Jun 22, 2023Liked by DemocracyNext

The Assembly Guide sounds great, and I'm looking forward to reading it, and thank you for making it open access.

I'd like to know about the costs and skill levels required to run citizen assemblies, and where is the support infrastructure to enable their wider use.

Ideally, for me, citizen assemblies (and other participatory, deliberative practices) should become common practice and something everyone and anyone should have a chance of participating in. However, as I've looked into citizen assemblies it seems the costs and skill levels required, to organise and facilitate, seem high, which may inhibit wider use. As such, I'm curious about how they can be run at a lower cost, by anyone? If that is even possible? How can the practice be more accessible and decentralised?

For example, Trust The People, in the UK, train grassroots community members to facilitate Community Assemblies, which are similar but different from Citizen Assemblies. The Community Assemblies can be run by volunteers at very low costs, and so have the potential to spread further.

As a provocation, are citizen assemblies in danger of becoming a top down, elitist practice, or can they be democratised and decentralised?

Another concern about citizen assemblies, which may or may not be relevant to the new guide, is about the process of choosing and formulating the question, issue, topic to be discussed. Who decides that and how? The framing of a question can narrow or expand the horizon of what is possible in answering it. With Community Assemblies, organised and run by community members, the issues to be addressed are from the bottom up, can the same be said of citizen assemblies?

Lots of questions, curious to hear what others think.

Expand full comment

Will the guide be an interactive resource that will continuously improve with readers engagement? It should be.

Could I suggest exploring a Stackexchange forum for Citizens Assemblies? Take a look at https://politics.stackexchange.com to see what I mean.

Expand full comment