Responses to Jo Freeman's The Tyranny of Structurelessness

A 1984 reprint:

I would pay someone to do a text version that fixes the punctuation and other typos that, at least in large part, stem originally from a bad OCR or transcription of a printed text. For instance, the sentence:

The individual is alienated by the size, and relegated, to struggling against the obstacle created by the size of the group — as example, expending energy to get a point of view recognised.

In some printings, including at The Anarchist Library which feels very authoritative because it also produces a nicely formatted PDF, there is a comma inanely inserted between “relegated” and “to”. In other versions there is a ( in that spot.

In what would appear to be the source of both text versions, a scan of 1984 document available as a PDF it is evident that the mark there is a stray mark, not a comma nor a parenthesis.

Cathy’s point is basically that small is good. This is a key, critical point that i don’t think i make a big enough deal about, when talking about the benefits of “do-ocracy”. I’m usually talking about this explicitly in the context of scaling discussion and decision-making, but even in that context it’s worthwhile to enumerate both the benefits of small groups and how we can practically keep every decision (wielding of power) at the small group level when possible.

But it’s not always possible; power is organization and we need power to achieve justice and liberty. Even in small groups, processes and structures matter, but we can agree that we can have better, more human practices in small groups. Yet the power we need to wield cannot be managed solely in small groups, so while “small groups” can be part of the answer to how we organize, it cannot be the only answer.

Cathy references Bakunin; I urge everyone to read Malatesta for an introduction to anarchism.

Anyhow it’s pretty awesome to see how much is presented in the two essays from the 1970s that is a clear explanation of what we’re grappling with. (From Cathy’s, the need to both develop as individuals and organize as a class; the need to avoid co-optation. “Where psychological struggle intersects political involvement is the small group.”)