Random Thoughts on a Viable XR Citizens’ Assembly
Random selection won't do, at lest not initially. In all honesty, through no real fault of their own, the citizenry at large is too ill-informed and contentious on the reality of the Anthropocene Extinction (AX) to deal with the Extinction Rebellion’s Citizen Assembly (XR-CA) roles and responsibilities rationally and univocally in confronting and engaging the oligarchy and corporatocracy of the fascist capitalism that must be overcome if humanity is to survive. Sad, but true. If we survive, those delusions and divisions may be overcome over time, but not in time to deal with the ongoing AX event.
As Roger Hallam suggests, however, some form of sortition is most promising. But the initial selections cannot be random. The scientific community within the XR, combined with prominent XR advocates and speakers like Hallam himself, ought to be the first 'pool' of Assembly candidates from which to draw the dozen members of the Assembly. But that alone won't do -- there must be some way to engage vox populi directly, in real-time, with a dozen drawn by lot from those key XR communities.(1)
Perhaps the best way to do this, while protecting the identities and privacy of individual citizens, is to set up a channel/group in the deep web, where those conditions are currently state-of-the-(clandestine)-art. The dark web may even be needed as well, if civil disobedience -- as deliberate breaking of the law -- is to be discussed, acted upon, and carried out. Nonviolent dissident action need not go above the deep web to the surface web or below to the dark web. The surface web should be almost entirely set aside for CA purposes. It's a global circus and carnival, teeming with noise lacking meaningful signal 99.99 ...% of the time. At most, a live-streamed channel of all gatherings and meetings of the Citizen's Assembly with the representatives of the actual members of the ultra-elite oligarchy should be broadcast on a surface web youtube or other free public channel (administered by deep and dark web XR staff).
As a 21st century XR coordinator and career technocrat, this strikes me as a plausible way to put up a Citizen's Assembly in three layers of communication that might actually work: from vox populi deep and dark through an assembly of a dozen XR spokespersons to the power and wealth regime who got us into this global suicide pact and have kept us sleepwalking into catastrophe for at least 30 years.
Local XR chapters could assist the citizenry in adapting to the deep and dark web apps in a TOR browser. This is about as close to live-streaming democracy as we may hope to get on current public tech. Two tactical issues: (1) who are the root and other system techs running the deep and dark internet of things for the citizenry? And, (2) how are fascist capitalists to be involved? For (2), each should have a voice boiling down to a vote just like very other citizen. But no more, no less. For (1), I confess I'm not sure how that could be secured from any and all human corruption and malware injections. My technosterone levels were never that high as a technocrat, and it has been draining away lately. but If there are any TOR and deep and dark web gurus in the XR community, I would look to them for guidance in implementing this three-layered sortition model sooner than later.(2)
In closing, finally, this must also be said. While presumably entirely fictitious, consider the sort of rebellion seen in such tech-fantasy as the Mr. Robot miniseries. The idea of having a black-ops elite cadre of super-hackers turning the world of fascist capitalism inside-out and upside-down is intriguing. Should events and actions of such kind be in the XR’s battle plan and technology arsenal? It goes beyond ‘mere’ civil disobedience, yes, and cases such as Julian Assange’s and Edward Snowden’s are public examples of deterrents, showing just how severe the consequences of such actions are.
What does ‘civil disobedience’ even mean, legally speaking (e.g., under the PATRIOT ACT), when laws are broken without compunction or consequence or they are simply superseded or suspended by fascist capitalist exigency? If dark web XR activism could nonviolently bring the World Bank, SWIFT, the IBS, the IMF, the Federal Reserve, etc. to their knees just one day a month for only a few seconds, the vile maxim and vicious cycle of power and wealth would be broken. It would be up to the Citizen’s Assembly to determine just how long and how severe those take-downs would need to be to seize full control of that power and wealth. Or until the instant extinction event of global WMD warfare is triggered to neutralize that power grab with extreme prejudice.
** CAVEAT: I'm brainstorming here. It's an out-of-the-box idea on how to envision Citizens' Assembly both operationally real and true to the XR declarations and demands at the same time, by leveraging resources that we have on hand already. I suspect the human problem is the more difficult ... my limited experience with the deep web, and I have none on the dark side (yet), seems to imply this may be a fairly straightforward model to implement on current tech. **
(1) A dozen is the right number. Like a jury, unanimity would be required. Like a hung jury, anything less than a unanimous verdict would rely on vox populi interaction to drive toward a unanimous verdict.
(2) Tactical question #(2) begs the question of what manner of containment should be imposed on the most egregious ecocidal capitalist and war criminals. I have some thoughts on this, but I would have to be talked down from my sadistic inclinations to share them. Despite being a Christian, mercy and grace for those vile sinners do not come easily to heart, soul, or mind for me. Dwayne Booth’s cartoon above, DOLLAR SIGN, seems to illustrate a fitting penance.