“Looking at Democracy” contest overlooks sortition

The “Looking at Democracy” contest chose its winners last week. You can view them by clicking here
Unfortunately none of my three video entries promoting sortition (http://bit.ly/12cm9KWhttp://bit.ly/107tsEPhttp://bit.ly/10kD782) were chosen. It seems the judges steered away from any proposals for fundamental or structural change. 
My plans now are to continue on the journey I started in the mid-1980’s when I wrote The Common Lot as a novel (as yet unpublished) with the premise of what it would be like to have a sortitionally-chosen legislative jury of ordinary citizens. Since then I’ve written other versions and two screenplays. I will focus now on producing one of those scripts.
I dearly want to instigate a broad review of what makes a democracy real. Should any of you want to join in the pursuit of producing or supporting my feature film, please contact me.
In the meantime, my 10,000 word essay, “Why Elections Are the Problem and How to Make Democracy Real” is available on Amazon Kindle. It usually sells for $2.99 but, until midnight EDT (0400 GMT), Monday, 24 June it is available for free. Click here to download the essay for free.  [I can also send a PDF. For that, contact me directly.]


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Towards a Two-Legged Democracy: A Trilogy

These three, stylistically different, 3-minute shorts were created for the Looking at Democracy contest.

Towards a Two-Legged Democracy

Making Democracy Real – The argument for legislative juries

Making Democracy Reality

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Vote for sortition at the Looking at Democracy contest

Please vote for one of my entries to the Looking at Democracy contest Click to see:

Towards a Two-Legged Democracy

Making Democracy Real – The argument for legislative juries

Making Democracy Reality

Each is near the 3-minute maximum allowed by the contest. They are stylistically different but thematically the same.

Each one points out that, in a true democracy, balloting is used primarily for policy matters. That is what I am asking you to do in this instance … to vote for what a true democracy is.

But they also explain that, in a true democracy, sortition (as used to select candidates for jury duty) is the method to select legislators.

I hope you enjoy the presentations. Please vote for your favorite.

P.S. Help put this idea on the national agenda by forwarding to a friend, posting on Facebook and Tweeting.

To friends outside the U.S. — This applies to all purported democracies. Please vote also!

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Raising funds to enter the “Looking at Democracy” contest

I am trying to raise $1,000 (by 28 April) to make a short video to enter MacArthur Foundation”s ” Looking At Democracy” contest.
Thank you.

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Auctioning ‘script to change history’

Sometimes it takes a little chutzpah to move things along.

I am auctioning on Ebay my hand-annotated edited print-out of The Common Lot Fights for Random.

short URL is http://alturl.com/ysegi

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Why Elections are the Problem and How to Make Democracy Real

I hope you will purchase my just-published essay “Why Elections are the Problem and How to Make Democracy Real”. Or cut & paste: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0081H7JVC

The essay begins with a short review of how and why elections inherently produce legislatures which are not representative of the citizenry. We then look at the way democracy was practiced originally in ancient Greece and what influence that had on the development of today’s hybrid — ‘representative democracy.’

It turns out that we are limping along on only one leg of a true democracy — the electoral one. We have relegated the other leg — sortition, random selection — only to call citizens to jury duty. The essay ends by presenting a contemporary option and providing existing examples of ‘how to make democracy real’.

To learn more and to purchase the essay, click on the title above or click here.

Journeying towards democracy,

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Wikimania proposal: Why Elections Are The Problem and How to Make Democracy Real

For those of you who use Wikipedia, notice that ‘Wikimania’ will be in Washington 12-15 July.
I have just proposed a presentation: “Why Elections Are the Problem and How To Make Democracy Real”.
IF YOU ARE GOING or KNOW ANYONE WHO IS GOING please go or ask others to go … to http://wikimania2012.wikimedia.org/wiki/Submissions/Why_Elections_Are_The_Problem_And_How_to_Make_Democracy_Real
in order to encourage acceptance of this submission.

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Right-wing conservative proposal to use sortition

Coming from the right-wing in Texas, interesting to see they suggest using sortition to select a ‘super grand jury’ for the sake of, possibly, resisting federal enforcement of what any citizen might want to declare as unconstitutional.


In the lecture by Étienne Chouard, he makes much of the fact that Athenians distrusted each other and therefore had several ‘controls’ before, during and after final decisions made in the Assembly. I have found myself sometimes agreeing with inquiries that say “Well, you must believe in the essential goodness of human nature if you trust just anyone to deliberate upon policy issues.”

This proposal from the Tenth Amendment Commission could be a sensible citizen control. I’m glad to see sortition considered by the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ folks.

[The Tenth Amendment in its entirety is: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”]

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One of the concerns expressed about a legislature that is “BY” the people is that ‘the people’ would easily be corrupted and bribed.
I don’t think the statistics have changed that much since this 2007 article.

Using sortition to select a “Citizen House” would — even without the stronger, because non-partisan, Ethics Committee that would also result — insure diminished likelihood of legislative criminality.

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One of the impe…

One of the impediments to instituting sortitional selection is, I believe, the *dispassionate* nature of the proposal.  It is such a rational and egalitarian idea that I don’t see it igniting the fire of emotional conviction that seems to accompany major social change.

Ètienne Chouard’s lecture “Sortition as a sustainable protection against oligarchy” changes my opinion about that.  See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsnNpcJtwoo

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