So a bunch of horizontalist, leaderless movements and protests have been happening in my country as response for a recent crisis and austerity policies, and I'll admit I was wrong. For years I defended those against the Leninists and Marxists in general, but they're worthless. My experience with them in these past few years has been soul-crushing, and I'll write down everything that I think is wrong with them.
1. Were not leaderless at all. Lack of formal hierarchy and structure didn't meant lack of central leadership, only that this leadership was composed of cliques based on social ties and access to resources. The horizontalist façade only helped to conceal this. We were still following orders, except we didn't vote on them or who gave them. The decisions were made "democratically" but 95% of us weren't even informed about decision processes and how to partake. We had leaders, but only the worst aspect of them. They could lead without being threatened by any formal process. They could lead without claiming to be leaders, so without responsabilities and consequences. They could chime in to talk about what was "voted" on, and then retreat when implementing it became difficult or proved unfeasible.
When you try to approach them with questions or proposals, it seems like you've just sitted on the wrong table in high school, and they will certainly make you feel like it.
2. Were open to all sorts of idiots who, by default, could claim the status of members and as some type of representative of our ideas. Morons of all sort came in during occupations for example and turned them into drug-fueled hippie horseshit. Violent episodes happened and became news, and lots of embarrassing/stupid moments were caught on camera and are now circulating widely among the web. Lack of clear instructions and command structure lead to many rookie mistakes, like not filming the interviews we give in order to stop them from being edited and manipulated (which they were, on TV and the internet) and not avoiding certain actions that could bring discredit to the movement.
If the secrecy of the democratic process of #1 was solved, we would then have to deal with an immense amount of shitdicks voting and delaying those processes.
3. No one took initiative. Lack of clear positions meant that we were always just awkwardly look at our feet during meetings meant to decide what's next and what steps to take. Then we didn't know who to take our proposals to. When time for real action came, the same people who composed the "cliques" that lead us against our consent would use the excuse of horizontalism to avoid responsibility. As I said, they were leaders when it suited them.
4. Lack of concerted effort. Because everything from student occupations to strikes happened not as result of some designed plan but as spontaneous protests, some would lose all its momentum before the others happened. Then we didn't hear from them again.
That sort of nation-wide protests, movements and strikes that made the Civil Rights movement possible didn't exist. The only concerted efforts came from opposition parties, which are all too discredited and focused on legal and electoral aspects to bring significant change.
5. Money problems. We couldn't make money because, as open and leaderless organizations, you either open the access of new resources to literally anyone or you limit it to a clique of unelected de facto leaders, both of which would be suicide. So we kept begging for support from people. During occupations, I've seen members being expelled for not bringing as much food as they've eaten several times. It was comical, radicals making use of symbols of revolutionaries and making graffiti of armed uprisings fighting over fucking snacks.