Interview met Hélène Landemore over Open Democracy

Submitted by webmaster on Fri, 06-08-2021 - 12:45

Jeffrey Church (University of Houston) interviewt politicologe Hélène Landemore over haar boek Open Democracy, Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century.

Ook in deze podcast blikt Landemore even terug op het proces dat, naar aanleiding van de financieel-economische crisis in 2008, een nieuwe IJslandse grondwet als doel had. Over dit proces kunnen we ook lezen in Van Reybroucks Tegen Verkiezingen. Daarin wordt wel genoemd dat 25 'gewone' burgers, dus niet-politici, werden gekozen om de nieuwe grondwet te schrijven, maar er stond niets vermeld over gelote burgers. Landemore noemt hier opnieuw dat gelote burgers toch enige invloed hebben gehad, omdat er voor één dag een groep van 950 IJslandse burgers werd geloot, het Nationale Forum. Zij moesten de waarden en principes formuleren die in de grondwet een belangrijke rol moesten gaan spelen. Zoals bekend is deze nieuwe grondwet niet aangenomen door het IJslandse parlement - tot nu toe althans.

Verderop in de podcast vraagt interviewer Church zich af of de ambitie die gekozen politici hebben ook niet een belangrijke factor is die een bepaalde kwaliteit van professionele volksvertegenwoordigers zou garanderen. Dit ziet Landemore heel anders: in een democratie moet het  draaien om het algemeen belang van de bevolking en niet om het kunnen realiseren van bepaalde ambities van bepaalde mensen. Daarnaast heeft ze  ook geobserveerd dat bepaalde gelote burgers aanvankelijk verveeld en sceptisch beginnen, maar gedurende het proces ambitie ontwikkelen, dus ambitieus worden door de situatie waarin ze zitten.


Verder uit de podcast:

'Legitimacy is a complex notion. (...) When it is a democratic kind of legitimacy, it requires at the very least a form of majoritarian authorization, which you can acquire through a referendum. (...). [Cristina Lafont] thinks that this kind of bodies that are randomly selected have no legitimacy. Maybe now they don't, because we haven't really convinced an entire population or created the procedural prerequisites for this legitimacy to be there, but I think it is slowly emerging. It is not something that is or isn't. It is something that can grow, and rise, and become more full. And conversely I think the legitimacy of elected parliaments actually is ebbing, ebbing, and flowing - it's considerably ebbing right now, because they're not doing their job, and they're frustrating a lot of people. So at what point will the legitimacy of a randomly selected assembly be greater than that of an elected parliament? I don't know, but maybe in a hundred years we will look back and think that this was really crazy that we thought elected parliaments were more legitimate than randomly selected ones.'

'You want some accountability mechanisms built in. (...) You could have things like ethics committees, making sure nobody has been bribed, or nobody has been pushing some conspiracy theories on others. But you also have to count on internal accountability mechanisms, like peer pressure, like the desire to mesure up to the task if it is designed well, designed to be an influential institution that has a huge responsibility in front of the nation, then you see, again in the case of the French Convention, they felt a huge burden. Most of them felt extraordinarily proud and responsible. (...) If you think about accountability as ability to give accounts, in the larger sense, then deliberative bodies like randomly selected publics are more convincingly in a position to give accounts, because they're authentically trying to figure out the best arguments in favor of certain positions. They don't owe anything to any parties. They are not looking to win elections afterwards. They are incentivized to be sort of truthful to just what's right for the country, rather than what's right for their party or their own self-interest or their own political future. And conversely if you look at accountability mechanisms in electoral democracies you realize that they're not doing such a great job. (...) And that's because when we use elections as a sanctioning mechanism, we only sanction on a very broad bundle of issues, generally economic issues. But there are a lot of things that are bundled to judge when election time comes around. So they're not such a great accountability mechanism, elections, in the end. So we have to be a little bit more imaginative, and when you look back at the example of ancient Greece you realize the Greeks, who didn't have elections when it came to appointing people for political office, had tons of accountability mechanisms we are no longer familiar with. But they worked quite well.'

(de podcast start langzaam)


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