Why Executive Power Matters

It’s a bit surprising that this sortition blog hasn’t ventured much into executive power.  Most of the time it’s focused on either legislative power or some other non-executive power.

Not for nothing did one example from Paul Lucardie’s book on radical democratic theory (Democratic Extremism), the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, decide a century ago to appoint a truly revolutionary provisional government to “get things done”: the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom).

That said, sortition today could be applied to traditional cabinets. It could be applied to multiple cabinets in some proposals (state, social, economic, industrial). It could even be applied to the topmost consultative bodies headed by individual ministers, collegia.

Sortition and stronger executive power?

Can sortition facilitate stronger executive power?  I think it can, and in a way that results in more effective implementation of left public policymaking.

The traditional Marxist literature refers to the combination of legislative and executive power as a means of facilitating worker-class rule or broader popular rule, yet has not taken into account a key development in executive power itself in the 20th century: the war cabinet.

It is this particular form of government that poses strategic questions of power, not traditional legislatures, not town hall meetings, and not strike committees.  Its contemporary application is diverse, from the early and wartime Soviet governments, to the early government of the People’s Republic of China, to the first seventeen years of Cuba’s government after the Cuban Revolution, to Churchill’s wartime cabinet.

The initial approach to all this government stuff is this: redefine the relationship between (a) public policymaking, (b) legislative power, (c) governmental executive power, (d), ceremonial and other prerogative power, (e) civil administration, and (f) “legislating from the bench” (judicial review regarding constitutional law) on the basis of random sortition.  Drilling down, I will focus on the combination of (b), (c), (d), and at least part of (f) in either one unified organ or parallel organs.

(For the purposes of this discussion, I’ve broken down the conventional view of “executive power” into its three functional components: (c), (d), and (e).)
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Party policies?

Without political programs there are no political movements.

I’m putting this very mildly with this article (though I may not be as mild with my comments), but this is a different spin on the Exclusions post by Yoram Gat. Over there, I suggested that policy proposals be the exclusive domain of expert bodies filled by random selection, with the general body being left to vote up or down on each line of every policy proposal. In other words, I put forward stratified sampling.
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