Action ideas

In the discussion following my presentation in the January DWE meeting, one of the participants suggested that a list of actions and activities that sortition activists can engage in in order to promote idea of sortition would be useful. Here is my attempt at a first draft. The possible actions and activities are categorized by the circle of action (internal, personal circle, wider circles). In addition there is a category of activities that are suitable for coordinated action. In some cases it may be worth expanding on the bullet items and giving some details, but I wanted to keep the list brief and manageable, so I intend to do this separately.

Please contribute your ideas in the comments. Hopefully we can create an improved, richer list in future versions.

Changing personal habits of thought and expression

  • Breaking the habit of thinking and referring to countries with elections-based political systems as “democratic” (e.g., “the Western democracies”)
  • Awareness of the oppressive outcomes of the elections-based system
  • Thinking and talking about those outcomes as inherent to the elections-based system, rather than aberrations
  • Rejecting the standard electoralist “fixes” (campaign finance reforms, term limits, the popular initiative process, proportional representation, etc.)

Action within the personal circle

  • Advocating sortition to family, friends and acquaintances
  • Sortition merchandise gifting

Action within wider circles

  • Advocating sortition on social media and blogs
  • Writing letters to the editor
  • Writing letters to public figures
  • Submitting articles about sortition to suitable academic and popular publications

Coordinated action of activist groups

  • Participating in and organizing activist meetings
  • Sortition merchandise design and sharing
  • Participating in and organizing letter writing campaigns
  • Leafleting

4 Responses

  1. My suggestions:

    – Provide a website with easy-to-understand information on sortition in every country, in every language. Must contain at least the most important national and wordwide news on sortition, in the form of articles, podcasts and videos. Subdivision in themes and countries. My site for the Netherlands: (‘tegen verkiezingen’ means ‘against elections’)

    – On my website, I have launched a ‘campaign against elections’. How does this work? In the Netherlands, it’s legal to write something on your voting ballot, that is, apart from marking a candidate. The voting ballot remains valid, as long as you don’t put your name on the ballot, or somehow make your vote unclear. The campaign page on my site has a link to the page on the website of the Dutch Electoral Board, where the rules are confirmed. Not many people know about this particular rule; most people think it renders your vote invalid if you write anything on your ballot paper. So on your ballot paper, you can write (“vote against elections”) — referring to the page of the vote against elections campaign — and still cast a valid vote if you wish to do so. Surprisingly, in my country it is also legal to make a photo of ones ballot paper, that can be used for social media. Also, on the campaign page you can download a print-ready ‘vote against elections’ pdf in A2 format, and have it printed by a printing company and delivered to your home: 50 posters for about EUR 87. Those who want to help draw attention to the vote against elections campaign, can put up posters on local public billboards. Instructions for making the glue and how to put on posters on billboards are included on the page.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First one detail: in my previous post I mentioned A2 size posters; I meant A1. The cost of about 90 euros still applies. Bigger posters are more expensive; ordering more posters makes them less expensive a piece.

    There’s one other thing I forgot to mention. I noticed in my site statistics, that I get lot of traffic between 12 PM and 6 AM, Central European Time — in the middels night. Traffic is almost as high as during the day. I wondered where this all came from, and my best guess was: from the United States, where it’s evening hours then.

    But then: why would Americans (and Canadians, and maybe visitors based in Latin America) be interested in a Dutch website? Keith Sutherland recently mentioned that EqualityByLot isn’t doing that well in the Google search engine; I think page 9 or something, searching for ‘sortition’. The Dutch language has no similar word for sortition; we just use ‘loting’ (lottery), but that word is used for any kind of lottery, so searching for ‘loting’, Dutch websites/articles on sortition do not surface well in Google. However, to my surprise I just discovered that if I search for ‘sortition’, my site shows up on page 1, position 8. It’s the page “Sortition News from the Netherlands”,
    with selected sortition news from my country, targeted to those that do not master the Dutch language. Although my country is small in both surface and population, the high score in Google, and maybe that a lot of sources/links are in English (articles, podcasts, videos) might explain the relative popularity of my site.

    This also tells me that there’s a ‘market’ for an American website on sortition that’s different from what EqualityByLot has to offer. EBL is absolutely great for people like me (Thanks Yoram! Thank you all contributors!), but probably less so for the large majority of citizens. My website, currentlhy has no space for blogs and comments, but aims lower the threshold for getting informed on sortition. If you visit the homepage (please ignore the bad layout and design) you’ll see what I mean; you do not need to understand Dutch to get the picture. And I’ve got lots of ideas and plans to improve the site.

    One more thing on EBL: if possible in WordPress (my site is a Drupal-based website), maybe consider manipulating the title tag of the homepage (i.e. what you see when you bookmark it) in such a way that the word Sortition is the first word. Currently, it’s the last word, and that probably doesn’t help form a SEO point of view.


  3. […] a previous post I listed some proposals for actions that activists can take to promote the idea of sortition. In […]


  4. We could suggest Michael Moore to make a movie about sortition. He’s a great storyteller. But does he know about sortition? And is he in favor of it? Would he see commercial potential in such a movie?

    Liked by 1 person

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