Hennig: Citizens’ Assemblies and the next democratic revolution

Brett Hennig writes in the New Internationalist magazine:

Is this the beginning of another winter of discontent? The Extinction Rebellion that hit London in the weeks around 17 November might be the spark that lights the tinder box of our democratic malaise. Thousands of people blockaded bridges, disrupted traffic, and engaged in non-violent acts of civil disobedience to demand the UK government truthfully address climate change, and convene a national citizens’ assembly to create ‘a democracy fit for purpose’.

Meanwhile, across the channel, the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (Yellow Vests) protestors have grabbed enough attention – perhaps by causing enough havoc – to get an invitation to meet the French Prime Minister. Their demands? Initially that the government address the rising cost of living (specifically a rise in fuel tax), but the protest has morphed into a broad movement that has, according to several reports, also demanded ‘the creation of a citizens’ assembly to replace the [French] Senate’ or ‘the creation of a citizens assembly to put forward demands that would then be submitted to referendum’, among many other disparate propositions.

Whatever the diverse causes of, and messages from, these two very different protests, it appears that the demand for a citizens’ assembly is crossing cultural barriers and being promoted as the preferred democratic tool of a new generation of activists.

3 Responses

  1. it appears that the demand for a citizens’ assembly is crossing cultural barriers and being promoted as the preferred democratic tool of a new generation of activists.

    Given that one group of activists is protesting against climate change and the other is protesting against attempts to halt climate change, it strikes me that the sortition movement could do without their endorsement.

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  2. Would the “sortition movement” survive without Sutherland selflessly and tirelessly guiding it with an endless stream of regurgitated establishment talking points?

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  3. […] Late in the year, sortition was on the agenda of two mass-action movements: UK’s Extinction Rebellion and France’s Gilets Jaunes. […]

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