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Vocabulary for a New World – Horizontalidad

In altermundismo, alternative, America Latina, Argentina, Politics, Revolution, Social Justice, socialism, solidarity, Vocabulary for a New World, zapatistas on October 9, 2007 by Eliacín

Horizontalidad (Eng: horizontality or horizontalism) is a theory or system that advocates the creation, development and maintenance of social structures for the equitable distribution of power. These structures and relationships would function as a result of continuous participation and exchange between individuals. As a specific term, horizontalidad is attributed to the radical movements that sprouted in Argentina after the economic crisis of 2001.[citation needed] The related term horizontals arose during the European Social Forum in London in 2004 to describe people organising in a style where they “aspire to an open relationship between participants, whose deliberative encounters (rather than representative status) form the basis of any decisions”[1], in contrast to “verticals” who “assume the existence and legitimacy of representative structures, in which bargaining power is accrued on the basis of an electoral mandate (or any other means of selection to which the members of an organisation assent)”[1].

This concept is related to the theory and praxis of anarchism. To anarchists, horizontality is a necessary factor for real freedom because it allows personal autonomy within a framework of social equality. This conception refers to equality and autonomy in relation to structures of economic power as much as political power, and to personal empowerment as much as collective empowerment.

Horizontality is an attempt to allow everyone to become active and direct participants in the decisions and actions that affect them. It implies equality of power in the sense that there is no dictation of directives or obligations to the individual, but rather mutual agreements and commitments.

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