Non-Hierarchy in Practice

Structures and discipline are necessary for horizontalist organizations to remain actively committed to a horizontalist leadership model and to avoid creating a default centralized leadership. Without discipline or clear structures, collective agreements become loose promises and unspoken hierarchies emerge based on leadership styles, race, and gender or class privileges, creating an unspoken structure for the group. Decision-making, holding others accountable and the responsibility of strategic thinking remains in the hands of few, undercutting the goals of building a participatory democratic organization where everyone decides and creates together. When we decide and practice our collective agreements about how we will operate, how we will evaluate, what is expected of us, how we will build the leadership of every member of the organization, how every person will at many points hold the responsibility of moving important pieces of the work forward, and establishing a basic set of principles to guide our work to which we are all accountable to, the cohesiveness and efficiency of our organizations is greater.

While we may not need individual “strong leaders,” we do need strong relationships. Relationships are at the center of our work. The style and practice of leadership that we foster impacts the relationships and cultures we develop. Saying we don’t need a few strong leaders to be effective is NOT saying we don’t need leadership or coordination. We need a different type of leadership, one that sees all of us as “ready,” and draws upon the multiplicity of strengths, skills, and experiences. Directly addressing and holding power differently within an organization is only possible through the development of new social relations and therefore we need to practice different ways of being with each other and caring for each other.

Reflections
Cemscawship
WTF Happened In The 20th Century?!
A Liberatory Vision
What We Value & Envision
South Africa
1871 Paris Commune
DMSC Sex Workers Union Kolkata, India
The Politics & Principles of LA COiL
A Clear Vision Means We Do Our Work Differently
Making an Intersectional Analysis Central
Anti-Colonialism: A ‘Manly’ Fight?
War an Answer For Violence Against Women?
The Limitations of Intersectionality without Unbreakapartable Struggle #metoo
The Limitations of Intersectionality without Unbreakapartable Struggle DREAMERs
My Struggle is Your Struggle
Pedro Lemebel: A Gay Communist from Chile
Garment Workers Center
2001 Economic Collapse in Argentina
Intersectionality in Action
Combahee River Collective
Students Deserve: LAUSD students lead the fight against a racist and classist school system
Orange County Immigrant Youth United (OCIYU)
The Limitations of Intersectionality without Unbreakapartable Struggle
Horizontalism and a New Kind of Leadership
Ella Baker
Non-Hierarchy in Practice
Non-Hierarchy and Power
Zapatistas
Growing Our Work
The Horizontalist Movement We Build Can Build Power
COiL Reflections on Emergent Strategy