No equality for women without sortition

The essay below was written at the suggestion of Campbell Wallace. It is meant as an attempt to recruit feminists to the cause of sortition. As an aside, it is worth mentioning, I think, that while, of course, men could be feminists, and some are, it is still somewhat embarrassing that all of the regular writers on Equality-by-Lot are men (I believe).

Almost 100 years ago, as the suffragist struggle in the US was approaching its successful culmination with the 19th Amendment, the feminist-anarchist activist Emma Goldman wrote her essay “Woman Suffrage”. It opens so:

We boast of the age of advancement, of science, and progress. Is it not strange, then, that we still believe in fetich [sic] 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 deity. Woe to the heretic who dare question that divinity!

And later:

There is no reason whatever to assume that woman, in her climb to emancipation, has been, or will be, helped by the ballot.

Electoral fetish

The veracity of Goldman’s opening statements has not diminished by the passage of time. Indeed, “electoral fetish” is a two-word description of most of the political discourse of the last 100 years, both public and academic. As for Goldman’s last assertion, it may be considered somewhat extreme, but what is clear is that 100 years of women’s suffrage have not brought women anywhere near equality with men. If attaining suffrage was a tool of emancipation (rather than merely the milestone it surely was), then it is evident that this tool was not nearly as powerful as its most ardent promoters believed it would be1.
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