Mexico City is Crowdsourcing its Constitution

WORLD

Mexico is launching a big experiment in democracy that promises to turn people’s ideas into the new law of the land. (Fusion)

How have everyday people contributed to democratic ideas in the United States? Use our resources to find out.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Chilangas like these are able to submit and vote on petitions to the constitution of Mexico City. Photograph by Shaul Schwarz, National Geographic

Chilangas like these are able to submit and vote on petitions to the constitution of Mexico City.
Photograph by Shaul Schwarz, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • In a bold move intended to involve more people in the democratic process, Mexico City is crowdsourcing its constitution. What is a constitution?
    • A constitution is a system of ideas and general laws that guide a nation, state, or other organization.

 

 

  • What is crowdsourcing?
    • Crowdsourcing describes process of obtaining information or services for a specific project from a large group of people, often an online community. Crowdsourced data is almost always provided for free. Some examples:

 

  • What methods is Mexico City using to crowdsource its constitution?
    • An online, 20-question questionnaire allows residents and visitors to identify Mexico City’s biggest challenges, opportunities, and visions for the future.
    • A change.org campaign allows users to write their own constitutional petitions or vote for others.
    • For chilangos (Mexico City residents) who aren’t online, the government has set up 300 mobile kiosks around the city, so everyone can participate in the questionnaire and petition process.

 

 

 

  • Take a look at Step 3 in this activity on democratic ideas. Three key fundamental principles and values of democracy are listed as the common good, popular sovereignty, and equality. How do some of the Mexico City petitions address these issues? Take a look here or the list above for some examples.
    • Green space: This petition addresses the common good or quality of life. In the U.S. Declaration of Independence, this sort of petition would be part of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
    • Animal rights: Animal rights would also be categorized as addressing the common good. Any sort of declaration of rights also appeals to equality and dignity.
    • Government salaries: These ideas demand the public officials be held accountable to the people they represent. This is the definition of popular sovereignty.
    • Rights for marginalized groups: These appeal to democratic ideas about equality and justice.

 

  • What petitions would you submit for your city or town? How would they support democratic ideas?

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Fusion: How Mexico City is using the internet to crowdsource its new constitution

Nat Geo: Tracing Democratic Ideas activity

CDMX: Constitution Meeting Space

#Constitution CDMX: Citizen voices in the new constitution (via change.org)

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