2014 review – sortition-related events

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!