Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How non-hierarchical and consensus-based structures worked to pull off the largest civil protests in history

This article explains in-depth what led to some of the largest citizens protests witnessed in history, which happened in Brazil earlier this year.


Some of the findings should come as a surprise to those that think that consensus-based decision-making, and non-hierarchical structures cannot achieve anything.

An excerpt:
One hundred sixty activists from 13 collectives participated in the gathering, formulating a federal structure based on the principles of horizontalism, autonomy, independence and decision-making by consensus. They agreed to set up working groups based around communication, organization and legal support as well as a study group on transportation issues. Among the attendees was the engineer Lúcio Gregori, Secretary of Transport in São Paulo from 1990 to 1992 in the municipal administration of the then militant Worker's Party leader Luiza Erundina. Gregori held the view that transport should be a public service and therefore free. He argued that from the moment a fare is charged, a mechanism is established to divide those who can use it and those who can not, and therefore, the imposition of a fare represents the privatization of something that is common to all, public transport. He pointed out that just as health and education are free public services, so too the costs of transportation should be borne by those who benefit from the service, "the ruling class which needs public transport for employees to get to the workplace."

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