Re: What is "Leadership"?
Posted By: gman In Response To: Re: What is "Leadership"? (selassielive)
Date: Monday, 5 June 2006, at 2:24 p.m.
In Response To: Re: What is "Leadership"? (selassielive)
seen... good point... also seshata sefekht's point is taken.
The ideal to me would be collective leadership, or rule by consensus: issues being hashed out amongst the broadest possible section of people who are affected by the issues, until a common approach can be agreed upon. In practice I don't think this could work for all situations. (Though it could work for many; the next best approach would be direct democracy, with the rights of dissenting minorities being respected).
In a racist/sexist/colorist society like the one we live in, though, even the apparent equality and freedom of the consensus approach could conceal various power dynamics that may be going on: men interrupting women (as I often still find myself doing, however conscious I try to be of it... then again, I interrupt men too, I'm just an interrupter and need to quit it), light-skin people being listened to (by dark and light-skin people) more than dark-skin people, etc. etc. "The tyranny of structurelessness" as it's been referred to.
Sometimes, then, a group/movement might feel the need to have someone/several people in an "official" leadership position. This could apply even to anarchists. The anarchist militias in the Spanish Civil War did not have a bunch of different ranks and ritualized subservience like a "typical" army, but they did have militia leaders, seconds-in-command, etc., because war is one situation where decisions MUST be made IMMEDIATELY and adhered to; there's no time for consensus on the battlefield. So militia units would elect who they felt to be the best, most qualified person to lead them in battle, who would take over command if that person got shot, etc.
Assuming that a movement to address and remedy systematic ills decides it needs any "official" leaders at all (and regardless of having official leaders or not, it would still have to choose representatives/spokespeople), then it would make sense to select as the leaders/reps/spokespeople those who are most in touch with those who are most affected by the systematic ills. If a leader is supposed to be essentially an instrument of his/her constituency, it makes sense for that leader to be a member of that constituency. Hence, in a movement to address Black people's conditions worldwide, we could ask "who are the majority among Black people worldwide" and "who are the MOST oppressed amongst Black people worldwide." The answer to both questions would be dark skin kinky hair Black womban (from lower economic positions, I would add.) So after thinking about it, and realizing that it is not some kind of "dictatorship of the darkest skins" that is being proposed, I see the sense in the proposal. Essentially it seems to be saying to *relatively* more privileged people such as myself, who are more likely to be initially offerred an official leadership position in our society, to not be too quick to jump at that "opportunity", but rather to invest one's energy in helping support people who would be less likely to be offered a leadership role. (assuming they want one's support). Traditionally the male, more formally "educated", lighter-skinned etc. person is more looked at for a leadership position; to counter-balance this, the female, less formally "educated", darker-skin person should be encouraged to assume leadership positions.
One more ting on leadership: In general, I think if there are going to be formal leaders of an organization, they should be chosen and appointed by the members of the organization, not by themselves or by some elite "central committee" or something. And such leadership/spokesperson/representative positions as exist, should be regularly rotated to ensure that no one individual gains too much power, and to ensure that more people get to experience taking on those roles.
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