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!

19 Responses

  1. In Fance there is also an interresting movement which is growing slowly. It as called m6r(www.m6r.fr) “Mouvement pour une 6ème république”. It is a Jean-Luc Melenchon initiative. Actualy sortition is in discussion to form a constituent assembly.


  2. MP,

    Very interesting. Could you elaborate and maybe translate some of the material? Who is Melenchon? What is the relation to Chouard if any? Any chance we could have some sort of an online sortitionist conference to meet the people involved?


  3. Might I suggest we limit the pool to sortition proposals, rather than general left-leaning papers and rants. This would eliminate Gilens and Brand, and would suggest that Podemos was a weak candidate. My own preference would be for Vernon Bogdanor in the Sunday Times, or David van Reybrook on the BBC.


  4. Yoram,

    Thank you for this end of the year update. I found it very interesting and even wanted more, if there is more.

    Best Wishes for the New Year,

    Arthur D. Robbins


  5. Thanks, Arthur.

    The rest is in the archives for this year, I guess. Whenever I come across material that I consider relevant to sortition I make sure to post it. I encourage you (and all the readers of this blog) to do the same.


  6. I thought the much improved Wikipedia article on Sortition deserved mention: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition. It could use further improvement if someone out there with more expertise than me has the time? And while you are at it, please also update the pathetic entry on Rational Wiki: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Demarchy


  7. I’d maybe propose the sortition proposal made by the youth parliament of Francophone Belgium (but it was in 2013…)! https://equalitybylot.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/the-youth-parliament-of-belgium-proposes-sortition-based-government/


  8. Recent article in Spanish on Animal Politico (1M like on fb) about sortition! good news! http://www.animalpolitico.com/blogueros-la-cuadratura-del-circulo/2014/12/29/la-vida-es-una-tombola/


  9. Lots of newspapers have written about sortition in France this year:
    Mediapart (independant online newspaper and blogs)
    Courrier des maires (mayors medias)
    Arrêt sur images
    Huffington Post Québec
    Uzbek Et Rica
    Le Monde (http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2014/10/14/inutile-de-dissolution-de-l-assemblee_4506119_3232.html?xtmc=tirage_au_sort_democratie&xtcr=2 and http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2014/08/28/il-faut-revoir-les-regles-du-metier-politique_4478339_3232.html?xtmc=tirage_au_sort_democratie&xtcr=5 )


  10. Thanks for the links, ee. As I wrote, it appears that in the French-speaking world sortition is much closer to become an accepted part of public discourse than in the English-speaking world.

    Periodic updates about sortition-related events in the French-speaking world would be much appreciated as well as translations of notable relevant material.


  11. I’ll try to be more active!
    PS: could you change the vid on the article about the french documentary “J’ai pas voté” to add this vid instead of the other

    this one is directly subtitled in English, easier to watch and be shared


  12. Great. Changed the link.


  13. […] previous years’ summaries see: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, […]


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