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Sortition as a sustainable protection against oligarchy

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Video: SORTITION as a sustainable protection AGAINST OLIGARCHY

By Etienne Chouard

Marseille 23rd April 2011

I think our political impotence comes from the fact that what we call “democracy” is actually the exact opposite.
What we call “democracy” today, is anything but a democracy: it is an aristocratic oligarchy.
And it hasn’t happened by chance, or due to corrupt or vicious players. Not at all.
The mechanism which lies at the heart of our institutions is aristocratic [and] it is called “election”.
The election consists in choosing, choosing the best, the best -> aristos -> aristocracy and…
Thousands of years of history have shown that aristocracy ALWAYS becomes, transforms into an oligarchy, which means the power of a few.
Monarchy , is the power of one; democracy , is the power of the people; demos the people, cracy power; oligarchy, is the power of a few, a very small number of people.
We actually are in a situation of oligarchy: you can easily see that only a few are ruling.
But they are ruling not because they are particularly evil or particularly clever.
I would like to emphasize that the root cause is NOT THE VICE of those who are ruling, not at all.
Even if you killed them all, others would replace them, if you don’t change INSTITUTIONS.
And with our current institutions worldwide, the preferred process, defended by everyone… left parties, corporates, banks…(and this is a paradox, I’ll ask you a few questions in this regard at the end, people with nothing in common, with totally different interests, defend the elections, that is fishy.
Excuse me, but the fact that Goldman Sachs defends the elections, proves that this company doesn’t have to fear it.
Indeed, Goldman Sachs funds the whole — or most— of the election of the president who will then serve its interests.
But it isn’t only the case in the US, it’s like this in all the so-called democracies” which are not… which CANNOT BE democracies. Because of elections.
Therefore, since they managed to call the current regime democracy , the place is no longer vacant.
And one cannot designate the enemy since the problematic regime carries the name of the one which would solve the issue.
That means we call the problem “democracy”.
We call the problematic regime by the name of the solution.
We are thus facing a TERMINOLOGY issue.
Where does this come from?
Is it a conspiracy?
Not at all, not at all…
First of all, when those who designed the current regime…
(at the end of the 18th century, in Great Britain, then in the US, then in France in 1789, but roughly speaking at the end of the 18th century), institutions were set up that we called and that they called… they didn’t call them “democracy”: they perfectly knew what democracy was, they knew the Athenian world, they were quite educated, they were Hellenists they knew the Greek world, but they didn’t want it:
Sieyès, the one who wrote Qu'est-ce que le Tiers Etat = What is the Third Estate one of the thinkers, one of the greatest thinkers of the French revolution, Madison, in the US, who became one of the greatest thinkers, one of the Founding Fathers of the American constitution, these people were not planning to build a democracy at all: they didn’t want democracy: to them, it was anarchy, government by the populace ; THEY WERE ELITISTS.
They said that “the people are not capable of managing their own affairs”.
The founding fathers of our government institutions, so-called “representative government”… representative government => no democracy at all !
These people knew, and thought with honesty. They had no wrong intentions, since they wanted the end of the old regime which was worse but they didn’t want any democracy at all.
And when someone talked about “democracy” it was almost an insult, it was pejorative, it was not a positive word, it was not what it became later.
So it happened by a switch of wording, by a trick in history: at the beginning of the 19th century, the term “democracy” started to designate this [antidemocratic] regime.
For instance, when Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America , he wasn’t discussing the subject at all (like you and me), it wasn’t a democracy at all, but the book became a huge best-seller ( Democracy in America”).
And he wasn’t the only one: Several authors progressively started to call it “democracy” … because you’ll see that there are common points, there is one common point (between democracy and representative government) which is EQUALITY…
(We will see, when talking about Athenian democracy, that its core objective was equality:
but but but but but… Equality as claimed by the Athenian people was TRUE political equality.
Whereas representative government equality is only FORMAL.
It is in fact totally fake.
It is not real: you can easily see that our equality is… It is…
based upon auxiliary details, not on essentials.)
Anyway, invoking equality as a common point, policy-makers progressively used a shortcut
and started talking about “democracy”, quickly followed by everybody else.
As you can see, it became a perfect way for political representatives to stay in place
using “democracy” to be elected and keep the power… But elected people are also notables,
they didn’t come from the working class.
Although it was not a conspiracy, it certainly happened because it was in their interest.
Those in power had an interest [a personal interest to go for a “representative government”].
Tocqueville said… (this is incredible!)
Tocqueville, an icon of liberalism…
THEY ALREADY KNEW: 1835, at the beginning of the 19th century…
At the very very very beginning of the elections, they perfectly knew:
Nobody would be overthrown, Poor people would never have power through elections, EVER, they knew it from the beginning.
And this is perfect for them, that we call it “democracy”, because…
democracy” sounds like an ideal: “demos”, “cratos”, power of the people…
Yeah, great, we won’t be fooled too bad if we are ruling”…
OK then, but if you call “democracy” a regime which has nothing to do with it, which is even the exact opposite…
Well, you are being fooled so bad it’s not even funny.
to… to make it a tool for today,
to see what is available today, we need to understand what Athenian democracy involves.
Then we will refer to the objections we mentioned when we talked about…
xenophobia, phallocracy…
slavery… I’ll come back to these when we talk about objections…
But first, I’d like to show you the core of a true democracy, of Athenian democracy.
with the material I prepared for you http://etienne.chouard.free.fr/Europe/
It’s a diagram I designed for these lectures…
It was initially handwritten, but now, for you, for the first time, I typed it, so…
The drawback of the typed one, is that it is already complete,
whereas when I was doing it by hand, while talking, I would draw it simultaneously,
so everyone had a step-by-step vision of it…
but at the same time, since my writing is not good, and since [when] one writes while talking, one cannot write well, this is now much better.
So let me show you… You may forget the rest…
Let’s start with the beginning:
After centuries of tyranny, Athenians
have ONE practical objective:
Which is real equality, REAL POLITICAL EQUALITY.
No social equality, no economic equality,
(they know they’re not equal)…
no physical equality…
No: POLITICAL equality
Decisions must be taken collectively,
in an Assembly: one person = one vote.
Assembly of the PEOPLE, NO assembly of representatives: => assembly of the people
Assembly of the PEOPLE, that’s important.
So, the objective… which should be highlighted with a particular colour, because it’s like the core, the heart, what should not be forgotten when thinking about other institutions.
So what did Athenians notice?
(and we notice the same thing)…
They found out that …
and it takes a little time… it takes a little time…
but in the end, nobody resists: even the most virtuous become corrupt.
they begin to follow their personal interest instead of pursuing the public interest.
Noting that…
(these are facts — and facts that we can still see today, it is clear that wealth, powers, privileges, do change people:
and even if we’re good at the start, we’re progressively getting worse [afterwards],
like drug addicts who need their drug: once we get used to it, we want it to continue.
and this need goes before the general interest…
Noting that…
(what elections do NOT allow!),
Noting that, Athenians set SUB-GOALS that must be understood as CORE and essentials:
First and second sub-goals (that go together): POLITICAL AMATEURISM.
(It is grey because it is a photocopy
of the coloured original which shows institutions in green;
[the white rectangles,] show the objectives which make us choose such or such institution.)
So, [second sub-goal:] ROTATION OF DUTIES => they rotate powers:
since power corrupts we never leave it to someone for a long time..
Powers are rotated so they don’t have time to corrupt.
As a result, there is no professionalism:
we do NOT WANT ANY PROFESSIONALS at all [NEVER IN POLITICS] , Athenians used to say,
we don’t want them because they are the heart of CORRUPTION.
we aren’t discussing institutions yet:
We are at the HEART of what motivated democracy: Democracy existed to reach these goals.
And we could take the same (goals) for us today, saying:
We want them to be amateurs,
so, they must rotate,
it’s because we want them to be amateurs, that they must rotate;
it’s because they rotate that they’ll be amateurs;
it’s definitely interconected, it goes hand in hand, to protect equality.
We must understand the intrinsic CONSISTENCY of all this.
If we let grow politician cartels, we won’t reach equality.
On the contrary, we’ll have professional politicians and we’ll lose equality.
Politically speaking.
Politically, right? I’m not talking about equality here… I know we’re not equal;
They very well knew we’re not equal. as far as wealth and intelligence are concerned
but we must be politically equal. That’s it…
that’s the democratic project..
We must understand, that these two sub-goals…
(we’re not talking about institutions… or maybe yes, only with short and non renewable mandates…)
But short and non renewable mandates are not compatible with an election:
you’ll never get enough candidates to fill short and non renewable mandate positions.
You won’t get them with an election…
because when you elect someone, the mechanism which led you to elect this person, will also lead you to reelect them,,
election thus entails the stablity of the political establishment,
it creates professionalisation, sedimentation : the same people will always have [the power]..
The election genome contains the professionalisation of politics.
They go together.
It is scheduled as such.
So, they chose sortition, because it’s perfectly consistent:
to obtain amateurism,
to apply rotations (short and non renewable mandates), sortition IS NECESSARY!
You cannot keep the rest and replace sortition by election: it won’t work.
Here, the [central] election does not allow amateurism and rotation of duties.
Therefore, it does not allow equality: it cannot be replaced
SORTITION allows, by always taking different people randomly…
This is essential.. This is the core/nucleus of a democracy..
As a complementary institution, they had the right to speak as core objective.
That is… (they knew… they were not idealist people..
Plato, [he,] was an idealist!
Philosophers often were idealists who fuelled and maintained MYTHS that helped dominate.
Mirabeau said: men are like rabbits: they caught themselves by their ears .
We believe in stories, we need to be told stories.
This is story telling . I’ve got a little book I didn’t bring but it is important,
a very little book which summarises the state of science on story telling [by Christian Salmon, ed. La découverte].
Story telling , is not only a marketing technique,
it’s a technique to manipulate human beings by telling them stories.
We [all] are very vulnerable to lies.
We all believe in them: when we are told stories, we believe them..
Our only wish is to believe them.
So, when we are told lies, we only want this: if it is consistent with
what we already understood from the “real” world, we only want this.
So, …
Knowing that…
Athenians were no idealists:
They were quite realistic, pragmatic, THEY KNEW THEY WERE NOT PERFECT.
they knew they would be able to take from the box
they knew they would [tend to] move from the public interest to their personal interest,
they knew they were liars, they knew they were not always honest, they knew it…
and they would say: well, our system will make EACH CITIZEN A POTENTIAL SENTINEL.
Citizens who want to speak, denounce, CAN denounce.
And they will stay alive , (because it was strict at this time:
before democracy, when somebody would protest,
dissidents were banned…
Leaders would hastily get rid of them…).
Athenians made a different choice, they said: we are going to protect dissident views,
we’re gonna let people express themselves
by implementing..
that they preferred to isonomia or to other very important democratic institutions:
to them, ISEGORIA was a PILLAR of democracy.
According to this pillar:
everyone in an assembly MAT speak about anything and at any time .
They wouldn’t do it [all at the same time, of course]:
when someone spoke, people would listen to him/her, and was blamed for not expressing himself/herself properly, for talking nonsense, rules were strict.
but everyone COULD do it..
IT was very important that everyone [COULD speak]… And the assembly wasn’t a mess:
there were magistrates (that’s how drawn representatives were called,
their task partly consisted in keeping the assembly disciplined, thus in verifying that everything was in good order).
But the fact that each citizen who wanted to protest, who had something to say, was allowed to say it
without being killed, is absolutely essential to keep DEMOCRACY SOUND AND CLEAN.
Which means…
it GUARANTEES that Athenians considered that democracy would LAST,
because any oligarchic deviations (they knew that there were),
each citizen — let me remind you that citizens were armed – each citizen…
had the power [to publicly denounce such deviations], committed by the institutions that were protecting him/her
(it’s a bit like today, our institutions should protect whistleblowers:
people like Fabrice Nicolino, Denis Robert, the lady who denounced Mediator…
Irène Frachon, that’s her,
we’ve got several wild and courageous whistleblowers, who are struggling,
institutions should protect them… in a specific manner;
a bit like labour law particularly protects employee or trade union representatives)
Well, Athenian institutions…
would guarantee this right to speak to everyone.
It was called Isegoria, which is an essential institution.
It made them active citizens.
Tha fact that… • when you allow people to speak and take their words into account,
make them want to try hard.
• Whereas when institutions act as if your words/opinions didn’t have any influence, people are reluctant to try hard.
Today, we complain about passive citizens.
But INSTITUTIONS MAKE THEM PASSIVE: what’s the point in being active since it won’t make any difference anyway.
Imagine open institutions which would allow you to change something: you would become much more active.
Look at Switzerland, it’s not a cure-all, but it is much more democratic,
probably one of the only democracies in the world (with Venezuela maybe).
In Switzerland, the fact that each citizen may trigger – (with a few co-signatories) a referendum on his/her own,
which means ask the question [which seems important to him/her] To ALL Swiss citizens…
It really makes them quite active: go to Switzerland, political activity is suprisingly
strong there, when you talk about it: these people actually do politics.
Much more than we do. Although it’s not perfect, [problems obviously] remain…
Athenians themselves would complain about passivity, people are never satisfied, would always like things to be different..
in [our known] human history… the city of Athens is the biggest plitical activity we’ve ever had.
Thats is: open institutions..
make active citizens.
Active citizens feed/foster amateurism and make it possible…
And amateurism make them active too, because there is a chance…
everyone had a chance to be drawn.
Sortition makes plausible the possibility that I may some day be the president of Athens
The president of Athens was randomly drawn EVERY DAY!
every day! drawn…
So [1 out of 4 citizens] could say: I was once president of Athens .
And no one could say: “I was president twice” (because the mandate was not renewable).
Duties would rotate and rotate
When you know that some day you may be the spokesman of the group…
it deeply changes your relationships with politics:
you do politics naturally, because it’s everywhere.
But don’t put the cart before the horse : we should not wait until we do politics ourselves for institutions to change.
Good institutions are educational, they are a [CIVIC] school…
I’ll come back to this, when we speak about jurymen and Tocquevilles’ opinion on them, for he wrote great pages:
He was a fierce defender… of sortition.
And I’ll literllay read the words he used because…
… he beautifully expressed himself…
So, [although,] he was an aristocrat who was, I think, profoundly anti-democrat;
antidemocrat, but honest, I mean, when he described his thoughts, he used to try to see the good side in each view.
And that made Tocqueville loved by everyone,
everyone would find what he/she was looking for in Tocqueville’s writings: because he doesn’t really show what he thinks.
There’s a letter from his brother (their correspondence is available),
where Tocqueville had [him] read the chapters of Democracy in America while he was writing it,
and there’s a letter where his brother — whose name I can’t remember —
[his brother] writes (to Alexis de Tocqueville), telling him…
for this chapter you sent me, we had said that you would not show what you think…
and I saw what you think…
I saw it. So you.. you…
You must re-write it.
So he would re-write: he would weigh what he wrote so people cannot see what he thought,
and it gave his writing a strength which is extremely attractive because…
he showed the quality of democracy (well, of what he calls “democracy”
because, let me remind you, this isn’t a democracy at all, anyway, it’s more convenient to call it this way)…
He describes the American regime…
with its strength and weaknesses…
with an honesty that is still useful for us today,,
because it is true that the representative regime such as it is, such as we experience it, has defects that lead to dictatorship,
a SOFT dictatorship described by Tocqueville the one we are currently experiencing.
So, Tocqueville, although he was antidemocrat, tell us great things
and sortition-related sections are amazing, we’ll see that later.
So, if you like, the core of democracy is this thing [showing the centre of the diagram]] :
the objective, the sub-goals and THE PROCESS THAT MAKES these sub-goals POSSIBLE…
Athenians were afraid of sortition, like us, same thing, same fear…
They were humans like us, and would think a lot, they were far from being stupid, they were not idiots
because it happened 2500 years ago… they would think exactly like you today, same thing.
And maybe even more, because they would do more politics..
So… they were afraid of drawing idiots..
So, first of all, they would NOT GIVE THE POWER to the drawee:
the assembly, not the representatives.
Do not imagine that elections are replace by sortition, and that the power is left
to elected representatives [like we leave it today]:
not at all, it doesn’t work like this.
There are common points since collective decisions are taken,
we must assess collective decisions, we must implement collective decisions, we must…
judge conflicts between individuals… There are lots of common points…
We must reach comparable objectives, but to reach a balance… we must understand that
THE PHILOSOPHY OF INSTITUTIONS, must completely change.
We will see how it can work and continue to work with a high nulber of people,,
but you’ll see that with the FEDERATION, with the small scale democracy [and] the upward pyramid-shaped federation,,
WITH CONTROLS OF THE POWER AT EACH STAGE, this is totally conceivable.
I’ll get back to this later (to the feasability today).
before this second part, I talked about it earlier…
sortition mechanically and literally entails with no exception,
(exceptions are marginal),
a DESYNCHRONIZATION, Hansen tralks about it.
There are two books.. here, lots of books on Athenian democracy which are really great.
the day-do-day life of Athenians,
when they draw lots, the machines they use..
the issues they have with their democracy… Everything is explained in a very good book… this book… is wonderful:
you’ve got the impression that you [see] a society live like you would like it to live today.
In any case, one can feel what can be transposable into…
Someone who loves Athenian democracy wrote it;
his name is Hansen and the title is Athenian democracy in the age of Demosthenes .
Good book to see their day-to-day life.. He is one of the greatest known experts…
of Athenian democracy (there’s a lot, but he is great), who wrote
several books on the subject and summarised them in a single book to make them accessible.
And there’s a second book which I, also highly recommend…
and even more, because I think it’s the most important
book on sortition and the political organisation of the country…
Its title isn’t very engaging though: Principles of representative governement… hum…
If you see it on a bookshelf, you may say: I’ll leave it here for now and might look at it tomorrow…
You’re wrong: it’s a very good book.
It’s the story of sortition, the story of the time where we lost this conception, this importance of sortition.
Why did election triumph, pros and cons, written with honesty…
He’s a greta guy: Bernand Manin.
I met him, he’s breezy, clever, cultivated.
He is…
He’s someone important [who] didn’t think of advocating for sortition:
He wanted to honestly report on situation.
And his description is so honest that we, who never hear about sortition, may think he’s advocating.
However, he also defends elections; which is fair, like Tocqueville did.
So Hansen describes this desynchronization which shows that…

wealthy people of the time often were… OFTEN HAD NO political power.
They were “aliens” like we call them, [they were] strangers.
Athenians often invited them [because of and] with their wealth
so they allowed them to seat, guaranteeing that their assets would not be taken..
Finally, the wealthy, these “aliens” run their businesses and lived quite comfortably,
they were very well settled, they had no political power,
but apparently, during 200 years, it didn’t prevent them from thriving.
Athens was a very prosperous city.
So I’m not saying…
I know it was colonialist, declared wars, went on expeditions, like all the people at that time.
I’m not saying we should live like Athenians!
I’m only saying that, compared to other cities of the time, it was remarkably stable,
prosperous, with an intense political activity.
And.. I think THE GERM is transposable today…
(Castoriadis, a great philospher, said that…
Athens is not a model, because there are lots of things that we don’t want [to take] from Athenian society, but it is A GERM.)
And I think the germ exists: this thing, this thing the wealthy people never rule…
[Good god :-)], doesn’t it ring a bell to you?
[Well !]… and that poor people always rule!
Well well well! That’s it!…
And that makes a huge difference!!
— Yes, it’s a detail, let’s discuss something else…. — Wait, no, no, no… Think!
So, well, anyway…
As a matter fact, looking at 200 years of history [of tests]…
200 years of experiences with sortition and election, with the relationships between the wealthy and the poor and exercice of power, all this is virtually negative [day/night, white/black].
It is…
The result is the total opposite..
But now, I’m talking abour FACTS, NOT MYTHS..
I’m not talking about the sacred cow, “the universal suffrage as historical conquest of the working class”
Who rules thanks to elections?
The poor ones?
No, never (or marginally).
Even when Blum [Front populaire in 1936] was elected…
You know that Blum, before [governing], Blum appointed a Minister of finance…
(that was Auriol)
So he appointed him,
and, as was usually the case during the 3rd republic — election —
the Minister of finance, BEFORE taking on his mandate
and doing his job as a Minister,, where did he go?
(room: to the Banque de France…)
He went to the Banque de France,
to the Banque de France office:
the manager of the Banque de France… lthe governor of the Banque de France,
was at the same time President of the Comité des Forges, that is the head of the MEDEF (French business confederation) at the time; the same guy.
(room: it was private at the time…)
Of course, the Banque de France was private, everything was private.
[And] the Minister of finance, BEFORE being allowed to do his job…
promised the Governor of the Banque de France — who was also [President] of the Comité des Forges—, what did he PROMISE?
So the “left” party is eventually elected…
But the “left” party, before having the power, must promise the wealthy ones…
(room: allegiance)
here we are: … the worst of the worst is guaranteed for us.
So we must understand that even when we elect people who will supposedly [defend the interests of the not so wealthy]…
… look at what happened in 1981! Mitterrand is elected…
I was singing, I was happy, Mitterrand…
Wait a minute, how long did it take him to betray us ? To do what even the extreme right parties [themselves] would never have done?
That’s the left party…
That’s the result of elections!
(room: he’s the one who most contributed to debt)
Yes, debt, absolutely!
(room: he was on the left side of the extreme right)
He wasn’t even on the left side: he was on the right.
He WAS [from the start] on the right, and then, in fact, he betrayed us…
All this people fool us with words, for let me remind you that we are quite sensitive to lies.
(room: the story has now been revealed… with Mitterrand, l'Oréal, etc,
because it is also linked to the US Federal reserve through the nazis. Anyway, we’ll discuss it another day).
So, I think there’s no need to tell more about how the left parties betrayed us once they got the power…
I mean, we are so disappointed, all of us… there’s no need to tell more, I’m no exception.
I think that the ALTERNATIVE is what makes my speech original.
But I’m sorry to say that the alternative is not for today…
it won’t be for now, we must first pass the message around and be millions to defend this idea:
as long as there’s only a few of us (100 or 1000 people), it won’t be enough, nothing will change.
It must be propagated, each one of us must do this work of explanation for others to understand,
to stop buying the lies, fables, myths, and when you look at the facts, you realize that…
… we’re being told this is social progress…
… but you don’t get social progress as long as the wealthy rule.
The wealthy do not want social progress.
Look at Athenians’ experience: that was 2500 years ago and is quite interesting.
Practically speaking,
today, if we had to draw lots, we would be AFRAID of doing it:
when I go to assemblies, I am told: but what if Le Pen was drawn?! …
They are afraid of Le Pen…
Meanwhile supporters of Le Pen would feel the same about a communist being drawn.
Well, what if someone you don’t like at all is sorted, hmm ?
Well, Athenians had the same concern,
exactly the same concern.
They were afraid of certain people they absolutely didn’t want to see elected.
This also existed back then.
that’s the way they chose and it worked well.
So they must have come up with something more.
And it’s this section, the bottom right of the diagram,
where I grouped some institutions designed to correct the sortition, they are written in green,
(you can find this on the website http://etienne.chouard.free.fr/Europe/
along with commentaries, what I’m telling you right now, and what I forgot since I’m now improvising,
I may forget one or two points now but you can find them there:
the text of what appears (to me, not forgetting many things) to be needed as added commentaries of this diagram.
So, with these here institutions, Athenians protected themselves against a “messy sortition”.
So, you must understand that these were SHORT AND NON-RENEWABLE MANDATES.
Short mandates would last for 6 months, a year, rarely more, and non-renewable.
Non-renewable within the same function. Which means that if I’ve been drawn for a function,
I can be drawn for another, but no longer for this one.
Anyway… Well, there were variations…
Anyway, this was absolutely essential. I put it in those institutions. It’s the very heart of a democracy, it’s the core…
Remove this and you’ve lost… you’ve lost democracy.
So there are MANDATES and there are CONTROLS…
This is very important. (I must not forget to mention this when we get to the summary because between election and sortition,
what makes it clever, the very core… It’s the very core. But I’ll come back to it later.)
BEFORE it, DURING its course, AT THE END of it, and AFTER it as well.
Controls were permanent: One must realize that the drawee was AFRAID.
It was nothing like today’s elected representatives.
I don’t know if you can see the difference, the drawees had a SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY, a duty,
they didn’t come to take advantage while being unpunished, irresponsible…
It has nothing to do with that. So..
BEFORE the mandate, which controls were in place to avoid a messy sortition?
• VOLUNTEERING: which means that only those who attended the assembly in the morning would be drawn.
(there were roughly 6000 people in the assembly, it was variable, but roughly speaking)
and about 2000 people who presented themselves for the day’s lottery.
There was a machine, a Kleroterion .
(You can see on the website how this [lottery and kleroterion] worked.
There’s a very good book by Sintomer Power to the people , it’s very interesting and shows all the experiences…
… all past and current experiences, (lots of current), of sortition in the world’s institutions.
That’s a lot of experiences, failures, successes… It is…
… it is quite exciting because it shows that it’s not a mere theory, it does work, and lots of people use it.

Why was I talking about this? I was talking about this “kleroterion because in Sintomer’s book
Power to the people”, chapter 2 explains how the kleroterion worked,
and it says that every morning, balls, white balls, black balls,
it’s a funny thing to see, quite materialistic, everyone could check what was going on.
A bit like in polling stations, you can go there, it is in your interest to go check that everything is being done properly.
Kleroterion is the same, everyone could watch the lottery machine,
and it was quite rustic and transparent, so cheating wasn’t easy.
No computer involved. How about computer-polling machines, I mean seriously, where are the tools to destroy them?
Let’s tear them down with an axe, since we’re obviously going to be fooled now. Polling machines are…
(room: we’ve already been fooled)
It’s already the case. It’s unbelievable that we let it happen. Anyway…
Anyway, in the morning, there were volunteers. So what Montesquieu highlighted, is that…
… this volunteering institution… We could discuss it on my website’s forum
(http://etienne.chouard.free.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?id=20), discuss whether
do we draw lots among volunteers, …
or among everyone, allowing them to refuse ?
[in both cases] only “volunteers” are kept,
but “volunteer” has a different meaning if the person was VOLUNTEERING BEFORE, or ACCEPTED AFTER being designated.
Because one who volunteered before obviously wants the power [which is dangerous in itself].
But when this happens on a daily basis for short and non-renewable mandates,
[one cannot “want” the “power” the same way our current professional politicians do. It does not apply] ;
It’s different from elections [where candidates intend to become PROFESSIONALS of politics].
But note the difference: being a candidate, is different from being designated [without asking for it] and accepting for the common good.
And you’d see that lots of people do not want the power…
… but accept it because that’s the way it works, because they’re sensitive people.
And there’s lots of them.
These people don’t have the same qualities as those who currently rule,
obviously here to take advantage, it’s unbeliev… anyway…
I’ll soon be considered as a populist, demagogue, or fascist, I can feel it, since I’m against the parliament, and then maybe even a nazi. Here we are…
But when you see someone.. who simultaneously carries out several mandates, deputy, advisor of this, president of that…
and who, on top of that, will freelance as a lawyer in order to POCKET A FEW MORE DOZENS OF GRANDS…
It really is disgusting, it’s just sheer greed.
Those elected people, I mean what they become, quite often they are not all like this at first…
Some elected people start off while still young, and at the beginning of their career are not corrupted yet.
BUT roughly anyway, the reason why they are here is to “stuff” themselves.
If you look at how people lived back then (2500 years ago, under true democracy),
it was totally different : people had a sense of duty,
and they were rewarded, but not with money.
they were paid to take part in the assembly, but very little: a worker’s half day salary ! They really earned very little…
But they would be rewarded, you’ll see when we talk about REWARDS, they were HONOURS/DISTINCTIONS.
No money : honours. human beings like that.
Lots of people do lots of things to get distinctions, for glory, to have the impression that
they served the common good, and other people’s opinion is enough for them.
Acknowledgement by other people is enough. Lots of people operate this way.
Yes indeed, a bit deranged, like a drug addict, a bit…
(audience: unbalanced)
a bit unbalanced, BUT… NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THIS,
So institutions would work like this In any case…
Montesquieu undeligned (I was talking about volunteering), that is was very important:
according to him, sortition was not perfect, but it was MADE VIRTUOUS by complementary institutions which would correct the defaults.
He would say: volunteering AND PUNISHMENT, (because you’ll see that there’s a lot of punishments),
the combination of both entailed that there were few volunteers [who were kindof “sorted”].
Because when you know that you [may be punished, you participate [only] if you have a real project, if you feel that you must do it for the community.
(audience: were they allowed to resign?)
I don’t know… they [could] be revoked, but I’ don’t know if they were allowed to resign. I’m not sure of it.
Anyway, I don’t know, it should be checked. I haven’t read anything about it. It doesn’t ring a bell to me.
I think they would commit. They would commit and the funny thing [so far from what our “elected representatives” risk today],
is to see how they would be blamed at the end, when they had to report or later on,
and they would defend themselves (and it worked) by saying; wait a minute, you have to remember that I’m like you . And it worked as a mean of defence
because people would see that he/she committed, accepted to be drawn and tried hardl…
Well he/she wasn’t… a rotten oligarch, and he/she’s not punished.
So there was a RISK of punishment, but obviously punishment was not systematic.
So volunteering associated to an actual risk, potentially severe, of punishment, (which could go as far as death penalty… Anyway…
I’m not saying this… because it’s [obviously] not transposable,
but I mean [they were] severe punishments, for these times)
…. lthe combination of both [(volunteering and severe punishment)] made
volunteering a real FILTER against awful or silly people
or people whom you fear might be drawn. You understand what I mean?
What I mean, is that, the answer to the objection: “we’re gonna have idiots”
is no: we will eliminate most of them like this.
• Then we had “DOCIMASY , a sort of test. Not a competency test because [reminder: core objective =] political equality,
we all have the same political skills, [docimasy,] was an ability test..
The aim was to spot the insane,, lunatic ones… To get rid of them.
Or the guy… who didn’t take good care of his parents… (funny to see how important it was for them),
this guy was blacklisted, He wouldn’t be allowed [to be candidate]… Anyway…
Certain abilities allowed to blacklist people, which was another filter. So,
if we wrote or institutions ourselves, we would foresee.. we would think about it
and we would say which docimasy we want, which test is [desirable], what is need to… ,
checking that it is not a priviledge, to avoid what scares us.
So: a preliminary test.
• And then OSTRACISM . Ostracism sounds quite negative today.
Today, “ostracism” is bad.
But at that time, it was… it was not negatively connoted,
it was part of the basic sound principles for democracy.
Ostracism comes from ostrakon a piece of pottery, thus broken potteries.,
you would take a piece of pottery and engrave the name of someone you feared on it.
So before that, in the assembly, a citizen proposed to launch the ostracisme procedure.
People would accept or refuse, but if they accepted, if the assembly… (not the representatives right? the assembly),
is the assembly said: yes, we must [use] ostracism (because several people are afraid)…
the procedure was launched, under which anyone who is afraid of somebody…
(he’s afraid of this great orator: oh my god, this guy is taking the power; he is.. he speaks too well…
— that’s [often] the reason why they would “ostracise” people —
He’s a very good speaker” or he is plotting, he is… he’s scaring us , for some reason…)
[so,] his name would be engraved on an ostrakon,
a little piece of pottery, and then ostrakons and names were counted,,
and the one whose name was engraved most frequently on ostrakons was… he was not killed,
his assets were not seized, he wasn’t dishonoured, but REMOVED FROM POLITICAL ACTIVITY for 10 years.
It is not a [barbarian horror]… and many others did not participate in political life: let me remind you that women,
slaves, strangers — people who would [sometimes] lead a very comfortable way of life, strangers (who could be very wealthy) —
these people were outside politics, so they didn’t attend the assembly, they were not citizens… It wasn’t difficult.
Anyway, democracy itself had an important “wheel” which allowed to…
not to kill but to REMOVE from political life, for 10 years, someone who was feared.
So, realise that it’s something that is still lacking today:
today, when two candidates are presented…
(take any example you want in… in your country’s recent past)
you’ve got two candidates who seem to be “villains”,
what do you do?
You’re stuck, you’ve got to choose between two evils.
You can’t even use the blank vote which means: but I want them out! .
We could have a blank vote meaning…
Blank vote means: “go back home, we don’t care about this question”
or : rgo back home, [you] candidates, and give me other candidates .
However, blank vote is interpreted [today as… being NULL
it is combined with other null [votes] and thrown away!
This is revolting! Why? who wrote these rules? Who wrote these rules which mix blank vote and null vote?
Elected representatives! Which is quite normal.
We can’t blame them: it’s [mostly] OUR FAULT WE LEFT THEM WRITE THE CONSTITUTION.
It’s just our fault. I insist. It’s your fault, every one of us, and me included, because we let them do.
They do not write that blank vote should be implemented; they do not mention referendum proposed by popular initiative;
they do not mention short and non renewable mandates, obviously not;
they do not write that at least one chamber out of two should be drawn
they do not speak about citizens’ juries; they do not write…
They do not write the institutions we need.
Well, I’m anticipating but it’s easy to guess:
Take time to understand, ponder it, if you belong to a party. (you can…
obviously, because it’s the only thing we have to fight, I’m not blaming you for belonging to a party!)
But what I mean, what you need to understand, is that, WHATEVER PARTY YOU MAY BELONG TO,
you must understand that if you want power,, YOUR HONOUR, is TO NOT write the constitution..
If you want power and if you want to write the constitution at the same time,
you already tend to be an oligarch you are “stealing the power”.
You are…
you’re preparing yourself to be “judge and jury” to write rules for yourself and fool the others.
(audience: that’s what happened with the European constitution)
… European, obviously: European, French… De Gaulle who wrote for himself…
There are so many examples, they’re all… take all the constitutions in the world (except from Venezuela, [maybe]…)
and except [the Athenian one] obviously which was written by Solonas, Clisthenes, and…
Solonas left : after writing , he left..
left for 10 years. So he didn’t write the rules for himself [And] casually, he wrote a democracy.
So after that…
These are controls “before” the mandate. Controls “during” the mandate are easy to understand:
• Drawees were REVOCABLE:
If someone saw that a drawee starts to default, to not work properly,
during the mandate, the Assembly could revoque him AT ANY TIME.
SO aren’t you reassured? Does that apply to elected representatives? Well, you see!
It goes along [with sortition iyou’ve got to understand].
These controls are included. I’ll come back [to this] after looking back on it.
The common point is that WE ASSUME THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GOOD.
WE ASSUME CONFLICTS, we assume that people are not perfect,
we assume that virtue is not natural, not spontaneous, not innate.
We assume this and take it into account in institutions since we understood and assumed it, well CONTROLS ARE IMPLEMENTED EVERYWHERE
So after that, you’re less busy with it; I’ll come back to this but you’ll see that
finally, this system is MUCH MORE SOLID FOR BIG STRUCTURES, big sizes
If Europe was built according to this model, you could forget about it since there are controls everywhere.
So, with the elections which assume that they are.. [virtuous simply because they were elected,
they’re trying to make us believe that we don’t need controls betwee two elections!]…
(audience: we could justly be interested)
So we could be interested… That means, we could do both.
We’ll get back to this when we talk about an objection which consists in saying: yes, but sortition was fine because they were dealing with small sizes,
whereas election [is necessary because we [now are many] .
It’s just the opposite: elections should be used for small sizes,
and sortition would work better in a large scale system.
So let me quicly summarise [the list of protective institutions to know]: revocability, is easy to understand.
• ACCOUNTABILITY, that is having to report at the end [of the mandate].
Can you imagine if your elected representatives had an accountability for you?
They report to you and after that, during… he had that power for a year and then
for six months, sometimes a year… accountability takes time, it would take a lot of time
(By the way, other people were drawn to control the drawees.
Other drawees right… they controlled one another)
So, for a year, they had to explain why they had done this and that…
Wait a minute, it’s much more protective that our sytem, this thing is a 1,000 times more protective!
You’re telling me: what if we drew this villain one … but look at all the controls..
I mean: it’s not [only] sortition instead of election : we’re thinking and not obliged to do it blindly.
We can do it like they did, by thinking.
It means that we [use] sortition because we have AN OBJECTIVE to reach
so, since we see that tere are disadvantages, we make the institutions that go with them.
After that, everything is consistent, it’s much more clever than our system; much better for the common good.
Less interesting for the banks…
but for the common good, this system is much better…
For the banks, it is, it is… but in my opinion they know what’s gonna happen… too bad.
Anyway, the last complementary institution of sortition
(which shows that “villains” don’t have to be feared, is…
that AFTER the mandate, fi someone said: “there’s a guy
who made the assembly invade another island and we lost.
So the guy who lead us to take this decision, we’re gonna..
• So that was “esangelia , the possibility to publicly blame, therefore publicly accuse,
which means that anyone who potentially accuses someone who harmed democracy…
Well we must temper that, I’m just giving you… orientations, all these are orientations for us, and then we’ll see what…
Maybe controls should be limited, [so] there aren’t too many, to avoid paralysing people..
Anyway, Athenian institutions were strict.
• AFTER THE END of the mandate, the assembly could change their mind, by saying: we made a mistake, let’s correct it : that was called Graphe para nomon , a procedure allowing to modify [a past decision] which means that the…
(audience: like???)
(Yes exactly..) Athenian society had built institutions allowing —LIKE FOR ANY HUMAN BEING— TO TAKE DECISIONS
while knowing that they could make mistakes AND COULD MODIFY DECISIONS WHEN THEY WERE WRONG.
They built a BODY capable of… like any human being, correcting
and going back on decisions, adapting [(in real time, not only every five years)].
It’s so much more clever… So much more clever…
In any case, it’s much more PROTECTIVE than our current systems and finally, the whole thing,
in light of this result [(disynchronisation between economic and political power)]
which is absolutely crucial for prosperity and the common good…
it could.. it should be tested!
The second part of what I want to tell you, deals with OBJECTIONS AND REFUTATIONS :
So here are four or five common objections:
• The first one is…
… with your system… We’re gonna let… we’re gonna let bastards.. or idiots… villains… rule .
Not at all: • first of all, they’re not “ruling”:
the guy you’re gonna draw will NOT rule!!!
So representatives help us..
they do what the assembly cannot do:
They prepare the agenda, they display the agenda,
they check that the assembly is disciplined, they implement decisions [police, justice],
they draw lots, they take care of accountability and finally punishments…
They do what the assembly CANNOT do [itself].
They actually SERVE us.
It’s totally different: it’s not only a procedure to change; a democracy is DIFFERENT from what we know.
What we know today consists in designating masters.
(audience: whom we call “representatives”)
Whom we call… [or rather] who call [themselves] our representatives , to better mislead us.
you see that they’re fooling us, no need to draw it…
Hmm, so..
To the bjection: we’re going to designate villains, to choose villains to rule , the first answer is: the drawees are not going to rule since they d’ont have the power .
• And the second [answer] is: there are lots of institutions to filter them”.
I’m not coming back ti [it]: there are lots of institutions to get rid of them [or] punish them…
So there’s NOTHING TO FEAR in this regard. Well, my opinion is that there’s much less to fear…
Because [you] think that elections don’t give the power to villains?
It seems that [elections] choose them. It seems that [with elections], the worst govern..
By the way..
I think that this book… (I don’t know… I must have…
1500 or 2000 books at home, I’ve got lots of books, I read a lot)
but if I had to keep a book [among] all them…
this one is wonderful: “Propos sur le pouvoir by Alain [(and all Propos , by the way)],
but Propos sur les pouvoirs by Alain, is my favourite, it’s something, you read it over and over again, you..
it’s [pure] intelligence, it’s… it’s very very very very useful. It’s really a good book
you can get when you’re a teenager, and it follows you for the rest of your life.
Propos sur les pouvoirs , is great.
So in his Propos , Alain says that…
and you’ll see that these three little sentences with a subject, a verb, a complement, quite short but including everything.
Everything to condemn elections…
To condemn elections…
As long as I hadn’t found sortition, I thought I could kill myself
([with] this sentence] because it was so true, it was [like] a trap: there was no escape.
But with sortition [this strong idea of Alain’s is no longer implacable]…
So what was Alain saying?…
He was saying… [in three short sentences]:
In old French, it’s a way of saying: “they don’t want to govern”.
Good people don’t feel like governing.
It’s true, if you wait…
if you have a system [based on] elections [therefore] on candidates
and that good people do not want [to be candidates], they won’t be candidates.
Well, you’ll only see villains.
Yes! The worst will govern! Here we are!
Here we are [look around you]: Paulson participates in the US government.
You’ve got Paulson, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld… Evil! All of them!
The most horrendous.
(audience: Obama is not better)
Exactly! (audience: dance of the vampires)
In France, you’ve got Sarkozy; in Italy, Berlusconi;
in England, Tony Blair… [Everywhere,] the worst…
The worst of the… the…
a while ago, I said “prostitutes” but I shouldn’t say so because it’s not nice for prostitutes.
We need to find a more serious word, because prostitutes… prostitutes”, we all are, we too, without doing it on purpose.
No, it’s worse than… [they are] villains. “Villains” is a good word.
So we won’t say “prostitutes”, because prostitutes are our friends we’ll say “villains”.
Second objection:
And you’ll see, when you… Because if you play the game I’m suggesting, which consists in…
(if the seed grows in your brains), planting others yourself
because it’s the only way it can work, I’m telling you it is…
if 40 of us… are convinced of this, [and] since it doesn’t grow, it won’t make ANY difference, it won’t change ANYTHING.
However, if you grow the seed I suggest that you plant, you will read,
you will strengthen it, you water it, you add fertilizer, and it becomes beautiful,
And if you plant it somewhere else, in 40 [other brains], it will definitely grow, and very quickly!
So, the objections I’m talking about, you have to know them, and you have to know how they can be contradicted,
Because you’ll see… people will answer the same thing as I.
• So the second objection, is…
you are applying a regime which would work at a small scale,
but today, AT A LARGE SCALE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE to apply it .
So, 2 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes… 2 minutes !
Elections… bet that we know people… [don’t they?]
The fact that we ELECT them, means that we KNOW them!
(audience: hum…)
Yes it does… Well, [otherwise,] how can you elect (that is CHOOSE) if you don’t know them?!
Elections themselves… (otherwise they're purely misleading us)…
Elections imply, That we know people [candidates, elected representatives].
And that’s not all! Since elections are supposed to be the only counter-power… [since] the only punishment when they make mistakes, is to NOT be reelected,
it implies [at least] that we know what they did while they were elected.
They’re fooling us at State or European level!
Do you know… Do you know the people you elected at Europen level?
Not at all. You know [very little]… you saw them 30 seconds on TV…
And when they are in Europe, there, you can’t see ANYTHING, you don’t have any idea about what they do!
They are adapted to small scales:
the town… You know your mayor, you can see him/her every day,
you can call him/her, he/she knows you, you know him/her…
And since elections choose, idealistically bet, UNREALISTICALLY BET that people are virtuous,
that elected representatives (like a miracle) would become gods, are able to decide,
master every subject, nuclear issues, GMOs, all this stuff, they are “proficient/experts”,
so, there are NO CONTROLS because elected representatives supposedly represent the nation”
that’s why we TRUST them so there’s no control…
But it totally contradicts large scales!
I mean, A BIG ORGANISATION, needs it [showing on the diagram the list of protecting institutions]:
AND THAT CONTROLS ARE NECESSARY EVERYWHERE! Yes indeed, controls are necessary…
[Elected representatives] don’t like them? Well, that’s too bad: they're not the ones who decide…
That’s too bad: they don’t decide.
If they decide, they won’t implement any control! Look at todays’ situation:
They write constitutions…
They don’t implement any controls. Yes indeed… BUT THAT’S NORMAL!
So, when you hear: ok, sortition was fine with small groups, small cities,
and would not work with bigger ones , [you can answer] the [exact] OPPOSITE…
• Next objection (that I spot), I’m being told: but with your system,
opinions are never gonna be the same, the [one in charge] will never be the same,
you draw a new person every day. Wait a minute, opinions will change every day!
How will you be able to implement a long term policy? Have some kind of vision for the future?…
You see, that's what they’re telling you by saying: sortition won’t lead you anywhere.
You change persons, you change policies, it will be… it won’t be straightforward .
• Forst of all: WHY NOT? All living bodies are not straightforward.
Take any child who learns that… ooops it’s burning! The following time, he won’t go,
He will take another [decision]: yes, he tried once, But he won’t try a second time And any living body works like this.
Why wouldn’t that apply to modern society, with an Assembly that would [sometimes] make mistakes and not be straightforward?
That’s the first [response to the objection]. Most importantly, this objection which consists in saying
they’re always gonna change their minds, that’s not true: Drawees [are not the ones] who decide!
Drawees [are not] he ones who decide: the Assembly does.
Athenians didn’t have any problems taking decisions:
the same ones would always decide. So…
they were about 30,000 people with only 6,000 within the Assembly.
So they would not attend the Assembly all the time, they would work, and sometimes they would go to the Assembly. When they [felt like it], they would go to the Assembly.
So, when you feel like attending the Assembly, you just go; if it’s full, “you’ll come back tomorrow”…
The Assembly would roughly, have a body of citizens…
When you speak about the city’s problems in he Assembly (what are we gonna do… should we open a mine, Should we do this, what are we…
gonna do with this land, this swamp, should we let it dry or not?
When you speak to the Assembly, Yourself, you talk about the city’s issues,
well, when you leave the Assembly, you’re gonna talk about it to toher people.
And in fact, the whole city [therefore] becomes constantly impregnated by the city’s issues.
Which means that delegating, is not essential at all:
Leaving your powers to elected representatives is no fate: Elected representatives decided it [themselves], you didn't!
Have you ever said: “I think elections are important and I renounce to sortition”?
You were not even aware that sortition existed…
So, to me, [the objection]: people would always change their minds , is irrelevant/nonsense.
• Next objection: you will necessarily designated UNQUALIFIED PEOPLE. We live in a complex world.
Listen to me, we’re talking about nuclear issues, that’s… a global geo-strategy, with extremely complicated things…
So you’re going to designate anyone…
Unqualified people…
Are you joking? Do you think that elected representatives are qualified?
Do you know how many atomic bombs have been thrown into the atmosphere, yes, I said the atmosphere?
You know Fukushima, it’s like small fumes, But I’m talking about atomic bombs. (audience: these are no small fumes!)
No, no, no, but I mean small fums COMPARED TO Do you know what an atomic bomb is?
Into the atmosphere! You see what kind of radioactive mess it is, to throw an atomic bomb?
Do you know how many have been thrown since 1945?
Elected representatives… leaders, experts, people like “we-won’t-choose-anyone-we-will-choose-people who are-able–and-qualified-to-do-things-”…
Reasonable things…
How many atomic bomb?
More than 2,000!!!
2,000 atomic bombs in the atmosphere! and underground, and in the seas!
Directly, there… bam! bam! bam!
There is… There is a video… An artist built an inventory of all explosions, along with their dates, [http://dai.ly/dgwD9u]
and he made a small video that lasts… I don’t remember, about 10 minutes, and you have a time scale off one second per month and then… or well I don’t remember… approximately… Nevermind the graduation,
and then you have the first explosion, just before Hiroshima; it’s in a desert
in north America and afterwards you have… bam! bam! The two hits of Hiroshima and Nagasaki… then it’s calm again…
then it starts exploding again, in a desert in the United States, then it starts exploding…
I don’t remember the order, I think then it’s USSR that starts making explosions, explosions, explosions… bam! bam! bam! It starts to crackle.
You know, you need lots of them to reach 2,000.
small red dots, here… ta! ta! ta! And then in the sixties… it won’t stop!
They are responsible , you are told: With drawees, you will designate unqualified people .
But they’re fooling us!
(audience: French people have managed to irradiate themselves)
Exactly, but we’re gonna reach… I mean, when an atomic bomb explodes,
You do not only irradiate yourself, You irradiate the whole planet… and it will last
For years, all these particles, anyway.
And how many… (And now, you’re going to help me…)
Elected representatives pretend that they are qualified?
How many wars have they triggered? How many wars?
Who threw napalm and pesticides on Vietnam, millions of litres?
Who, who? Elected representatives!! They were elected.
Wait a minute, that’s horrible, what they did to Vietnam, absolutely horrible.
It’s… it’s… what they did to Vietnma is crazy.
It’s… it’s… it’s profoundly revolting, what they did to Vietnam.
Elected people did this, “qualified people.
Would a popular assembly have done this? I don’t think so.
They may have, but I'm not sure at all.
And I… when [citizen] assemblies are organised…
You’ll find in this book ( Power to the people by Sintomer), [stories] about what drawn citizens’ assemblies have decided.
For instance,in Mali, such assembly Discussed GMOs.
People who were not familiar with GMOs at all were drawn. They knew nothing at all about the subject.
There were mothers working at home, unionists, farmers, lawyers, all kinds of occupations,
and they were drawn. So, there was an assembly of people who were not familiar with the subject at all.
And then, for months, what they did (they had money to do do it,
they had premises to host people), they invited people from Monsanto
And asked them: why are GMOs necessary [according to you]? .
So Monsanto people explained why.
Then they invited People from the farmers’ union: so why don’t you want GMOs?
So [unionists] explained why.
Then they invited people from Bayer (another seed maker) [who explained:] Well, here’s why we want them …
Then they invited people from South America (who had been using GMOs for a long time) [asking:] them why did you do this?
Are you happy with it? or not? And why do you continue?
Were there any problems? Is everything ok? …
And then, they invited Monsanto people again telling [them] : these people told us that… what do you answer [them]? .
And in the meantime, everybody would watch this: it was all on TV, on the radio, people
could attend meetings and citizens suggest that questions were asked by saying:
ask him such question because… indeed, so the question [suggested by the audience] would be asked…
Wait a minute, after 6 months, these people are much more qualified than any MP in the world
(an MP who has to deal with all subjects… That’s a joke!).
In this case, they focus on a subject…
they have no interest, they are not paid by laboratories…
they don’t think about being reelected, they got no financing…
They only have a mission, everyone is watching them, They’re gonna become people… no experts…
They’re gonna become ENLIGHTENED people, Much more enlightened than anyone else.
This a is a model for democracy !
A democracy… Insitutions that would implement a drawn Parliament,
This is much more better than pretentious elections, than people who are elected and who think they're God.
In this case, people are drawn: They are aware that they don’t know, do what do they do?
For each subject, instead of taking decisions themselves, instead of others…
The drawees who know that tomorrow They will join “normal” people again,
these people, institutions are gonna help them, inviting them to DESIGNATE ANOTHER assembly
a drawn assembly who will SPECIALISE in the problem that is submitted to [them].
Depending on the report made by the specialised Assembly, they will decide upon such or such law.
And in the end, if there is any doubt, they [launch] a REFERENDUM.
Which means ALL people decide by referendum.
But [all] this doesn’t taste the same. Do you understand?
So, enventually, the GMO assembly, the Mali assembly decided that [NO: GMOs, no thank you], unanimously…
This is striking: unanimously, rather NO; rather no,
because 1) we don’t understand the purpose, we’re not sure it’s gonna be fine,
and [moreover,] 2) nothing proves that it’s not dangerous…
So, well: NO, unanimously.
Well, I don’t know: I think it’s more [convincing than the opinion of a bunch of experts who are paid by laboratories… [(true)], mainly laboratories which make… GMOs. I think it’s obviously better.
So this “expertise” story is bullshit.
The doctor MP who has just been elected, or the elected professor, on nuclear issues, they don’t know ANYTHING.
About global warming, they don’t know anything [(no more than you)].
What makes them “experts”… I’m not saying they [are definitely unqualified]:
they will [BECOME] qualified when they start working on a case, [in this case,] they will become qualified.
Drawees are not qualified because they are drawn or elected: THEY ARE QUALIFIED BECAUSE THEY WORK.
Their work will make them qualified.
So, [lthe objection] we would necessarily Designate unqualified people is nonsense.
I’m almost done.
• [Other frequent objection:] The Athenian MODEL was based on SLAVERY; PHALLOCRACY AND XENOPHIBIA”.
I’m keeping the best for the end. Because [this objection,] you’re gonna hear it.
You’re being said:
Athenian democracy was oligarchy: a small group of people
Had the power, and the rest were slaves, women,strangers …
a very small group of people [would dominate and exploit masses]… .
Wait a minute…
at that time, on earth…
it is ANACHRONIC to judge them with tpday’s values when they were…
While it was impossible not to be escalvagist at the time. It was quite marginal.
When you’ve got everyone around you, all that exists is escavagist,
You are [naturally, simply] esclavagist like everyone else…
(audience: it is as if we said, We’ve got cats and dogs)
Exactly, it is as if [we were blamed for, years and years later, having locked and eaten] cows…
Wait a minute, [it’s easy to imagine:] the day when it’s gonna be decided… the day when humanity
(and I think it will happen some day), will decide that KILLING AN ANIMAL IS LIKE KILLING A MAN,
and that we can [very well] eat artificial food, which tastes the same (and even better!)…
Anytime you eat this piece of artificial beef, made with oil or whatever, I don’t care,
it’s better than any piece of beef anyone ever ate when he/she ate a [real] piece of beef…
The thing is, you no longer need to kill an animal [to take pleasure in eating].
Once we’ve invented the necessary technology to feed us and finding it exquisite, giving us all the proteins,
all the substances we need, with [no] need to kill animals,
as of this day, killing an animal could become a crime, since we’ll no longer need it,
and when you judge [for this distant future period]
today’s people by saying they would kill animals, it was butchery,
a never ending genocide, look at concentration camps,
look at caged animals which are being killed,
before being killed, they are tortured,
they eat each other, like pigs …
But we will be judged ([with our current values), our grandchildren will ask us:
granddad, what were you doing, while animals were killed?
I would reply: Well, I would eat them, like the others did [, naturally] .
And… in a way, slavery in Athens is A bit like this. [PLEASE AVOID ANACHRONISTIC CRITICISM.]
I’m not saying this to defend slavery, don’t be stupid: I’m not in favour of slavery!
I’m no phallocrat, I’m not saying that women should not [take part in political life]…
When I ask you to focus on a subject, I’m not saying let’s be misogynous, and [exclude] women …
I’m obviously not saying this…
You understand what I mean?… And those who're blaming me, telling me: but you are defending
a xenophobic regime, in favour of slavery , they think I’m stupid!
They think I’m mean, they insult me, that’s incredible.
I’m [simply able to] DISTINGUISH, which means that…
(audience: let’s ask him if he’s wearing Nike shoes)
Yes indeed, Athenians are not gonna be blamed for not taking the place or not wearing Nike shoes. Well.
Anyway, what I mean is… look at the guy who’s telling you this,
the one who’s saying: Well! Athenian democracy… You’re defending a regime That was in favour of slavery .
Please, you think I’m stupid?!
because elected representatives (or elected sponsors) are those who usually say this.
Obviously, these are people who’re gonna lose everything, lose their power: ELECTED people [of course,
BUT ALSO] RICH PEOPLE, who’re gonna lose their transmission belt, elected-to-their-service .
SO THEY’D BETTER MIX EVERYTHING, put shit into it… it’s all mixed… look how dirty it is! …
And they’re telling you: go away, there’s nothing to see .
when something is bad on one side, EVERYTHING IS NOT NECESSARILY bad.
I’m sorry but politics… PARTISAN politics Which consist in saying: I follow a political line,
and all the things that do not comply with it are my enemies ,
to me, [this way of considering things is] A PRISON FOR THOUGHT. I’m not like this.
It means that each individual or each political life may have made [potentially serious] errors, and may not be perfect.
At the same time, [the same imperfect individual,] can have a great idea [an excellent idea,]
which will help me build a pacified world, reach agreements for today. [I don’t wan to miss
this great idea for I hardly rejected its author, and being forbidden to listen to him.]
In Athens, I’m telling you: if you can distinguish between things [you’ll find great ideas…]
Look at Athens: would slavery MAKE democracy POSSIBLE?
If you answer: yes, absolutely, democracy was only possible because slavery existed ,
Ok then, I’ll say: so it’s true, This system bears something unacceptable so let’s give up .
But is that true?
There was SOME truth [at that time], which [TODAY] IS NO LONGER TRUE AT ALL:
Some truth , which means: since there were slaves they had TIME to do politics .
It’s [also] because women would take care of the house, the food and crops
(agriculture)… that men could do politics…
That’s true.
BUT, today, with OIL, fossil fuels, MACHINES, we’ve got IRON SLAVES
that would save 1,000 times, 1,000 times more work and time than “blood and flesh” slaves at that time.
It means that with simple machines, we could very well work less
and have time to do politics. And not only politics [, by the way] :
philosophy, music, conversations and games…
So what I mean is that slavery, may at that time have made democracy possible
but today, we absolutely don’t need it for democracy to work.
We’ve got other means that would free time for us, the necessary time to…
MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE SHOULD GET RID OF OUR [BIGGEST] PARASITES, for that’s because they steal us thousands of billions of euros every year,
all the time, all the time, all the time, we are obliged to work so much…
If the wealth we create through our activity, our industry, our efforts,
Much, much less… [About] two days per week!
And we could retire at 50 years old!
We only need to get rid of our parasites.
But [be careful] not [small] parasites… not the guys who steal a motorbike or who are…
not the… They are not parasites, it’s not a big issue.
I’m talking about BIG PARASITES. Parasites who’re stealing you thousands of billions, the real ones. We should deal with them first.
(audience: financial greedy guys)
Financial greedy guys, exactly.
So, as far as the objection Athenian model = in favour of slavery,
phallocrat, xenophobic To me, it’s out of the subject.
[If I try to understand where the virtues of sortition come from..]
What allows me to be sure that it will always work like this?
How come a system where representatives, those who help us exert power, are drawn
How come elections, on the contrary, allow for and do not punish
abuses of power, and select (almost all the time) THE WORST ONES?
Well, I think (and I talked a bit about it, but it’s time to discuss it again because I think
It is… it’s time to finish, to conclude, these are really essentials),
[elections] are based on a story we’re told which doesn’t correspond to reality at all, which is even contradicted by facts, that is all facts show the contrary:
This is myth: IT DOESN’T WORK.
EXPERIENCE shows us that since we started testing it, more than 200 years ago! that’s a long time,
when elections were tested in all the countries of the world, at all times,
(audience: that’s what they are made for)
So, I don’t know if that’s what they are made for , because I’m not sure that at the beginning, Sieyès and Madison WANTED rich people to govern,
they may have wanted good people to govern, aristocrats , real aristocrats ,
I’m not blaming them for plotting, for knowing in advance; it doesn’t matter anyway…
[but] the result… THE FACT IS THAT…
ELECTIONS ALLOW THE RICH ONES TO BUY POWER (just like you’d buy a car).
I’m not talking about [any] rich guy… we are [all] rich compared to people who are poorer than us:
I’m talking about ULTRA-rich people, I’m talking about the hyper-class, extremely wealthy people, people…
Are you ABLE TO CORRUPT someone, [you] ? No, however you’re richer than certain poor people…
No, no, we can play with words: I’m talking about the rich ones who are able to corrupt someone.
So, to be able to corrupt someone, you need LOTS of money.
And as a matter of fact, elections, through campaigns and media acquisition,
the possibility for them to buy media, therefore to shape and influence opinions, to virtually build them…
(I must have 20 or 30 book on media manipulations: manipulation techniques,
that’s incredible: this thing is becoming an exact science),
elections therefore allow the rich ones to buy power.
Elections allow the ECONOMICALLY rich ones to buy POLITICAL power [to concentrate/own both types of power].
[Unlike the doxa imposed by elected representatives,] ELECTIONS MAKE US POLITICALLY IMPOTENT
The election of the constituent Assembly allows some people to write rules for themselves, rules thanks to which everything will then be done without consulting us.
That’s… Do you realise? Well, I’ve been talking about it for an hour,
but do you know realise the huge [difference] between
the name given to our current regime and what it really is?
Do you understand that IT IS A TRAP: we can’t figure out any alternative because we have…
You know, there’s an image that I like, I haven’t mentioned it [in the written paper
which (roughly) corresponds to the conference], but it's now coming to my mind…
Indian chiefs: American Indians were societies with CHIEFS, BUT WITHOUT POWER.
That’s very funny, Pierre Clastres explains it.
He lived with them and it’s a real anthropoligical and [very interesting] work because
they knew, Indians knew that they should fear the chief,
a bit like Athenians knew, they didn’t want… [chiefs to become tyrants]
so Indians would act differently with the chiefs:
they designed a big chair for the chief, they took a guy and designated him,
he wouldn’t be allowed to refuse and if he did, he would be killed, so he would accept…
And he would be put AT THE PLACE of the chief [on the big chair].
BUT this chief has NO POWER.
He only has the power to SPEAK.
And he would speak, he would speak all the time and, While he was speaking, people would pass in front of [him],
looking like they were not listening [obviously not respectful].
He would be despised, neglected. He would speak and nobody would listen.
And his job [(the Indian chief’s job)], was to “take care of” the chief’s place
so no one could become chief without [the people’s agreement].
That’s funny: it means that they knew that they didn’t want…
they knew that people tend to… some tend to become chiefs, leaders…
To protect against them, there was a chief’s place, occupied by someone who was put [there],
[but] he would not be [given] any power, he [even] had to offer us presents!…
I swear it is true: the chief had to offer presents to its people, and when people
were not happy, they would make him suffer, he was at risk of dying.
They would distrust chiefs so much!… and what they found, [themselves,]
not to be fooled by [“power stealers”], it’s funny…
Well, it seems that we’re a bit like victims of this, with people [who long for power, people who would like to be the chief, people] who…
who made a system which is not democracy, [people] who should fear everything about democracy,
(oligarchs should fear it indeed:
democracy means their end,
that they can no longer have the power and abuse it)…
So what do they do?
How do they call their despicable and unfair system?
Well, it’s the same thing as the Indians, but the other way round:
I’m coming back to [Franck] Lepage whom I mentioned a while ago: Franck Lepage and people from the Pavé have made a great work on words.
We find the newspeak… you know Orwell and the work he did on this, that is a totalitarian State that dominates us through words,
by removing [from our vocabulary] the words which allow to designate the ennemy…
removing these words, making them criminal, ridiculous, replacing them by different,
inoffensive words, allow (oligarchs) to protect themselves.
What Orwell did, was to update this newspeak.
And what Franck Lepage and his team… It's really a group of great people,
( Le Pavé , they’re called:
Google-search Le Pavé” and you’ll find a website with videos and resources that don't stop growing, you must…
See Franck Lepage’s and his team’s videos, they're worth it.)
[ANOTHER] OBJECTION you will often hear:
• The objection is: Will this system work with the media which belong to oligarchs?
[Yes indeed,] you know that 75% of [French] newspapers belong to two gun sellers and one concrete seller.
Why does Rothschild buy Libération ? It’s not for earning money (he loses some).
Why does another bank buy Le Monde ? Why does another bank buy Le Nouvel Obs and Les Inrockuptibles ?
It’s not to earn money, it’s not true: don’t believe this, it’s not true.
IT’S TO MANIPULATE. To manipulate, because in an ELECTION-BASED SYSTEM,
Is very important, the only one who’s gonna be able to be elected.
To this objection, I would reply that…
let me remind you that my orientation…
(against the interest of most people),
therefore, since the solution, is to draw a constituent Assembly
which won’t have any interest since it will be drawn and not be allowed
to be elected for the institutions it writes…
I think that [mechanically, by design,] such Assembly, will settle all media issues:
it will design institutions, with as Montesquieu would foresee, a legislative power…
and [also] an executive power (and [most importantly] we will NOT name it government ,
because THE WORD GOVERNMENT [IS A TRAP]… executive power will obey the orders of the Assembly,
it will serve the Assembly. [Executive power may only execute.]
Because “government”, includes everything: “I decide and apply, and I even judge!”.
So the word “government should not be accepted.)
A good Constitution does not allow for a government, it allows for EXECUTIVE POWER.
Montesquieu talked about [the] separation of powers:
You write the laws (you are the Parliament), but you don’t apply them.
You are the Executive power, you apply the laws, you are the army, but you do not write the laws.
And you are the Judge, so you watch them; if they don’t act properly you punish them, and you settle disputes among citizens.
TRIANGULATION of these well-separated powers [(acting as as many counter-powers)]
means that none of them can become a tyrant.
That’s a very clever idea… [Except that] he had not foreseen (because he didn’t know it, he didn’t have TV…)
Since he didn’t have TV, Montesquieu forgot to include MEDIA.
But we are not obliged to be [stupid]… and limit ourselves to what Montesquieu had thought, and our interest is [to continue to think]…
We know that media are a power more important than the Parliament,
so we’re gonna put the media under control, and [even] under democratic control,
with drawn citizens’ juries who check that everything’s ok,
and we’re gonna check… we’re obviously going to forbid any company to simultaneously
own a media, obviously, obviously, obviously. And at the same time…. but what I wanted
[to say, in response to the objection of media sold to the rich, is that democracy is a whole,
a set of institutions, and that media should of course ALSO be submitted to controlling institutions]…
[But,] they won’t let you do it even partially; they won’t…
What I mean, is that this project, this real democracy project, they won’t let us do it:
It won’t be done by staying still. I mean…
we won’t… ask them permission and they’ll say “yes …
It’s not gonna work like this.
So, if you wanna change things, at the same time you’ll change [institutions on] media…
And to me that’s not all [(media independence)] : We should also think about MONEY.
I mean [money creation], within institutions…
(Montesquieu didn’t talk about, [money], he missed one thing because it was being [put in place];
Montesquieu lived in the 18th [century], [at that] time, no one would see the project of [private bankers to take control of public power].
No one would see that the problem of banking power was shaping.
It started though, but it was invisible; so no one would usually discuss it. But today!!!
Today, if the problem is not taken into account within our institutions, the solution, protection, control of monetary authorities,
If we don’t foresee it, we’re more stupid than the average, I mean: it is necessary to think about it!
Obivously, if we write new institutions, the constituent Assembly will have to think about money.
A sentence to conclude.
I do understand…
that an industrial,
a banker,
an oligarch strongly defends elections…
I understand: they allow them to buy the power, it’s LOGICAL.
I don’t even blam them: it corresponds to their role, it’s NORMAL.
BUT ACTIVISTS (left or right wing) who are humanists, struggling for a [fair] society…
(because lots of “right wing” people do want a pacified society;
well, it’s a society which is still a bit more violent than a “left wing” society,
but left wing people do not realise that they also feed some kind of violence, so I…
I don’t chose between them, I don’t care),
but the fact that humanist people of all sides, trying to [implement] a pacified society…
with as little unfairness as possible…
(which means inequalities, but corresponding to the needs of each one,
which means there can be inequalities, but proportionate with efforts:
the one who makes many efforts is better treated than the one who doesn’t do anything)
but the fact that all these guys [activists of all sides] looking for a pacified and fair society,
DEFEND ELECTIONS in spite of the [systematic failure and broken dreams]…
When I tell my friends, [about] sortition, they say no, no but”…
And they say… they always try to manoeuvre.
(All) these people, at the same time…
continue to venerate elections like a sacred cow, the [so-called] universal suffrage, and continue to despise sortition or expose it to public contempt…
whereas 400 years ago, (200 years of sortition + 200 years of elections), 400 years of contrary facts which show them they’re wrong!
It’s a denial of reality.

For more information, visit: http://etienne.chouard.free.fr/

Looking for the mother of all causes – Etienne Chouard X TED – Sortition, Democracy and Constitution
In 2005, before the European referundum, while teaching economics and law, Etienne Chouard looked closely to the draft version of the European Constitution. What he discovered changed him forever. He woke up, policatilly. Since then, and independently from any political organizations, he warns us against our apathy, denounces our responsibility and wants to restore the true meaning of democracy. His motto: a Constitution written by citizens and representatives selected by sortition.


* The same video in Bulgarian see here (link).


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