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Cover of The End Of Politicians

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

Dr Brett Hennig is a director and co-founder of the Sortition Foundation whose aim is to promote the ideas within The End of Politicians and institute the use of stratified, random selection (also called sortition) in government. The book is the result of four years of research and represents the compelling, coherent case for this campaign.

Before co-founding the Sortition Foundation Brett Hennig wore a variety of hats: as a taxi driver, a software engineer, a social justice activist, a mathematics tutor, and the primary carer and house-dad of four boys. His PhD in astrophysics proved very useful when changing nappies.

After spending several disheartening years trying to influence political decisions, both from within and without the system, he became inspired by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s trilogy on political philosophy and began investigating and researching network forms of democracy. This book is the result of those years of work.

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.

Read more...

TEDx talk: The End of Politicians, Australian book launch, and your reviews!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Screen shot 2017 05 29 at 2.40.01 pm

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

Book launch screenshot

Hi! Here's more book-related news:

The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy - release and book tour

Friday, 17 February 2017

Facebook event book launch general

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

Endofpoliticians final demy 300dpi rgb

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

G1000 be

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

M4040006

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

Room of tables

Do you want to get informed and inspired by sortition this weekend?

If so, come along to one of the two free events that the Sortition Foundation is organising in Cambridge and London.

The End of Politicians is funded! (And the statistics of a crowdfunding campaign)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Unbound country gender

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

Unbound 75

Hi pledgers,

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

Unbound 50 percent

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…

Trevor Ellis
Trevor Ellis asked:

the real end of politicians will only come when the public decide that voting is no longer worth their time.
also the system wouldn't allow that to happen...
so we are stuck with democracy...and politicians whether we like it or not.

Brett Hennig
Brett Hennig replied:

Hi Trevor,
In the book I outline many cases where politicians want to use these new forms of democracy as they see them as legitimate alternatives that free them from the constraints of, for example, factions within their parties. They also often generate proposals that have much support. The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage came out of one such assembly.

I hope we stick with democracy! But there is nothing inevitable about the way politics is done now - reading Part 1 of my book will make it clear that we are not at the "end of history" with regards to democracy.

Cheers,
Brett

Chris Bartlett
Chris Bartlett asked:

This looks like the kind of book I’d like to support. I read through all the various option, but none of them seems to involve an actual printed book: only eBooks are mentioned.
Is there going to be a printed version of this book and if so can you offer a means of pre-ordering it please?

Brett Hennig
Brett Hennig replied:

Hi Chris,
Yes, there are only ebooks available here. If the book does well Unbound has promised to look into a printed version of the book.
Also, if I do get fully funded, then at the end of the publishing process I will order a batch of printed books (Unbound has said they can print a small run for me at cost) to bring to the launch party, and sell privately - you can contact me through the Sortition Foundation website, or on Twitter @SortitionNow, Facebook etc to order one.
Of course I still need to get to 100% first, so if you can contribute to help me get there then I will most certainly make sure your name is on one of the physical books!
Regards,
Brett

Julia Schindler
Julia Schindler asked:

Hi! I'm involved in the French informal network promoting Democracy called "Gentils Virus" (nice viruses, contaminating the world with our nice ideas xD). Researching the net I found so much more information about real Democracy and it's history in French than in English!
Being also American, it was so frustrating not to have something to share about it to my English-speaking friends. I was so happy to find your video that just sums it up perfectly and so clearly! Thank you so much for that!

My questions :
- Have you made contact with the French democratic movements, particularly with Etienne Chouard (you can find his TEDx talk on youtube) who inspired people to start the Gentils Virus?
- Also with the Canadian researcher Dupuis-Déri who wrote the book "Democracy, history of a word"?
- In the video, you say that sortition by lot works, in your book, will you have concrete examples, research articles that back up this affirmation?

Brett Hennig
Brett Hennig replied:

Thanks Julia for your kind words about my videos.

I have sent emails to Etienne Chouard but not managed to make contact (I must admit my French is non-existent!). I will now try to get in touch with Dupuis-Déri and search out the book you recommend - thanks.

And "Yes" is the answer to the third question. In the book I detail examples where sortition is used to address a variety of policy areas in a variety of countries, from which I draw the conclusion that it could work in a permanent legislative assembly. This is backed up with detailed references for those who wish to go to the source material.

Kind regards,
Brett

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