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March 2, 2023 68 mins

Instead of electing politicians to represent us…what if we just represented ourselves? Peer to peer. Neighbor to neighbor. Baratunde talks with Claudia Chwalisz about citizens’ assemblies—groups randomly-selected by lottery that are shifting political and legislative power into the hands of everyday people. Claudia is one of the world’s leading voices on citizens’ assemblies and founder and CEO of DemocracyNext, an organization working to build new institutions for the next democratic paradigm.

 

SHOW ACTIONS

Internally Reflect - Imagine life with citizen assemblies

Our reflection prompt is inspired by the DemocracyNext launch event, which you can view on YouTube. Imagine it’s 10 years in the future, and we’ve established new civic rituals. Election Day is out and Sortition Day – the day that people selected by lottery are assigned to various citizen assemblies – is in. What might it feel like to serve in one of these well-facilitated and compensated assemblies with your neighbors? Imagine what it would be like to read media coverage of the deliberations that focus on a community’s attempt at finding common ground, rather than who made the most outlandish statements. What headlines do you see? How do politics feel in this future?

Become Informed - Learn from global citizen assembly experiments

To learn more about citizen assemblies, read the New Yorker essay by Yale political science professor Hélène Landemore. For a deeper dive, read her book, Open Democracy. To see a citizen’s assembly in action, check out the Irish Citizens' Assembly or the permanent citizens' assembly in Paris. Also check out Claudia’s organization, DemocracyNext.

Publicly Participate - Get involved with DemocracyNext and direct democracy powered by everyday people

Subscribe to the DemocracyNext newsletter - they'll be launching a global community of enthusiasts wanting to learn more and help build this next democratic paradigm.

And if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and start practicing democracy this way with others, look to the non-profit org Democracy Without Elections for resources to get started locally. 

 

SHOW NOTES 

Check out our episode from season 2 with writer and organizer Astra Taylor for more on this idea of citizen assemblies as envisioned by the Greeks.

Find How To Citizen on Instagram or visit howtocitizen.com to join our mailing list and find ways to citizen besides listening to this podcast! 

Please show your support for the show by reviewing and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords and helps others like you find the show!

How To Citizen is hosted by Baratunde Thurston. He’s also host and executive producer of the PBS series, America Outdoors as well as a founding partner and writer at Puck. You can find him all over the internet

 

CREDITS

How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts and Rowhome Productions. Our Executive Producers are Baratunde Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart. Allie Graham is our Lead Producer and Danya AbdelHameid is our Associate Producer. Alex Lewis is our Managing Producer. John Myers is our Executive Editor and Mix Engineer. Original Music by Andrew Eapen and Blue Dot Sessions. Our Audience Engagement Fellows are Jasmine Lewis and Gabby Rodriguez. Special thanks to Joelle Smith from iHeartRadio and Layla Bina. 

Additional thanks to our live audience voices Robert B., Sara H., Liza W, and Nick C.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
I really feel personally a sense of disillusionment with how
things work. But I also feel like we cannot give
up hope that things could be different, because it's in
that uncertainty around hope that motivates us into action and
to say that, you know, we are all capable of
making some changes, to actually do things differently, to change
the way things work. We're not limited to trying to

(00:24):
save this broken system that we have. We really could
be working towards something else. Welcome to How to Citizen
with Baritune Day, a podcast that reimagine citizen as a verb,
not a legal status. This season is all about how
we practice democracy, what can we get rid of, what
can we invent, and how do we change the culture

(00:46):
of democracy itself. We're leaving the theoretical clouds and hit
in the ground with inspiring examples of people and institutions
that are showing us new ways to govern ourselves. In
the US, we have this constitutional right to petition the
government to seek redress for our grievances, and you know,

(01:10):
we have mad grievances, But what do we really get
to do with them? We can email, call, or fax
our representatives. We can attend a local meeting make a
ninety second statement. We can march through the streets, shout
outside people's homes, tag lawmakers, and scathing posts on social media.
We do these things hoping to affect the folks who

(01:30):
make and enforce policies, with the threat of throwing them
out of office if they don't. And then we try
it all over again and again and again. But what
if there was more than petitioning, protesting and voting yes
or no on a person. What if we could influence
the policy making process without becoming a billionaire first and

(01:52):
just buying the policymaking process. I've got great news. We can.
We can upgrade our democratic systems to include our voices
in ways that stretch our standard definition of civic participation
and of politics. I first met Claudia Kalisch in twenty

(02:14):
twenty two. A friend was advising her as she built
out this new organization called Democracy Next or dem next
for short. For years, Claudia has been studying, writing about,
and leading experiments at the forefront of democratic innovation, basically
giving us new ways to participate in self governance. Before
starting dem Next, she was at the Organization for Economic

(02:36):
Cooperation and Development OECD for short, where she literally worked
on the quote unquote future of democracy. During that time,
she tracked hundreds of examples of citizen assemblies, which bring
together a broadly representative bunch of people selected by lottery
to decide how we should live together. Now, in our
last episode, we heard from n. S U Fat, we're

(03:00):
CEO of the New Georgia Project, in say emphasize the
value of engaging community and conversation so they could better
use elections to exercise their power. Now well, in say
largely focused on driving people to vote for candidates who
decide our policies. Claudia is driving citizens toward each other
to help us decide those policies for ourselves. After the break,

(03:27):
Claudia Politz takes our participation pillar to the next level. Hello, Hi,
virtun day, really really lovely to see you and well
virtually this time. But it was good to see you
in Paris recently, Yes, it was. Are you in Paris
right now? I am? Indeed. How's how's it feel? Um? Dark? Hey? Good? Good?

(03:52):
Not good, but it just Paris also gets dark. That's
that's nice to be I'm just thinking of sunshine and rooftops.
So yeah, let's let's jump into the Since twenty eighteen,
you've been part of this growing movement of people trying
to take this theory out of academia and textbooks and
put it into the real world, a theory called deliberative democracy.

(04:14):
Can you define what deliberative democracy is? What does it
look like? Yeah, I think that's a good starting point
before we get into any examples or anything else as well,
because I think deliberation is one of those words that
we hear sometimes but we don't often take the time
to even define it. So deliberation actually, at its heart
is it's a form of communicating with others with a

(04:35):
spirit of having an open mind, of being willing to
give reasons for why we believe in something, but also
with the spirit of trying to find common ground. So
this theory of deliberative democracy is the premise of democracy
being about deliberation at its heart. And the work that
I've been doing has been about citizens assemblies and citizens
juries and other forms that deliberative democracy has been taking,

(04:58):
which give this a bit more struck. So when I
think about how we describe ourselves in terms of what
our democracy is, the phrase representative democracy comes to mind,
and we think about bodies of representation national assemblies, congresses, senates,
which themselves are deliberative. In the US is the world's
greatest deliberative body. And everything you just describe sounds like

(05:21):
what we are supposedly already up to. Can you tease
out any difference between what we think of as representative
democracy versus what is being called deliberative democracy. So today
what we have come to be calling representative democracy has
been so kind of bound with the idea of elections.
And you know, I think if we go back, actually

(05:43):
and we take a step back from this, you know,
elections have never actually in the longer history of political philosophy,
been considered a form of democracy. Stop stops the elections.
That's like a big news flash to a lot of people.
Can you just say that one more time for the
people in the back and explain that little piece of it. Yeah,

(06:04):
I mean, if we go back to well, go back
to Aristotle, but political philosophers in between, until about one
hundred years ago, the notion of what constituting a body
by elections has been considered a form of constituting an oligarchy,
so meeting, and so I think it's a really important

(06:25):
point that we've sort of only very recently in history
come to associate elections with democracy. And even if we
take a step back to the point in history around
the time of the French and American Revolutions, which is,
I suppose the moment when this modern conception of the
institutions of representative democracy as we think of them today,

(06:46):
we're kind of initiated and then modeled and expanded to
other parts of the world. Since then, if you look
in the Declaration in the US, in the Constitution, if
you look in all sorts of other historical and archival documents,
that term was not used. Those instantians were actually set
up to be intentionally oligarchic, meaning concentrating power in the
hands of the few. And it's only much much later

(07:08):
when suffrage began expanding did the term representative government start
morphing into the term representative democracy. And today we often
just said democracy, that's it. But actually just because we're
using that term doesn't actually necessarily make it democratic. I mean,
I love this context. It reminds me back in season

(07:30):
two of this show. We started that season off with
Astra Taylor, who is a documentarian and historian and a
kind of debt rights activists for liberating people from their debts.
And she studied the history of the term democracy and
the practice as the Greeks helped develop it, and she
shocked us with a similar kind of revelation that elections

(07:53):
were aligarchical and that the Greeks actually conscripted people, you know,
random folks from society. And I joked that it was
sort of jury duty. It was like citizen council duty
and water department duty, and you just got thrown into
the mix, which is one way of making sure you
have a different type of representation. Even the idea that
people who win elections are charismatic and extroverted and thus

(08:16):
not truly representative of the people because it self selects
for a certain type of person. Does that align with
your understanding of the history as well, that this elections themselves,
as you said, have been aligarchic, That this goes back
as far as the Greeks and even the Romans. Yeah, exactly,
I mean this goes far far back. But I would
say that also this idea of democracy as deliberation is

(08:37):
something that also goes far back and is widespread also
in indigenous communities in many non Western cultures, because I
think we also have a tendency to talk a lot
about ancient Greece as though it is somehow the pinnacle
of democracy, and of course there's a lot of inspiration
to be found there too, but it's not the only place. Yeah,
we're going to keep moving. I just want to let
listeners know we'll put a link to that Astra Taylor

(09:00):
episode in the show notes for this, so you can
kind of dive even deeper into her history of what
the Greeks did and didn't do, and what made them nervous,
a lot of things that still plague us to this day. Claudia,
citizens assemblies, you've used the word already. When did you
first learn about this idea of randomly grabbing people from
the public to serve in some participatory, deliberative fashion. Well,

(09:24):
you know, it's been about ten years that I've now
been doing work on deliberative democracy in some way or other,
and I first came across these ideas when reading the
work of David Van Rybrook in his book Against Elections,
and it was a bit of a revelation for me
because I was doing work at the time on populism,
and my research was focused on trying to understand the
extent to which people's disillusionment with politics, with the system,

(09:48):
this feeling of not having a voice or a genuine
say or ability to really shape the decisions affecting your life.
To what extent was this driving this wider trend of populism.
And from that work I became really convinced that this
was one part of it. It's not the only thing,
but if it's a core part of it, then it's
never going to be top down policies that actually gets

(10:08):
to a heart of people feeling like they have agency
and they can be citizens and the way you're using
the term here, and so this led me into exploring
this world of democratic innovation a bit more broadly, looking
at all sorts of different things like crowdsourcing policy and
more participatory ways of involving people. But it was when
I came across this idea of citizens assemblies that it

(10:31):
was like an Aha moment of feeling like this could
get to the heart of some of those underlying drivers
of the problems we have in democracy today, and not
just things that are trying to treat the symptoms of
the problems that we're facing. You mentioned twenty ten and
coming across some of this work, you studied this, and
I want to understand. I know you have these big database,
you created many examples of all kinds of deliberatively democratic

(10:55):
activities across the world. Where were you when you did
this work and why did citizen assemblies of all forms
jump out to you? Yeah? So I was at the OECD,
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is an
international organization of member countries. And while I was there,

(11:15):
I was I set up and then I was leading
the work around the future of Democracy, which actually was
called that at the time. Officially today that just sounds
like a high pressure situation. You're at the OECD leading
up work on the future of democracy. Did you feel
a lot of pressure, because I feel like literally the
world is counting on you. I probably did not think

(11:37):
about it in that way at the time. It was
more just like I was head down in the data collection.
But I mean it is driven overall that work and
the work I'm doing today by a real sense of
urgency of needing to be looking at not just the
analysis of the problems that we have. Obviously that needs
to be the starting point, but I feel like where
we need to put more energy is into thinking about

(11:59):
what are the solution and what are the ways we
could be trying to really do things differently. And that's
why I feel like this world of citizens assemblies has
been so inspiring to me. Maybe, actually, before I continue,
we take a moment to define what is a citizens
assembly actually because I want to give some examples and
talk more in depth than before being able to do that.

(12:19):
So by citizens assemblies, what I'm talking about is when
a government or a public authority convenes a broadly representative
group of people, usually it's somewhere between fifty to one
hundred and fifty people and tasks them with a policy
problem to solve. So one real life example was how
do we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by forty by twenty

(12:40):
thirty in a spirit of social justice, So there's a
problem to be solved. A public body convenes a group
of broadly representative people through a process of a lottery,
but also ensuring that that group of people is broadly
representative of the wide republic. So the technical term for
that is stratification. It's what polling companies do when they

(13:01):
do polls to try and get a representative sample. So
there's a lottery with stratification to bring together a group
of people that anybody looking at them can say, there's
someone like me that's part of this. And then these
people have the time and the resources to be able
to grapple with the complexity of that issue. So the
issue that I just named nine months of deliberation to

(13:23):
be able to listen to experts, listen to stakeholders, get information,
to listen to one another, and then do that hard
work of finding common ground on a shared set of
policy proposals. Now those proposals can take the shape of
proposed legislation, proposed regulation, topics for a referendum, kind of
general public policies. And so this is what I'm talking

(13:45):
about when I talk about a citizens assembly, This sort
of process with a large group of people relatively large
but small enough to be broadly representative of a public,
who have the time and resources over a long period
of time to really grapple with an issue. Do these
people get paid just mentioned nine months? This is now
a job. How do you make sure people can afford
to participate in something like this? Yes, people get paid

(14:08):
most of the time, So I don't want to generalize
because actually the data and the OCD database shows in
detail if you want to look into it, that it's
not always the case. In some countries there's more of
especially at the local level, more of an attempt to
make this a civic and voluntary process. So there's a
bit of a debate in the field, but most of
the time people get paid. Childcare is provided if it's

(14:29):
in person, Transport costs are covered if it's online, there's
computers or technical support provided if needed. You know, it's
important to actually break down those barriers to participation, and
I think part of what has made citizens Assembly so
inspiring as well is that there has been this concerted
effort in the field to really create the conditions for
participation to be possible. Because sometimes we say that people

(14:51):
don't really want to participate, or why would they want
to give up nine months, But actually we have more
than enough evidence to show that people are willing to participate.
And it's also about creating the conditions for this to
be meaningful but also really possible in a very practical
sense as well. Willingness to participate meaningful and possibility all

(15:11):
of those things are interesting to me because the example
that most of us have access to is jury duty,
and what you've described as a citizen assembly sounds like
super jury duty. And when we feel certain types of
ways about jury duty, most of us try to avoid them.
It's complicated, we're rendering a yes no decision on something,
but we're very empowered. Right in terms of civic duty,

(15:33):
someone's life might literally be in our hands and it's randomized.
I don't know if that has all the stratification and
representation that you've described, but it's the closest we have
access to. How does citizen how does the citizen assembly
compare to jury duty in terms of our more common
reference point with everything you just described that's involved. So

(15:53):
I think jury duty is probably the best analogy of
what most people will be familiar with. On the premise
of it. It does differ a little bit because usually
it's a larger group of people, and also usually it
is facilitated. So injuries, the jury members just deliberate with
one another, whereas and citizens as some of these there's
independent and skilled facilitators that are there to try and

(16:16):
also create those conditions to you know, there's always going
to be people who are naturally more confident and inclined
to speak up in a public setting. You know, I'm
one of them. You're probably one of them too. I
don't know what you're talking about. What do you mean,
I just I'd be sitting out in the corner, just
taking notes, observing. I don't like to talk. So there,

(16:38):
So there's facilitators who very kindly ensure that those people
who naturally speak more more confidently than others are not
the only ones who speak, to bring in those who
are less inclined to also, you know, be there to
create the sort of trusted environment that is needed in
the room as well. This idea of populism, people feeling disenfranchised,

(16:59):
and just the high your degree of polarization. A lot
of that feels like it's driven by technology. The idea
that we live further apart ideologically from each other, information silos,
the whole thing that's been studied in its own right.
Does tech have a role in the opposite end in
sort of enhancing our ability to deliberate? I think about

(17:21):
Audrey Tang and v Taiwan and what the people of
Taiwan have done with tech to bring more citizens into
the flow. But then I'm also thinking about insurrections and
misinformation and so what is your analysis and what have
you seen in terms of text contribution to populism and
some of the drivers creating the need for more deliberation

(17:43):
which tech could also provide some solutions for. Yeah, well,
I think you're right that the tech is on both
sides of the problem, and it's also part of why
for me, technology is not the starting point in terms
of the first thing I think about when we're talking
about democracy and the booms with it, but also the
potential solutions. I feel like we first need to have

(18:04):
this lens of looking at actually what are our institutions
and what are the processes that we use to try
and decide who decides and how we're taking those decisions.
And then the question is where does technology come into that,
and how can it be supporting and creating that environment
that really enables people to I suppose hear that diversity
of perspectives, but also create the space to really listen

(18:26):
to one another, because I feel like that's also part
of what just looking through the lens angle we sometimes
miss if we jump straight into talking and thinking about
technology and where it fits in. I love that answer,
and I love people hearing this to really hear that
we don't start with the technology. You don't start with
the hammer. Right, you say what am I trying to build?

(18:47):
And you realize what tools you need to create that
world you're trying to live in. So thank you for
emphasizing that. Have you been a member of a Citizens
Assembly yourself? No? I wish, and I'm hoping that one day, Yeah,
practice actually expands. I I'll be lucky enough to be selected.

(19:08):
I do know people who've been who've been members, I
mean both actually on a personal level. Now when it's
getting to a point of some of my friends being
excited of like, oh my gosh, I've just received a letter,
but also having been in touch with it and interviewed
some of the people who've been part of different processes, Well,
I hope you get that call to in the city
that you're living in right now. The city of Paris
has a Citizens Assembly and you were involved in helping

(19:32):
make that happen. So how did you get involved in
the co creation of this? Then let's talk about what
they actually do. M Yeah, so Paris has a permanent
Citizens Assembly as a December last year. Indeed, and why
I was involved actually is related to another story of
a smaller place which is a little bit well no

(19:55):
less well known, but nonetheless interesting when it comes to
looking actually at this bigger history of what's been going
on with citizens assemblies. But there's this region in Belgium
called as Belgian, which is the German speaking community there,
and they were the world's first place to establish a
permanent citizens Assembly, which is effectively their second chamber of

(20:16):
people selected by lottery. And I was involved in the
group of experts that helped design that process there, which
is related to why when the Vice mayor of Paris
responsible for participation was inspired by this, I was also
part of the group of people who was involved in
thinking about how could we adapt some of the elements
of this as Belgian model to a city like Paris.

(20:39):
So you mentioned that there's a vice mayor for participation
in Paris. See jealous again, I've never heard of such
a thing. That's amazing. Normally politicians they just want your participation,
to vote and then they're done with you. So this
is interesting that they're in inviting it. What were the
conditions in Paris or in France that had someone relatively

(21:00):
high levels of elective government asking for more citizen participation,
which I can imagine some elected officials seeing as eroding
their own power. M yeah, I mean some, I think
see it that way, and some see it as the
evolution of democracy and the need to be also expanding
people's power by creating meaningful ways for people to be
able to also be participating in a more ongoing way.

(21:23):
So Paris actually has had a quite quite deep participatory
culture for quite some time. So you mean when they
behead everybody every thirty years contemporary history maybe in the
past or two, where you know, it's one of the
first cities that had implemented participatory budgeting on a much

(21:44):
bigger scale. There are different local arrondissements, citizens councils, so
not with people by lottery, but you know, there's already
different forms of councils. There's a youth council, there's a
Council of Europeans living in Paris, so there's different mechanisms
that exist for people to be able to be influencing
things in this city in an ongoing way already. Yeah,

(22:05):
thanks for the context. I get that you are working
on a project in Belgium that gave you a little
credibility to roll up into Paris's participatory culture. What does
it mean for someone to be a part of this assembly,
What power do they actually have and what are the responsibilities.
There's a few different aspects to this. Well I'll kind

(22:25):
of explain it in the simplest way possible, but basically,
the system with the permanent Paris Citizens Assembly works is
that there are a hundred people that form this Citizens
Assembly and they are people living in Paris, so not
necessarily French citizens, so I technically could have been chosen
as a Canadian living here. And they're broadly representative of

(22:46):
the diversity of parisions. And their mandate lasts for one year.
And there's a combination of them being able to have
an agenda setting rule, so deciding what issues should be
on the table that they deliberate, but they also come
up with policy recommendations. And let's say, the legal mechanism

(23:08):
that established this assembly allows for them to be able
to either put forth what is called a wish to
the City Council, which is the same thing that the
city councilors are able to do as well. So this
means that they're able to suggest that they would really
like something to happen, and it necessitates a response and
a debate within that council. But more importantly, they're actually

(23:29):
able to draft local laws, which again is then required
to have a deliberation and a debate and a vote
by the elected city council members. On the back of this,
another mandate of this citizens assembly is that it decides
the theme of the next year's participatory budget, so it
has a big impact on the investment decisions of the

(23:51):
city in that more indirect way, and it also has
the ability to choose a topic for a more one
off citizens jury, which is a smaller group of people.
And again that citizens jury also is able to potentially
draft a local law to be deliberated by the city councilors.
So it's a little bit complex, but at the same

(24:13):
time that is also I think something we need to
keep in mind that democratic innovation is not necessarily simple
or easy, and it's not just about like, oh, why
don't we just replace the politicians that we have in
some of the existing chambers with people selected by lottery.
I think it also requires new ways of thinking about
the kinds of rules that citizens can be playing in

(24:34):
the system like agenda setting, because that's also not something
we see very often today. So agenda setting, budget influence
at least on the part of the budget that is
open and participatory kind of defined by the people, and
nominating proposals, nominating laws that are required to have a
debate in the elected system, so to speak. So that

(24:57):
is getting closer and closer just fully excess sizing power.
Do you have any sense of what the experience is like, like,
what are people who are a part of this saying,
what does it mean to be a membrane? And are
they changed by this process? Mm? Well, I think sometimes
at the very beginning, there's a sense of almost disbelief,
like it is this even really happening? Because it's actually

(25:20):
quite new and different to be asked to play such
a longer term and meaningful role in shaping decisions. It's
not the same as like, oh, come along to this
town hall meeting for an hour and tell us what
you think about something. It's like, will you engage for
a full year and take on all these different responsibilities?
And you know, I've been observing some of the sessions

(25:41):
of the Paris Assembly in particular, and it's just really
powerful to see because it's also people from sixteen years
and over, so you know, the sixteen year old next
to the eighty year old, and you just really see
actually the diversity of the city in the room in
a way that you don't when you go to see
any elected chamber basically anywhere, and that in itself is

(26:04):
really moving. And then and it's almost in the more
informal moments of interaction during the coffee breaks, when you
see actually the relationship that have clearly formed between people
who never would have met otherwise, and you know, you
listen to them talking about the propositions they've come up
with and giving the rationale and the explanations for why
they came to this decision and why it was hard

(26:25):
and maybe the considerations they had, and again, it's it's
just quite a different form of democracy than we're used
to because we see a lot of debate where people
come into a chamber with their preprepared statement that they
read and it doesn't even force them to listen to
when anybody else says. And on the other hand, you
have a deliberation where people are all listening to the

(26:46):
same information and evidence and then they're listening to one another,
and then they're really trying to find okay, where can
we agree to really take this forward? This sounds like
a magical, fictional place in the US. I think you'd
call this meeting and like thirty percent of the folks
would show up with automatic weapons, and then you'd have

(27:08):
a QAnon contingent, you know, saying this assembly doesn't exist,
or it's all a plot to kidnap children. Like there'd
be conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's people would show up. It'd
be madness. And what you're describing has patience and listening
and a spirit of shared participation and respect. I think

(27:30):
that's the word that's kind of there's a respect for
everyone's participation in the system, which is not the experience
that most of us have observed or felt when we
think about politics as practice today. So what's different in
the water, or what's different in the process that allows
for all these beautiful things you just described to actually

(27:51):
be real. I just love the way you described it.
It's like all of that is exactly why this gives
me hope and why it's so interested in studying this
for so long, you know, And it doesn't just magically
happen on its own. It's also about designing the conditions
for this to be possible, and so that's where it's
really important to actually that there's a fair and transparent
process to do the random selection, so that everybody actually

(28:15):
has an equal chance of being selected to be part
of this, and so that group of people really does
reflect the diversity of a community that is, you know,
whether it's Paris or elsewhere. And then creating enough time
for people to really be able to grapple with the
complexity of an issue. So if you give people an
issue like should we change the constitution on abortion, which

(28:36):
is what people in Ireland really deliberated about, you're obviously
not going to give them an hour or even just
one day. In Ireland, people deliberated for five months about
that before coming to recommendations, not just about whether or
not there should be a referendum to change the constitution,
which they said there should be, but also how should
the legislation change if people were to vote for change

(28:58):
in the referendum. Again, it's complex and so you need
to have the time and it needs to be fair
in terms of the diversity of information that people hear from.
So there was a mix of people on both sides
of the issue in terms of advocates foreign against people
telling personal stories, researchers sharing their research on this issue,

(29:18):
and then people actually having a lot of time also
to listen to one another, to give justification for why
they believe something or why not, and to come up
with their shared recommendations for the government. And again the
skilled facilitation matters. The fact that this is something that
will actually be taken seriously, I think is also part
of what gets those people who might not vote or

(29:39):
might not do other civic things into the room because
there's a sense that, oh, actually this is important and
it can have an impact. It's not just being done
for a research experiment. So there's all these different design
elements for this to be effective, but also for it
to be democratic democratic smald That's the point I slightly
kid but honestly about just the levels of polarization and

(30:03):
near to actual violence that we experience in our political system.
I'm thinking back to the yellow vest protest in France
and traffic is stop and people are so upset about
fuel tax associated with trying to fight climate change. Where
does that energy live in a citizen assembly context in France,
our yellow Vest people showing up and listening and people

(30:25):
listening to them. So the yellow Vest movement in France
led to what was called the Great Debate. There were
all sorts of different kind of town hall meetings and
different online forms of people bringing up ideas and so forth.
And one of the main things that kept coming up
and up actually was the proposition to have a citizens
Assembly to be able to take this energy, take these

(30:46):
different ideas, but also to create the conditions for it
to be a broadly representative group of people from France
society who would be able to grapple with this issue
for a longer period of time. And so that example
I gave earlier on about how do we reduced greenhouse
gas emissions by forty by twenty thirty in the spirit
of social justice was the actual question that French people

(31:07):
were tasked with coming up with propositions for in the
French Citizens Assembly on climate that really you could trace
the origins of why did this even take place back
to the energy that had emerged around the yellow Vest movement. Well,
that sounds promising. So we have examples in the city
of Paris, We've got examples in Belgium, we've got Ireland

(31:30):
and the constitutional amendment process around abortion, and then there's
another example in Brussels around climate that's issue specific. What
do you accomplish with a singular focus versus something more
broad and evolving and emerging as the Parisian example, And
what could the citizen assembly model generate that all the

(31:54):
NGOs and activists and academic researchers and policymakers who are
clearly focused on climate issues, especially in Europe not get done.
You know, I've finished the story about France in a
way as though it makes it sound great and amazing,
and parts of it are in the sense that, you know,
there was a climate bill that then was passed that

(32:16):
had a lot of the recommendations from this citizens assembly
on climate, but actually a lot of the recommendations also
got watered down and ignored when they got put back
into the traditional political process. And seeing the evidence of
this happen over and over again, it is part of
my frustration of feeling like clearly this approach of just
adding on a one off citizens assembly to a system

(32:38):
that has a completely different set of incentives at heart.
With the short terms in the party politics, the campaign financing,
the lobbying and so on, it's not working to actually
change who's deciding and how those decisions are taken at
the end of the day. And so now we have
the example in Brussels where there is an institutional basis
created for a Citizens Assembly to be able to have

(33:00):
an ongoing say in all sorts of different climate related
policy issues all the time. And again the fact that
this is permanent also allowed us to think about how
do we ensure that there's an agenda setting role. So
it's also in the very first cycle, in instance, it's
going to be the ministers who said what is the
topic and what are the issues that they deliberate on.

(33:21):
But in the second cycle, it's going to be a
proportion of that first Citizens Assembly who are going to
be randomly selected to decide on what should be the
issue for the next one. And this is going to
be a feedback loop in a circular way. And then
also amongst the Citizens Assembly members, there's again going to
be a randomly selected smaller group of them of ten

(33:43):
who will be charged with also than monitoring and following
on the progress of what happens with their recommendations after
they've been passed off to government, because that's also a
downside of just having a one off assembly is that
where's the real holding to accountability afterwards? So yeah, what's
interesting about the Brussels Permanent Climate Assembly is I think

(34:04):
they're thinking about how do we establish new institutions that
could actually create a basis for these citizens. Assemblys too
have genuine power. Is really interesting and I think that's
where we need to be putting more energy into exploring this.
After the break, should elections even exist? Is it your

(34:34):
not so secret mission to just do away with elections
and elected politicians altogether? I think you can say that.
I think it's maybe a blunt way to describe it,
because I don't want this to come across the wrong way.
I feel like a lot of people who go into
politics do so because they want to change their communities
and they want to make the world a better place,
and I don't want this to just be some sort

(34:55):
of politician bashing. I really feel like it's a systemic problem,
the short termism, the fact that party politics and campaign
financing and all these things come out on top in
terms of what are the incentives for the collective public
decisions we're taking these are features, not bugs of the
system that we have today, and so how do we
redesign the system and how do we shift power to

(35:18):
new institutions of citizen participation, representation by law, and deliberation.
This is really the mission that motivates and inspires me
to do the work that I'm doing, and also with
all the other people I'm working with, because I'm not
alone in all of this either. Well, I'm excited, and
I think if I'm hypothesizing that if you did public

(35:39):
opinion polling about how people feel about the electoral representative
political system and how they feel about the sortition based
in more lottery based citizen assembly political system, you'd have
very different opinions, which is legitimate, which is trusted. If
these things are working as designed, is that the direction

(36:02):
of the feedback so far? Do people who know about
this process, whether they're a part of it themselves or not,
have more faith in it. I think we need to
be humble about the research that exists because I think
of a part of the problem with research in this
field is that there's still relatively low levels of awareness
and understanding of citizens assemblies. Now that depends on the country,
so in places like Ireland, for example, where citizens Assemblies

(36:25):
have been a kind of normal part of how politics
is done at the national level for a decade. Most
people today have heard about citizens assemblies, and people in
the latest polling say that they see citizens assemblies as
the place to really take decisions on the hardest issues
that politicians are stuck on. So there's a sense of
understanding of the fact that this works, and there's also

(36:46):
polling around the levels of trust in it. There was
some reason polling that was done in France, the UK,
Germany and Belgium or not Belgium, Italy, which found that
the majority of people, when you also explained a little
bit what the Citizens Assembly is, trusted this and wanted
to see more of them happening, and also wanted their

(37:07):
recommendations to be binding, not just advisory. And I think
that's where we see a real shift in opinion today
as well. I hope a lot for this, and I
know it's not a single solution to the myriad of problems,
but it seems like a major contributor to a set
of solutions through a different process and mechanism. Who are you, Claudia, Like,

(37:29):
why do you care so much about this. I don't
know many people who obsess over the future of democracy
and commit their professional life's work to it. How were
you raised? What was your diet that put this into
your mind where this is what you're doing. And you
mentioned being from Canada? Is it because you're Canadian? Like,
tell us about your biography a little bit that led

(37:51):
you to care so much about it? Yeah, well, yeah,
it's a good question. Well, I'm a Canadian from a
Polish background, so hence my name, first person in my
family who grew up in Canada. So I mean, I'm
sure that this no doubt shaped in some ways my
view of the world. My parents left Poland in the
early nineteen eighties when it's quite a different regime that

(38:12):
was in place there at the time. And part of
my story is also the fact that I started my
studies in two thousand and eight. Literally one of the
first days of my studies, I was in London when
Lehman Brothers crushed. So this notion of and now for
an explainer to day. The historic stock market crash at

(38:33):
two thousand and eight wiped out huge chunks of Americans
retirement savings, drove millions out of work, and led to
the collapse of some of the world's largest financial institutions.
Among them was Lehman Brothers, the New York based investment
bank founded in the eighteen forties, which was one of
the country's largest firms, with around twenty five thousand employees worldwide.

(38:54):
Unlike many other banks and financial giants that governments deemed
too big to fail, when Lehman Others when bankrupt in
September two thousand and eight, there was no bailout. At
the time. It's shuttering was the largest bankruptcy in the
United States, and it's considered one of the tipping points
that led to the global financial crisis of two thousand
and eight. All right, now you learn something. Let's get

(39:21):
back to Claudia. I was in London when Lehman Brothers crushed.
So this notion of crisis, economic crisis, European sovereign debt crisis,
democratic crisis, this has been sort of a part of
the lens through which I've seen the rules for quite
some time, and I think was part of actually what
got me interested in politics and then wanting to study politics.

(39:42):
And yeah, it certainly wasn't what I intended to study, because,
like I said, I was doing research on populism. There
were only nine of us in my class at the time.
When we did it. It was a very niche topic,
that adorable, and then I hadn't studied deliberative democracy during
my studies. These all ideas I've come across later, and
I think part of it stems from the fact I'm

(40:04):
not just talking about other people when I'm referring to research,
or this sense of disillusionment with the system and how
things work, Like I'm one of those people. I really
feel personally a sense of disillusionment with how things work.
But I also feel like we cannot give up hope
that things could be different, because it's in that uncertainty
around hope that motivates us into action and to say that,

(40:27):
you know, we are all capable of making some changes,
to actually do things differently, to change the way things work.
You know. The danger zone is when we get into
a sense of hopelessness, of feeling like well and fatalism,
of thinking, well, this is just the way it is,
or it's so hard, or it feels impossible, and it's like,
of course it's not easy. But I think when we

(40:47):
see and hear about these really inspiring examples. That's what
shows us that actually we're not limited to trying to
save this broken system that we have. We really could
be working towards something else. Yes, Yes, build the new system,
attract us all to kind of migrate there. We had

(41:08):
a really relevant question from a listeners submitted ahead of
time from Florian Schwendeger. I hope I'm pronouncing that reasonably.
Who says, what's key to create buying an ownership with
the political decision makers themselves to support making these things
permanent and increasing the amount of power that you might
distribute to the citizens, not merely through elections, but through

(41:29):
things like citizen assemblies. How do you get them to
want to do this for real? M Yeah, And this
element of the almost the political strategy of how do
we get there is just as important to making this
our reality. Well, my experience of working in this field
for a long time, and I suppose particularly in the
last few years when there has been growing interests in

(41:51):
this idea of making these things permanent, stems from the
fact that I've encountered so many people who are within
the system today, whether that's as elected officials or presidents
of parliament or senior civil servants who are just as
dissatisfied with how the system works from within, and who
have been inspired by these different examples in different places

(42:13):
and see that actually this could be another way of
doing things, and the motivations are different. If we take
the Auspelgian example, for instance, in German speaking region of Belgium,
it was the president of the Parliament and the president
of the government from two different political parties who came
together and said, well, we did this one citizens assembly

(42:33):
and it really helped us solve this issue around affordable childcare.
And we see the trends kind of more widely around populism,
around people not trusting the system, around feeling disillusioned with
how things work, and we really want to make a
change and establish a permanent way for these citizens assemblies
to be part of how our democracy functions here in

(42:55):
as Belgian and so this was the motivation for them,
and it was unanimously across party lines that people voted
in the aspility in parliament to establish this new permanent institution.
So I feel like there's a shared sense in many
places of the fact that we have a suboptimal way
of taking collective decisions today and people are more or

(43:18):
less inclined to really believe that or to be wanting
to in some ways give up some of their power
to make the change happen. But I do believe there's
enough of those initial changemakers out there to be those
leaders showing us that another democracy and another politics is possible.
How do you ensure that there's more deliberative democracy with

(43:41):
things like but not limited to citizens assemblies actually distributes
increasingly real power to the people, and it's not just
advisory and it's not just agenda setting. How do we
make sure that happened? Well, this is the whole challenge
of what we're trying to do now as next And
you know, I say this in the sense that we

(44:03):
don't really have real examples today where there is genuine
power with these assemblies, like they're all to some extent advisory,
and we have more or less like Indie institutionalized like
the permanent models. That's where we have the most mechanisms
in place to ensure there's at least accountability. A follow up,
I need to respond monitoring of what happens with those recommendations,

(44:25):
But it's still not the same as citizens actually having
the decision making power themselves, and so I think part
of why we haven't seen that though, is that the
dominant narrative today is these citizens assemblies are just something
that could or should complement our existing institutions, and it's
something that might enhance or help strengthen representative democracy as

(44:48):
we know it today. And I feel like that actually
has been detrimental to making the real fundamental change happen.
And that's why we're trying to shift the narrative and
open up and imagination that actually another the democratic future
is possible, and that we could be shift in power
to citizens assemblies and this could eventually really be the
heart of a democratic system if we start to make

(45:10):
those steps taking us in that direction. And it means
questioning the premiscy of elections, It means really bringing up
our history of philosophy and thinking like, actually, elections are
not a democratic form of governing ourselves, and this is
not the only way we could or should be doing things.
And it seems radical, I think, to some people to
say these things today, and I think it's only when

(45:33):
we start to question our own assumptions in this time
of deep crisis and open up an imagination that another
way could be possible that we're going to start seeing
the real shifts of power. And I think that's what
excites me, is to get us out of this stuck
mentality that you know, we hear so often. Democracy is dying,

(45:53):
Democracy is dead. It's this competition between a dying democracy
and to say, at least questionable authoritarianism on the other hand,
And like this is the false binary choice that we're
presented with. We can do the like Jijianping model, or
we can do the corrupt, lobbyist driven, capitalistic, extractive quote

(46:14):
unquote democracy model. And so what you're highlighting and helping
accelerate is just another thing is possible. Another democracy is possible.
When I think about the outcomes from citizen assemblies, my
question is what is the goal? Right? Is it consensus? Right?
Everybody comes through this beautiful process and they all agree

(46:36):
and then they submit it to the system for taking
it seriously? Is it just another version of majority rule
in smaller groups? And what does that facilitation look like
in the process. So they're not entirely connected, but I
think the biggest question is what's the actual outcome. It's
worth actually bringing out the fact that consensus does not

(46:57):
mean one hundred percent of people one hundred percent agree
with everything, because that's not possible, and I would say
it's also not desirable because in a democracy there's also
a value of pluralism and acknowledging the fact that people
actually have different values and different priorities and different ideas.
And so it's why it's important to create enough space

(47:17):
and time for people to be able to acknowledge those differences,
and that then in spite of those differences, do that
really hard work that also takes time of saying, okay,
where can we find common ground between us? And so
usually within these citizens assemblies, it's around seventy five to
eighty percent of people who get to a point of
finding some agreement on a recommendation for it to be

(47:40):
a recommendation of the group. Again, there's justification and an
explanation of why did we come to this thinking, why
do we propose this altogether? And then usually actually the
reports of the citizens assemblies have something called a minority
report at the end where those views that didn't reach
a majority view, where consensus are still nonetheless knowledged, and

(48:00):
their reasoning is put forth. But it's also explained that
you know this only had ten percent of the support
of the wider group of people here, So it's not
a recommendation of the collective, but we nonetheless acknowledge that
these ideas were talked about and expressed by some And
you know, is it a perfect system. Perhaps not. I
don't think anything is. But I think it's a much

(48:21):
greater improvement on the current way in which we're currently
trying to take decisions through political party point scoring and
debates and trying to win, rather than trying to find
where do we find enough common ground between us? The
word that you use that lands most strongly with me
is acknowledge and that this is a process where people

(48:43):
can feel acknowledged. And if you have participated and been
heard and interacted and engaged, you may not get everything
you want, in fact, most of us never do, but
if the process acknowledges you, then we should all feel
more invested in that process. We use the word citizen
on this show How to Citizen. We interpret it as

(49:04):
a verb. We have a whole series of principles we
think define that. Given your work and your heavy use
of the word as well, how do you define citizen
if you interpret it as a verb, what does that mean.
I think it's one of those words we need to
reclaim in the same way I think we need to
reclaim democracy from elections, because I think there's a debate

(49:25):
going on almost of like should we use citizen in
this context? Should we talk just about people's assembles, you know?
And I think it's actually important that we use this
word citizen in that civic sense of the term, which
is much more universal than just referring in any way
to what passport somebody holds. That's again something that quite
recently in history, we've reduced the notion of what that

(49:46):
concept of citizen means to that, whereas actually citizen has
this much broader meaning. And I really share the version
of how you talk about it as a verb as well,
because it does mean to participate, and it means to
be really living with and understanding with what power means.
And also in a collective way. It's not something you

(50:08):
do on your own to be a citizen. It's something
you do with others that you're sharing a community with.
And I think all those aspects really get captured in
this word citizen, and we need to keep using it
because it's an important word that we shouldn't give up
to the people who want to narrow it down to
a very, very narrow meaning. Thank you. We've arrived at

(50:29):
the end of the just me part of this, and
I'm going to shift into the audience Q and A. Okay, Robert,
you are here. It looks like you're off mute, so
go ahead and ask your question. My name is Robert Reats,
and I work with a group called Modern Populace, and
we're thinking about some of these things about deliberative democracy.
My question was representative selection by sortition seems great, but

(50:52):
deliberation can be top down or can be more bottom up,
and sometimes i top down limits engagement and bottom up
can be more disruptive. So my question is who really
owns the process of citizen assemblies? And by on the process,
I mean you said there was oftentimes open, but is
that really accepted or you know, satisfied to the populace

(51:13):
as a whole. Thank you, Robert. It's a good question.
I think it raises a bit of attention that there
has been in this field as well about the way
to really make change happen. And I think you need
both bottom up and top down initiatives because we see
that they end up also having different dynamics and different impacts.
So actually, if we go back to twenty eleven, one

(51:34):
of the biggest bottom up citizens assemblies that was organized
was in Belgium and it was called the G one
thousand and David van Rybreck, who wrote against Elections, who
I mentioned earlier, it was part of this, along with
a group of other activists, and it was during the
period when there was no government for over five hundred
days in Belgium, and so citizens took it into their
own hands to organize a bottom up citizens assembly with

(51:57):
a thousand people who at the time they just convene
for one day and they brought them together to write
apple sorts of different propositions for what should we actually
be doing in this period with no government. Now a
government actually ended up forming shortly afterwards. They didn't do
much of anything of what came out of this, but
it wasn't a failure because I think it's what prompted

(52:17):
the seeds of this becoming such a prominent form of
democracy within Belgium. There's initiatives happening at all different levels.
I've only mentioned a few of the examples here today,
and so I think it's important to have the bottom
up kinds of things happening, But we also see that
with the kinds of citizens at some of these that
have been organized by activists or by civil society who

(52:38):
or by academia, there is an effect on who ends
up participating in something. When it's not linked in any
way to power or authority, you have a bit much
bigger bias of who's willing to give up their time
to talk about something for a period of time. People
are more likely to drop out, which has also a
dynamic on the deliberation, and so when it is initiated

(52:59):
by authority, there is nonetheless a much greater chance of
a much more representative group of people who are willing
to take the time to do this, but also for
there to be real impact. So even though I was
saying that part of why I'm doing what I'm doing
today is driven by a disillusionment of seeing recommendations water
down or ignored, we nonetheless have quite a few examples

(53:20):
where at least the majority of the propositions do make
their way into policy or into legislation or regulation, and
citizens have been having a really important impact on shaping thinks,
like five billion dollars ten year investment plans in the
City of Melbourne. Canada's national regulation around tech companies is
now being shaped largely by a national Citizens Assembly. So

(53:43):
we do have enough evidence to show that actually it
is important to have that top down initiative to link
it to authority. But again I go back to why
it's really interesting to be thinking about how to make
this permanent, because we also need to be giving citizens
the way of shaping the agenda, because today it's so
much shape top down by who decides and how they

(54:04):
frame a question or an issue or what might even
be allowed to be on the table, and that needs
to change as well. I mean, yet the answer it
sounds like an all of the above answer, but its
sequencing matters, and so you kind of start from the outside,
work your way in, maybe start top down, shift more
bottom up to build trust, experience best practices. Our next
question comes from Sarah hughes Hi. Sarah hughes she they

(54:28):
pronouns from the unseated territory of the Hoodana Shawnee people.
A lot of the circles I'm kind of engaging in
now are imagining stateless society and what skills we need
as citizens to operate with real sovereignty on a community basis,

(54:50):
and going back to, like the you mentioned earlier, indigenous culture,
and I'm glad you did, because indigenous ways of knowing
pre state societies are informing a lot of what it's
happening now in the more radical community of formation work.
So I'm just curious what your thoughts are about kind
of what's happening on the edges this in terms of

(55:11):
questioning state power in general. Thank you, Sarah for putting
probably the most difficult question to me, and because my
honest answer to that is I don't know. I think
when we start to question certain aspects of the system
as we have today and we begin to unpick them,

(55:31):
we realize actually how interrelated all these different other accepted
norms and concepts that we have today are. And so
one of them is around the state. Another one is
around citizenship actually, because in these citizens assemblies it's often
not people who are citizens in that narrow sense of
the term, but anybody who's living in a place who

(55:52):
can be part of them. So what does that mean
for citizenship if these actually have power and it's anybody
who's living in a place without necessarily a passport from
that country that can participate. The notion actually of what
level of government is the most appropriate Once we start
to untake the system, it also puts into question, actually,

(56:12):
like in what way is this the best way to
organize ourselves? Like these notions of local, regional, national government
and the way we often have them broken down in
many countries are not necessarily the best ways that we
divide ourselves as communities. And so all I'm saying is
that I don't know the answer to the question, but
I think that's something that we really need to be

(56:34):
also thinking about. And by opening up the imagination and
questioning the system that we have today, I think it
allows us the room to be exploring these interrelated and
really important questions as well. I love it. I will
ask this question on behalf of Liza, which relates to
who participates and what their experience might be if they

(56:56):
don't have those official government papers or culturally seen as
not citizens. Is there evidence for how threatened minority groups
participating in a citizens assembly, for example, in Paris, Muslim
women and girls with you jobs, how have they fared
in the process. I don't know enough about Paris in
terms of the specific examples to answer it from that lens,

(57:17):
but in terms of the broader lens and perhaps with
the example of them mixed deliberative committees that exist in Brussels.
So Brussels is one of the most diversities in the world,
actually one hundred and eighty different nationalities, one hundred different
languages spoken, and so to make it again as inclusive
as possible, and perhaps there's even more that can be done.

(57:37):
You know, the official invitation letters go out in the
seven most commonly spoken languages in Brussels. Plus when you
go online you can also access the invitation in other languages.
People who are not necessarily fluent in the main language
of the deliberation. So in Brussels this is often in
Dutch or French or English. People can come with a

(58:00):
buddy who helps to interpret for them so that they
can still nonetheless participate, and that buddy also receives the
same payment or honorarium for their time, the same conditions
to be able to participate, so that that person doesn't
end up being limited by that. Again, there's different aspects
around having trained, skilled facilitators who are there in the

(58:20):
room to create those conditions for people to really truly
feel welcome. As part of this, there's the public communication
that has been done that really helps convey that this
is really welcome to anyone who's living in Brussels. So
there's all these different elements that come together that I
think help as much as possible bring those people in
who today I think feel excluded by the current system,

(58:44):
who might find it hard to participate for one reason
or another. And I think we need to stop thinking
it's because these people don't want to participate, and we
need to find the different ways of how do we
really create the conditions to make this as inclusive as possible.
Thank you for We're going to try to squeeze one
more in. It's Nick Coacoma. I believe I called you Nick,

(59:05):
You're from Boston. Then my question is, given that liberal
modern republic electoral republics came about only through the police
in the case of the US and France, through violent revolution,
and we're talking about complete regime change really through sortition,
how can we move from the current constitutional model towards

(59:28):
a democracy by lottery system and can you envision this
working in both not only legislative but also the executive
and judicial branches as well. Small question, thanks Nick, Do
we have to have a bloody revolution to get this
going and kind of go beyond the legislative branch? Thanks Nick? Yeah, indeed,
an easy question to end with questible To be clear,

(59:49):
I am not calling for a bloody revolution, So this
is not a call for people to pick up their
pitchforks literally, but it is a call for people to
take action. And I think that we can see regime change,
if we want to call it, that happen also in
a much more peaceful way. And you know, if we
look at the countries around the world that have both

(01:00:10):
their monarchies and their parliaments with people selected by election
in place, we have examples which show us that it's
possible to still be in transition from different types of
governance in many places as well. And I think, you know, realistically,
there is going to be a combination of elections based

(01:00:31):
and sortition based forms of democracy that coexist. And for me,
the aim is to see over time having more and
more genuine power really shifted to the sortition based deliberative bodies.
And I think we can see that happening in different ways,
and I think it's part of why we need this
happening in different spheres. You know, if anyone watched them
launch event for Democracy next, I had opened it with

(01:00:54):
a kind of imagination exercise. I imagine that we're in
twenty thirty two, And part of that was actually getting
people to imagine that this morning you received an invitation
to be part of your country's Executive Assembly, and last
year your best friend sat on the Judicial Selection Commission,
which was set up to take the partisanship out of
selecting judges. And it went on and on. But also

(01:01:17):
to illustrate that, I think, actually we need to think
beyond just the legislative branch, and we also need to
think beyond let's say, the traditional institutions of government. I
think we need to also think about trade unions and
public banks and central banks and the other institutions that
have an impact on our public lives, and how could
we democratize the governance of those as well. So it's

(01:01:38):
not going to happen overnight. I don't think we need
to have violence to get there. We already see things
like the Brussels Permanent Citizens Climate Assembly and the Permanent
Paris Citizens Assembly. These to me are the first stepping
stones that we can be building on to get to
another democratic future. Claudie, you've been great. Thank you for
expanding our imagination. Thank you for giving us a vision

(01:02:00):
of something to fight for and not just against. And
that's the spirit of what we're trying to offer up
here at how the citizen. You've been citizen in great
and I look forward to drafting you into some kind
of assembly Zoon because I want you to get high
on your own supply. As we say in him up wonderful.
Thank you bye Tounday, and thank you to everyone for
all the wonderful questions. I hook forward to continuing the conversations.

(01:02:22):
So do we, So do we. Thanks Claudia. This conversation
got me thinking about trust, and I need to give
people something worth trusting, something we can believe in. I'm
thinking back to my conversation with Adrian Marie Brown in
our first episode this season and her flip of this

(01:02:43):
ancient eaching text where she interprets it to say, if
we trust the people, they become trustworthy. Now y'all know
we're currently in this downward spiral where the people don't
trust their politicians and the politicians don't trust the people.
The key to chipping away at that distrust of each
other and of our systems is information and facilitation and
true inclusion, so we can involve as many people as

(01:03:06):
possible in the act of self governing. Through these citizen assemblies,
Claudia is showing us that in a deliberative democracy, we
get to practice coexisting with our differences around some pretty
consequential policy discussions in a way that leaves people feeling
more seen, acknowledged, and invested in the system, even if

(01:03:27):
we don't all get the outcome we want every time.
I don't foresee a world where a majority of my
neighbors are sitting on a citizens Assembly at any given time,
but overtime a significant number of us should have that
experience of service and participation as usual. We have some

(01:03:50):
actions you can take after listening to this episode. They
fall into three categories, personal reflection, getting more informed, and
publicly participating. Election prompt is inspired by the Democracy Next
Launch event. Imagine it's ten years in the future and
we've established some new civic rituals. Where once we anticipated
and fretted over election day, now we look forward to

(01:04:14):
sortition day, the day that public participants selected by lottery
are assigned to various citizen assemblies. These bodies are comprised
of rich and poor, old and young, documented and undocumented,
and they decide on all manner of topics, judicial appointments,
algorithmic oversight, local energy policy, and more. Imagine what it

(01:04:36):
feels like to serve in one of these well facilitated
and compensated assemblies with your neighbors. Imagine what it would
be like to read media coverage of the deliberations that
focus on a community's attempt at finding common ground rather
than who made the most outlandish statements on social media?
What headlines do you see now? In terms of getting

(01:04:57):
more informed, Here's where you can learn more about assemblies.
Read the New Yorker essay by Yale University political science
professor Helene Landmore. It's called politics without Politicians, which is
just a great headline. Got to give it to them.
For a deeper dive, read Landmore's book Open Democracy. To

(01:05:17):
see citizen assemblies in action, check out the Permanent Citizens
Assembly in Paris or the Irish Citizens Assembly. That one
features a special guest appearance from Jane Goodall. You can
find links to both in the episode show Notes. Finally,
to participate publicly. We encourage you to subscribe to the
Democracy Next newsletter. They'll be launching a global community of

(01:05:38):
enthusiasts wanting to learn more and help build this next
democratic paradigm. Visit the site at demnext dot org, d
e m n e xt dot org, and if you're
ready to roll up your sleeves and start practicing democracy
this way, look to the nonprofit Democracy Without Elections dot org.
It has resources and organisms that can help you get

(01:06:01):
started wherever you are in the world. If you take
any of these actions, please brack about it online and
use the hashtag how to Citizen. Also tag our Instagram
how to Citizen. I am always online and I really

(01:06:22):
do see your messages, so sender. You can also visit
our website, howard to citizen dot com, which has all
of our shows, full transcripts, actions, and more. Finally, see
this episode show notes for resources, actions and more ways
to connect. How to Citizen with barrettun Day as a
production of iHeartRadio Podcasts and Row Home Productions. Our executive

(01:06:45):
producers are me, barrettun Day, Thurston, and Elizabeth Stewart. Our
lead producer is Ali Graham. Our associate producer is Donya Abdelhamide.
Alex Lewis is our managing producer, and John Myers is
our executive editor and mixed engineer. Original music by Andrew
Eapen with additional music by Blue Dot Sessions. Special thanks

(01:07:06):
to Joel Smith from iHeartRadio and Lay Labina. Next time
on how to citizen What happens when you take urban
planning and small d democracy and apply them to an
Internet community, and what if that community has a bank
with millions of dollars in it. So much of civics
is boring right now and unengaged, and ultimately we're interested

(01:07:27):
in shifting that narrative and that perception of civic participation
to not just equating to voting in a presidential election
or voting in a local district election, but instead voting
in spaces you care about, digital being one that our
kids are probably spending eighty percent of their days and
lives in, and so I think creating more interesting ways

(01:07:47):
for people to have a say in their digital spaces
that doesn't need to feel so complicated but can feel
fun is something that we really really care about. How
I think about it is imagine if the first thousand
users or Facebook could actually weigh in on the advertising model,
like would that have changed the outcomes? Listen to our

(01:08:08):
next episode with Alex Jane Mayor of the online web
three community Friends with Benefits, row Home Productions
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