The Case for Abolishing Elections

Just in advance of Election Day here in the USA, Boston Review has published my article on why getting a real democracy requires that we replace elections with lotteries, career politicians with everyday citizens. Grateful to Terry Bouricius, Brett Hennig, and Adam Cronkright for allowing me to interview them for this piece.

In the ancient world, lot meant “destiny.” The Athenians believed that it was the fate of selected citizens to serve. Views on providence have changed, but whether we channel the will of the gods or merely our own earthly dreams, democracy by lottery would empower us to combat oligarchy, give voice to the multitude, and put ordinary citizens in the room where decisions are made. The question is not whether American democracy will die, but whether it will be instituted for the first time.

Invitation to The Similitude

Hello, Kleroterians! Nick Coccoma here from Boston, USA. I’ve been a follower of the blog and member of the sortition movement for several years now, after I discovered the theory and practice in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election. In the years since, I’ve been a part of The Sortition Foundation and Democracy Without Elections, and published an article on sortition a couple of years ago for the journal New Politics.

Last February I launched my own Substack newsletter, The Similitude, where I cover politics, culture, and religion. I’ve written several posts on sortition, including a recent one entitled “Real Democracy Now: How Americans Can Win Self-Government.” It makes the case for sortition and features original interviews with our own Brett Hennig, Terry Bouricius, and Adam Cronkright. In your kindness, consider subscribing to the newsletter and sharing it in your circles as I seek more readers. I’d love to have the Kleroterians join the conversation. Many thanks for your ongoing work to bring about real democracy in our time!

The Jury of the Whole

In my latest post on the legislative branch, I look at what happens after a set of concrete proposals are made and published. This is the most transformative aspect of the proposal-jury model. It engages every aspect of a polity, from intellectual and business elites, to the news media, to ordinary citizens. And it is the closest that any large, modern society can come to experiencing direct democracy.

Kill The Assembly

In the first post of my series on the legislative, I discuss what is wrong with the general assembly (spoiler alert: everything). Nevertheless, in the history of the assembly there are the seeds of new growth. We can get back to a more honest, more productive assembly if we take it apart, honor its historical motivation, and rebuild it with some modern innovations.

Sortition Foundation: a new campaign for government by sortition

Last week a new campaign was launched to demand government by sortition.

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Its aim is to promote sortition and build a movement demanding the replacement of elections with sortition.

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To support or promote it, visit http://www.sortitionfoundation.org/, like it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SortitionFoundation or follow it on Twitter @SortitionNow

For more information, or to give feedback or offer to help, please use
the contact page: http://www.sortitionfoundation.org/contact

[Editor’s note: this post was modified after posting as the group changed its name]

The Blind Break, the Invisible Hand and the Wisdom of Crowds: The political potential of sortition

[Update: Commenting was accidentally initially off, enabled now.]

Draft paper:

Abstract: Following (Waldron, 2013), this paper draws a distinction between ‘social’ and ‘political’ variants of sortition, focusing principally on the latter. The two leading theories – the ‘blind break’ and the ‘invisible hand’ of descriptive representation – rely on different principles, focus on different levels of analysis (individual and collective) and have little in common. The attempt by epistemic democrats to bridge the gap via small-group face-to-face deliberation fails on account of the lack of concern for statistical representativity and the lack of distinction between the different roles of advocacy and judgment (proposing and disposing) in political decision-making, sortition only being relevant to the latter function.

This is derived from the paper that I presented at the recent IPSA Montreal conference, where I was encouraged to write it up and submit to a journal. I’d really appreciate comments and criticisms via this forum. Here’s the full draft (click the download button on the right).

Discussions of sortition in German?

Does anyone know of organizations, publications or websites that discuss sortitional selection of legislatures in German?

List of goods & services from Common Lot Productions

There is a new list of goods and services from Common Lot Productions:

Overview of Products and Services

Interest in the use of sortition continues to grow. We welcome contributors and collaborators.