Our fundamental guiding beliefs are that everyone should have agency, dignity, and equal political power, and that governance systems should be designed to bring out our collective wisdom and enable us to find common ground. We believe new democratic institutions should be governed by 3 defining principles:
Our fundamental guiding beliefs are that everyone should have agency, dignity, and equal political power, and that governance systems should be designed to bring out our collective wisdom and enable us to find common ground. Visionary We don’t just tinker at the margins of the status quo. We seed the change we want to see. Rigorous We rely on evidence and expertise. Humble We listen, iterate, pilot, evaluate, adapt. Collaborative We work together with partners, build coalitions, involve citizens.
Research We conduct research and write think pieces and essays, advocate, participate in conferences and events to popularise and legitimise Action We partner with institutions and organisations to implement projects geared towards changing parts of the system to show what is possible Learning We create tools and build capacity for the next democratic paradigm and the principles it is built on to spread further Take a look Projects for more.
We believe new democratic institutions should be governed by 3 defining principles:
Participation rights and responsibilities ensure that everybody has both the possibility and the duty to decide on substantive issues. It gives people agency and restores their dignity, recognising that everybody is equally worthy and capable of influencing decisions affecting them and their communities. A sortition-based system with rotation at all levels of government implies that in principle everybody will have multiple moments in their lives when they will be asked to serve on Citizens’ Assemblies. It also applies more broadly to citizens’ rights to initiate propositions for new legislation, for repealing existing legislation, and for direct votes via referendums under certain circumstances.
Representation 'by lottery' (sortition) enables equality of political power. It is a fair and equitable way to form a diverse, inclusive, and broadly representative group of people. Inherent to the idea is also rotation – that we take turns representing and being represented, since we can’t all be involved in all decisions all the time. Sortition is also the most sophisticated form of constituting a group, better-suited for large communities than small ones.
Deliberation creates the conditions for people to grapple with complexity, tap into collective intelligence, and find common ground. Creating the conditions to bring people together in times of division and polarisation can help to strengthen social cohesion. Deliberation also provides legitimacy to public decisions in a democratic system.
01 New permanent deliberative institutions with rotating citizen representatives by lot should be at the heart of the democratic system. We can’t just replace elections with sortition in our existing parliaments. The machinery of the current system is designed around elected representatives and would not be best-suited for citizen representatives.We neednew democratic institutions that harness society’s diversity to create collective intelligence. That give people control over their lives. That strengthen trust between people. That help us find common ground. We don’t want to change the rules of the game; we want to change the game. 02 While new deliberative institutions should be at the heart of the democratic system, they should be complemented by an ecosystem of participatory, direct, and collaborative elements. Citizens’ initiatives, crowdsourced policy making, open assemblies, and referendums are an equally important aspect of the next democratic paradigm. 03 The principles of participation, representation by lot, and deliberation can and should be extended to other institutions beyond governments. In most other institutions – from firms to schools, trade unions, political parties, cooperatives, banks, etc. – we have replicated the oligarchic governance arrangements with which we are familiar.When we talk about democratising their governance,we tend to think about creating ways to elect members, or to vote fairly and transparently on decisions. We want to democratise through sortition-based processes the governance of institutions such as public and central banks, public broadcasters, tech platforms, company boards and other major institutions. Their decisions also affect our lives; they can and should be democratised.