Let’s do some sightseeing and go to Saillans. A small village in a South of France tried something unusual, and I belong to a collective in Paris wanting to reproduce their experiment. A member sent a bunch of links on videos about Saillans.
Two images to help locating Saillans. Romain Cazé CC-BY
Saillans’ town hall uses sortition massively. 12 randomly selected citizen control the elected official (check 5:00 of this video). They also use random selection to build action groups on specific topics, like how to design city’s urban plan. The experiment demonstrates how we can use chance to enhance citizen’s involvement. They show us the way on at least two topics: (1) Citizens can perform executive functions (2) Citizens can be used to control the executive power.
Of course, some locals speak against this method and for them things were better before. And some mayors around look on Saillans with a judgemental eye. They argue that people should not decide on topics unknown to them. We can answer to the previous remark with two points: people can become expert through use and certain mayors didn’t have any prior training before their elections.
But the easiest critic to this experiment deals with the scale (Saillans’ population is around 1200 inhabitants). Hey, we need to start somewhere and better start at the smallest scale possible. I like the bottom-up approach and believe that a revolution should be done one step at a time. The town hall has worked this way for four years now. A story to be continued…
Thank you for reading! Write below, if you want to add information about Saillans or why you agree or disagree.