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DWE NEWSLETTER OF FEBRUARY 28, 2021

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Contents

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

From the Editor

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Welcome to the DWE newsletter. Your feedback and input is appreciated. Please send relevant links to articles, papers, and reports of interest, as well as proposals for "Ideas to Consider" articles and other features to Wayne Liebman

DWE March Meeting

 
The next Monthly Meeting is 4:00 PM Eastern (1:00 PM Pacific) on Sunday, 14 March. You will receive an email soon containing the Zoom link.
 
Featuring a presentation by Terry Bouricius:
Transition Strategies to a Democracy Without Elections
It isn't self-evident how a system of government can transition from one based on elections to one based largely (or exclusively) on democratic lotteries. Terry Bouricius, who served 20 years as an elected representative, will present various strategies that have been proposed. While there are occasionally historic moments of sharp change (imagine if the protestors during the Arab Spring had the idea of democratic lotteries in mind instead of exclusively elections as an alternative to tyranny), the focus of the talk will be on incremental steps that can have fundamental, rather than merely "reformist" impacts.

DEW February Board Meeting

 
The next DWE Board meeting is Monday, March 1 at 5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific). All members are welcome. Zoom link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82677914764?pwd=Mk9oYVQrN0NxNzJMb21rN2RtUHlOdz09

Meeting ID: 826 7791 4764
Passcode: 978382

Bringing Folks Together


Many folks know about our sibling organization Of By For, which ran the Citizens’ Panel on COVID-19 in Michigan last Fall. The Spotlight this month is on two people, the principle folks behind Of By For.

Adam Cronkright is a founding member of our organization and was instrumental in getting us started. He is on the Coordinating Committee of Democracy R&D, a network of close to 40 organizations advancing democratic lotteries in 18 countries around the world. He was interviewed a few months ago on Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast.

George Zisiadis has a decade of experience working as an artist and designer leading complex, interdisciplinary projects. His large-scale public artworks have re-imagined San Francisco’s most iconic public spaces – including Civic Center and Grace Cathedral – and consistently moved people of all ages and backgrounds. His work has been featured in TIME, NPR, WIRED, FastCompany, and more.

Why spotlight two people? Because they met at one of our monthly meetings back in 2019! The connections we make are what grows our movement.

LOOKING FORWARD
 
About eight years ago I was lost. I had come up with a really neat approach to choosing those who govern us, and I called it randomocracy. I could not find like-minded people. I hadn’t known that the idea was over 2000 years old, and I eventually found that others before me thought of the word randomocracy. I struggled through years of darkness. Then about 4 years ago I discovered the Sortition Foundation, the group that started our movement in the US.

My story is not unique. In retrospect, however, it makes me really appreciate where we are, recognize that we have a long way to go and happy that I am no longer alone! There are over 100 of us!

We face some challenges as we move forward. We need more women in our organization and on our Board of Directors. We need several people to focus on improving our message; our slow growth shows that it has yet to succeed. We have to join forces to work together to build approaches to convincing local, state and federal politicians to try a citizens’ assembly to solve one of their intractable problems like police reform, confederate monuments, or medical care. We need to encourage unions, student councils and organizations that we know a better way to make decisions.

Back in Ancient Greece, Aristotle emphasized selection by lottery as a test of democracy. While that idea is pivotal to who we are, he had another idea that can help us: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” We can get this organization to be bigger than all of us by each of us seeking ways to make a contribution. Make connections on our  Facebook Group. Join an existing, or form a new, Interest Group. Start a Chapter in your area. Encourage others to join our organization. Give an online talk to your Kiwanis club.

-- Owen Shaffer

Do you have an idea to consider for the next newsletter? Contact Wayne Liebman.
 

A DOCUMENTARY STARING
DEMOCRATIC LOTTERY

 
Slay the Dragon tells two stories about democracy: the anti-gerrymandering lawsuit in Wisconsin that went to the Supreme Court, and the "Voters Not Politicians" initiative in Michigan, which took redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and gave it to a commission of thirteen randomly selected citizens. Available on Hulu.
suggested by Owen Shaffer:

Scotland calls for a "House of Citizens"
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