After two idea packed days at the Democracy Network Conference in Jan 2024 Caroline asks Alastair Binnie-Lubbock  from Sortition FoundationLara Parizotto  from Migrant Democracy Project Jessie Joe Jacobs from  Democracy Network what structural inequalities their work is challenging and how we can support them as individuals and organisations. 

uh, what is the structural barrier that you are challenging or tackling? So, uh, at Scottish Foundation, we'd like to replace the House of Lords with the House of Citizens and the structural barriers for people engaging with the house. Uh, House of Lords, as it currently exists, are hundreds of years old And are, you know, really out of date, we've got bishops in there, We've got hereditary peers, and we've got people who are nominated by outgoing prime ministers, even if they're just there for 49 days. So there's huge structural, uh, reasons why that's not working and why those people are not in touch with their, um the the people that they should be representing. And what we would like to do is make it so that the the replacement is 100% representative of, uh of the countries, uh, of this of these nations

Um uh, by having it done through sortition. Which means people will be selected, um, based on demographics, geography, all of those things, um, to make sure that it's as representative uh as it possibly can be. And people with lived experience will be in there

Hearing from the experts um, and you get a a wider range of experts in there to, uh, give them information that they can deliberate on. Brilliant. Thank you

Uh, what can individuals and organisations do to support your movement? Uh, so, uh, you can sign up and join, uh, sortition Foundation. Uh, we've got petitions running at the moment, Um, and just, uh, advocate for, um, assemblies to be institutionalised, um, and national level, but also locally. Um, we need to as assemblies, uh, all over the place

More people are aware of them. More people are engaged with them. More people can see how positive the outcomes are of those liberations

Amazing. Is there anything else that you want to share that I've not asked you about? Uh, no. All right

Thank you very much. Hello. Hi

Uh, my name is Lara Parisotto for Migrant democracy Project. All right. It's so lovely to meet you

Um, what is it that your what structural barrier is your project trying to tackle? We are trying to tackle the structural exclusion of millions of migrants from UK democracy. Over a million people have no right to vote at all. Not even in local elections

If they live in England or Northern Ireland and over 5 million don't have the right to vote in parliamentary elections because of their nationality but because of where they're from. But there are residents here in the UK. This is their home

They live, they work, they pay taxes but don't have any right to decide who is making decisions affecting them. Thank you. And what is it that as individuals and organisations we can do to support your movement as well as that can be done? One

There are a lot of migrants that are eligible to vote, so EU and Commonwealth migrants do have the right to vote. So if you know people around, you remind them that they can vote, uh, and also help us extend the right to vote. Talk to your MP to to councillors talk to any elected representative about the importance of extending the franchise

Scotland and Wales already have extended the franchise to every resident, so it is possible here in England and Northern Ireland so more of more of us talking about it and demanding this from our elected representatives can make it happen. Oh, that's amazing. Keep up the good work

Thank you. OK, what is the Democracy network trying to tackle? Uh so the Democracy network is basically trying to achieve a democracy fit for the 21st century. And what we mean by that is people having more influence over the decisions that affect their lives or of ability to elect and hold politicians to account and more power over the resources in their local communities

Um so we work together as a network. So we we basically support other organisations to do that and with the belief that working together we're stronger than the sum of our art. Brilliant

And what is it that we, as citizens, individuals or organisations can do to support the movement? So I think the first thing is like, quite often people are feeling fairly low on hope and low entrust politics, ever delivering any kind of change. And I think, yes, there's a reason why people feel like that. But it's not a time to give up

It's a time to say it's our democracy. It's our power. This is our parliament

It you know it is at the House of Commons. That means the house of the people. So if it's our house then surely it's our job somehow to try and make it more representative of us and have more ownership of that place and more ownership once again of politics

So I think it's firstly believing them is our politics and if we believe it's ours and how do we take back control of it? How do we take ownership of it? How do we make it and start? That might start from a local level. How can influence what's happening on a local level all the way to How can I join campaigns? Join the movement? There are lots of organisations that are trying to campaign for a stronger democracy, joining and making our voice heard to achieve a change. We want to see brilliant and we didn't discuss this, So sorry, curveball

But, um, if we want to democratise our own kind of industries, our organisations have you got any tips or about that or where we could go to find out? Yeah, I think it's a really hot question. Um because basically we have power inequalities even within our own. We have power inequalities even within our own organisations, so you could look at the co op movement

How how? How are they doing things differently? What does a democratic company look like? Um, trade unions, even in small organisations, Quite often we think, Oh, well, we need to be big to have a union. We don't have to. We can make sure that we've got like worker representation

Um and I think it's about cultural change around hierarchies. And so, for instance, an organisation that recruiting for a CEO is the How much is the workplace involved in that? How much of the service users are involved in that? So really thinking about how do we genuinely involve our stakeholders in all the decisions that we make? So I think starting from there and then the purpose of that to your structures. Thank you

Is there anything else you want to add? No, just that you're doing a great job..

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.