If we thought things were busy in the previous months, since then they've exploded. In Australia alone, we've moved from helping organise four assemblies all year to as many as ten sortition assemblies in the first three months of 2021. These are all in Victoria, where changes to the Local Government Act have turbo-charged both deliberative democracy and assemblies using randomly selection to support it.
In the last few weeks alone we've selected representative samples of people for the Blackpool Climate Assembly, a COVID-recovery citizens' jury in Scotland, a North-East UK assembly on water, a panel in Thurrock on climate and fairness, an assembly in Bristol, and one in Wyndham (Australia).
This surge in activity is great news for two reasons. Firstly, once again it shows that we're normalising sortition and secondly, it means we can start campaigning to do democracy better through sortition. In line with this goal we've launched our first campaign and will be having two member only meetings in early 2021 to keep you informed, hear your ideas, and bring you along with us.
Our Campaign for a House of Citizens in the Scottish Parliament
The pandemic has reminded all of us how we rely on the government to protect us from financial and physical harm. And how the political machine consistently fails to innovate and combat the crises we face - not least the crisis of democracy. It is telling that once again the real solutions are coming from everyday people. The Citizens' Assembly of Scotland has called for a permanent sortition-selected House of CItizens in the Scottish Parliament to really hold politicians to account. >>>> Sign the petition now to support the call to hardwire everyday people back into our democracy.
Member-only strategy and governance reviews
We are currently working through a review of the Sortition Foundation’s vision, purpose and values. This has led to some productive conversations about improving our governance model; such as how we move away from elections to select our directors. We will be inviting members to contribute to our thinking about both Sortition Foundation strategy and governance early in 2021. So if you are not already a member then do join up. And if you are a member then look out for an email early in the new year with details about how to join the discussion.
Next member and supporter meetings
- The next online meeting in the US will be held on Tuesday 15 December at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific time. It will include reports from our Interest Groups and Board of Directors, meeting fellow members, a series on the use of democratic lotteries (sortition) in government, followed by social time.
- Members in the UK are meeting online on Thursday 7 January 2021 at 7.30pm.
- The next Australia meeting (also online) will be on Wednesday 13 January at 7.30pm AEDT. Our Australian chapter is planning an in-person meet-up probably in April 2021 to get to know each other better and share information and tactics about what is happening in Australia and around the world.
If you'd like to join any of these meetings please contact us and we'll make sure you get an invite.
Thanks for all your help and support and we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.