group structure

Group Structure #

British anti-road direct action campaigns have always deliberately avoided formal hierarchical structures such as, committees, leaders and named positions. Hierarchies are stifling and do not bring out the best in people. From a practical point of view, hierarchical structures can easily be nobbled by the victimisation of its leaders.

Although non-hierarchical structures require hard work, patience and tolerance to work, they are worth it as they are definitely the most welcoming and inclusive way to enable everyone to maximise their contribution to the campaign. With this way of working, individuals will be able to vary their involvement according to their personal skills, energy and interests at any time, unrestricted by the straitjacket of formal structure. People will probably be happier too! It would be optimistic to pretend that informal hierarchies, based on experience or dominant personalities, will not develop. Try to minimise this, and ensure that these hierarchies don't become entrenched.

Establishing small but open working groups to tackle specific issues - research, legal support, fundraising - allows efficiency and specialisation without hierarchy. Having no leaders does not mean that individuals do not take the initiative or responsibility. It means that people have to be self-motivated.

The campaign will develop its own unique identity. Preserve this, and guard against being used by other groups or individuals with their own agendas. Hierarchical national organisations (even sympathetic and helpful ones) and political parties (including local politicians) may try to use your campaign to further their own ends, if you let them. Work with them, but on your own terms.

The system which brings about untold social and environmental ruin relies on people respecting and obeying hierarchy. Don't mimic the system - fight it!

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