“Are civil conventions an antidote to the evils of contemporary democracy? ⁇

“Are civil conventions an antidote to the evils of contemporary democracy?  ⁇

MAbandonment, distrust of the people’s representatives, the brutality of the political debate, the hypertrophy of executive power, the backwardness of public independence, the victory in France, dictatorial speeches and movements around the world: many signs of a process of collapse, our political model. All our institutions (elections, parliaments, parties) are so weak that we must wonder about the ability of our democracy to produce the legitimacy required by the government of our communities. This is because political representation is a fiction that must be believed to create effects.

What happens when the majority of the citizens of a country feel that they are not represented by their elected representatives or that they no longer want to be represented and want to participate in direct decision making? It’s time to take this issue seriously. Note the fact that elections are no longer enough to find the legitimacy of the rulers. However, more than two years after the “yellow robes”, this awareness of the exhaustion of our political system has not existed, at least not among the elite. The small theater of the presidential election unfolds before our eyes of indifference or despair, as if we were destined to recreate a model that no longer works.

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Simple and refutable logic

However, today there are a number of proposals aimed at bringing about other forms of democratic representation: lottery, citizens’ initiative, participatory budgeting, various systems of participatory or negotiated democracy, many of which have already been successfully implemented in France, either abroad or locally. . Of these, citizens ‘assemblies abound around the world today, much like the Citizens’ Convention for the French climate. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently listed 574 negotiating mechanisms involving ordinary citizens in the representation process over the past few years.

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Their logic is simple and can be rejected: allow a group of citizens to be informed by lottery and, with sufficient time and means, to consciously speak on a complex political question. It could be about the weather, it’s about constitutional questions like in Iceland or Ireland. These assemblies have the power to direct. They do not legislate, they are ultimately decided by parliamentary assemblies or the people by referendum.

Introducing such systems at all levels of government will enable us to move closer to a more inclusive and more deliberate model of democracy, in which citizens have the potential to better relate to decision-making power. The experience of the Citizens’ Convention for the French Climate shows that it is not enough to hold governments accountable and to succeed in implementing their proposals. It is therefore necessary to think about the exact methods of their possible institutionalization: the dialogue between the jobs of parliamentarians and citizens; Periodicity; Organizational structures; Authorities’ response confirmed …

Citizens’ assemblies are probably not enough to defend our democracy. This requires significant civic activism and a participatory component process that is taking place in Chile today and inspires us. But they already invite us to think about the profound changes in our conception and exercise of power, to make them more authoritative and more respectful of the complexities of issues and society, as opposed to those that dominate today.E The Republic is a model for us every day.

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Loic Blondiax He is Professor of Political Science at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University of Paris-I and an expert in representational theories. Participated in collective action The invention of democracy in the 21st centuryE Century. Assembly of Future Citizens (Links to Redemption, 2017).

The platform was built in partnership with City of Lyon as part of the “Place de la Republic” program.

“Place de la Republic” in Lyon | Day of Debate on Republic and Citizenship

The world On Saturday, January 22, 2022, at Lyon City Hall, a day of conferences, debates and workshops will be held on issues of the Republic of France and citizenship.

Admission to the registration is free from this link

“Republic Square” | Conferences, Debates, Workshops
Saturday, January 22 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Lyon City Hall, 1, Venue de la Comedy, 69001 Lyon

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