Emma Goldman on suffrage

In 1911, Emma Goldman wrote the essay Woman Suffrage. It opens as follows:

WE BOAST of the age of advancement, of science, and progress. Is it not strange, then, that we still believe in fetich worship? True, our fetiches have different form and substance, yet in their power over the human mind they are still as disastrous as were those of old.

Our modern fetich is universal suffrage. Those who have not yet achieved that goal fight bloody revolutions to obtain it, and those who have enjoyed its reign bring heavy sacrifice to the altar of this omnipotent diety. Woe to the heretic who dare question that divinity!

Toward the end of the essay, Goldman writes:

History may be a compilation of lies; nevertheless, it contains a few truths, and they are the only guide we have for the future. The history of the political activities of men proves that they have given him absolutely nothing that he could not have achieved in a more direct, less costly, and more lasting manner. As a matter of fact, every inch of ground he has gained has been through a constant fight, a ceaseless struggle for self-assertion, and not through suffrage. There is no reason whatever to assume that woman, in her climb to emancipation, has been, or will be, helped by the ballot.

We the Citizens

A story in the Irish University Observer leads to an organization called “We the People“. The organization is apparently led by a group of politicians and academics.

The organization held a meeting of randomly selected people (“citizen’s assembly”) over a weekend in which various policy issues were discussed. The general structure seems very similar to that of a Fishkin DP – a limited, pre-defined scope; a term measured in days; expert opinion presented; small group discussions alternating with large group sessions.

The organization released a report in December. It describes the process as follows:

We the Citizens was a pilot project to test whether a more participatory form of democracy could work in Ireland. The model tested was a Citizens’ Assembly, which is a form of deliberative democracy.
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