So a bunch of horizontalist...

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.

They all:
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.

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6. We didn't raise awareness. I know this is the biggest meme among "leaderless movement" types, but it doesn't work. No leadership, no structure and no organization leads to no funds, no formal division of labor and no allocation of skill or talents. If someone wanted to distribute pamphlets or make youtube videos in the name of the movement, they were on their own. Usually they'd ask around if they could/should first, people would shrug, and then they did it for a few days before realising that they didn't have the skills, the resources or the means to do it, and no mechanism through which they could access those or find people who had them. The consequence of this was segregation and self-isolation. No information coming from us reached the public, and our own communication apparatus was left undeveloped and unable to counter the usual media techniques of discrediting and mocking you and then pretending nothing is really happening.

The organization I was in made a Facebook page that no one knew who run, and which was never updated. The last update was a John Lennon song.

7. "What now?" – so there we were. With the occupations, we started wanting to make the current president resign, start a revolution or push radical reforms. Now, a few weeks later, if you said we should try to fix the sink in the bathroom of the building we were occupying, people would look at you with like you're crazy. Our "revolutionary library" was left untouched, with a few books missing that would never be returned. Our conversations were not about politics, it was all personal drama and gossip. The entire occupation felt depoliticized. The nation-wide "leaderless" movements were not achieving shit, because unlike successful leaderless movements such as the Tea Party, they were 1. actually leaderless and 2. not financed by anyone. I couldn't even find refuge in my own political organization, which I've been with for years, because it felt as if we were slightly embarrassed. The students of occupied university buildings absolutely hated us, because they just wanted to get on with their fucking semester. Protests were being canceled out of fears that few people would show up. The police didn't even have to do shit, we collapsed on our own. Instead of raising awareness, the opposite happened: lots of people who were indifferent towards us are now hostile, and a few people who belonged to those movements now feel alienated from left-wing radicalism altogether.

There's a psychology of radical movements that many radicals still don't grasp. You can't keep doing the same shit often. If you're going to sit in a public place and wait until capitalism collapses, the very fact you need to feed yourself makes it an attrition war where the odds are not in your favor. Your energies are limited, public outrage is limited, momentum is limited, etc. An opportunity to strike needs a pre-planned move, which in turn needs to fit an overall strategy, which in turn needs to be designed by people who control an actual organization and who can safely measure odds, funds, skills, risks, and who can articulate its views and speak for it authoritatively, organize it based on previous experience and execute it skillfully.

I know probably no one will read this, but I had to vent somewhere and I couldn't use social media because I'd get hate from the same people I'm criticizing here. If anyone bothers reading this, thank you.

So you're a vanguardist? Where do you live?

Horizontal, leaderless action happens all the time here.

What country?

The impotence of conventional activism is showing and I'm sorry you had to go through it. Perhaps try to find and join a org with a clearer praxis or focus on self-improvement.

Dude literally said he wasn't.

That I had the very exact experience with our horizontalists is scary. Just pushed me even further to Leninism. Our leaderless leaders crushed every radical attempt or fragment of an idea.



I think everyone who was left-wing at the ages of 17 to 25 has a similar experience. That's the dominant culture and form for radicalism to young people.

So they didn't take initiative but they were also too much like leaders? which is it?

Very interesting, thank you.

Is there any further advice would you give to people who would like to organize movements? Maybe we can turn your experiences into a new theory?

Wouldn't this be a side effect of horizontal structure in any radical group? What's your experience?

It's like an inbuilt fail-safe, really: the horizontalist form guarantees its risk-free continuation at the price of not achieving anything, while the members can believe that they are changing the world.

The "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" crowd comes from this background, still immersed in its ideology.

When will MLs start appropriating black bloc tactics and have them stop being associated with dainty drug addled bohemian numales?

When MLs stop being castrated faggots who want Stalin to pound their boipussy. So never.

nuit debout?

this is why collectivism and democracy are garbage

Build a party. A party that has as its functions the constant education and nagging of its members, the conversion of the energy of protests that end, and the re-channeling of this energy in a more purified (theoreticized, propagandized, tactically sound) form the next day; a party that creates lasting bonds and a collective experience, a party that demands and provides, that build revolutionary momentum.

This is exactly why the scenario described by OP is neither collectivist (it's the opposite: individualist) nor democratic.

No, this is why people need to stop mistaking lack of formal structures with lack of power and hierarchies.

It's the same thing with capitalism: liberals will talk about laissez-faire economics as if that means lack of power, when it reality it's the consolidation of power of private economic forces over political and public ones.

In political organization, you remove those formal structures and you're still left with an informal one, based on who can assemble a larger network.

Its an embarresment tbh, every decent anarchist knows that organisation is key. But they allways get drowned out by lifestylists and "muh post ideology" liberals. But after such failures you allways have a few more radicalised people that understand the value of organisation and masses of people that now know that the system will allways resists fundamental change and thus needs to be overthrown fully.

Capturing the good will of the people can come later, at the lefts current stage it needs organisations capable of acting.

OP is BR

Which ignores, very fundamentally, that the only reason the Civil Rights movements ever got anywhere is because they had the organizational form of parties. It was a reformist bout, but one backed by actual organization. Politics without the party form is politics without politics.

I'd welcome tankies into black blocs

Good posts, thanks OP.

y the sage then?

Bump for good threads. Jodi Dean is cool. Can anyone recommend me good intro lit to her?

Communist Horizon
Crowds and Party

Thanks. Fetched both for ITT gomrad ease of access.

OP, I know exactly what you are talking about: The Tyranny of Structurelessness (

Must have been some next level critique.


Never. He's probably the only reason anyone would even frequent this shithole for some mental piquing. Besides, this is my first introduction to Jodi Dean and she appears, at least on video, to be interesting. Very little postmodernism to be seen too, so explain yourself here.

1,3,4,6,7. From what you have described, this sounds like it's more an issue with how your specific group was organized rather than a fault in the horizontalist model (though admittedly a common problem among groups claiming this position). The biggest problem is that they have mistaken a lack of top-down authority with a lack of organization period. Roles can still be democratically delegated as necessary (and indeed things operate best when certain maintenance-type work is handled reliably by a delegated individual/group rather than left up in the air). Much like how a manager can still play a role in a democratic workplace so long as their authority is based on delegation by those are to be managed and that the decisions made can be overturned if against the interests of those involved, so too can formal coordinators and other roles exist within a horizontalist organization. The key is that those roles exist only so long as they are needed and not a moment longer; the seat and the person who sits in it must ultimately be disposable.

2. That happens with all organizations sadly. Ultimately if your group seeks to challenge the status quo in any meaningful capacity, the information outlets held by established powers will take any opportunity to slander your project; that can be anything from digging into the personal lives of some of the more prominent members to look for dirt or framing the actions of a few fringe idiots as being representative of the larger group.

5. Literally just elect a treasurer. Even the most basic organizations/unions can pull this off without their organizations falling to pieces or into dictatorial messes, there's no reason a supposedly horizontalist one should have a problem with this either. It's not even a terribly difficult job: I know of at least two people who have efficiently acted in such positions for highly decentralized unions with minimal prior experience.

Greentexting this I wanted to say that it's an interesting read, oops.

dumping some more