‘Let me take you to ancient Athens, where democracy was first practiced, in a very circumscribed way but nevertheless that is where the idea came from. Let me tell you something about that that weird place: ancient Athens.

There were two adversaries: the aristocrats who were against democracy, and the democrats who were in favour of effectively, as Aristotle defined it, ‘a system in which the poor governed’. Because, by definition the poor are the majority. That was his definition of democracy.

And the interesting thing is, is that the democrats were against elections. Because, they considered elections to be the instrument of the oligarchy. They considered elections to be a system that always privileges those who are the better orators, those who had mastered the art of rhetoric, therefore those who had a better education, who were those? The rich. And what they preferred, as a system, of governance, was lotteries. That’s the history of jury selection. So that, every single office, except that of General and Banker/Treasurer, was selected through sortition; through lotteries.

And it was the aristocrats who wanted elections, because they could win those.’ 

– Yanis Varoufakis


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