and and albeit lawyerly federal judges also be representative OF We-the-People too? Anything less than “Election” = Lottery is doomed doomed doomed.


  2. > President, Vice-President

    Selection-by-lot works well for decision-making bodies large enough for the law of large numbers to assure representativity. A single person cannot be representative, no matter how he or she is selected. It is better to abolish such monarchical positions.


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