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This month's newsletter features the following sections: Announcements, State of the Organization, Deliberations, and DL (Democratic Lottery) Roundup of articles, papers, and reports of interest. To see the accompanying graphics, be sure your email client or browser is set to display images. 

From the Editor

Welcome to the DWE newsletter. Your feedback and input is appreciated. Please send your responses to content and relevant links to articles, papers, and reports of interest, as well as proposals for "Deliberations" articles and other features to

DWE November Monthly Meeting

Sunday, November 14, 4:00-5:00 PM Eastern (1:00-2:00 PM Pacific)

Come a few minutes early and meet people informally
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 879 8985 6621; Passcode: 129953

Featuring a Presentation bKayla Evans:
What we can learn from America in One Room: Climate and Energy 2021

In 2019, America in One Room (A1R) brought a representative sample of 526 Americans to Houston, Texas to discuss polarizing political issues. In 2021, this experiment took place once again - but online and focused on climate change. Kayla will reflect on her experience attending this year's poll and the promise (and challenges) of future online deliberative polls. 

November DWE Board Meeting

Tuesday, November 2,⋅6:30-7:30 PM Eastern (3:30 – 4:30 PM Pacific)
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 843 2995 3379, Passcode: 378980


Byers--fellow DWE member--will be randomly assigning pairs of people to do a "Sortition Santa" gift exchange. Everyone will be in two pairs, one as Santa, one as giftee:
  • One-way pairs (e.g., A --> B; B --> C; C --> A) Get it?
  • Your one-way Santa partner will be given your email address (and your name, if you provided that when you joined DWE). They will need to contact you as you won't know who they are otherwise.
  • Reach out to your giftee partner! Email, exchange phone numbers, talk, get to know each other!
  • Keep expectations realistic, i.e, don't spend money or expect others to spend money (except for postage & maybe a trinket)
  • Ask questions like: 
    • What do you love about yourself right now? 
    • If you could work on a hobby for 6 months uninterrupted or travel for 6 months uninterrupted, which would you do/what's the hobby/travel destination(s)?
    • Do you think people are generally on the 'good list' or generally on the 'naughty list'? Give examples of your reasoning.
    • If you were Santa, what would you want to give everyone? What would you want to give to yourself?
    • What gift did you want as a child that you did not receive?
  • If you don't want to participate in the best event DWE has done yet, please let Byers know ( by November 11, 2021. Otherwise suffer the consequences of making the best random friends through DWE!
  • For more details, please feel free to inundate Byers ( because there's no such thing as too many emails for this one.


Irish Citizens' Assemblies Slides
The slides about the Irish Citizens' Assemblies that Owen presented at the last Monthly Meeting are available to download HERE. Right-click on "Irish CAs" to download them.

The slides were a small piece near the end of a 9 hour class Owen taught titled "Can Our Democracy Be Fixed?" The class surveyed over 20 potential democratic reforms like ranked choice voting, democracy vouchers and proportional representation, followed by a look at several composite solutions like the For the People Act that Congress recently considered and Our Common Purpose from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

If you are contemplating teaching a similar class or envision a way that they would be helpful in furthering our movement, contact Owen. (

California League of Cities Slides
The slides from Wayne Liebman's and Linn Davis's California League of Cities presentations on lottery selected panels are available to download HERE. Right-click on "League of Cities PPT" to download Wayne's powerpoint. Click on "League of Cities--Healthy Democracy" to download Linn's pdf file of slides. The presentation was described in last month's newsletter. Click on the "Read Me" file for more information. Any of the material is free to use with attribution. (Please attribute Linn's slides to Healthy Democracy, Wayne's to Public Access Democracy.) For further information contact Wayne
  • We need a Cyber Security Consultant to advise the Webmaster on website security. So, if you have expertise in this area, and are willing to make yourself available on occasion, please contact Dave Tarby.
  • This newsletter is ready for for an assistant editor to help with content gathering, monitoring article sources for the Round Up section, artwork, assembling, editing, proofing, etc. No experience necessary. Become a desktop publishing master! Contact the Editor

Revitalizing Democracy, Hannah Arendt Center, Bard College 

“Representative government is in crisis today, partly because it has lost, in the course of time, all institutions that permitted the citizens’ actual participation, and partly because it is now gravely affected by the disease from which the party system suffers: bureaucratization and the two parties’ tendency to represent nobody except the party machines."

               -- (Hannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic, 1970)

If you missed the livestream of this year's Revitalizing Democracy Conference, you can watch the videos online HERE. My subjective (activism oriented) highlights follow. 

Roger Berkowitz's illuminating introductory remarks traced the development of our jeopardy, beginning with the Federalist Papers, extending through de Tocqueville, and ending with Hannah Arendt. Berkowitz argued (capsule summary here) that although Arendt never spoke about sortition, she prepared the way for its resurgence by her observations that the Constitution "provided public space only for representatives of the people, and not for the people themselves" leading to lethargy and inattention among the citizenry. (Arendt, On Revolution). Much to think on. 

David Van Reybrouck's talk "Is It Too Late to Revitalize Democracy?" followed. (Short answer: maybe not.) Van Reybrouck, a Belgian cultural historian, published his argument Against Elections in 2016. He's become an essential figure in the sortition space, deservedly so. One of his take-homes: deliberation is not about resolving conflict, it's about managing conflict. 
I'm sure his remarks are carefully prepared, but his considered intellect gives his observations the appearance of being freshly derived as he speaks. The effect is you hang on every word. (This was also said of Lincoln.) 

Peter MacLeod (Mass LBP) spoke on "Citizen Assemblies: Democracy's Second Act." MacLeod has long, deep experience convening citizens' assemblies in Canada, making his perspective invaluable. Among his many reflections: the advancement of sortition in the U.S. will likely depend on more philanthropy. 

Author/essayist Masha Gessen (Surviving Autocracy) gave a talk with the enigmatic title, "The Parallel Polis,"  which traced the development of "as if" radical political thinking in Europe during the interval between the Velvet Revolution (1968) in Czechoslovakia and the Solidarity movement (1981) in Poland. Instead of confronting autocracy head on, the radicals (Vaclav Havel, Adam Michnik, Lech Wałęsa, etc.) simply acted as if the world they envisioned was already in place.

What has this to do with sortition? I'd sum it up this way: To the extent democratic lottery confronts or threatens entrenched power, the contest does not resemble an ordinary political battle, or even a political revolution. The difference is that a lottery-selected body does not have a political program. Rather it embodies the values of increased civic participation and deliberative decision making. Participants in citizen assemblies do not address themselves to political leaders or parties, but to each other. They exist at a table outside, in spite of, or simply aside from politics, where usual political structures—debate, power, conflict, authority—don't operate. The panel creates its own authority and areas of competence as required by the issues at hand. It stands, quietly, in the new life.

As this is overlong, let me just mention two other presentations worth your attention: Helene Landemore's pointed remarks on the Paris Climate Assembly, and the final hour on "Local Sortition Experiments", moderated by Van Reybrouck, who taught a class on sortition at Bard and then loosed his students on local communities. 

Have I misspoken or unforgivably left something out? Send your thoughts  for the next newsletter to the email below. 
-- Wayne Liebman

Unburden yourself.  Send articles/suggestions to:
Please submit suggested links for next month's roundup HERE.
Written by John Huang
The Future of Democracy: Deliberation and Democratic Lotteries

Cogent, concise argument for lottery based panels over elections
Revitalizing Democracy Conference Links
Conference Videos
Conference Reader
Recommended by Nicholas  Coccoma
Citizens in Advanced Economies Want Significant Changes to Their Political Systems

Concerns about democracy, the economy, and healthcare and their relation to the desire for political reform
Recommended by Owen Shaffer

Citizens' Assemblies proposed by American Academy of Arts and Sciences

(Click on Strategy 3. Scroll to Section 3.3)
Two Links from Demos: Classical Athenian Democracy
Athenian Democracy: A Brief Overview
The Development of Athenian Democracy
What are folk talking about on DWE slack
GeneralJohn Huang’s Article on The Future of Democracy and a place to commentRequest for outreach volunteers
The new request channel:  “Ask”Are there any examples of sortition holding cops accountable for wrong doing?  
Outreach: Summary of outreach team activity from DWEDiscussion about a template letter for writing to representatives and senators in Congress alerting them to lotteries
Random: Neuroscience tells us that our mind is an ongoing fiction created by our brains: could knowing this help build the case for lotteries?
Also: Slack enables private conversations between any two people in the organization! Build those lateral one on one connections!! Are you new to DWE and you have some questions? Slack is the place to get your answers and asking will help others who are new too! Join in!

How to Connect on DWE Slack
Here's a quick guide for using Slack: QUICK GUIDE.
Here's our Slack workspace invite: JOIN SLACK
Chris Forman leads the Slack Channel and can be reached at

Slack complements our existing Facebook group led by Nick Coccoma. 
Copyright ©2021 Democracy Without Elections, Quotation with attribution permitted.


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