Jo Freeman’s seminal essay “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” put a name to the persistent problem that plagues decision makers in non-hierarchical . Title: The Tyranny of Structurelessness. Series: General and According to Jo Freeman, “This piece spread all over the world. Numerous people have edited. Structurelessness Jillian Báez WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Volume 41, Numbers 3 & 4, Fall/Winter , pp. (Article) Published by The.

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The desire for meaningful political activity generated in women by their becoming part of the women’s liberation movement is sufficient to make them eager to join other organizations when the movement itself provides no outlets for their new ideas and energies.

It’s accurate down to the very same ideological justifications used to embrace structurelessness, and the exact individual problems that we ran into which prevented anything from getting done.

In actuality, the potential problems Freeman is structugelessness worried about in informal groups, are much more prevalent, virulent and destructive in large, formal organizations.

The group of people in positions of authority will be diffuse, flexible, open, and temporary. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

The Tyranny Of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman

The press and the public do not know how to listen seriously to individual women as women; they want to know how the group feels. While engaging in this trial-and-error process, there are some principles we can keep in mind that are essential to democratic structuring and are also politically effective: People who allow themselves to be dominated in informal groups will also allow themselves to be dominated in formal groups — and probably more easily and often tyrann the latter simply because a structure for domination is going to be much more often present from the outset!

This does not necessarily make informal structures freemaj.

It is those groups which are in greatest need of structure that are often least capable of creating it. She suggests the lot system, which has been used by informal anarchist groups many times historically. In a Structured group, two or more such friendship networks usually compete with each other for formal power. When informal elites are combined with a myth of “structurelessness,” there can be no attempt to put limits on the use of power.


As long as the movement does not do significant things this does not much matter. Structurelessnwss — here’s the link. When an informal network spreads new ideas and information among themselves outside the group, they are already frreman in the process of forming an opinion — without the group participating.

Bonanno John Zerzan Fo Black. Apr 29, Aaliyah Zionov rated it it was amazing Shelves: Any individual, regardless of how well-known that person may be, can never be an elite. Having an established process for decision-making ensures that everyone can participate in it to some extent. The first is that the informal structure of decision-making will be much like mo sorority — one in which people listen to others because they like them and not because they say significant things.

A Review of The “Tyranny of Structurelessness”: An organizationalist repudiation of anarchism

And then re-state it. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

There is no need for such organizations to “infiltrate” though this is not precluded. Thus, to maintain its own power, it is easier to rationalize the exclusion of the members of the other informal structure by such means as “red-baiting,” “reformist-baiting,” “lesbian-baiting,” or “straight-baiting. A great read clear and very enjoyable. It is precisely her arguments that convinced me to get more involved in working on a women’s group that had structure and rules.

Freeman thinks that informal groups are politically impotent.

Their power was not given to them; it cannot be taken away. If no one knows anyone else very well, then one must deliberately form friendships with a select number and establish the informal interaction patterns crucial to the creation of an informal structure. But they virtually all share one thing in common: People from widely different backgrounds may provide richness to a consciousness-raising group where each can learn from the others’ experience, but too great a diversity among members of a freemam group means only that they continually misunderstand each other.

Forming political parties and mass organizations, or raising millions of dollars in corporate struccturelessness are never going to be what informal groups are good at. These friendship groups function as networks of communication outside any regular channels for such communication that may have been set up by a group.


The latter are what any movement or organization has to use if it is going to be politically effective. The essay reflected on the experiments of the feminist movement in resisting the idea of leaders and even discarding any structure or division of labor.

Neither the movement as a whole nor most of the multitudinous groups within it have established a means of explaining their position on various issues. Women had thoroughly accepted the idea of “structurelessness” without realizing the limitations of its uses. Homogeneity is necessary to insure that participants have a “common language” for interaction.

Elites are nothing more and nothing less than a group of friends who also happen to participate in the same political activities.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness – Wikipedia

It empowers participants by forcing elites to constantly ensure that community members and not just the elites are engaged or risk losing them. In this case, spokespeople do expose issues affecting undocumented immigrants to the public, yet they constitute an informal structure whereby only certain kinds of immigrants—heterosexual and vreeman bound—are visible within the public domain.

Successful groups can be as large as 10 or 15, but only when they are srructurelessness fact composed of several smaller subgroups which perform specific parts of the task, and whose members overlap with each other so that knowledge of what the different subgroups are doing can be passed around easily. Anne Roth annalist ‘s status on Monday, Nov The looseness and informality of it encouraged participation in discussion, and ttranny often supportive atmosphere elicited personal insight.

The characteristics prerequisite for participating in the informal elites of the movement, and thus for exercising power, concern one’s background, personality, or allocation of time.

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