Lille en comme’un

Could an anarchist organization run a city? The words seem to contradict each other: “anarchist”, “organization” and “run”. The anarchist movement generally presupposes a total absence of authority. But by anarchy I mean a much softer idea: the impermanence of a drawn authority. Municipalism and participatory lists partly implement this idea at the level of the city, and at the commune of Saillans a participatory list uses the drawing of lots on a regular basis. Along that same line of thought, I created this week a group whose name is “Lille en comme’un 2020” aiming to present a list in the next municipal elections of Lille. This name derives from “Barcelona en comu” and also comes from a discussion we had in a meeting of the Listes Participatives Paris. My objective: to participate in the genesis and success of such a list in Lille.


An image illustrating Lille en comme’un 2020. The shape of Lille and inside an enso.

Our meetings will have one thing in common, we will designate with a die the people who will moderate our meetings. One moderates by giving the floor to people who raise their hands, by controlling speaking time, but also by asking the quiet ones for their opinion. Before the appointment, we all agree on a maximum term of office – which can be as short as 20 minutes. Someone then casts a die and the n-th person to their left will moderate – n being the number on the die. At the end of his or her term or if the moderator resigns earlier, he or she rolls the die again to appoint a new moderator. So the power turns.

We have already tried this three times in the meetings of the Paris participative lists. And at our first meeting for Lille en Comme’un that took place last Friday. It worked well (we talked for 4 hours using this method) and this modus operandi makes it possible to avoid long speeches and capture of power in the meeting. This method is not perfect and I was able to observe that one problem at our last meeting in Paris was the absence of a secretary to write a report.

One possible solution that we could test in Lille is for the person who moderates to appoint a secretary at the beginning of his mandate. It is optional to change the person for this function after each moderator’s mandate so that stability and professionalism are brought to the meeting.

Thank you for reading! And I look forward to meeting you in person at Lille en comme’un 2020.

P.S: This post comes from my blog on sortition. Don’t hesitate to pay a visit!

4 Responses

  1. >One moderates by . . . asking the quiet ones for their opinion.

    Of course the really quiet ones are the ones who don’t turn up for the meeting (the overwhelming majority of the demos). In which case, what is the democratic legitimacy of the whole venture? As Andre pointed out recently, elites come in a variety of different disguises, one of which is the role of the activists. I’m reminded of the Guy Fawkes masks in the anarchist movie V for Vendetta.

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  2. You are always there to start commenting so thank you Keith!

    “qyuet are the ones who don’t turn up”. That is why at the end of our second meeting we decided to go a seek them, I mean knock at their door literally.

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  3. Romain, knocking on a few doors does not constitute scientific random sampling and will generate an entirely unrepresentative body, so what is the point of this enterprise (other than empowering the “social voice” of activists, as Andre puts it)?

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  4. The aim would be to bring new and impermanent heads to politics (only one mandate).

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