Extinction Rebellion is showing Britain what real democracy could look like

Through his incompetence, callousness and greed for power, Johnson has done us two favours: exposing the shallowness of our theatrical democracy, and creating a potential coalition ranging from hospital porters to supreme court judges. Now we must decide how to mobilise it.

A Common Indignation

Like the White Queen in Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, I have been practising, doing my best to believe impossible things before breakfast. Could these experiments with slower, deliberative modes of democracy carry the currents of indignation, transform them into a turning aside from business as usual? Could there be political leaders who come around to the need for such a turning, in the face of the enormity of the climate crisis?

XR: The Case for Deliberative Democracy

This remark, made by a member of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) Citizens’ Assembly Working Group, is met by a spontaneous flurry of jazz hands from everyone in the small Kings College London meeting room. No, we’re not all frustrated musical theatre performers; waving ‘jazz hands’ are used in XR, and other activist groups, to express agreement during a group discussion. I can’t resist pointing out the irony of our reaction – we’re all agreeing we need to be less cult-like by raising our hands in unison and waving them about. Everyone laughs, but it strikes me that this points to a deeper challenge in our work.

Power, Friendship, and some Democratic “Rules”

For those tired of the fake news and play hate, who are convinced by Austin and their own better natures that accomplishing something better is actually still possible within the American system, Hersh provides a new, detailed, 21st-century appropriate set of adaptable “rules” for us all, radicals or otherwise.

Reimagining Democratic Public Ownership for the Twenty-First Century

The coming decade is arguably the most important in human history, especially as relates to climate and the environment. The status quo – of a planetary emergency and deep inequalities – is unsustainable and insupportable. Strategies for extending democratic public ownership over the commanding heights of the twenty-first century economy can open up a more innovative, sustainable, and inclusive futur

The Johnson “Coup”, the Brexit Mess, and the Global Crisis of Democracy

During the 2016 referendum campaign, #Brexiteers pretended that #Brexit was about ‘restoring the full sovereignty of Parliament’, which had allegedly been usurped by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Now, they’re happy to see their unelected PM suspend this same Parliament.

How Could Citizens’ Assemblies be Used to Tackle Climate Change?

Not to be confused with people’s assemblies (a more informal gathering, often of existing activists) citizens’ assemblies are a way of exploring public views on a particular topic and coming up with concrete solutions.

Citizens’ Assemblies (excerpt)

Imagine a group of people of different ages who meet in order to settle some matter important for a city, a country or for the European Union. This group was not selected through elections but by lot. They make decisions from the position of supreme authority which in democracy are ordinary people.