The Horizontalist Movement We Build Can Build Power

We also need organizations to build our strategy, resistance, power and impact; not only amongst a select few who might be “turned on/tuned in,” but amongst critical masses engaged in broad-based work. In order to maintain the gains that are possible through collective structures it will require that resistance is more widespread and more consciously spread. We believe horizontalist movements can grow beyond a city or even a country to challenge and transform nation states and international systems/institutions. It will also require great commitment and understanding to resist the military forces employed by capitalism against the liberatory zones we might create. Though we have not explored the dimensions of the state deeply in this pamphlet, we do think it is ultimately necessary to overthrow the state for our liberatory vision to be fully realized.

We believe that we also need another level of organization: radical collectives where we can deeply and clearly think through what and how we build, and why. We need spaces where we can come together with others committed to deep and broad economic and social transformation. We need to grow our collective knowledge, analysis, experience, and strength– and numbers. We don’t expect any one organization to have all the answers, have the right plan or strategy, or have everything figured out. We don’t think there is only one organization that all revolutionaries should be a part of, and can see the destructive effects of this type of functioning in multiple historical moments. We also know that the form of organization will be different at different moments of movement activity.

For us the historical resistances that started by expressing the needs and desires of the many are examples from which we can draw inspiration and lessons as we work to build our own projects and organizations. From these we find the foundations for the use of collective practices as our horizontalist movements grow ever larger and more powerful and work for greater transformation. We also learn from when power has ended up in the hands of a few, as in the Soviet Union and China. Where there were not sufficient safeguards and practices in creating participatory structures, the power structures that movements worked to get rid of ended up being replicated, becoming some of the most oppressive bureaucracies within capitalism.

We believe that we can build interconnected and interdependent communities that can count on each other to share resources, knowledge and share responsibility to build a better world together; a world free of the interlocking and mutually reenforcing oppressions of capitalism, colonialism, racism, heteropatriarchy and ableism. A way of life centered on the value of all life forms and the home from which we gather life–the earth. We believe this requires a different way for creating radical social change that grows new ideas from the rich soil left by those who came before us. We believe it can create a participatory and inclusive forum for experimentation that requires the practice of building our organizations while demanding that structures inside our current society work towards participatory democracy and people-controlled economies. This means working together in and with solidarity, autonomy, equity, self-management and cooperation for mutual benefit. We believe this vision must be built as we walk.

Study Alternatives
COiL Reflections on Emergent Strategy
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
Growing Our Work
The Horizontalist Movement We Build Can Build Power