It's time for a real democracy
The truth is out: we don’t need politicians to govern us any more. We can fix our broken politics and create a democracy fit for the twenty-first century without them.
The information revolution is disrupting every aspect of society. Newspaper sales plummet. Television watching declines. Book publishing is being transformed. Networks expand and proliferate throughout our workplaces and our everyday lives. Politics is also in line for a major disruption. The new norms of participation, inclusiveness and open communication are infiltrating democracy and the era of politicians is coming to an end. The time is ripe to remake democracy for the twenty-first century.
This succinct, inspiring, and carefully researched book outlines how to fix our broken politics. Combining jaw-dropping insights from the history of democracy with a critical understanding of the current information revolution, it explains how a real democracy would eliminate politicians and replace them with a representative network of randomly selected, ordinary citizens. The surprising evidence from the many recent citizens’ assemblies is that they work: ordinary people can and do make good, informed, and balanced decisions. The tantalising possibility that we can govern ourselves has presented itself – it’s time for the end of politicians.
Darn! This is the book I wish I had written. Compelling, inspiring, evidence-based. Hennig explains how democracy got us into this mess, and how we can fix it.
– Professor Lyn Carson, The University of Sydney, Director of the newDemocracy Foundation
Do you believe holding elections every couple of years means you live in a democracy? Short, powerfully argued and carefully researched, Hennig shows how elections have for a long time been known to serve the interests of the powerful – and how ordinary citizens can regain control of their government.
– Professor Manuel Arriaga, New York University, author of Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics
Hennig takes stock of democracy in the past and present. His bold assessment will enable us to step out of the shadows of the political elite. Hennig does not stop there, however. In a fast-forward to the future, he outlines ways and systems that will make the dream of democracy come true. This book is an energy drink for social action.
– Dr Bettina Wittneben, Research Associate, University of Oxford
The End of Politicians provides a powerful critique of the democratic deficits inherent in all forms of electoral democracy. But it does much more than explore the undemocratic qualities of electoral democracy; it proposes a compelling and provocative alternative – the random selection of ordinary citizens to serve as fully empowered legislators. Whether one agrees with this or not, the clarity of the argument will generate productive debate.
– Professor Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of Envisioning Real Utopias
Hennig has the right idea: Democracy requires innovation at any age, but especially this one. The End of Politicians doesn't call for an end to politics, but rather to antiquated institutions over-reliant on a small number of elected leaders. That system brought us this far, but Hennig reviews many of the alternatives that are already reshaping governance, by injecting the wider public back into public life – not as a mobilized mob, but through more deliberative bodies. Reading this book gives a glimpse of what's already changing and what lies on – or just beyond – the horizon of democratic political reform.
- Professor John Gastil, Penn State University, author of Democracy in Small Groups
On 30 January, 1649, King Charles I of England mounted a platform at Whitehall in London, in front of thousands of spectators, and placed his head on a chopping block before a masked executioner. Not only was he about to die, but the idea that kings had a divine right to rule was also about to take a lethal blow. After the axe descended and blood spurted across the platform, his decapitated head was held high for all to see. The belief that power relations were God-given, that specific people were destined to rule by divine providence, would never again go unquestioned.
The execution occurred half a century after Charles’s father, James VI of Scotland, later to be crowned King James I of England, had explicitly invoked the divine right of kings to justify the absolute power of monarchs. In The True Law of Free Monarchies James I deduced, from a creative interpretation of the Bible, that kings were “higher” beings than other men. Many rulers, before and since, have sought to legitimise their position of power through a variety of claims – the theory of “divine right” was just one such attempt.
Almost a century and a half after Charles’s execution the secondary idea that lineage and dint of birth, at least for the first born son, bestowed legitimacy on a ruler also died – this time under the executioner’s guillotine instead of his axe. In Paris on 21 January, 1793, Louis XVI mounted a scaffold in Place de la Révolution and was beheaded. Afterwards the Reign of Terror would see tens of thousands of the French nobility and aristocracy, and other political opponents, executed as “enemies” of the French Revolution.
What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people? (on Ted.com)
Monday, 11 June 2018
To my dearest book supporters: this is just a quick note to let you know that things have gone from well to ablaze.
Last Tuesday Ted.com featured my talk on their front page and then sent it out headlining in their weekend newsletter. Over 400,000 views later -- with the book briefly selling out on Amazon.com and an exploding inbox full of queries and questions and congratulations -- I thought…
TEDx talk: The End of Politicians, Australian book launch, and your reviews!
Friday, 2 June 2017
Here's a few quick updates about The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy:
The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy - new video
Friday, 10 March 2017
Hi! Here's more book-related news:
- Check out my new short video, The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy, which I've finished just in time for the start of my book tour.
- And here is another video - the "cuddly" version of political change using sortition, packaged as community engagement. This G1000 event is what I'm helping to organise in Cambridge this September
The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy - release and book tour
Friday, 17 February 2017
Today you should have received your digital copy of The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy in your Inbox.
It has been one hell of a journey to get to this point. Over one year ago I submitted a proposal to Unbound to crowd-fund the book. On March 11th, 2016, the crowd-funding campaign began. Now you have the supporter e-book in your Inbox, and it is on pre-sale on Amazon US and Amazon…
The End of Politicians should arrive in February...
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
The End of Politicians has been edited, the cover design is finished (above) and the book is almost ready for release! The copyedited manuscript has gone back to Unbound (never again will I mix up which and that) and the marketing team have been in touch, with much advice. So now, after following (some of) their advice, you can also connect with me through my website, Twitter feed, LinkedIn and…
The End of Politicians - editing, cover design, and more!
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
What will The End of Politicians cover look like? A crumbling marble statue called Democracy? Parliament sinking into the Thames? A crossed-out ballot box? These are some of the ideas popping into my head as I've pondered that question for the last month or so. Soon the Unbound designers should get back to me with a couple of their proposals and the final decision will be made. Do you have a good…
Sent: The End of Politicians goes to the editor
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Yes, The End of Politicians has been submitted to Unbound. So it's time to tidy the desk and wait for the editor's report. Afterwards I'll respond to suggestions and integrate any last changes before sending it in again for copy editing, cover design and eventually working out a release date.
So what to do now? The idea for this book came to me about a decade ago, but I didn't find the time…
Sortition and The End of Politicians in the UK?
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Do you want to get informed and inspired by sortition this weekend?
The End of Politicians is funded! (And the statistics of a crowdfunding campaign)
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
The End of Politicians is now fully funded! There's champagne chilling in my fridge, and tomorrow I'll continue double-checking all my references and tweaking a few last paragraphs of the manuscript.
Then it will be time to hand over the manuscript to the Unbound editorial and design team. I wonder what cover they will come up with? I wonder what changes the editor will recommend? I wonder when…
The End of Politicians - coming soon to the UK!
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
Thanks again for supporting my book. I thought you might be interested in watching the original video I made several months ago to promote the Sortition Foundation, which I re-edited to make my pledge video (linked above, or at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12V9rV_bp_M). The quotes in the second half get me every time.
As to the title of this post - that the End of Politicians…
We're half way to the End of Politicians
Sunday, 27 March 2016
Thanks to everyone who has pledged and pre-ordered The End of Politicians - we're half way there in two weeks!
What does that mean? It means that if everyone finds one more person to pledge, then the book will be published! Of course I'm still pushing the word out to all my networks, blogging, and trying to work some social media magic. But word of mouth is, as usual, the best form of promotion…
And we're off!
Friday, 11 March 2016
Okay, so the crowd-funding campaign has begun. It's been quite a journey just to get to this point. After finishing a good first draft of the book in January 2015 I started writing to agents and editors - but all to no avail. It wasn't until later in the year that I stumbled upon Unbound and realised what a perfect fit it was, not only for me, but for the ideas I discuss in the book.
There is an…
These people are helping to fund The End Of Politicians.