Dysophia – the many worlds of green anarchism

Decision-Making & Groups

A distinguishing feature of many green anarchist groups is the flat nature of their organising and the inclusivity of decision-making. Given the natural rejection of internal hierarchies, there is a focus on more horizontal structures, such as networks and coalitions. Likewise, groups do not have leaders and members are hopefully empowered to take responsibility for themselves and the group as a whole. Networks formed out of groups who take autonomous actions is also a common feature.

Decisions are made collectively, and as far as possible on an equal basis through encouraging participation and engagement by all those involved. A common process adopted is the use of consensus, around which many tools have been developed to facilitate making discussion open to all.

The aim is to prevent domination by cliques, or for some voices to be always heard above others. It provides frameworks which prevent hidden hierarchies of seniority or personality. It also allows groups to prevent either the tyranny of the majority, whereby a section may disagree with a decision by the majority of the group, or tyranny by a minority, where a small group manipulate or disrupt the process for their own ends.

Voting is generally avoided as the choices are rarely nuanced enough,  leaving parts of the group disenfranchised and their opinions disregarded. It does not allow for synthesis of different approaches in the same way that consensus decision-making encourages.

Groups are generally open to all who want to join and who are prepared to accept the criteria the group has established. A group can have specific criteria, but as long as there is not conflict with the general anarchist principles, this is fine. What matters is that it is not used as an excuse to perpetuate other oppressions or repressive systems. As we live in a non-anarchist world there are sometimes a need for closed groups, but this is a way of dealing with the existing system rather than our ideal society.

Saying that, there is more to being an anarchist than simply adopting the label. Solidarity, respect, mutual-aid, etc, are all requirements that cannot be ignored. A group of drunk activists having a shindig that is pissing other people off is not anarchism. Anarchism is not about doing what ever you want, but about taking responsibility for your actions and participating in your community with respect for all others involved.

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