2012 review – sortition-related events

There were 100 posts on Equality-by-Lot in 2012. Reviewing those posts, here is what appears to me most noteworthy.

The most notable sortition-related news of the year was the petering out of the 2011 protest movement in the West (Occupy/OWS/Indignados). While in several Arab countries the 2011 protests (“The Arab Spring”) led to significant changes in government structure, in the West the protest movements seem to have dissipated without having a noticeable impact on governmental institutions, power distribution or policy.

A fundamental reason for the failure of the Western protest movement is that in contrast to the Arab movement the Western protesters lacked a clear agenda of institutional reform. The agenda of the Arab protest movement was aimed explicitly at dismantling the existing power structure and setting up a structure that was generally modeled after the Western electoral model. The Western protest on the other hand did not offer an agenda for institutional reform. Having not presented an agenda for reform, it is hardly surprising that no reform took place.

What the protest movement lacked is a proposal to move away from an electoral system toward a sortition-based system.

On the positive side, going over the posts of the past year I was struck by how many different sortition advocates have appeared (or, to be more accurate, have become known to me) during the year, including a few semi-high profile figures:

Ètienne Chouard (and here, here, and here), Lawrence Lessig, David Chaum, Jacques Rancière, Clive Aslet, Jim Gilliam, Loïc Blondiaux, and Andrew Dobson and other readers of the Guardian.

Happy New Year, and best wishes for 2013.